Three Anabaptist flavored gift ideas


OK, so the Christmas season is about a whole lot more than getting and receiving gifts, but most of us likely participate in gift exchanges to one degree or another.  Keeping it in the category of old-school print media, with a progressive Anabaptist flavor, below are three items our family has especially enjoyed which might be fitting gifts for people in your life.

Children of God Storybook Bible, by Desmond Tutu | ages 3-6

This is a lovely way to introduce 50+ key Bible stories to young children.  The text is written by Desmond Tutu, the Anglican Archbishop of South Africa so active in helping his country heal from the Apartheid era.  He highlights themes of love, justice, and inclusion without avoiding some of the more difficult themes scripture also presents.  Each story ends with a brief prayer.  A real highlight is the artwork.  Leading artists around the world were invited to illustrate a story in their own cultural style, so the stories together have the feeling of a global village.  Eve and Lily have outgrown this for the most part but I’m looking forward to reading it again with Ila.

A Wolf at the Gate, by Mark Van Steenwyk | ages 6-12

Mark is a leader in The Mennonite Worker community in Minneapolis.  He pitched the idea for this book as a Kickstarter project a couple years ago and received far more funding than anticipated, so hired a friend to add illustrations.  The result is a creatively told story with beautiful illustrations.  The story is an imaginative retelling of the legend of St. Francis and the wolf, with the wolf as the main character.  The Blood Wolf despises humans and terrorizes a village until The Beggar King passes through and works a peace agreement between wolf and villagers.  Themes of reconciliation, peacemaking, hunger, survival, and animal/human relationships all make for good conversation after – and during – the reading.

Yes! Magazine | ages 13-113

This quarterly magazine pretty much rocks.  It takes on the toughest issues of our time, but focuses its journalism on creative solutions and positive community actions around the country.  Each issue addresses a particular theme, with recent issues including: “The Debt Issue,” “Make it Right: Black Lives Matter,” “Together, with Earth,” and “Cities are Now.”  Stories give good analysis but angle toward the personal, the practical, and the positive.  Yes! is composed of diverse voices, with women and racial minorities leading the way.  It does not speak from an explicit faith perspective, but shares many values with people seeking to live in healthy relationship with themselves, neighbors, and the planet.  Four issues only cost $15 and if you buy one subscription you get a second free, so you can get one for yourself and a friend.

May our faith infiltrate our purchasing decisions this Christmas season.