Published 9 July 2009
Tags: Ahmedabad, Anarben, CharityFocus, collectivism, communitarianism, compassion, cooperativism, dictionary, dictionary of ethical politics, donation, economics, ethics, free, free-play, generosity, gift, gift economy, gift transaction, interconnection, interdependence, Jayeshbhai, John Silliphant, Karma Kitchen, market economy, Nipun Mehta, openDemocracy, Patel, pay-it-forward, politics, potlatch, potluck, Potter Stewart, price, Resurgence, Service, Seva Cafe, Small Steps, Tiffany's, Tiffany's box, tsunami, Tsunamika, Uma Prajapati, Upasana, value, wiki, Works & Conversations, writing
I received an interesting assignment a couple weeks ago: write an explanation of the gift economy. Since the request came from my dear friend Nipun Mehta, to whom I can refuse nothing, I agreed; but I knew from the outset how challenging this seemingly straightforward task would be. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously observed about pornography, some things are easy to recognize and yet quite difficult to define.
The essay, now completed, is included in a new online reference, The Dictionary of Ethical Politics, a joint project of Resurgence and openDemocracy.
Continue reading ‘Understanding the Gift Economy’
Published 24 January 2009
Tags: CF, CharityFocus, compassion, journal, Kosmos, magazine, Nipun, Nipun Mehta, selflessness, Service, writing
I may have been writing squat on my blog recently, but at least others have been publishing my wheezes. My short (damn 450 word limt!) profile of CharityFocus appears in the Fall/Winter edition of Kosmos, a journal of waviness, crunchiness, and all things in between.
Here’s a PDF of the piece, for those of you who don’t already know the wonders of CF.
Continue reading ‘All’s Well in the Kosmos’
Published 2 December 2006
Bio , Blogs & Blogging , India , Service
Tags: Ahmedabad, Gandhi Ashram, internet, John Silliphant, micro-philanthropy, Nipun Mehta, Oprah Winfrey, pay-it-forward, Ramapir No Tekro, Rish Sangvi
On the CharityFocus blog, Nipun reports on a question posed by Oprah Winfrey on Yahoo Answers: If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?
Oprah received thousands of answers. Nipun comments that, as a believer in the significance of small acts, he’d probably divide the sum into five dollar grants to match the small gifts made to community micro-philanthropy programs like the five dollar club.
Nipun’s reminder of the power of tiny, compassionate gifts put me in mind of a story that goes back a few years, but which is worth a retelling.
Continue reading ‘1,000 Crisp Mohandases’
Published 18 November 2004
Friends , Religion, Spiritualism & Other Make-Believe
Tags: atheist, benediction, blessing, Guri, Guri Grewal, Guri Mehta, Heng Sure, interfaith ceremony, love, marriage, marry, Nipun, Nipun Mehta, Plato, romance, wed, wedding, wedding blessing, wedding ceremony
Sure, it was an interesting assignment; but who’d have guessed that Guri and Nipun’s request that I offer a blessing from the “atheist perspective” at their interfaith wedding would generate so much curiosity. Since I’m often asked for a copy of the text, I’ll reprint it here.
Those of you not able to attend the brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed ceremony (the inimitable Reverend Heng Sure, presiding) will have missed out on the dramatic delivery of my remarks, complete with tearful choke-up at the very conclusion. What can I say: I like these guys!
Continue reading ‘An Atheist’s Wedding Blessing’