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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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At Gavin Brown’s 4th birthday party, the usual detritus lined the edges of the backyard: sippy cups, sunscreen, water shoes, stuffed animals. There were 44 guests and as many buns on the grill, in addition to an elaborate ice cream cake adorned with a fire truck. For the adults, there was sangria and savory corn salsa.
Glenn Johnson lifted his daughter Mia, 3, up to drop money into the donation box.
But the only gift in sight was a little red Matchbox hook and ladder rig. All the bounty from Gavin’s birthday — $240 in checks and cash collected in a red box next to a plastic fire helmet — went to the Cranford Fire Department.
“Thanks, buddy,” Lt. Frank Genova said on Sunday when Gavin handed over the loot, after which he took a tour of the pumper truck and tried on a real captain’s helmet. With the party proceeds, the birthday boy suggested, the firefighters “can buy new fire trucks, new equipment, and more food.”
In part to teach philanthropy and altruism, and in part as a defense against swarms of random plastic objects destined to clutter every square foot of their living space, a number of families are experimenting with gift-free birthday parties, suggesting that guests donate money or specified items to the charity of the child’s choice instead.
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