o/~ A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down o/~
o/~ A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down o/~
One of the causes for a rift between those followers of Christianity and its Jewish roots, was a conflict in how Biblical prophecy had been interpreted. Whilst the Christians felt Jesus to be a fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, bringing about salvation and the kingdom of God, more orthodox Jews felt this not to be the case. They, as John McHugh says, “had not observed any great change in the balance of power, and could see no evidence that Jesus had established on earth the kingdom foretold by the prophets, or anything like it.” The world was going on just as before, humanity was still wicked, and the Jews had no freedom within a land of their own. That was the essential difference in stress between what Christians believed and what Jews would continue to believe. The Jews believed that salvation came with earthly freedom, through a king who was a man and in no way supernatural, whilst Christianity was coming more and more to stress the kingdom of God in an afterlife. This emphasis on the kingdom of God in the afterlife rather than on earth, begs the question of whether or not the Christians actually believed this was the case, or if they were “finding” this kingdom there as an attempt to say, “Look! There is a kingdom of God! Jesus did bring it!”
To suggest that Jesus was the son of God, was repugnant to orthodox Jews. Some sections of the Book of John, and Matthew, show that the heart of the dispute between Jews and Christians was this interpretation of Jesus and his relationship to God. On the other hand, the promise within Christianity of a second coming being so imminent, promoted a sense of cohesion within the group, that was “necessitated both by the perceived threat from Judaism and by the new communities’ need for self-definition and legitimation [sic].” (Stanton, 1999, 99)
The dispute between Christianity and Judaism stemmed not only from the interpretation of Jesus and his relationship to God, but also interpretation of Jesus himself. Many Jews, people who had a distrust of magic, saw him as a demon, a sorcerer, and many of the reported miracles of Jesus were categorised under the veil of magic. With such a background, it is perhaps not surprising that Christianity adopted many beliefs from the more mystical religions and cults, which further estranged it from the strict beliefs of Judaism. However, central Judaism was to the beginnings of Christianity, it was not the only practice to attend its birth. The new church also displayed aspects of “Gnosticism, Greek and Oriental mysteries, magic, astrology, pagan polytheism, stories of divine men (theioi andres) and their miraculous deeds, and popular Hellenic philosophy.” (Hengel, 1999, 2)
Christianity absorbed aspects of many pagan faiths that were very existent and included beliefs in demons, astrology, and magic, as well as some rituals. Along with the initial conflicts between the Jews and the new messianic movement, which had caused these people to be pushed aside or completely out of the Jewish community, the adoption of “outside” beliefs would aggravate a rift that could not be healed. The Jews, particularly the rabbinate, were hardly going to accept as members people who directly conflicted with their beliefs, or who took on the mantle of beliefs putting Christians of all types into the same place that the Rabbinate put other minim (heathens). “The parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity only takes on an air of finality with the triumph of Rabbinism within the Palestinian Jewish community and the virtual disappearance of Jewish Christianity.” (Alexander, 1999, 24) Judaism might have been Christianised up to that point, but the closer Christianity moved to more Gentile ways and people, the more alien it became to its Jewish roots. In the Gentile view, the closer Christianity got to Judaism, the more alien it would be to them, so it was beneficial for the Gentiles that the Jewish aspects of the movement became less and less obvious.
Gnosticism was also a strong influence on the emerging Christian church, prompting them into internal conflicts of faith and canonisation. Though Gnosticism appears to have grown up concurrently with Christianity, they had come from differing roots, which “could account for contacts and mutual influences and for Gnosticism’ contributions, positive and negative, to the development of Christian theology.” (Ferguson, 1987, 246) Ferguson goes on to mention that a principle Gnostic contribution to the Christian theological framework, was the ‘redeemer myth’. However, he points out that no pre-Christian document has any record of a redeemer myth, and that there is an alternative theory stating that the influence was the other way around, that before the emergence of Christianity the Gnostics had no system of thought.
The most significant name in the early spread of Christianity is naturally Paul. Paul carried the message of the Messiah to the Gentiles. His missionary journeys and establishment of churches enabled the spreading of the message throughout the Roman Empire - made possible by his Roman citizenship. Christianity grew in acceptance; those that believed in the Messiah separated from the Jewish parent faith, and began to worship on their own.
“So great has been his influence that Paul is often said to have been the chief creator of what we now know as Christianity, and to have altered what had been transmitted to him that it became quite different from the teachings of Jesus and transformed Jesus from the Galilean teacher and martyr into the cosmic Christ.” (Latourette, 1975, 67)
One of the most significant contributions of Paul to the existence of Christianity, was his admittance of Gentiles into its midst. These Gentiles were non-Jews, people who had never kept Jewish law, and were, in the eyes of Jews, not ritually pure. Mixing with such people would therefore make them impure. The Book of Acts details, regardless of its historical veracity, a church council that culminated in the decision that Gentiles may become Christians without having to observe the Jewish practice of circumcision. The council also laid out which parts of halakhic law should be observed by Gentiles 1. There was a great deal of opposition to ideas from those wishing to remain Jewish and retain a Jewish way of life; people who wanted Gentile converts to adhere to certain aspects of Mosaic law. As church membership became increasingly Gentile “some Jews gave up the Jewish way of life and became absorbed into the larger Gentile Christianity. Other Jewish believers remained Jewish, increasingly a minority and increasingly alienated from Gentile Christianity, which came to regard them as heretical.” (Ferguson, 1987, 491) Some of these Jewish Christians still living by Mosaic law accepted into their number Gentiles, but did not require of those Gentiles that they also keep the law.
Radically different to what was accepted under Mosaic law, was Jesus’ acceptance of those taken to be ritually impure, those persons who did not, and had never, lived in communion with halakhah and who constantly broke Torah teachings (criminals, prostitutes, even the disabled). This may have prompted Paul’s position, which appears to have stemmed from the idea that within Christ there was “neither Jew nor Greek”. At its extreme, this might be taken to indicate that he felt that not only did Gentile Christians not have to keep the law, but that Jewish Christians were not required to do so either. (Alexander, 1999, 24) In regards to circumcision, specifically, he appears never to have negated its practice for Jewish Christians nor demanded it of Gentile Christians, but merely to have downplayed its importance.
Because of its Jewish roots, the Christian movement at first had some protection from Roman authorities, though the movement had to “share the approbation in which Jews were held by many in the ancient world.” (Ferguson, 1987, 487) Some Gentiles resented the seeming exclusionary practices of the Jews as well as the privileges they received from the Roman rulers, and these feelings were transferred to the Christians as well. Christianity did, however, offer more appeal to Gentiles than did Judaism, not the least being its openness and acceptance of outsiders. Christianity’s beliefs in “monotheism, high ethical standards, a close-knit social community, the authority of an ancient sacred Scripture, a national worship” (Ferguson, 1987, 494) also appealed to serious-minded pagans. It also did not carry the same drawbacks as Judaism, which included its association with a single nationality, circumcision, seemingly meaningless restrictions on food and the Sabbath. After the first century, however, Christianity did not have wide appeal to members of the Jewish community.
From the Rabbinic perspective it was expected that Jewish Christians should keep the same way of life they’d always kept, observing all aspects of halakhah, but Christians were only expected to keep the more general Noachide laws 2. A seemingly reasonable compromise, but it “presupposed that the Jewish and Gentile groups could be kept segregated.” (Alexander, 1999, 23-24) Even if Gentile Christians kept kashrut 3, it could not be guaranteed they were halakhically pure enough for Jewish Christians to mix with. Rabbinic Jews were, for example, forbidden to eat with Jewish Christians, and are also forbidden any commercial relations with them, and the rabbis had declared that Torah scrolls written by Jewish Christians were also suspect because of their origins. It has been theorised that the “ploy” of the Rabbinic group was “to establish Rabbinism as orthodoxy, knowing that once that happened the exclusion of the Christians from the synagogue would inevitably follow.” (Alexander, 1999, 11)
The gradual emergence of Rabbinic Judaism pushed Christianity and Judaism even farther apart. Judaism, it must be remembered, also had different factions within its midst 4, in much the same way as Christianity would also develop. The groups - which included the Sadducees, the Boethusians, the Essenes, and the Zealots - were pushed to the side along with the Jewish Christians, those persons of Jewish descent and belief who also believed in Jesus and his message. This consolidation of Judaism was “a step that was more or less necessary to bring about the cessation of divisions and conflicts in Israel and therewith the religious and political restoration of the people.” (Hengel, 1999, 33)
Despite all the things that contributed to pushing Judaism and Christianity apart, an interest always remained. They did, after all, share the same God 5. Jewish Christians likely still went to the synagogue as well as attending the new eschatological conventicles. (Hengel, 1999, 31) And, despite the rift that occurred, Christianity was still represented within Judaism by these Jewish Christians, even after the church started becoming mainly Gentile. This blurring of the lines, this group that existed both within and without Judaism, “retarded the final separation.” As long as Jewish Christianity remained, one cannot talk of a final rupture. The efforts of the rabbinate kept this group marginalised. (Alexander, 1999, 3)
“They continued to use the temple as a place of worship and observed the Jewish law, including its ceremonies, circumcision, and the dietary regulations.” (Latourette, 1975, 67) The Christians also use as part of their sacred texts, the books of what they term the Old Testament, books also still used in - and central to - the Jewish faith.
Theological conflicts outside of the Jewish one, also aided in the solidification of Christianity, something that, again, brought it further away from its Jewish roots. Between the years 70 C.E. (which witnessed the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem during a war that saw not only the destruction of any sort of centralised Jewish religions authority, but also, thereby, removed means by which problems relating to Christian status may have been resolved) and 312 C.E. (Constantine’s victory and his ascendance as emperor of Rome), the Christian movement gradually solidified its internal organisation and began to formalise the structure of its beliefs. It also, increasingly, “defined itself over against the people of Israel from which it had emerged.” (Attridge, 1992, 153) As the church formalised its methods of worship and its self-definition, a more distinct leadership structure began to emerge within the church. First emerging in boards of elders, bishops, too, began to manifest. A strong internal leadership evidenced not only a stronger self-definition and aided in the creation of an ethos for the church, but could also function as a unifying force during periods of crisis, especially when working in consort with bishops from other areas.
One of those theological conflicts stemmed from Marcion 6. He advocated a distinction between a “God of goodness revealed by Jesus and an inferior God of justice operative in creation and in Israel’s history,” (Attridge, 1992, 173) and his rejection of the Hebrew Bible contributed to what we now accept as Christian scripture. Marcion postulated two gods: “the just creator of the world and the merciful Father of Jesus Christ.” (Ferguson, 1987, 490) The Christian community found it, therefore, necessary to not only refute his theology, but also to solidify its accepted canon. Another influential personage was Valentinus 7, the founder of Roman and Alexandrian schools of Gnosticism, who “advocated the evil origin of matter and the revelatory enlightenment, or gnosis, of an elite” (Davis, 2003) which would cause a challenge for 2nd and 3rd century Christians. Montanism 8, an apocalyptic movement of the 2nd century, caused friction within the church by its “attempted revival of prophecy, its ascetic morality of marriage, fasting, and martyrdom, and its eschatological speculations.” (Ferguson, 1987, 490) Although it has been said that these controversies adversely affected Christianity’s spread, it is those very same controversies which led to councils - such as the one held by Constantine - which finally defined systems of belief, church canons, religious services, etc., and all these combined to more solidly define Christianity’s self-definition.
In the early fourth Century, Christianity made an enormous step towards independence and legitimacy: a stable government backing which began when the emperors of Rome started to adopt Christianity as their faith. Until that time, Christianity “had no true political centre for its ambitions” (Groh, 1992, 267), the Christian emperors provided the machinery by which a Christian empire could be created. That machinery lent money and legitimacy to the faith and to those bishops who had emerged as leaders within it. The most significant of these Christian emperors was Constantine (c. 288-337).
In 313, Constantine declared all religions free from Roman persecution. This “Edict of Milan” allowed Christians to practice their faith openly. It should be noted, however, that Constantine did not become baptised as a Christian until he was on his deathbed 9. Except for the reign of Julian from 361 to 363, until the end of antiquity, Christian emperors would rule the empire. Another significant event in the rule of Constantine, one that further solidified Christianity, was the council of church leaders that he called to Nicea in 325. This council was charged with the task of defining the essence of Christianity, ostensibly for the purposes of promoting ecclesiastical unity. Two things that came out of this council were the Nicene creed (Appendix A) and the acceptance of the complete unity and oneness of God and Jesus; the charge of Arius 10 that they were not, was rejected.
Another key date in the history of Christianity, and one which, again, had very significant importance to its solidification, was the year 367. During this year Athanasius 11 wrote a letter that contained the first known list of the 27 books of the New Testament, and in the order we know them today. The canon was not, however, universally accepted until a much later time. 12 Still, though, that date gives us a point from which we can now discuss a canon of any kind for the Christian church.
By the late fourth century, with its own developing Canon, internal organisation and state sponsorship, all independent of the Jewish faith, Christianity could be considered wholly separate from Judaism, despite the beliefs shared by the two religions. This separation happened because Christianity embraced people and beliefs outside Judaism, but at the same time developed an organisation and strength that allowed it to survive where other splinter religions withered.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Alexander, Philip S. “’The Parting of the Ways’ from the Perspective of Rabbinic Judaism.” Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways: A.D. 70 to 135. Ed. James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids: William B. Eedermans Publishing, 1999.
Attridge, Harold W. “Christianity from the Destruction of Jerusalem to Constantine’s Adoption of the New Religion 70 – 312 C.E.” Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Ed. Hershel Shanks. Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992. Catholic Encyclopedia. 2002. (newadvent.org)
Charlesworth, James H. “Christians and Jews in the First Six Centuries.” Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Ed. Hershel Shanks. Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992.
Davis, Glenn. Marcion and the Marcionites 144 - 3rd century CE. (ntcanon.org). 2003.
- - -. Valentinus, and the Valentinians 2nd - 3rd century. (ntcanon.org). 2003.
Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: William B. Eederman’s Publishing, 1987.
Good News Bible. Toronto: Canadian Bible Society.
Green, Rabbi Martin. Personal Interview. Feb, 2003.
Groh, Dennis E. “The Religion of the Empire: Christianity from Constantine to the Arab Conquest.” Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Ed. Hershel Shanks. Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992.
Hengel, Martin and C. K. Barrett. Conflicts and Challenges in Early Christianity. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1999.
Horbury, William. “Jewish-Christian Relations in Barnabas and Justin Martyr.” Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways: A.D. 70 to 135. Ed. James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids: William B. Eedermans Publishing, 1999.
Kee, Howard C. “After the Crucifixion – Christianity through Paul.” Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Ed. Hershel Shanks. Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992.
Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity: Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
Ludwig, Theodore M. The Sacred Paths: Understanding the Religions of the World. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.
Matthews, Roy T., and F. DeWitt Platt. The Western Humanities: Volume 1: Beginnings Through the Renaissance. 4th ed. Mayfield Publishing Company.
McHugh, John. “In Him Was Life.” Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways: A.D. 70 to 135. Ed. James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids: William B. Eedermans Publishing, 1999.
McManners, John, ed. The Oxford History of Christianity. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1990.
Mews, Constant. “The Formation of Christianity.” Monash University, Religion and Theology lecture, 4:1. 2002. (arts.monash.edu.au/)
- - -. “The Roots of Christianity.” Monash University, Religion and Theology lecture, 3:2. 2002. (arts.monash.edu.au)
“Montanism.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. Bartleby.com (http://www.bartleby.com/65/mo/Montanis.html).
Pearsall, Judy. Concise Oxford English Dictionary. 10th ed. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1999.
Rowland, Christopher. “The Parting of the Ways: The Evidence of Jewish and Christian Apocalyptic and Mystical Material.” Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways: A.D. 70 to 135. Ed. James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids: William B. Eedermans Publishing, 1999.
Saunders, Shari. Western Culture 1: Before the Reformation, Study Guide. Ed. Barbara Every. Canada: Athabasca U, 2001.
Stanton, Graham N. “Matthew’s Christology and the Parting of the Ways.” Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways: A.D. 70 to 135. Ed. James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids: William B. Eedermans Publishing, 1999.
Theissen, Gerd. The Religion of the Earliest Churches. Trans. John Bowden. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999.
This is why you should never believe statistics:
This one of my favourite bands ever, one I never got to see live unfortunately, and likely never will. This is the closest I’ll ever get. He’s a very clever man, is our Tim Booth, very clever indeed. Listening to this band makes me feel things that I can’t put a name to, maybe it’s just promise of youth, or something else, but they are bittersweet and beautiful.
The DVD in question is called Getting Away With It, and has the following songs performed live: Say Something, Waltzing Along, Sometimes, Laid, God Only Knows, Someone’s Got It In For Me, Vervaceous, Protect Me, Out To Get You, Johnny Yen, Getting Away With It, Tomorrow, Born of Frustration, Ring the Bells, Top of the World, Sound, Space, She’s a Star, Come Home, and Sit Down.
It could, I suppose, sound hopeless, but I don’t think it is. There are things that happen in your life, points of change, plateaus, occurrences, that alter who and what you are, or places you simply move on from that can’t be shared by what existed before that time or what you found during it.
It all reminds me, too, of another conversation I had today about how some people’s worldviews never change, and why. Partly it’s due to people assuming things don’t alter unless they have evidence to the contrary. Sometimes a status quo needs to be clung to, for many reasons, good and bad, and sometimes the lack of a changed worldview is for far more negative reasons - like not wanting to admit things can alter, because it would contradict their own worldviews, and that is something some folks have too much pride to allow - to allow for others to change, or the world to change, or for there to be something different and contrary to how they wish it to be. Evidence to the contrary is sometimes simply not ‘seen’ by some folks, or, if seen, misinterpreted.
My nose is itchy. My grandmother used to say that if your nose was itchy it meant you were going to kiss a fool. When I was little that used to make me giggle, and I used to wonder what an itchy foot meant, what it meant when your elbow got itchy, or your eyebrow, or anything else. Old silly sayings are sweet, they’re like verbal comfort food in a way. They always remind me of the days when I was young, before I became aware and jaded and maybe a little too cynical and bitter for my own good.
I miss train travel. Every summer my grandmother and I would take the train to Cape Breton, stopping in Montreal along the way. I used to find all the stations we stopped at huge and echoey and imposing. They seemed enormous to me, like there was no way I could ever see every inch of them. I was in the Montreal train station a couple of years ago, and how perspectives change when you’re two feet taller and more than twenty years older. The stations are smaller now, easy to navigate, but still some of my favourite places to be.
If you know someone who keeps a journal, or who likes to write other types of poetry and prose, then the answer of what to put inside is simple: things to write about. The idea is to fill the jar with slips of paper, each bearing one idea for something to write about. What you put on the paper could be questions, quotations, or anything else of your devising. Each day, or as often as they are inclined to, the person you gave this “journal jar” to would take one out and write something inspired by what’s on the paper. The questions and quotations could be thematic. If you are giving it as a Christmas gift, for example, the questions could all be things relating to Christmas or other holidays - or they could simply be a random selection of questions covering any amount of topics you wish. What occasion you give the gift for, and what you put on those slips of paper, is completely up to you, but I shall list some ideas for you later on. First, though, let me go through some of the tools you’ll need, and some ideas on preparation.
The first thing you’ll need, of course, is a jar (or other suitable container). You can either purchase one new from a store (dollar stores are excellent places to find such things) or recycle one from your home. Any type of jar will work, but you might want to use one that has designs on the glass or is made from something other than plain, clear glass. Make sure the jar is thoroughly cleaned before you get started - including the lid - and that there is no evidence left of the paper label or glue that was used to apply it. An easy way to help remove the label and glue, is to soak the jar in warm water for a while, then scrape the dissolving paper and loosening glue off. You can use a brillo pad, or something else with a bit of abrasiveness, to help you with this.
You will need paper. Coloured paper is an excellent choice that can help to provide some pizazz, or you can use white paper - it’s up to you. Another idea might be to use paper that has a pattern already on it. Access to a printer (if it’s a colour printer, so much the better) will make the job of decorating much easier, as you can keep the text and other decorations more uniform - and it certainly saves you from the potential of writer’s cramp!
The idea here is to decorate one side of the paper and put your writing prompts on the other. You would then fold the papers in half so that the written side can’t be seen until the paper is taken out of the jar, and all the person you gave the jar to can see beforehand is the decorations. If you were, for example, making a jar that contained sets of questions about family life, school, the holidays, etc., you could decorate all the holiday prompts with the same decoration and choose a different decoration for other themes. You could decorate each piece of paper differently, also. The other option is to use paper that has a peel-off sticky back, so that when the person you give the jar to takes the slip of paper out, they can affix it to the top of a page in their journal. In this case you might decorate one half of the surface the prompt is written on, and write the question on the other half.
Using a printer would allow you to make the sizes of the slips uniform. You could measure out the size of the slips on the computer using the appropriate software, then print them out in large sheets that you could cut apart yourself. Although it’s not necessary, you could use pinking shears, or other scissors that have a special edge, to cut apart the slips of paper so that your prompts have a decorated edge. If you are using the “decorations on one side, writing on the other side” method, simply print out one side first, flip the paper over feeding it back into your printer, and print out the other side. Make sure the dimensions you set for the size of your slips has remained the same for both sides, or you might end up cutting something off.
You will also want to disguise the lid and perhaps decorate the outside of the jar. To do this you could use peel-off sticky paper, cloth, paint, or any combination of those and other craft items. If using paint to colour over the original lid and on the glass, you will need special paints for the process. Your best option would be to consult someone at an art supply or craft store, and ask them what is best to use to paint on metal and glass. The same applies if you’re going to glue things onto the lid or the sides of the jar.
For the lid you could simply cover it with a piece of cloth, perhaps one that matches the colours of paper you used, or matches the designs you put on your prompts. You could affix it with glue, ribbon, yarn, or an appropriate elastic - like those sparkly ones you use for your hair. You could paint any sort of design on it you wished, or glue sparkles and other craft items on it. If it’s a thematic journal jar you could put a design on the lid that matches the ones used on the papers inside. As for the outside of the jar, you can do whatever you wish, but it’s a good idea to stay away from anything too complex, as it would obscure the contents of the jar too much. If you wanted you could do similar things to the side of the jar that you did with the lid - a little painting, perhaps something glued to the sides. One thing you might wish to do is affix a label to the side of the jar (or the lid, if you’d rather) that gives a title to the project. If it’s a journal jar that’s going to your friend Joe, you could decorate a sticky label and add the words “Joe’s Journal Jar” to it.
The hardest part of the project is coming up with what to put on those bits of paper. As I mentioned above, it could be quotations (from books, poems, films, songs), a set of questions, or anything else you feel might help prompt the creative spark. If you’re at a loss for what sorts of questions to use, you could do a web search for writing prompts.
Journalling need not be the purpose of the jar, of course. You could do any of the following instead:
As you can see, the possibilities are endless, both for content ideas and how you could decorate for them. They are fun and interesting projects to create, and in the end, you might be making someone else very happy. Gifts made by the giver have a treasured specialness to them, and are very memorable and unique.