Vol V. No. 34
Edited by Wayne A. Holst
April 11th, 2010
With many others, I thank you for sharing the story
about your cancer. Many of your readers are struggling
with physical ailments and their affects on our mind
and soul. I am one of them too. Sharing is one way to
get some relief.
Thank you for the gift of Colleagues List.
Mathew (Zachariah, Calgary)
In This Issue - Special Item -
Toward a Hopeful Future -
Why the Emergent Church is Good
News for Mainline Congregations
Shall and Pramila Sinha Posters
Gandhi Weekend at St. David's
May 1st - May 3rd, 2010
"The Bridge" - Barack Obama
Update on the Catholic Crisis
Veil Ban About Scoring Political Points
Shroud of Turin - Background and Website
Orissa Violence Shocks Visiting German Team
ELCIC Releases First Draft on Human Sexuality
Global Faith Potpourri:
Eighteen Stories from
Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Week:
Cho Wha Soon
On This Day (April 10th - April 15th)
April 10, 1947 - Brooklyn Dodgers contract Jackie Robinson
April 13, 1970 - Apollo 13 crippled on way to the moon
April 14, 1865 - President Lincoln killed by John Wilkes Booth
April 15, 1912 - Titanic hits iceberg and sinks in N. Atlantic
Closing Reflection by Thomas Merton
Thanks to Colleague Mathew Zachariah of Calgary
for providing the opening comment. I have just
completed my radiation and chemo treatment cycles
in preparation for surgery. My doctors are very
happy with the progress being made and I hope that
by the time of my operation (probably in June)
there will be no live cancer cells remaining in my
body and only a dead tumour needs to be removed
and my colon repaired.
Thanks to all who have been thinking of me.
After several years and scant comment, I plan
to discuss the emergent church movement in this
and next week's issues of Colleagues List.
The opening article comes from Sojourners and says
something about the disparate nature of the movement
at this point in time.
I would like to direct our attention to how this
movement is developing in mainline denominations.
The book I have chosen to introduce this week is:
"Toward a Hopeful Future - Why the Emergent Church is
Good News for Mainline Congregations." It comes to us
from practice in an actual congregational setting.
This week my focus will be on the larger American
context and next week, on the Canadian ethos.
Two weeks from now we will be hosting Shall and Pramila
Sinha at St. David's Church here in Calgary.
During the weekend of May 1st - May 3rd, 2010 we will
be engaged with Hindu spirituality as exemplified through
the life and witness of one of its greatest modern
representatives, Mahatma Gandhi.
Please note two main weekend events
More than a decade ago, I helped to found the Gandhi
Society in this city and it is always great to gain
new perspectives on this mentor to modern political
heroes like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
(both of whom are noted in other parts of CL this week.)
Ron Rolheiser - writes on a theme with which he is quite
familiar "Living with Frustration and Tension."
Ron writes from San Antonio, Texas.
Pat Kossmann - invites us to think about the animals in
our lives in an article currently appearing in America:
"Our Unique Relationship with Pets."
Pat lives in New York.
Thanks to both colleagues for their contributions.
"The Bridge" - is the first extensive biography of Barack Obama.
It is reviewed here by Garry Wills as it appeared in the New
York Times Review of Books last weekend.
I add a NYT piece reporting on the nature of an American
political group that views Obama as its nemesis - The
Tea Party Movement. I hope this helps Canadians form a
more substantive opinion about a rather noisy and - for me
at least - negative element in current US politics.
Update on the Catholic Crisis - I provide a collage of
articles from ENI, The New York Times, The Australian,
The Tablet, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops,
BBC, The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal and the
Veil Ban is About Scoring Political Points - Janet Epp
Buckingham comments from Ottawa on the "Niqab" issue,
in Quebec and concludes that it is more a political than
a religious issue for Canadians and that it really should
not such a big deal (Christian Week)
Shroud of Turin - Background and Website -
Last week we introduced the Shroud of Turin story
to Colleagues List readers. I provide more extensive
background on it this week. (Wikipedia, Official
Orissa Violence Shocks Visiting German Team - a
parliamentary delegation from Germany expresses shock
at the level of violence it has observed in the Indian
state of Orissa where Christians are persecuted by the
Hindu majority there (Cathnews Asia)
ELCIC Releases First Draft of Human Sexuality Statement -
since its sister body - the ELCA - has produced and approved
a social statement on human sexuality it was only a matter of
time that Canadian Lutherans would attempt to do the same.
I provide a first draft of this document, just released.
Global Faith Potpourri:
This week I have gathered eighteen short news stories from
Ecumenical News International (Geneva) and share them.
Quotes of the Week:
Cho Wha Soon, Wendell Berry, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela
provide short bits of wisdom for us.
On This Day (April 10th - April 15th)
I hope you enjoy revisiting at least some of these stories
provided by the New York Times:
Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the majors, joined
the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947)
Apollo 13 was crippled on its voyage to the moon but managed
to return safely to earth (1970)
President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (1865)
The Titanic hit and iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage across
the North Atlantic (1912)
Our closing reflection this week is a famous statement by the
American monk, Thomas Merton
Spring, in all its glory, has come to Southern Alberta.
I hope to make the most of it! Blessings to all.
SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (or) email@example.com
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca
Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -
ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE
Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish
ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY
TOUR TO CELTIC LANDS - 2011
We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.
A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.
Tour reservations - $300. Available May 1st.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR EVENT DEVELOPMENTS!
THE FUTURE OF FAITH by Harvey Cox
Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010
An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.
Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:
THIS PROGRAM IS NOW COMPLETED.
WATCH THIS SITE FOR CONCLUSIONS AND UPDATES.
A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/
This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!
You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.
Appearing This Week:
THE EMERGING CHURCH - PART ONE
The Emerging Church Brand:
The Good, the Bad, and the Messy
by Shane Claiborne
TOWARD A HOPEFUL FUTURE
Why the Emergent Church is Good
News for Mainline Congregations,
by Phil Snider and Emily Bowen
Pilgrim Press, Cleveland OH. 2010
290 pages. $20. CAD.
Snider and Bowen, co-pastors at Brentwood Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ) of Springfield MO. - a
formerly graying congregation - provide a much-needed
resource that will benefit both progressive mainliners
who value inclusivity, diversity, and social justice
as well as emergents seeking a point of entry into
progressive mainline traditions.
This book emerged from the authors' successful progressive
worship service - "The Awakening" - which has attracted
a surge of young adults and young families to Brentwood.
It offers a way to link persons familiar with prophetic
biblical traditions, progressive mainliners, Emergents,
and postmoderns. It provides worship resources that will
help them connect with emerging generations.
As the tidal wave of books and resources on the emerging
church continues to flood the shelves of local bookstores -
as well as on websites and blogs - one of the great ironies
is that the all but forgotten mainline Protestant traditions
are once again on the sidelines of the conversation... all
too many mainliners feel lost in a sea of unfamiliar
language and practice.
Many of the established churches already feel at least a
generation behind, and are now scrambling to catch up with
a growing number of emergents who wish to connect with
communities of faith in new and fresh ways. They are asking
if their church can have any chance of being relevant in
the postmodern culture...
We would like to be voices of hope that point to the ways
by which progressive mainline congregations (might) connect
with emerging generations.
"... it is about digging deeply withing the rich traditions
that have shaped their identity in formative ways..."
Jim Wallis has persuasively argued that the Religious Right's
dominance of all things spiritual and religious in the US
is quickly coming to a close, and that the deep shifts
taking place in evangelical culture are due in large part
to the emphasis that young evangelicals are placing on
issues of justice, diversity, hospitality and peace. The
result is an utter transformation of the ways in which these
young Christians - properly referred to as emergents -
approach the Bible, faith, ethics, worship, and the very
witness and mission of the church...
We believe that the emergent conversation... is good news
for progressive communities of faith, and this is the argument
that we pursue throughout this book.
(from the Introduction)
The Emergent scene in the USA is evolving somewhat differently
from here in Canada. There, the religious climate shifts constantly.
I view the Canadian scene as more conservative and less extreme.
Nevertheless - as is usually true - lessons from America can
be learned and applied here in Canada.
That is why I have selected "Toward a Hopeful Future" as the
first of two emergent church books I will introduce during the
next two weeks.
(The second is a Canadian volume entitled "The Emerging Church -
A Model for Change and a Map for Renewal" by Bruce Sanguin.)
What I like about "Toward a Hopeful Future" is its strong focus
on worship and the creative use of lectionary resources.
It is commonly known that when congregational worship is vital
there are positive spin offs for the entire community.
Any congregation seeking renewal wil therefore direct much of its
energy to the centrality and quality of its worship. Worship is the
key event of the week when most community members and friends
are gathered. Also, it is the doorway through which most newcomers
will first encounter the congregation.
What we learn from Snider and Bowen is that worship and liturgy
need to be taken seriously. Many Protestants are unaware of the
special riches inherent in the 3-year, formal lectionary readings.
Many tend to devote our worship themes and messages to the
hobbyhorse interests of individual ministers, pastors and priests.
Larger, stronger themes of the Christian spiritual life are too
frequently ignored. Allowing the lectionary to guide our worship
planning can do much to offset this problem.
Another important discovery in "Toward a Hopeful Future" is that
many mainline youth and young adults have connections with
emergent congregations through their social circles. The benefit
of learning from newer and often younger congregational groups
within and beyond us cannot be underestimated.
Is it apparent that as young, emergent Christians become more
mature, they naturally seem to gravitate in their thinking to
deeper issues of ecclesiology (the meaning of church) and more
complex moral and justice themes. The older denominations have
had a lot of experience in these areas and can share this with
younger Christians and their communities.
Fruitful exchanges between younger and older faith communities
can result in a win/win for everyone.
The reflections and resources provided in this book have been
cultivated within a community of faith that values hospitality,
diversity, peace, justice, wonder, and mystery (p. 8) While
much of what is offered here may seem new to many, they are
deeply grounded in Christian traditions spanning the centuries.
I heartily encourage you to become familiar with this special
emergent church title.
Buy it at the Woodlake Books Website:
SHALL AND PRAMILA SINHA POSTER
Gandhi Weekend at St. David's, May 1st-3rd.
Living with Frustration and Tension
Among William Blake's infamous Proverbs from Hell we
find this one: Sooner murder an infant in its cradle
than nurse unacted desires.
There are subtle layers of meaning to this, but on the
surface it speaks volumes, especially for our generation.
Today we are for the most part congenitally unwilling and
existentially unable to carry tension for long periods of
time, to live with frustration, to accept incompleteness,
to be at peace with the circumstances of our lives, to be
comfortable inside our own skins, and to live without
consummation in the face of sexual desire. Of course, in
the end, we do not have a choice. We are not above our
humanity and simply have to accept and live with the
tensions of incompleteness, but we struggle to do so
without bitter impatience, pathological restlessness,
and all kinds of compensatory activities...
Read the entire article: http://tinyurl.com/y5rb9dd
Our Unique Relationship With Pets
April 26th, 2010
THE BRIDGE - THE LIFE AND RISE OF BARACK OBAMA
by David Remnick, Knopf, 656 pages. $29.95 US
Reviewed by Garry Wills
New York Times Review of Books
April 11th, 2010
"Behind Obama's Cool"
The New York Times
April 14, 2010
Poll Finds Tea Party Anger Rooted in Issues of Class
The fierce animosity that Tea Party supporters harbor
toward Washington and President Obama in particular is
rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the
country and the conviction that the policies of the
Obama administration are disproportionately directed
at helping the poor rather than the middle class or
the rich, according to the latest New York Times/
CBS News poll.
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated
than the general public and tend to be Republican, white,
male and married.
UPDATE ON CATHOLIC CHURCH CRISIS
Ecumenical News International
16 April 2010
Benedict XVI faces vexing issues on birthday,
Rome (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI has celebrated his 83rd birthday
and will mark his fifth anniversary as pontiff in a period of
dire controversy over the stance of the Roman Catholic Church
on sexual abuse by clergy. Born Joseph Ratzinger on 16 April
1927 in Marktl am Inn, in Bavaria, he was elected Pope on 19
April 2005, after the death of John Paul II, taking the name
of Benedict XVI. Marking Benedict's birthday in an article in
the 16 April edition of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore
Romano, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, who heads the Catholic
bishops' conference in the pontiff's native Germany, praised
his five years as Pope. "Pope Benedict XVI offers us a spiritual
papacy, which is characterised by theological depth," wrote
Zollitsch. Still, the two anniversaries come at a time when
both the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict are facing widespread
criticism over sexual abuse by priests and how the church has
dealt with the issue or failed to do so.
New York Times
April 10th, 2010
Pope Put Off Punishing Abusive Priest
by Laurie Goodstein and Michael Luo
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then a Vatican official,
signed a letter in 1985 resisting defrocking a priest
who abused children, according to church documents.
Read the article: http://tinyurl.com/yapupkw
The Australian/Times UK Online
April 12th, 2010
British atheists want Pope arrested
British atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens
have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for
charging Pope Benedict with ³crimes against humanity².
Read more... http://tinyurl.com/y6p4dka
April 16th, 2010
British Government dismisses calls to arrest Pope
by Isabel de Bertodano
Government and other legal experts have dismissed moves to
arrest Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Britain later this
Atheist campaigners Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens
have said they will seek to have the Pope charged with human-
rights offences over his alleged cover-up of child abuse cases.
But the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said the Pope has
immunity against prosecution. Read more..
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
April 13th, 2010
Canadian Catholic Bishops Statement
on Ipsos Reid Poll re Sexual Abuse
The Guardian (UK)
April 15th, 2010
Vatican Retreats After Bertone Links Gays With Pedophilia
April 15th, 2010
Church must 'do penance', Pope says
Addressing the recent abuse crisis publicly for the first
time, Pope Benedict has said that the church should ³do
penance² in response to recent public attention to its
³sins...² Read more...
How to Save the Catholic Church
Wall Street Journal
by Peggy Noonan,
April 16th, 2010
April 15th, 2010
Religious Society tells Williamson not to attend trial
St Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson will not attend his
trial in Germany for questioning the Holocaust, his lawyer
told reporters, but he will be represented. Read more...
VEIL BAN MOSTLY ABOUT SCORING POLITICAL POINTS
April 13th, 2010
THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN -
BACKGROUND INFO AND OFFICIAL WEBSITE
The Holy Shroud website features information and updates
related to the Shroud of Turin and the exhibition of the
Shroud that opened last weekend, its first public display
in a decade...
Read more... http://tinyurl.com/yc2yzx5
ORISSA VIOLENCE SHOCKS VISITING GERMAN TEAM
April 14th, 2010
A visiting parliamentary delegation from Germany has
expressed shock at ³the level of violence² in riot-hit
Orissa in eastern India...
ELCIC RELEASES FIRST DRAFT OF SOCIAL STATEMENT
ON HUMAN SEXUALITY
April 15th, 2010
Read the press release and statement:
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
9 April 2010
Ugandan primate 'resigns' from key body
of Anglican Communion
Nairobi (ENI). Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda is said
to have resigned from the standing committee of the 77-million-
member Anglican Communion, and cited the appointment of a lesbian
bishop by the U.S. Episcopal Church as part of an unacceptable
"revisionist theology". At the same time, Orombi called for an
urgent meeting of the primates, or senior bishops, of the Anglican
Communion without their colleagues from the United States and
Canada, "and with an agenda set by the participants themselves".
His announcement was made in a 9 April letter to the Archbishop
of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
Cross ruling stirs UK 'marginalisation' of Christians debate -
London (ENI). While a British nurse said she would appeal after
an employment tribunal ruled she could not wear her crucifix
necklace to work, the country's National Secular Society accused
those supporting her of promoting their own political agenda.
The 54-year-old nurse, Shirley Chaplin, had argued that removing
a necklace bearing a crucifix would "violate" her faith, while
her employer said she was moved to another position due to health
and safety concerns that patients could grab necklaces, and not
specifically because of the Christian cross. The hospital moved
Chaplin to a desk job after she refused to remove her crucifix.
"It is such a bad day for Christians in the workplace," Chaplin
told BBC Radio after the tribunal ruling on 6 April. "It seems
that you can insult Christians and it is okay but you cannot
actually insult any other kind of religious group."
Canadian professor gets $2.5 million to study religion
Toronto (ENI). An academic has received a grant of 2.5 million
Canadian dollars (US$2.5 million) to lead a study of religious
diversity in Canada. Lori Beaman, professor of religious studies
at the University of Ottawa, will head a team of 36 researchers
from Australia, Britain, Canada, France and the United States.
Over the next seven years, they will work together online and
in person. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council,
a Canadian funding agency, granted the award. One element of
the study is an upcoming workshop in India that will examine
religion there. "Then, we can start to build a comparative
basis to think about how is religious diversity and religious
freedom thought about more globally," said Beaman.
Foot washing lands U.S. official in hot water
New Orleans, Louisiana (ENI/RNS). The ritual of washing feet
has a deep-seated tie to Holy Week, a symbol of the humility
Jesus showed in performing the act for his disciples the day
before his death. Craig Taffaro, president of St. Bernard
Parish, La., took that custom into the workplace on 1 April 1,
going around the government complex throughout the day to wash
the feet of willing employees, Religion News Service reports.
"As the chief executive officer of St. Bernard Parish Government,
I thought it was an appropriate gesture to show that I am as
humbled as any other sinner in the world, so much so that I
would offer to wash the feet of the employees," Taffaro said.
Taffaro did not publicise his actions.
12 April 2010
Bishops denounce detention of 43 Filipino health workers
Manila (ENI). Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines
have criticised the prolonged detention without trial in
a military camp of 43 health workers arrested in February,
expressing concerns about the breakdown of the rule of law,
human rights and civil liberties in the country. "The
illegal arrest and continued detention of the 'Morong 43'
[the 43 health workers arrested in Morong in the province
of Rizal] in a military facility represent a serious
threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people,"
the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said.
Their statement, signed by the conference president,
Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, broke the Catholic
bishops' silence on the arrest of the health workers,
whom the military has labelled members of the
clandestine communist-led New People's Army.
Church of Sweden celebrates 50 years of
ordained female priests
Uppsala, Sweden (ENI). The Church of Sweden is
celebrating 50 years since the first woman was ordained
a priest by the church, the largest denomination in the
Lutheran World Federation. The celebrations of this
event have included anniversary worship services in
Stockholm and the east coast town of Härnösand, where
the first female priests were ordained in 1960 the
Church of Sweden said in a statement. The Church of
Sweden ordained its first three female priests on Palm
Sunday, 10 April. They were the Revs Margit Sahlin,
Elisabeth Djurle and Ingrid Persson. The ordinations
took place in Saint Nicolaus' Church in Stockholm and
India mourns theologian and Dalit champion, Rajaratnam
Thrissur, India (ENI). Hundreds of mourners have attended
the funeral of Kunchala Rajaratnam, a senior Lutheran
church leader in India and a leading Protestant theologian,
who died in Chennai on 7 April at the age of 89. Tributes
have come in from all around the world for Rajaratnam, who
was formerly Asian region secretary for the Lutheran World
Federation, and a director emeritus of the Gurukul Lutheran
Theological College and Research Institute. His funeral took
place on 10 April. The general secretary of the Lutheran
World Federation, the Rev. Ishmael Noko, said after
Rajaratnam's death that he, "was forthright in his views,
and seldom compromised his commitments to justice and
13 April 2010
Polish churches unite in grief over president,
Warsaw (ENI). The death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski
and an entourage in a plane crash in western Russia has united
Poles as well as Christian leaders from the country who lost
nine clergy in the accident. "Poland is experiencing its
greatest tragedy of post-War times," bishops from the minority
Evangelical Augsburg (Lutheran) church said in a pastoral letter
dated 10 April. "The post-Easter Annunciation gains a profound
character in the context of this experience. For we are forced
to contemplate the joyful Easter message which, in the face of
death, allows us through our faith to look beyond the grave
towards eternity," the bishops stated. The letter was read in
churches as the body of President Kaczynski was driven through
crowds after being flown back to Warsaw for lying in state at
the presidential palace during a week of national mourning.
Two million people expected at Shroud of Turin exposition
Rome (ENI). A piece of linen said to have wrapped the body of
Jesus after his crucifixion is on show in the northern Italian
city of Turin for the first time since 2002, and church officials
expect as many as two million people to come and see the cloth.
The Shroud of Turin contains detailed front and back images of
a man who appears to have been whipped and crucified. The cloth
has drawn the attention of Christian believers and sceptics for
many years. Carbon tests in 1988 triggered international debate
when they dated the shroud from between 1260 and 1390. In 1989,
a team of researchers published a paper that concluded the
shroud is a medieval fake. Still, scientists who examined the
cloth could not account for the images on it.
Australian police 'apologise' for closure
of Easter re-enactment
Melbourne, Australia (ENI). An Easter crucifixion
re-enactment in an Australian shopping mall so upset some
consumers that police were called in to shut down the display
because it was considered offensive. Yet, five days after the
action, the police were said to have apologised for their
handling of the situation. Some Christian believers said
the police action raised questions about the freedom of
religious expression, especially as the re-enactment took
place on the Saturday of the Easter weekend.
The day, known by the Church as Holy Saturday, was one of four
designated public holidays for Easter, including Good Friday,
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday from 2 to 5 April. Members of
the Pentecostal, Heaven on Earth Christian Church in the city
of Geelong in the southeastern state of Victoria were mid-way
through their public re-enactment of Jesus' crucifixion when
police unplugged the microphone and ordered the participants
to leave the shopping mall.
Muslim scholar makes first US appearance
after ban is lifted
Washington DC (ENI/RNS). Tariq Ramadan has made his first
public appearance in the United States since the U.S. State
Department barred entry to the scholar and Islamic activist
Ramadan's appearance on a panel in New York on "Islam in the
West" on 8 April reflects recent U.S. efforts to build bridges
with Muslims and ends a long odyssey for Ramadan, who teaches
Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford. Ramadan, on a five-
day visit, is the grandson of Hasan Al-Banna, who founded the
fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But the Swiss-born
Ramadan is said to be popular among Muslims who appreciate his
message about the compatibility of Islam and democracy.
14 April 2010
Sudan church leader says elections
too flawed to be free and fair
Nairobi (ENI). The general secretary of the Sudan Council
of Churches - an Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic
grouping - has said that current national elections in
Africa's biggest country do not qualify as free and fair.
The Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol, said, however, that the
elections should continue since they are a key step in
the implementation of the country's Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. The 2005 accord was signed in Nairobi between
the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement/Army, ending 21 years of civil war, fought mainly
in the south.
Church activists leary as ruling coalition
sweeps Sri Lanka poll
Bangalore, India (ENI). With Sri Lanka's ruling coalition
led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa winning nearly a two-
thirds majority in parliamentary elections, church activists
have expressed apprehension over future politics in the Indian
Ocean island. "The election has given a clear mandate to the
government. We hope and pray that this mandate will be used
to rebuild the war-torn nation and to deal with the economic
problems that confront us," Paikiasothy Sarvanamuthu, executive
director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, told Ecumenical
News International from his office in Colombo on 13 April.
Religion and media increasingly converging,
says US researcher
Chicago, Illinois (ENI). Religion and media are increasingly
converging because of the changing nature of an integrated,
globalised world, according to several experts who presented
their views at an international conference on religious
communication. Religion and media "are integrated because
they're both part of the culture, part of the fabric of
everyday life", Stewart Hoover, a researcher of religion and
the media based at the University of Colorado, said during
the first day of the Religion Communication Congress 2010,
held 7 to 10 April in Chicago. "One of the reasons religion
persists is because of the media," noted Hoover at the once-
every-10-years conference, saying people live in a world where
things are "fluid" and "interactive".
Ecumenical body seeks to heal and reconcile in troubled Asia
Kuala Lumpur (ENI). Despite persistent religious and political
conflicts in Asia, a regional grouping of churches and Christian
organizations is upbeat about the fate of the world's most
populous continent, whose peoples it is seeking to help heal and
reconcile. More than 380 church leaders and ecumenical guests from
Asia and other parts of the world are gathering in the Malaysian
capital from 14 to 21 April for the Christian Conference of Asia's
13th general assembly. In Kuala Lumpur, they are seeking to plan
their strategies around the theme, "Called to Prophecy, Reconcile
15 April 2010
Rwanda president critical of churches,
while they praise him
Kigali (ENI). Some church leaders in Rwanda say their
government has done a good job in rebuilding the country
almost 16 years after genocide tore the nation apart,
but President Paul Kagame has challenged the clerics
to take better care of their affairs. "The government
has come close to the people," the Rev. Martin Habiyakare
of the Lutheran Church in Rwanda told Ecumenical News
International in Kibungo, eastern Rwanda. "When we look
back at 1994, things were very bad. Nobody thought unity
would be possible." Shortly after that interview, however,
Kagame challenged religious leaders in his country to put
the concerns of their congregations first.
First woman elected to head Asian church grouping
Kuala Lumpur (ENI). The first woman elected as general
secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia has vowed
to help heal wounds "not only in our societies, but also
within our churches" in the world's most populous continent.
"As brothers and sisters in such a time as this, we are
'called to prophesy,reconcile and heal'," said the Rev.
Henriette TabitaHutabarat-Lebang, referring to the theme
of the church grouping's 13th general assembly, meeting
from 14 to 21 April in Kuala Lumpur. She was addressing
the gathering after being presented on 15 April to the
applause of more than 300 delegates and guests at the
meeting. A pastor's daughter, Hutabarat-Lebang hails from
Sulawesi, one of the four larger islands of Indonesia.
American Indian leader, Wilma Mankiller,
hailed for life's work
Geneva (ENI). Tributes from church leaders have poured in
for Wilma Mankiller, an American Indian rights advocate and
the first female Cherokee chief who died on 6 April at the
age of 64 after a brief illness. Wilma Pearl Mankiller, a
member of the Cherokee Nation in the United States, was to
have been a keynote speaker at the June global assembly of
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed
Ecumenical Council in Grand Rapids, United States. The
Daily Yonder, a Web site that aims to "keep it rural"
headlined a story, "Leader of the Cherokee Nation for
a decade, Wilma Mankiller set a new standard and a
challenge for all Native American women."
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
April 12th, 2010
When I went to the factory to work and live with the laborers ...
I met them simply to evangelize and teach the gospel, but it was
no use. It was like pouring water into a bottomless jug. After a
long time, I realized that there is a systemic evil. To solve
this problem, it is necessary not only to worship but also to
demolish that systemic evil.
- Cho Wha Soon, Methodist minister and advocate for better
working conditions for women in Korea
April 13th, 2010
When despair for the world grows in me ... I come into the peace
of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of
grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above
me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I
rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
- Wendell Berry, from his poem "The Peace of Wild Things"
April 14th, 2010
Help one person at a time, and always start with the person
- Mother Teresa
April 16th, 2010
My hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for
the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as
I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as
surely as the oppressed. A [person] who takes away another
[person's] freedom is a prisoner of hatred ... is locked behind
bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if
I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am
not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the
oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.
- Nelson Mandela, from his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom"
ON THIS DAY
On April 10, 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey
announced he had purchased the contract of Jackie Robinson
from the Montreal Royals.
April 13, 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the
moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen
burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)
On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally
wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy
"Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.
He died the next day.
April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner Titanic sank in the
North Atlantic off Newfoundland, less than three hours after
striking an iceberg. About 1,500 people died.
If I affirm myself as a Catholic merely by denying all that
is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., in the
end I find that there is not much left for me to affirm as
a Catholic; and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which
to affirm it.
- Thomas Merton in his book "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"