Vol VI, No. 2
Edited by Wayne A. Holst
Special Item in this Issue:
"Absence of Mind"
by Marilynne Robinson
Belief Brings Benefits
Anne Rice Quits Christianity
Has Hate Corrupted the Church?
We Protestants Need More Saints
St. Peter's Prison Discovered in Rome
Canadian Anglicans Vote Unity with Rome
Iranian Woman Faces Stoning for Adultery
Niagara Peace Bridge Honours Mother Teresa
North Korean Christians Said to be Executed
Hitchens Speaks of Religion, Cancer and Death
How Many Iraqis Did We Liberate from Life on Earth?
Global Faith Potpourri:
25 stories from Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Month:
Lloyd John Ogilvie
Morton T. Kelsey
On This Day (July 31st - August 8th, 2010)
July 31, 1964 - Ranger 7 sends pictures of moon surface
Aug. 1, 1936 - Hitler opens the Berlin Olympics
Aug. 3, 1958 - Nautilus crosses North Pole underwater
Aug. 6, 1945 - US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Aug. 8, 1974 - Nixon resigns over the Watergate scandal
Closing Thoughts -
"Veteran Missionary Speaks about
Mao and Christians in China"
A Youtube Interview
During these summer weeks I have been consulting
with my teaching associate Jock McTavish on how
to enhance the readability, accessibility and
interactivity of Colleagues List. I hope that
improvements will begin to appear through the
Between now and mid-September, Marlene and I will
be vacationing on the BC coast and in Ontario for
a total of three weeks. It represents a gift to
ourselves for navigating my recent health issues
which seem to be daily improving. That means my
weekly mailing of Colleagues List will commence
in mid-September with possibly one issue appearing
before that time.
This week I offer a book notice of a worthy,
widely reviewed book by novelist Marilynne Robinson
entitled "Absence of Mind."
It is a learned critique of much that passes for
scientific thinking today, but it also offers a
challenge to people of faith and a call to a new
Ron Rolheiser - every year Ron writes a column on the
subject of suicide and I include his recent reflections
(Ron Rolheiser, omi website)
Jim Taylor - raises questions on the anniversary of
the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
August 6, 1945 (Jim Taylor's Web Log)
"Craving Community" - humans naturally crave community
and the church is an ideal place to help people meet that
intrinsic need (Alban Weekly)
"Belief Brings Benefits" - a new study re-enforces previous
studies on the practical benefits of a personal faith
"Anne Rice Quits Christianity" - one of the more interesting
recent news items tells of Ms Rice - who recently re-joined
the church after years of absence - now resigning from any
form of organized religion. Read of her reasons for this
about-face but also of her continuing love for Christ.
"Has Hate Corrupted the Church?" - This question is being
asked by many today, and for good reason (Sojourners Online)
"We Protestants Need More Saints" - A very good question to
which I would respond in the affirmative. Read an argument
in favour from Christian Century online.
"St. Peter's Prison Discovered in Rome" - Archeological
discoveries in Rome are nothing new; and ones related to
St. Peter are also frequent. Here is the latest.
(Cetholic News Service)
"Canadian Anglicans Vote Unity with Rome" - traditionalist
Anglicans are beginning to make their move back to Rome.
(Anglican Catholic Synod News)
"Iranian Woman Faces Stoning for Adultery" - this week,
the Guardian (UK) provides an interview with the woman
who has suffered much at the hands of Iranian authorities.
"Niagara Peace Bridge Honours Mother Teresa" - the on-the-
way-to-be-sainted Teresa is being honoured in a different
way. She will be recognized on the famous Honeymoon Bridge
(Catholic News Agency)
"North Korean Christians Said to be Executed" - as the old
regime continues to decline it would appear that the state
of believers is growingly precarious (Cathnews Asia)
"Hitchens Speaks of Religion, Cancer and Death" - we
recently reported on the incurable cancer of Christopher
Hitchens. Here is an interview in which he discusses his
illness and a range of other issues (The Atlantic)
"How Many Iraqis Did We Liberate from Life on Earth?" -
a serious attempt to estimate the cost of human life in
a dubious American liberation effort.
(Truth-out and America Magazine)
Global Faith Potpourri:
25 stories from Ecumenical News International
The following offer special quotations - collected
during the past two weeks, thanks to Sojourners Online:
Karl Barth, Macrina Wiederkehr, Mother Teresa,
Lloyd Ogilvie, Morton T. Kelsey, Gustavo Gutierrez
and Elie Wiesel
The New York Times offered the following "On This Day"
news stories between July 31st and August 8th, 2010:
Ranger 7 sends pictures of moon surface (1964)
Hitler opens the Berlin Olympics (1936)
Nautilus crosses North Pole underwater (1958)
US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima (1945)
Nixon resigns over the Watergate scandal (1974)
(from the archives)
Closing Thoughts -
"Veteran Missionary Speaks about
Mao and Christians in China"
A Belgian priest reveals what actually happened
to people like him as the communists took over
Cbina during the 1950s:
A Youtube Interview
Blessings to you as you complete summer living
and begin to think of life back in a "routine"
SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS
Contact us at: email@example.com (or) firstname.lastname@example.org
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 OF 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. Choir
members from our group hope to sing at an
informal cathedral concert and hopefully,
Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!
Arrangements are presently being made with
the cathedral dean, Jonathan Lean.
We are also planning to sing while visiting
Iona, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland.
ALL 36 PLACES ON THE TOUR ARE SOLD OUT
We are starting a waiting list for this trip;
also an interest list for a second tour in 2012!
Announcing our New Fall Study at St. David's:
LISTENING FOR THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD:
A Celtic Spirituality (Philip Newell)
Including background material from the book:
THE CELTIC WAY (Ian Bradley)
INTROS TO CELTIC SAINTS PATRICK, COLUMBA & DAVID
Join our ten week Monday Night Study, which will run
from September 20th through November 29th
Dr. Wayne Davies, Department of Geography, U of C.
is a native of Wales. He will speak with us at one
session, introducing us to his homeland, and explaining
some of the important sites we plan to visit to maximize
our appreciation of the tour.
This program is being made available for regular
Monday Night study-folk plus those planning to
take the tour of Celtic Lands next spring.
This study series is part of our St. David's fiftieth
anniversary celebrations and is provided for all!
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.
ABSENCE OF MIND
The Dispelling of Inwardness
From the Modern Myth of the Self,
by Marilynne Robinson
Yale University Press, New Haven CT.
2010. 158 pages. $28.00 CAD.
Marilynne Robinson applies her astute intellect to some of
the most vexing topics in the history of human thought --
science, religion, and consciousness.
Crafted with the same care and insight as her award-winning
novels like "Gilead" - this book challenges post-modern
atheists who crusade against religion under the banner of
In Robinson's view, scientific reasoning does not denote a
sense of logical infallibility, as thinkers like Richard
Dawkins might suggest. Instead, in its purest form, science
represents a search for answers. It engages the problem of
knowledge, an aspect of the mystery of consciousness,
rather than providing a simple and final model of reality.
By defending the importance of individual reflection,
Robinson celebrates the power and variety of human
consciousness in the tradition of William James. She
explores the nature of subjectivity and considers the
culture in which Freud was situated and its influence
on this model of self and civilization.
Through keen interpretations of language, emotion, science
and poetry, "Absence of Mind" restores human consciousness
to its central place in the religion-science debate.
These (four) essays examine one side of the venerable
controversy called the conflict between science and
religion, in order to question the legitimacy of the
claim its exponents make to speak with the authority
of science, and in order to raise questions about the
quality of thought that lies behind it.
I propose that the model from which these early
rationalistic writers (like Freud and Darwin) proceed
is science as the word was understood by certain thinkers
in the early modern period - the late nineteenth century
and the first half of the twentieth century.
(Interestingly, during this time, a new cosmology was
already in process of formulation. However, awareness
of these developments are conspicuous by their absence,
then as now, from the arguments of these self declared
champions of science, reason, and enlightenment.)
The conclusion of modernist or rationalist arguments is,
very briefly, that positivism is correct in excluding
from the model of reality whatever science is (or was)
not competent to verify or falsify... but the classical
and humanist traditions, also deeply influential in
Western thought, are just as effectively excluded by
these variously determinist and reductionist models
of human nature and motivation.
(A) very truncated model of human being (was) offered by
writers in (this scientific tradition) that has dominated
the discussion from the beginning of the modern period. It
is a clear consequence of the positive rejection of
metaphysics... and religion was considered the adversary
of true understanding.
(The debate and its respective terms of reference have
been left to atrophy, (but) this heretofor dominant kind
of scientific thinking is actually an exclusion of long-
standing religion and cultural understandings in the West.)
... The clutch of certitudes, that together trivialize
and discredit (classic Western religion and culture) are
very much in need of being looked at again...
- from the Introduction
From the time I began my theological studies in earnest
during the 1960's - religion has been on the defensive.
Now, with the appearance of books like "Absence of Mind"
a new kind of support for people of faith is emerging from
the wider culture that I have not seen for half a century.
Though lucid and well-developed, this is not a book to
be skimmed. It requires several readings, as well as
periods for reflection. While Ms. Robinson is a Christian
she writes as a novelist with a literary specialization.
She does not claim to be a theologian although many of
her thoughts are profoundly spiritual.
It does not hurt that Robinson, a noted fiction-writer
has learned credibility to enhance her arguments. While
she is a believer in the reality of metaphysics (i.e. a
meaning beyond our own) she looks at the broader picture
of Western history and culture while engaging what she
considers a 'limited slice' of modern atheistic science.
She avoids the standard apologetic tools of those who are
theologically trained and applies a set of questions and
arguments that derived from the classic humanistic
thinking with which she is very familiar.
For example, I did not once encounter the term "revelation"
in my reading of her book. She deals instead with this-
worldly phenomena like "mystery" and "self-respect."
Her conclusions will encourage intelligent people of faith.
Robinson takes ideas seriously, but her respect for science
and reason does not prevent her from wading deeply into a
modern quest to understand realities like "selfhood" and
"consciousness." In this, she shares common cause with many
She believes that both neo-Darwinists and monotheists
agree on the significance of human exceptionalism or
purpose on earth. Still, she challenges each group over a
lack of imagination. She calls for a new, inclusive
humanistic understanding that could serve both groups.
I celebrate the appearance of this book because of its
intelligence and ability to inspire.
Robinson teaches me that people of faith need not remain
on the defensive when dealing with any modern 'cultured
despisers' or to hesitate to challenge current "scientific
thinking" - no matter how well the arguments are presented.
Read a full review of the book - from Christian Week
Buy the Book from Amazon.ca:
My Annual Reflection on Suicide
Every year I write a column on suicide. It's not my favorite
thing to do, but I do it because there is too little in the
public forum, secular or religious, on this painful issue.
Suicide remains one of the great unmentionables and people
who lose loved ones to suicide search mostly in vain for
anything that might bring understanding and consolation.
This year, more than in previous years, I am struggling to
write this piece because a number of people have written
lately suggesting that my writings make light of the issue,
that I am offering a false and dangerous consolation, and,
worse still, that my writing (by softening the taboo that
sees suicide as final despair) helps contribute to the number
of suicides. By softening this taboo, I have been warned, you
give people permission to kill themselves. God forgives, so
why not? As well, Roman Catholics frequently quote the
Catechism of the Catholic Church in their defense of their
Read the entire article, click:
Jim Taylor's Web Log
August 8th, 2010
POPPING THE CORK ON THE NUCLEAR BOTTLE
By Jim Taylor
Hiroshima seems to have faded out of our collective
consciousness. All week, I’ve been watching to see how
much notice the world was taking of the anniversary of
the first atomic bomb. dropped on August 6, 1945.
The answer is, not much...
Read the entire article:
August 8th, 2010
BELIEF BRINGS BENEFITS
August 1st, 2010
ANNE RICE QUITS CHRISTIANITY
"She Loves Christ but not the Church'
August 4th, 2010
Novelist Anne Rice says 'I quit being a Christian'
Washington DC (ENI). Vampire novelist Anne Rice says she's
leaving Christianity - again - because she no longer wants
to be identified with such a "quarrelsome, hostile,
disputatious, and deservedly infamous group". Born and
raised a Roman Catholic, Rice left the church but returned
after a 30-year absence in 1998, Religion News Service
reports. Rice said at the end of July she has "quit being
a Christian", although she remains "committed to Christ".
August 9th, 2010
"I Don't Agree With Anne Rice"
by Lily Burana
HAS HATE CORRUPTED THE CHURCH?
August 5th, 2010
WE PROTESTANTS NEED MORE SAINTS
The Christian Century
August 10th, 2010
ST. PETER'S PRISON DISCOVERED IN ROME
Catholic News Service
August 5th, 2010
CANADIAN ANGLICAN SYNOD VOTES UNITY WITH ROME
Anglican Catholic Synod of Canada
August 1st, 2010
IRANIAN WOMAN FACES STONING FOR ADULTERY
"It's because I'm a woman"
August 6th, 2010
PEACE BRIDGE AT NIAGARA TO HONOUR MOTHER TERESA
Catholic News Agency
August 4th, 2010
NORTH KOREAN CHRISTIANS SAID EXECUTED
August 8th, 2010
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS TALKS
OF RELIGION, CANCER AND DEATH
August 12th, 2010
He Laments He May Not Outlive Pope and Kissinger
The Telegraph, UK
August 4th, 2010
HOW MANY IRAQUI'S DID WE LIBERATE FROM LIFE ON EARTH?
August 7th, 2010
Examining the Cost of the War in Iraq
August 16th, 2010
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
30 July 2010
Pray for protection of our rivers, says Korean group
Tokyo (ENI). A church-linked environmental centre in
South Korea is urging the world's Christians to pray for
the protection of the country's four major rivers, which
they say are threatened by government development plans.
"We ... earnestly appeal to our Christian sisters and
brothers throughout the world to join our prayer for
preventing the destruction of the ecosystems of South
Korea and for protecting the integrity of God's creation,"
the Eco-Community Movement Centre of the Presbyterian
Church of the Republic of Korea, said in a 23 July
statement. A Korean Buddhist monk burned himself to death
at the end of May in protest at the government's water
development project, which critics say will devastate
the environment and ecosystems in the affected areas.
After World Cup, deal with social issues,
say SA church leaders
Cape Town (ENI). After South Africa's success in hosting
the first-ever soccer World Cup in Africa, the government
needs to use the same determination to deal with the
country's social problems, say church leaders. "We must
use our considerable skill and learning to tackle the most
pressing issues in our country: education, health care, and
criminality and service delivery," the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Durban,Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, said in a
02 August 2010
Go green, environmental activist
tells India's churches
Bangalore (ENI). Churches in India have been urged
to promote "earth citizenship" by Vandana Shiva, an
Indian environmentalist honoured for placing women
and ecology at the heart of development discourse.
"We have to protect the earth to uphold our right
to food and to ensure our own survival. Then only,
can we exercise our fundamental rights and
democracy," said Shiva, delivering a lecture in
Bangalore in honour of M. A. Thomas, the founder
of the city's Ecumenical Christian Centre.
Baptists warn against 'culture of Islamophobia'
New York (ENI). Christians and Muslims need to
recognise that they are "spiritual siblings",
speakers at a global Baptist congress have stated,
while warning against Islamophobia. "The vilification
of Christianity by Muslim extremists in order to
justify militant jihad and the need to convert an
'immoral' West to Islam is alive and well," Nabil
Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist
Society in Beirut, Lebanon, said during the Baptist
World Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. "In the same way,
political and media voices in the West have used long-
standing prejudice against Islam in order to paint a
vile picture of a religion that is part of an 'axis
of evil' and bent on the destruction of a so-called
'free world'," Costa said in his presentation.
Anger imprisons us, says
German Protestant leader after tragedy
Trier (ENI). Germany's senior Protestant leader has
urged understanding for the mayor of Duisburg, who
is reported to have received death threats after 21
people died in a mass panic at the city's Love Parade
dance and music festival. Despite increasing criticism,
the mayor, Adolf Sauerland, has so far refused to
resign following the deaths at the 24 July Love Parade,
an event that has taken place in different German cities,
after the first such festival in Berlin in 1989.
03 August 2010
Church agencies battle flood damage to bring aid to Pakistan
Bangalore (ENI). Church agencies in Pakistan are struggling to
aid hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced and
rendered homeless by devastating floods that have claimed nearly
1500 lives. "We are faced with a challenging situation as
hundreds of bridges and roads have been washed out," Mervin
Parvez, the Church World Service country director for Pakistan-
Afghanistan, told ENI news from Islamabad in a 3 August telephone
Mini Luthers to stand in Wittenberg market square
Trier (ENI). Eight hundred colourful miniature figures of the
16th-century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther will soon be
on display on the central market square of Wittenberg where
he lived and worked. The installation by German artist Ottmar
Hörl is part of the Luther Decade celebrations that commemorate
the period between Luther's arrival in Wittenberg in 1508 and
the beginning of the Reformation in 1517.
Patriarch Kirill urges prayers for rain amid Russian heat wave
Moscow (ENI). Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church
has offered prayers for rain to relieve a drought that has
destroyed crops and led to thousands of forest and peat bog fires.
"I am urging all the faithful sons and daughters of the Russian
Orthodox Church to unite in one prayer to God that he send rains
to our scorched soil," the Interfax news agency quoted the
Patriarch as saying while visiting the Nizhny Novgorod region,
one of the badly hit areas.
04 August 2010
Nuclear weapons about values says pastor
who survived Hiroshima
Tokyo (ENI). A Japanese pastor who became a Christian after
surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima says his decades-
long pursuit of peace has involved a resistance to "nuclear
weapons in the human mind". In his autobiography published
in May, the 82-year-old pastor, the Rev. Shouzo Munetou, of
the United Church of Christ in Japan, writes that nuclear
weapons are "a symbol of the devil that was produced by
egoism, greed, pride, conceit, enmity, hatred".
05 August 2010
Churches remember Hiroshima by urging ban
on nuclear weapons
Geneva/Berlin (ENI). The World Council of Churches has
reaffirmed the vision of a world without nuclear weapons,
in marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing in 1945
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. "Sixty-five years on,
nuclear bombs still threaten humanity and deny a lasting
peace," WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit
said in advance of the 6 August anniversary of the
dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in the closing
days of the Second World War.
Kenya churches will 'respect' vote
for constitution they opposed
Nairobi (ENI). Kenyan churches will respect the verdict of
citizens who voted in favour of a new constitution for the
east African nation which was opposed by many Christian
leaders, says Kenyan Cardinal John Njue. "Kenyans have voted
after having heard what the various people had to tell them,"
Njue told a 5 August media conference as preliminary results
showed 68 per cent of voters supporting the new constitution
in a referendum conducted the previous day. The new
constitution places restrictions on the powers of the
president and would institute a bill of rights for citizens.
Still, many Christian leaders in Kenya campaigned against
the document, because of clauses it contains that they say
will allow abortion, entrench Muslim courts and limit freedom
British border officials
to help clergy spot 'sham' marriages
Canterbury (ENI). The British border protection agency
says it is helping clerics spot "sham" marriages after
the conviction of a priest for presiding at weddings
conducted to enable immigrants illegally to remain in
Britain. "The U.K. Border Agency encourages individual
church dioceses to make contact with their local
immigration team to seek advice and support," an agency
spokesperson told ENI news. "The agency is continuing to
liaise with the Anglican church to assist the clergy in
identifying potential sham marriages and to encourage
them to notify us to allow action to be taken where
09 August 2010
Christian group 'wants to stay' in Afghanistan
Bangalore (ENI). The International Assistance Mission,
a Christian development agency, has rejected Taliban claims
that 10 of its staff killed in an attack in Afghanistan had
been trying to convert Muslims. "Our faith motivates and
inspires us, but we do not proselytise. We abide by the laws
of Afghanistan," Dirk R. Frans, IAM's executive secretary,
said in a statement at a 9 August media conference in Kabul.
The 10 workers - six U.S. nationals, a Briton, a German and
two local Afghan staff - were killed on 5 August as they
returned from a trek through the Hindu Kush mountains,
where they had been providing eye care to poor and remote
communities, Frans said.
Religious groups press for CIA torture probe
Washington (ENI). Twenty religious organizations are calling
for the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama to ensure a
fair and thorough investigation into allegations of forced
human experimentation by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
on detainees after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Indian churches to protest at discrimination
of Christian Dalits
Bangalore (ENI). Churches throughout India have been
urged to hoist black flags on 10 August to protest against
continued discrimination faced by Christian Dalits, people
from low castes treated as untouchables. The protest marks
the 60th anniversary of the introduction of free education
and reserved government jobs to improve the social status
of Hindu Dalits. Such benefits were extended to Sikh Dalits
in 1956 and then to Buddhist Dalits in 1990. However,
Christian Dalits, who account for two thirds of some
28 million Christians in India, as well as Muslim Dalits,
are denied these rights.
World has forgotten about Somalia
says church aid alliance
Geneva (ENI). Somalia is a "prime example" of an emergency
the world has forgotten, says the ACT Alliance of churches
and humanitarian agencies. "With 1.5 million people - just
under 10 percent of its population - forced from their homes
by fighting, aid relief inside the country remains critical,"
the Geneva-headquartered alliance said. It noted that at
least another 600 000 Somalis are refugees, living mainly
in Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia.
11 August 2010
Russians continue to pray for rain
while churches collect aid
Moscow (ENI). The Russian Orthodox Church has continued
to pray for relief from the heat and drought that has
gripped Russia for two months, as one archbishop condemned
some retailers for profiteering from the extreme weather
conditions. "That air conditioners sell for 50 000 roubles
[US$1650] instead of 10 000, when people are dying of the
heat is immoral and cruel," said Archbishop Feofan of
Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, speaking at a youth camp at
Pyatigorsk. "Sell them at the old price at least. This
is God's command, and compassion for one's neighbour."
Christian leaders deplore expulsion
of aid agencies from Somalia
Nairobi (ENI). A Somali Christian leader has condemned
the halting of the work of three relief organizations in
Somalia by Al Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, which
alleged the agencies were propagating Christianity. Now
that they have suspended their work, it is the local
people who will suffer," Pastor Ahmed Abukar Mukhtar,
the leader in exile of a small Christian community in
Somalia, told ENInews in Nairobi. On 8 August, the
Islamic group demanded that World Vision, the Adventist
Development and Relief Agency, and Diakonia, a Swedish
agency, immediately cease operations in Somalia.
10 August 2010
Manchester mosque contributes
to church-inspired centre
London (ENI). Local Muslims have donated 52 000 British
pounds to help develop a church building into a community
centre in the rundown Levenshulme district of Manchester,
one of Britain's largest cities. "The investment symbolizes
the strength of inter-faith relationships in our community,"
said the Rev. Ed Cox, a United Reformed Church minister who
is chairperson of Levenshulme Inspire, the organization behind
the project. The project's initiators say it will transform
the Levenshulme URC church building into a multi-purpose
community centre open to people of all faiths and none.
Plans to rejuvenate the site began in 2008.
Opponents of 'Ground Zero mosque'
to challenge go-ahead vote
Washington (ENI). A conservative religious law firm plans
to appeal against a decision that grants a green light for
the construction of an Islamic community centre two blocks
from Ground Zero, the New York site of the 11 September
2001 terror attacks. Tension has mounted in recent weeks
regarding what critics call the "Ground Zero Mosque", while
proponents say it will not be a mosque and that it is not
at Ground Zero.
12 August 2010
Tributes mark 70 years of Taizé spiritual community
Geneva (ENI). World Christian leaders are paying tribute
to the ecumenical community of Taizé in eastern France,
which is marking its foundation in 1940 by Brother Roger
Schutz, who died in 2005. In a message in advance of the
14 August commemoration to Brother Alois, who now heads
the community, Pope Benedict XVI described Schutz as a
"pioneer in the difficult paths toward unity among the
disciples of Christ". The general secretary of the World
Council of Churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, described
the community, "as a model for attending to the spiritual
and physical needs of the whole people of God and in
particular the needs of young people".
Journal examines anxieties
and resilience of US churches
New York (ENI).What does the future hold for the
institutional Church in the United States, particularly
"mainline Protestant" churches that once dominated the
country's cultural landscape? There is no single answer
to the question posed in Reflections, a magazine
published by the Yale University Divinity School, which
offers a variety of perspectives from scholars, clergy
and laity. In an essay placing the U.S. religious scene
in context, John Lindner, director of external relations
for Yale Divinity School, argues that it was "the success
of mainline Protestant churches in promoting a message of
[ecumenical] unity that helped to bring about a new era
of pluralism and inclusion, even to the extent of
triggering declines in denominational loyalties".
13 August 2010
Christian and Muslim groups denounce
'burn Quran' initiative
New York (ENI). Christian and Muslim groups have condemned
a planned public burning of the Quran by a Florida church
on the 9th anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks in
the United States. A statement released by the Protestant
Churches of Egypt through the U.S. United Church of Christ
said it "regrets this destructive thought and declares
total rejection of any attack against others' religions
Church councils denounce Japan's 1910 annexation of Korea
Tokyo (ENI). South Korean and Japanese church councils have
marked the 100th anniversary of Japan's 1910 annexation of
Korea by calling for a truth and reconciliation committee
on Japanese colonial rule. A joint statement was issued by
the National Council of Churches in Korea and the National
Christian Council in Japan, urging the national parliaments
of both countries to affirm that the 1910 treaty was invalid.
Climate change shows we are 'one humanity',
says WCC leader
Geneva (ENI). Climate change is creating an awareness that
people everywhere are part of one humanity, and bringing
churches together to combat the threat, says the head of
the World Council of Churches. "We cannot say that life on
the planet is only for some of us. It is a matter for all
of us: when this planet is threatened, it is threatening
for all of us," WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse
Tveit writes in an article in the latest issue of The
Ecumenical Review. "In a very disturbing way, the climate
crisis brings us together as one humanity." Published under
the title, "Churches Caring for Creation and Climate Justice",
the issue comes after the United Nations talks on climate
change in Copenhagen in December.
Full list of articles and authors (July, 2010):
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an
uprising against the disorder of the world.
- Karl Barth
Every experience, every thought, every word, every person
in your life is a part of a larger picture of your growth.
That’s why I call them crumbs. They are not the whole loaf,
but they can be nourishing if you give them your real
- Macrina Wiederkehr, from her book "A Tree Full of Angels"
Many people are hungry not for bread only, but they are hungry
for ... love. Many people are not only naked for want of a piece
of cloth, but they are naked for human dignity ... Homelessness
is not only not having a home made of bricks, but homelessness
is being rejected, unwanted, unloved, uncared for. People have
forgotten what the human touch is, what it is to smile, for
somebody to smile at them, somebody to recognize them, somebody
to wish them well.
- Mother Teresa
Are we doing it? Are we giving the world a symmetrical,
authentic, fully-formed image of Christ? There is still time.
Spiritual growth is not a matter of chronology alone. It’s a
matter of spirit. Of heart. Of who you are to the next person
you meet. In the next crisis you face. In the next moment you
- Lloyd John Ogilvie, from his book "The Magnificent Vision"
I find that it is better to love badly and faultily than not
to try and love at all. God does not have to have perfect
instruments, and the Holy One can use our feeble and faltering
attempts at love and transform them. My task is to keep on
trying to love, to be faithful in my continuing attempt, not
necessarily to be successful. The quality of my love may well
be the most important element of my spiritual guidance.
- Morton T. Kelsey, from book "Companions on the Inner Way"
The word of the Lord is abidingly new; it is a challenge that
can radically change our lives, a grace that shakes us from our
inertia, an answer that cannot be shackled by our questions.
- Gustavo Gutierrez, from "We Drink from Our Own Wells"
I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as capable
of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.
We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an
offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our
lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those
who need us desperately.
- Elie Wiesel, from his Nobel Lecture
ON THIS DAY
On July 31, 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7
transmitted pictures of the moon's surface.
On August 1, 1936, 100,000 saluted Adolf Hitler on
his entrance at the opening of the Berlin Olympics.
Aug. 3, 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus
became the first vessel to cross the North Pole
Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on
Hiroshima, Japan, that instantly killed an estimated 66,000
people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.
On Aug. 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced he would
resign following damaging revelations in the Watergate scandal.
August 10th, 2010
Mao and Christians in China
A Youtube Interview with a Veteran