Vol. VI. No. 19
Wayne A. Holst, Editor
Colleagues List Blog:
In this Issue -
My review of -
"Souls in Full Sail:
A Christian Spirituality
for the Later Years"
by Emilie Griffin
Haiti's Recovery Continues
In Search of the Real Islam
Cracks in the Crystal Cathedral
Pakistan Divided Over Assassination
The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings
'De-Baptism' Trend Gains Strength in Belgium
The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene
Vatican Announces May 1st Beatification of JPII
Pope's Call for Christian Protection Sparks Reaction
Global Faith Potpourri
8 Stories from Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Week:
Martin Luther King Jr
Teresa of Avila
Peter J. Gomes
On This Day (Jan 10th - Jan 14th)
Jan. 10, 1946 - First UN Assembly Convenes in London
Jan. 11, 1935 - Amelia Earhart 1st Woman to Fly
Jan. 14, 1943 - Roosevelt and Churchill Meet in
Colleague Pat Kossmann, literary editor
for America Magazine, published by the
Jesuits of New York, asked me to review -
"Souls in Full Sail: A Christian Spirituality
for the Later Years," by Emilie Griffin
It's a book about the spiritual benefits and
challenges of growing older which I enjoyed
I wrote that review this weekend, and share
the pre-edited version with you now.
Doug Shantz - announces a lecture he will soon
be giving as Chairholder of Christian Thought
at the University of Calgary.
"Evolution Conference" - Joan Chittister announces
a timely gathering on a subject of great import
right now - better relations between science and
faith (National Catholic Reporter)
"Haiti's Recovery Continues" - a positive story on
developments in Haiti, one year after the earthquake.
Many of the other stories I've read have been rather
negative (America Magazine)
"In Search of the Real Islam" - a YouTube report
on the essence of the Muslim faith as we struggle
to understand it better (America Magazine)
"Cracks in the Crystal Cathedral" - a sobering
statement on the demise of the very first of
the big American megachurches (Christianity Today)
"Pakistan Divided Over Assassination" - the
death of a moderate politician in Pakistan has
caused considerable debate in that country
(The Age, Sydney, AU)
"The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings" -
The most significant news in the USA this past
week came from Tuscon as a tragedy unfolded
and the nation tried to come to terms with it
(The Atlantic, Sojourners, The Guardian UK)
"De-Baptism Trend Gains Strength in Belgium" -
this story relates to the reaction of some
Belgians to the priest abuse scandal there
(Associated Faith Press)
"The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene" -
Dawkins the atheist has made much of the selfish
gene in his writings. Here is a review of a book
with a religious bias that takes on his arguments
(The Tablet, UK)
"Vatican Announces May 1st Beatification of JPII" -
John Paul II will begin the first step on his way
to sainthood with a ceremony in Rome this spring
(National Catholic Reporter, the Associated Press)
"Pope's Call for Christian Protection Sparks Reaction" -
When Benedict spoke out in defense of the Coptic
Christians in Alexandria, Egypt recently he got
unexpected flack from some Muslim spokespersons
(The Guardian, UK)
Global Faith Potpourri
8 religious news stories from around the world
are provided for us this week from Ecumenical
News International, Geneva.
Quotes of the Week:
Martin Luther King Jr, Teresa of Avila,
Mohandas Gandhi and Peter J. Gomes share
their wisdom with us through the services
On This Day (Jan 10th - Jan 14th)
News stories as they happened are reported
courtesy of the archives of the New York
First UN Assembly Convenes in London (1946)
Amelia Earhart 1st Woman to Fly Pacific (1935)
Roosevelt and Churchill Meet in Casablanca (1943)
Closing Thought - On "Theological Positions"
Classes are beginning again, new books are arriving
and life is getting back to normal after Christmas.
I hope this dark season of Canadian winter does not
negatively affect your spirits. I like to find ways
to counter the mid-January blahs... and I hope the
same for you!
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
INTRODUCING OUR ST.DAVID'S WINTER STUDY FOR 2011
"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor
"I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
by Izzeldin Abuelaish
More study and website particulars will be posted
as they become available
INTRODUCING MY UNIVERSITY WINTER COURSE FOR 2011
GOD, ATHEISM, AND MORALITY
We continue our investigation of the New Atheists and
consider the question: "Can we be good without God?"
Text for the course will be Sam Harris' new book:
"The Moral Landscape:
How Science Can Determine Human Values"
(Free Press, October, 2010)
Course description and registration information:
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 will sing at various
informal cathedral events through the day
and at Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!
We have 26 choristers signed up as part of the
tour group. This special choir begins rehearsals
in early January - led by our congregation's
music director, Brent Tucker.
Details are presently being finalized with
the St. David's cathedral dean, Fr. Jonathan Lean.
We are also planning to sing while visiting Iona,
Scotland and the Church of Mary Immaculate in
Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland. Fr. Ned Carolan, host.
Rehearsals begin Sunday, January 23rd.
ALL 38 PLACES ON THE TOUR ARE NOW SOLD OUT
We continue to gather a waiting list for this trip,
as they may be some drop-outs as we near deadlines.
We have started an interest list for future tours!
Let me know if you are interested in knowing more
about exciting, spiritual tourism!
A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted
since 2000 can quickly be found at:
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.
Prepared for America Magazine
Literary Editor, Colleague Pat Krossmann:
SOULS IN FULL SAIL
A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years
by Emilie Griffin
InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL
Release Date: February, 2011. 183 pages.
Reviewed by Wayne A. Holst (900 words)
A dear friend and role-model for voyaging the
senior years died during the Christmas holidays.
He had lived a rich and full life, and ended his
days with an ‘undaunted’ but ‘surrendered’ spirit.
Often, his exemplary way of handling things came
to mind as I read Emilie Griffin’s helpful
spiritual guide to Christian aging. He lived,
to my mind, what the author so beautifully
“I’m adjusting to the new normal,” was his
frequently brave and always hopeful comment as
he ‘navigated longingly toward home’ with an
inspiring blend of restlessness and
“There are right and wrong ways to deal with our
fears as we move into later life,” writes Griffin
in a chapter on the challenges that must be faced.
“As we pursue the life voyage, we stop keeping a
resume; earning a degree seems less important than
receiving an accolade; it is time to do less, to
accept the thanks being given for what we have
Griffin is a writer and editor. A native of New
Orleans, she worked and lived for many years in
New York City. The author of sixteen books on the
spiritual life, she has contributed to many more.
She and her husband William, an author, editor and
translator, now reside in Alexandria, Louisiana.
As playwrights, they studied under Edward Albee
in New York. This rich experience is reflected
on these pages.
A lover of words and proud of her English ancestry,
Griffin enriches her chapters with quotes from such
notables as C. S. Lewis and John Henry Newman. She
includes examples of her own poetry to emphasize a
point. Her wide-ranging literary and dramatic tastes
display her as adept at quoting from the Latin
authors as she is in using songs from Broadway
musicals like Gypsy or Chorus Line.
A woman whose forebearers have known privilege,
and lost it, she writes from a background of both
opportunity and difficulty. She has had to contend
with physical loss and walks today with a cane.
From it all, a profound spiritual maturity serves
as grounding for what appears in this book’s ten
As the title suggests, the author uses the images
of sailing and voyaging to reflect the imagery and
metaphor she believes are necessary for unpacking
and clarifying the mysteries of faith encountered
along our life journey.
We set out on this new and uncharted mission
recognizing that old age has indeed arrived. We
may deny it, or try to fight it, but ultimately,
we will need to surrender to it if we want to be
enriched. Older people can serve as our mentors,
both in how we too want to live and what we want
Our true “vocation” in the senior years is to
spend time working with the people that inspire
us and the things we are good at. Newman says
that we all need to be engaged with ‘some
definite service’ that provides meaning and the
rewards of faithfulness.
Living well with a “baptized imagination”(Lewis)
is a gift we give ourselves and others as we
cultivate old and new friendships across the
Like the spiritual teacher in my opening example
was able to do, we all need to learn how to
transcend and reframe the infirmities we encounter,
while we continue to grow with those we love and
seek to forgive our adversaries while there is
In the chapter on “Night Fears” Griffin refers to
the temptations we could face as certain powers
diminish. Sexuality, for example remains part of
our humanity. Both men and women may be tempted to
resort to thoughts and behaviors that can
blindside us into thinking we retain the prowess
we once commanded. Spiritual courage helps us to
realize that we still have much to offer and to
discern what truly nurtures the ego.
Family rituals on special occasions like
Thanksgiving and Christmas need to be rethought.
The weave of family personalities and their
stories gives meaning, but senior members need
to “give way” to the younger generations,
treating them as peers and allowing them to
take responsibility for many family activities.
A great gift of aging is to be able to look at
“spiritual pinpoints’ – when we become more
keenly aware of the things that matter and
the things that do not.
George Bernard Shaw was a late-bloomer as a
playwright who did some of his best work as
an octogenarian. We too can venture in
creative ways that bring us joy. The important
thing is to be focused on the present and to
let the future tend to itself.
Readers will need to square their own unique
experiences with those of the author. Few of
us share her ancestry, her professional
achievements and gift with words, yet all of
us can identify with her because of the way
her writing engages us.
The voyage tends homeward as a longing toward
completion becomes more real.“Growing older
doesn’t have to be learned,” she writes. “It
simply happens. But to live it with grace is
a kind of learning, which like all learning
We need to be concerned about practical
things, but people of faith are often better
prepared for life’s vagaries. Hopefully, we
too can continue to adjust to the ever changing
“new normality” which life brings, and when our
time for completion comes, we too will face it
This book should find its place in our libraries,
even as many of us seek to divest ourselves of
much lifelong accumulation.
Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the
University of Calgary and helps to co-ordinate
adult spiritual development at St. David’s
United Church in that city.
Reserve the Book from Amazon.ca:
Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary
"What a Church Historian
Can Offer the Church Today"
Christ Church, Elbow Park Calgary
Monday, February 7th, 2011
The posted lecture will appear here
when it becomes available:
A Timely Event
Jan. 10th, 2011
HAITI'S RECOVERY CONTINUES
One Year After the Earthquake
Jan. 14th, 2011
IN SEARCH OF THE REAL ISLAM
Reflecting on Core Values
CRACKS IN THE CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL
Sobering Message About Megachurches
Christianity Today Editorial
January 10th, 2011
PAKISTAN DIVIDED OVER ASSASSINATION
Strong Sides Taken For and Against
The Age, Australia
January 11th, 2011
THE CLOUDY LOGIC OF 'POLITICAL' SHOOTINGS
Tuscon Tragedy and National Assessment
Jan. 13th, 2011
by James Fallows
What a tragedy can call us to do
by Jim Wallis
Left and Right Praise Obama's
Appropriate Speech at Tuscon
The Guardian, UK
Jan. 4th, 2011
DE-BAPTISM TREND GAINS STRENGTH IN BELGIUM
In Wake of Clerical Abuse Scandals
Associated Faith Press
January 10th, 2011
THE SOLITARY SELF:
DARWIN AND THE SELFISH GENE
A Challenge to Dawkins
The Tablet, UK
January 14th, 2011
VATICAN ANNOUNCES MAY 1ST BEATIFICATION
FOR JOHN PAUL II
Late Pope on Way to Sainthood
National Catholic Reporter
January 14th, 2011
Former Pope a Step Closer
YouTube Presentation - Associated Press
January 14th, 2011
POPE'S CALL FOR PROTECTION OF
CHRISTIANS SPARKS MID-EAST REACTION
Egypt is Offended by His Statement
The Guardian UK
Jan. 12th, 2011
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
10 January 2011
WCC delegation conveys condolences
to Pope Shenouda
New York (ENI news)--A delegation from the
World Council of Churches, led by general
secretary the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit,
on 8 January visited in Cairo Pope Shenouda
III of the Coptic Orthodox Church and
expressed condolences for the New Year's
Day church bombing in Alexandria, Egypt.
11 January 2011
In wake of U.S. shooting, religious leaders
call for calm, civility
Washington, DC (ENI news/RNS) Tucson Bishop
Gerald Kicanas was thousands of miles away
from the shooting rampage that rocked his
Arizona diocese on Saturday, 8 January but
the emotional shock hit him hard. "It broke
me up," said Kicanas, who was in Jerusalem
attending a meeting of Catholic bishops on
peace in the Holy Land. "I could not sleep.
I just wanted to return home as soon as
possible," the bishop wrote to his spokesman,
Religion News Service reports.
Haitians mark a "very, very difficult year."
Port-au-Prince, Haiti(ENI news)--From the streets
of Port-au-Prince to the hills of northern Haiti,
Haitians were commemorating the anniversary of the
12 January 2010 earthquake that killed some 250,000
persons, devastated major cities and fueled Haiti's
uncertain political future.
14 January 2011
Pakistani churches criticize government's refusal
to amend blasphemy law
Bangalore, India(ENI news)Churches in Pakistan
have expressed frustration over the government's
refusal to amend a controversial blasphemy law,
as urged by the Pope and protesting civil rights
activists. "We are disappointed by the stand
taken by the Prime Minister," said Joseph Francis,
director of CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid Assistance
& Settlement), which has defended dozens of
Christians and Muslims charged under the law.
Scientists probe brief brushes with the afterlife
Washington, DC(ENI news/RNS)--Wanda Colie vividly
remembers what she saw in 1984 when, at age 28,
a condition that produced blood in her lungs
nearly killed her. The pain vanished and a crowd
of familiar faces came to welcome her in a light-
drenched valley. For more than two decades, Colie
kept her experience secret. But she's recently
joined hundreds of others who've started going
public with their near-death experiences, or
NDEs, Religion News Service reports.
14 January 2011
Ecumenism takes time to bear fruit,
says U.S. church leader
Toronto, Canada(ENI news)--While the progress
of ecumenism can typically only be measured
over decades, simple local events during the
upcoming week devoted to Christian unity are
critical to the future of the church, said
an ecumenical leader in the United States.
First Anglican bishops to join
Catholic Church under new structure
London(ENI news)--Three former Anglican bishops
are to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests
on Saturday, 15 January at Westminster Cathedral
– the first bishops to join Rome under a new
structure set up by Pope Benedict XVI for
Australian churches come together
in flood crisis
Canberra(ENI news)--As northern Australia
suffers the worst flooding in more than 30
years, Australian churches have moved rapidly
to respond to the community’s urgent needs.
Flooding has continued to build since late
December with flood waters covering an area
the size of Germany and France combined.
Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, with
53 missing and more than 200,000 people
stranded. Local church leaders who spoke
with ENI news on 13 January said they are
dealing with the immediate effects of the
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
January 10th, 2010
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that. Hate cannot
drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
January 11th, 2011
"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ
looks compassion into the world. Yours
are the feet with which Christ walks
to do good. Yours are the hands with
which Christ blesses the world."
- Teresa of Avila
January 12th, 2010
"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement.
Properly understood and applied, it is the
most potent instrument of action."
- Mohandas Gandhi
January 13th, 2011
"We do not live to win. We do not live even
to finish. We live to persevere and to endure.
Nothing more than this is necessary, but
nothing less than this will do until that
new heaven and that new earth come, the
former things have passed away, the sea
is no more, and the vision has become
- Peter J. Gomes
ON THIS DAY
Provided from the archives
of the New York Times
Jan. 10, 1946 - first General Assembly of the
United Nations convened in London
Jan. 11, 1935 - aviator Amelia Earhart began a
trip from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif., becoming
the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific
Jan. 14, 1943 - President Roosevelt and British
Prime Minister Winston Churchill opened a wartime
conference in Casablanca
"Theological positions that are set in stone
are heavy - and that's about all they have
going for them."