I have spent the first half of my career
as a pastor of the church, and the second half as a teacher in the university and the church. I experience much satisfaction working in both worlds. As I engage in ongoing research to support my third activity which is writing, I am constantly finding many interesting items on the net and from friends which I edit and share on my Colleagues List. That way, you too might enjoy information from the worlds of religion and culture. As of September 2016, this profile has received almost 1,800 hits.
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Vol. VII. No. 3 ***** Wayne A. Holst, Editor ***** Colleagues List Blog: http://colleagueslist.blogspot.com/ My E-Mail Address: email@example.com ***** In This Issue - Special Item This Week: Book Notice "Speaking Christian" by Colleague Marcus Borg ___ Colleague Comment: Fr. Ned Carolan ___ Colleague Contributions: Jim Irvine Douglas John Hall Jim Taylor Ron Rolheiser Martin Marty ___ Net Notes: Mindless Norwegian Gunman Good Religion Bad Religion Ireland's Watershed Moment John R. Stott Dies in London New Reason to Support the CBC India's Unbaptized Christians The Retreat of the Legionnaries UCC Survey Shows Range of Beliefs Conservation Restores Church in Goa Bejing Responds to Excommunications Polarized - Believers/Non-Believers? Yancey: How Can We Know an Invisible God? ___ Global Faith Potpourri: Seventeen ENI Geneva stories this week. ___ Quotes of the Week: Martin Luther King Jr. Sojourner Truth Henri Nouwen Abraham Joshua Heschel Oscar Romero Annie Dillard Ignacio Ellacuria ___ On This Day: July 25, 1956 - Italian liner Andrea Doria hits Stockholm July 27, 1953 - Korean War armistice signed at Panmunjom July 29th, 1981 - Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer July 31, 1964 - Ranger 7 sends pictures of moon's surface August 1, 1936 - 100,000 salute Hitler at Berlin Olympics August 4, 1914 - Britain declares war on Germany; US neutral ___ Closing Thought: Teilhard de Chardin *************** Dear Friends: Welcome to my mid-summer edition of Colleagues List!. These mailings come to you every other week during July and August, and weekly issues will return in September. In this issue, I introduce the latest book from our colleague Marcus Borg. Here is an important study on how we use Christian language, for good or ill. Borg presents a blueprint for a renewed way to understand and express our faith. It is based on his life-long career as a theological teacher. I like it! Thanks, Marcus! --- Colleague Comment this week is from Fr. Ned Carolan of Dublin, Ireland. He surprized me with a special gift that I will treasure. Read on. ___ Colleague Contributions this week: Jim Irvine - (Fredericton, NB) shares an insight about the poor; worth considering. Douglas John Hall - (Montreal, QC) comments on a recent study of member's beliefs in the United Church of Canada. It appears in the summer issue of the Observer. Jim Taylor - (Okanagan, BC) writes about the contribution of liberal theology today. Ron Rolheiser - (San Antonio, TX) reflects on the dark night of the soul, when God seems absent from our lives. Martin Marty - (Chicago, IL) challenges those who think terrorism is the domain of modern Muslims, and who fail to see it as an enemy of all faith traditions. He opens with an intriguing illustration. ___ Net Notes: "Mindless Norwegian Gunman" - the tragedy occurring in Norway is noted, at well as the significant response of the churches (Ucan News, ENI, Christian Science Monitor) "Good Religion Bad Religion" - expanding on the complex nature of faith, here is a good article that helps us better understand that faith is not going to disappear in modernity and that both good and bad religion exists as part of the same package (Christianity Today) "Ireland's Watershed Moment" - more on the serious crisis of the Catholic Church in Ireland (Eureka.com, The Guardian (UK)) "John R. Stott Dies in London" - a major evangelical church leader, whom I have always admired (for reasons I will share below), passed away in London recently. (ENI, Christianity Today, Globe and Mail, Guardian, UK, and omments from colleague John Stackhouse Jr. of Vancouver) "New Reason to Support the CBC" - I am a fan of Canada's public radio system and share an article from The Toronto Star. "India's Unbaptized Christians" - it is quite apparent that there are many more closet Indian Christians than we had thought. Some parallels with China, even though the enemy is different (Ucan News) "The Retreat of the Legionnaries" - the Catholic order that has been under a severely dark cloud since its leader was disgraced as a traitor is going through its own 'dark night' right now (Ucan News) "UCC Survey Shows Range of Beliefs" - a major study of the operative beliefs of members of the United Church of Canada is reported this summer (UCC Observer) "Conservation Restores Church in Goa" - the Indian government has invested large sums in the restoration of an ancient church in the state of Goa (The Times of India) "Bejing Responds to Excommunications" - beside Ireland, the other world Catholic hotspot right now is China. But conflict is also a sign of the growth of the church there (Ucan News) "Polarized - Believers/Non-Believers?" - some time back, we were introduced to Reginald Bibby's new book on the state of religion in Canada "Beyond the Gods and Back." Here is another good assessment from an evangelical perspective (Faith Trends, EFC) "Yancey: How Can We Know an Invisible God?" - a favourite writer of our's, here is Yancey's most recent column (Christianity Today) ___ Global Faith Potpourri: Seventeen ENI Geneva reports this week provide us with a plethora of global faith stories. ___ Quotes of the Week: Offered, as usual, through the services of Sojourners.online Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth, Henri Nouwen, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Oscar Romero, Annie Dillard and Ignacio Ellacuria - share their wisdom. ___ On This Day: Liner Andrea Doria hits the Stockholm (1956) Korean armistice signed at Panmunjom (1953) Prince Charles marries Diana Spencer (1981) Ranger 7 sends moon surface pictures (1964) 100,000 'heil Hitler' - Berlin Olympics (1936) Britain declares war on Germany (1914) ___ Closing Thought: Teilhard de Chardin and Matthew Fox --- Blessings on your summer (if you are enjoying summer where you live.) Wayne ************************ CELTIC TOUR REUNION WEEKEND AT ST. DAVID'S "Report to the Congregation and Reflection" Sunday, Sept. 11th, and Monday, Sept. 12th As St. David's congregation returns from the summer break, we plan a special weekend of gathering/worship for those participating in our Fiftieth Anniversary Tour of the Celtic Lands, April 26th - May 10th, 2011. Sunday, September 11th - worship with a Celtic theme, and a special "Sight and Sound Report" to the congregation prepared by Jock McTavish (some of this material will be posted on Colleagues List). A CD Jock has produced will be given gratis to all tour participants and extras will be made available for those who are interested. Monday, September 12th, TM Room, 7-9PM the venue of a special reunion for persons who took the tour. It will be an opportunity for reflection and suggestions for future spiritual travel projects sponsored by the ACTS Ministry of St. David's. David Rostad of Rostad Tours, the person whose tour company planned and organized our experience in the UK and Ireland, will be present to join our reflections and suggest future possibilities. Mark your calendars! Here is a beautiful poem, birthed while on the tour, by Jock McTavish: http://tinyurl.com/3q3qrjt ***** SPECIAL FALL STUDY ANNOUNCEMENTS ST. DAVID'S MONDAY NIGHT STUDY 2011 "Living Ethically Amid Chaos" Two Books by Richard Holloway September 19th - November 28th TM Room, St. David's United Church 7:00PM - 9:00PM "Godless Morality" Learning how to separate "God says" from doing what is right Information about the book from Amazon.ca http://tinyurl.com/3d45x3t --- "Between the Monster and the Saint" Spiritual support for pursuing a life that seeks above all to be good Information on the book from Amazon.ca: http://tinyurl.com/4369obx --- Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst Book sale begins at the end of August! Registration: $50.00 for class fees, the two books and special hospitality Purchase only the books - $35.00 ***** UNIVERSITY TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHTS Two Study Programs Sponsored by: The Department of Continuing Education At the University of Calgary Taught by: Wayne Holst Recommended books: "God, Atheism and Morality" (ten sessions) Tuesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00 PM September 27th - November 29th Register: http://tinyurl.com/2fc7xr4 --- "Paul the Apostle" (ten sessions) Wednesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00PM September 28th - November 30th Register: http://tinyurl.com/mh2dto ***** 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 - http://sduc.ca/services.htm ___ ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish http://stdavidscalgary.net/ NOTE: This page is being reconstructed. ***** STUDY ARCHIVES 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. ****************************************** SPECIAL ITEM Book Notice SPEAKING CHRISTIAN Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored, by Marcus J. Borg HarperCollins, Toronto. 2011. Hardcover, 255pp. $29.55 CAD. ISBN #978-0061-97655-1. Publisher's Promo: Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework for the faith that emphasizes sin, forgiveness, Jesus dying for our sins, and the afterlife. Here, Borg employs the “historical-metaphorical” method to understand Christian language that can restore for us these words of power and transformation. For example, Redemption: now narrowly understood as Jesus saving us from sins so we can go to heaven, but in the Bible it refers to being set free from slavery. Savior: now refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, but in the Bible it has a rich and wonderful variety of meanings having nothing to do with the afterlife. Sacrifice: now refers to Jesus’s death on the cross as payment for our sins, but in the Bible it is never about substitutionary payment for sin. In "Speaking Christian," Borg delivers a language for twenty-first-century Christians that grounds the faith in its deep and rich original roots and allows it once again to transform our lives. --- Author's Words: Christian language has become a stumbling block in our time. Much of its basic vocabulary is seriously misunderstood by Christians and non- Christians alike. Big words like salvation, saved, sacrifice, redeemer, redemption, righteousness, repentance, mercy, sin, forgiveness, born again, second coming, God, Jesus and Bible and collections of words like the creeds, Lord's Prayer, and liturgies have acquired meanings that are serious distortions of their biblical and traditional meanings. The misunderstandings flow from two major causes shaping the way the Christian language is heard. The first is the literalization of language in the modern period... the second is the interpretation of Christian language within a common framework that I call "heaven and hell" Christianity... When this is the primary framework for understanding Christianity, as it often is, it diminishes and distorts the meaning of Christian language... This book's purpose is to exposit an alternate understanding, one that draws on the Bible and premodern Christian tradition. This book's purpose is (also) to redeem or reclaim Christian language in all its richness and wisdom. This book's purpose is (yet again) to help us read, hear, and inwardly digest Christian language without preconceived understandings getting in the way. It is about learning to read and hear the language of our faith again. - from the Introduction --- My Comments: I begin with a bit of simple, poignant levity. Years ago, a humorous exchange in seminary homiletics classes involved assisting ourselves and our hearers when making a pulpit declaration about which we were uncertain - "Weak point, pound hard" - we said. Years later, in the church choirs to which I belong, we cross our fingers as we sing beautiful lyrics with questionable words. We keep reminding ourselves that - "We can still sing what we cannot speak." Both statements reflect what I believe Marcus Borg is trying to tell us concerning the modern state of Christian language. We know that much of it has become quite meaningless to many but we are nonetheless inclined to overcompensate for this by repeating the old words "with emphasis." We love the music that accompanies themes we no longer believe, but we keep singing them anyway, simply ignoring the words we are belting out. "Weak point pound hard" and "Sing what we cannot speak" describe a lack of integrity, it seems to me. I think these anecdotes describe a rather common and unfortunate state of affairs existing for many Christians today. Traditional words no longer express what is important to many of us. Yet, we seem to lack a framework and a vocabulary to describe our contemporary faith stance. I thank Marcus Borg for helping us to deal with this dilemma. Here is my take on what he is attempting to do in his new book. --- Borg knows language is important. He seeks to build bridges, not barriers, with the words describing our faith. He is not so much interested in chucking the old words as he is infusing them with new meanings. Return to old meanings - is perhaps a better way of putting it. Borg believes that many images we have inherited from Christian tradition were not originally Christian. Using an approach he has long advocated - "the historical-metaphorical method" - Borg digs deeply into early Christian biblical thinking. He claims, for example, that the first Christians of the Bible were not so much guided by a "heaven and hell" philosophical framework as one which emphasized "peace and justice." In other words, their faith declared - "I am a Christian, and therefore I will work to make this world a better place." Only secondarily did they advocate: "I am a Christian, and I want to go to heaven when I die." Biblical faith, for Borg, was very different from the faith most of us have inherited through more recent church tradition. In a true sense, Borg is invoking a new reformation, not unlike the one experienced by many Christians five centuries ago when 'faith words' had to change to fit life's realities and to give people a renewed sense of life's meaning. Today, fortunately, we can anticipate a new reformation that many Catholics, Protestants and others can jointly claim together. --- Borg's concern is also about Christian integrity. If our words do not reflect what we really believe - (reflected in the terms 'pound hard' and 'sing it anyway') - we can be justifiably criticised as hypocrites. The author wants to help us use words that describe who we really are and what we are experiencing. When what we say and do matches who we really are, we can again become people of integrity - and others will see and perhaps identify with it. --- Borg's task is an honourable, authentic one. He does not disparage those who need the traditional assurances of the faith terms they genuinely know and love. To these, he offers his blessing. But for those of us who need words and meanings that are genuine reflections - Borg provides a blueprint and some important building blocks for the faith journey. --- Borg is writing what he writes best. His greatest gift to us comes when he offers biblical studies with theological depth, clarity and personal applicability. ___ Buy the Book from Amazon.ca: http://tinyurl.com/3g2o5md ***** COLLEAGUE COMMENT FR. NED CAROLAN Dublin, Ireland "You may remember, Wayne, during your visit to Dublin, I promised to send you a copy of The Oblate Historical Dictionary. My colleague from Ottawa, Fr. Yvon Beauoin, omi, informed me that he has forwarded a copy to your home address so I hope that you will soon receive it. (It provides) a further resource on the history of Western Canada and a few other places as well." -- Editor's Note: I did indeed receive the book, a veritable gold mine of information on the global spread of the Oblate mission outside France at the time of the founder of the order, Fr. Eugene de Mazenod. Several years ago, Marlene and I stayed at the international Oblate Centre in Aix en Provence, France - the place from which the founder Eugene de Mazenod first guided his missionary confreres. We visited there, in 2008, as guests of Fr. Carolan and his staff. Ned has since retired to Ireland, his homeland. Thanks Ned, and Yvon! --- COLLEAGUE CONTRIBUTIONS JIM IRVINE Fredericton, NB August 1st, 2011 “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we have to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” –Stephen Colbert --- DOUGLAS JOHN HALL Montreal, QC Q&A About UCC Member Survey reported in the summer Observer. See the 'Net News' item below on "Beliefs in the United Church" --- JIM TAYLOR Okanagan, BC Personal Blog July 27th, 2011 "What Good is Liberal Theology Anyway?"
http://tinyurl.com/3whzzn6 --- RON ROLHEISER San Antonio, TX Personal Blog July 31st, 2011 "Of Nietzsche, Feuerbach and Dark Nights of the Soul" http://tinyurl.com/3vgoxgr --- MARTIN MARTY Chicago, IL Sightings 8/1/2011 "Breivik’s Christianity" http://tinyurl.com/3lx8sds ***** NET NOTES MINDLESS NORWEGIAN GUNMAN Ucan News July 28th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/44qs7hf --- Ecumenical News International August 27th, 2011 Is the Norwegian gunman a Christian terrorist? New York (ENI). The mass murders in Oslo have raised a host of agonizing questions, but few have such an ancient lineage and contemporary resonance as whether Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist behind the attacks that killed 76 Norwegians last Friday (22 July), is a Christian. Breivik claimed that he is a Christian in various forums, but most explicitly and in greatest detail in the 1,500- page manifesto he compiled over several months and posted on the Internet. --- Ecumenical News International July 29th, 2011 Norway's churches at center of country's efforts to heal after attacks Trondheim, Norway (ENI) A Norwegian bishop addressing the recent bombing and shooting attacks in his country said Norway has "countered this insane terrorism by demonstrating love and solidarity." "We have brought out a social capital we maybe even did not know was there. We must rebuild our trust in human beings as fellow human beings," said Church of Norway Bishop Tor Singsaas of Nidaros at the opening of the annual St. Olav Festival in Trondheim on 28 July. --- Religious Leaders Offer Comfort Norway's Faith Emerges in Crisis Christian Science Monitor July 28th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3cjydd8 ***** GOOD RELIGION, BAD RELIGION We're Incurably Religious (Survey) Christianity Today August 1st, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3rjgqqg ***** IRELAND'S WATERSHED MOMENT Irish Church at Crossroads Eureka.com (Australia) July 27th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/44ejwcg --- Vatican Recalls Irish Envoy PM's Criticism Offends The Guardian UK July 26th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3prbl77 ***** JOHN R.STOTT HAS DIED Global Evangelical Pioneer Ecumenical News International July 29th, 2011 Famous Anglican evangelist dies at 90 listening to Handel's "Messiah" Canterbury, England (ENI). Rev. John Stott, one of the most influential Anglican clergymen of the 20th century, died of natural causes on 27 July at the age of 90. "Time" magazine once described him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and historian Adrian Hastings, in "A History of English Christianity, 1920-1985," called him "one of the most influential figures in the Christian world." --- Commemoration: Christianity Today July 27th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/4xdeg4z --- Obituary, Globe and Mail August 2nd, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3nbp8pm --- Obituary, The Guardian, UK July 28th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3fqayug --- Testimony to his life by Colleague John Stackhouse Jr. Personal Blog, July 28th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3ztvswo --- Editor's Note: As a young student, doing graduate work in Europe, I heard Stott preach on a Sunday evening at All Soul's Langham Place, London UK (August, 1967.) I have always appreciated his intelligent, non-compative style, his avoidance of a 'holier than thou' stance, his commitment to remain within the Church of England, and his clear determination not attempt to found yet another 'purified' denomination. He set a good example for us all. ***** A NEW REASON TO SUPPORT THE CBC Critiquing but remaining 'above politics' Toronto Star, July 30th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3cucme8 ***** INDIA'S 'UNBAPTIZED CHRISTIANS' Expressing a fear of social ostracism Ucan New July 25th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/44f45oy --- Aid to the Church in India Full Story of the 'unbaptized Christians' http://tinyurl.com/3pnzpwr ***** THE RETREAT OF THE "LEGIONNARIES" Order faces a time of humility Ucan News August 1st, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3cp3b87 ***** UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA SURVEY INDICATES RANGE OF MEMBER BELIEFS Just What do UCC People Believe? United Church Observer July/August Issue, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3gc9lf9 Comment: Colleague Douglas John Hall http://tinyurl.com/3oea5sy ***** CONSERVATION RESTORES ANCIENT CHURCH IN GOA, INDIA Times of India August 2nd, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3aphuez ***** BEJING RESPONDS TO EXCOMMUNICATIONS Calls Vatican actions rude Ucan Notes July 25th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3kralau ***** IS CANADA POLARIZED BETWEEN BELIEVERS AND NON-BELIEVERS? "Faith Trends" Assesses New Bibby Book on Religion in Canada Today Evangelical Fellowship of Canada July 27th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3f8fffu ***** HOW CAN WE KNOW AN INVISIBLE GOD? by Philip Yancey Christianity Today, July 26th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3g8ulv8 ***** GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI Ecumenical News International News Highlights 22 July 2011 Belarus churches honor deceased cardinal who bore "marks of persecution on his body" Warsaw, Poland (ENI). Church leaders are paying tribute to Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, retired head of the Roman Catholic church in Belarus, who died on 21 July at the age of 96. "He made an enormous contribution to developing good-neighborly relations between the Belarusian Orthodox church and the Roman Catholic church," Metropolitan Filaret, Belarus's Orthodox patriarchal exarch, said in a message on 21 July. _____ Imams trained to adapt Islamic finance to U.S. economy Berkeley, Calif. (ENI). Abdullah Nana, an imam at the Islamic Center of Mill Valley, Calif., just north of San Francisco, has a distinct advantage over many of his fellow imams in the United States. It's not fluency in Arabic or training in Islamic jurisprudence. It's his bachelor's degree in business. American imams get asked about financial ethics more than any other topic, Nana said, yet he calls it the subject that they are least qualified to talk about with congregants. _____ 25 July 2011 Belgian Christians divided over banning of Muslim burqa Warsaw, Poland (ENI). Christian organizations in Belgium have had mixed reactions to a criminal code amendment making the country Europe's second to ban the Islamic veil, or burqa. "We're against this ruling, since it violates basic human rights," said Kristine Jansone, general secretary of the Brussels -based Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe. "Although I can't speak on behalf of all our member-groups, I think it's the general consensus we should oppose a measure which will clearly impede the free practice of religion." ***** 26 July 2011 British Museum exhibition will help explain the Haj to non-Muslims Canterbury, England (ENI) The British Museum, known for its vast collection of world art and artifacts, is preparing to hold the first major exhibition in Britain dedicated to the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca all Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lives if they are able. Sponsored by HSBC Amanah, the global Islamic financial services division of the banking group HSBC, the exhibition will open on 26 January, 2012 and run until 15 April. It will bring together historic artifacts and contemporary art related to the Haj. _____ Indian churches launch hunger strike to protest treatment of Christian Dalits Bangalore, India (ENI). Major churches in India are taking part in a hunger strike that began 25 July in New Delhi to demand an end to discrimination against Christian Dalits. "This strike is the expression of hunger for justice, hunger for equality and hunger for the human dignity of Christian Dalits," said Rev. Roger Gaikwad, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India at the launch of the protests, set to run until 28 July. _____ 27 July 2011 European churches join in mourning Norway massacre victims Warsaw, Poland (ENI). Church leaders across Europe expressed shock and sorrow at the killing of 76 people by a right-wing extremist in Norway, and pledged solidarity and prayers with the country's inhabitants. "We categorically condemn such acts which try to destabilize a democratic country and terrorize the population," the Orthodox president of the Conference of European Churches, Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, said in a statement on 23 July. _____ Pioneering Japanese Protestant to be portrayed in TV drama Tokyo (ENI). Yae Neesima, the wife of Doshisha University founder Joseph Hardy Neesima and one of the first Protestant women in Japan, as well as a decorated war nurse, will be portrayed in a forthcoming television series to air in Japan in 2013. "What the world's people can learn from Yae would be that she did what they cannot do today," said Yasuhiro Motoi, professor of the history of Christianity in modern Japan at Doshisha University's School of Theology in Kyoto. ***** 28 July 2011 More efforts required by faiths to prevent violence, says Norwegian church leader Geneva (ENI). Different faiths around the globe need to do more to promote human solidarity, said Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in the aftermath of the bomb attack and mass killings in his native Norway. They also need to work together to find common values and ways to respect one another, and to "find ways to live together without violence," he said. ***** 1 August 2011 Christian churches in India blame government for 'betraying their hopes' Bangalore, India (ENI). Church groups and Christian activists completed a four-day protest in New Delhi on 28 July,speaking out against Indian government policies that discriminate against ChristianDalits. Nearly 10,000 Christians, including four dozen bishops of different denominations, took part in the protest, which included a hunger strike and ended with a march to India's Parliament building. _____ U.S. politicians pass bill to help religious minorities under attack Washington (ENI). The House has passed a bill that would create a special State Department envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, where Christians have come under attack in recent years, particularly in Muslim majority nations. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., introduced the bill in January after a spate of violence against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, and in response to persistent concerns for religions minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, among other nations. The bill passed last Friday (27 July) by a 402-20 tally. _____ 2 August 2011 Cardboard structure may replace earthquake- damaged cathedral in New Zealand Christchurch, New Zealand (ENI). New Zealand's second biggest city could have a temporary Anglican cathedral as soon as February--but the 700-seat structure will be made of recyclable cardboard. It would replace ChristChurch Cathedral, which was destroyed in the 22 February earthquake that killed 181 people. The $4 million portable A-frame building is to be created primarily out of cardboard tubes, with shipping containers as the foundation. Architecture students will assist in its three-month construction. A $50,000 feaibility study is currently being undertaken, which could include an extension of planned capacity to 1000 at additional cost. _____ Mexican ministry questioned by Vatican over outreach to gay men and women Mexico City (ENI). A ministry for gay men and women operated by a northern Mexican diocese has come under scrutiny from the Vatican and may revert to its original status as an unaffiliated nonprofit organization, according to a news release from the Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency. Bishop Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, quoted by the Catholic News Service, says he is responding to questions from the Vatican about Comunidad San Aelredo, which began as a youth group for gay Catholics and recently became a diocesan ministry. _____ More Catholic departures than baptisms for first time in Germany Berlin (ENI). For the first time since membership records have been kept, more Germans departed the Roman Catholic Church than were baptized into it in 2010, according to new data from Germany's Catholic Conference of Bishops. The new statistics, which were released with little analysis or comment, showed 170,339 baptisms for the year, and 181,193 departures from the church. However, 3,576 new members, and more than 7,400 returning Catholics, joined the church last year. ***** 3 August 2011 Faith groups concerned about North Korean leadership of UN committee Geneva (ENI). Christian advocacy groups are among a 28-strong international coalition calling for North Korea, criticized by many for its human rights abuses and nuclear threats, to step down from the presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (UNCD). For North Korea--"the undisputed home of international arms control" according to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon--to lead the group is terribly wrong, said the Christian groups in a statement. ***** QUOTES OF THE WEEK Provided by Sojourners.online July 25th, 2011 "We must learn to love together as [brothers and sisters] or perish together as fools." - Martin Luther King Jr. --- July 26th, 2011 "What we give the poor, we lend to the Lord." - Sojourner Truth --- July 27th, 2011 "In another's eyes I see my plea for forgiveness, and in a hardened frown I see my refusal. When someone murders, I know that I too could have done that, and when someone gives birth, I know that I am capable of that as well. In the depths of my being, I meet my fellow humans with whom I share love and have life and death." - Henri Nouwen, "With Open Hands" --- July 28th, 2011 "To speak about prayer is indeed presumptuous. There are no devices, no techniques; there is no specialized art of prayer. All of life must be a training to pray. We pray the way we live." - Abraham Joshua Heschel --- July 29th, 2011 "I'm going to speak to you simply as a pastor, as one who, together with his people, has been learning the beautiful but harsh truth that the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it; the church is not a fortress set apart from the city. The church follows Jesus, who lived, worked, struggled, and died in the midst of a city, in the polis." - Archbishop Oscar Romero --- August 1st, 2011 "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King Jr. --- August 2nd, 2011 "The creation is not a study, a roughed- in sketch; it is supremely, meticulously created … even on the perfectly ordinary and clearly visible level, creation carries on with an intricacy unfathomable and apparently uncalled for." - Annie Dillard, from "Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek --- August 3rd, 2011 "What is it to be a companion of Jesus today? It is to engage, under the standard of the cross, in the crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes." - Ignacio Ellacuria ***** ON THIS DAY Provided from the archives of the New York Times On July 25, 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the New England coast, claiming the lives of 51 people. http://tinyurl.com/4ydt7fk _____ On July 27, 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting. http://tinyurl.com/3fqpjb2 _____ On July 29th, 1981 Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. http://tinyurl.com/3wpzu2n _____ On July 31, 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon's surface. http://tinyurl.com/3cmqf8f _____ On August 1, 1936, 100,000 saluted Adolf Hitler on his entrance at the opening of the Berlin Olympics. http://tinyurl.com/4xzw7au _____ On Aug. 3, 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater. http://tinyurl.com/3bjubsf _____ On Aug. 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany while the United States proclaimed its neutrality. http://tinyurl.com/3nyufev ***** CLOSING THOUGHT "To understand the world, knowledge is not enough. You must see it, touch it, live in its presence and drink the vital heat of existence in the very heart of reality." - Teilhard de Chardin Knowledge is not enough. We must taste life and make it very personal, erotic and unforgettable. For wisdom to occur, we must experience life in all its dimensions. - Matthew Fox (end)