Friday, February 10, 2012

Colleagues List, February 11th, 2012

Vol. VII. No. 26


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:

New "Quicklinks" are now included 
with many items. Otherwise, scroll
down to find your selection in the 
body of the blog, as in the past.



"... thanks too for the Colleagues List 
that faithfully arrives with so much 
information gathered for me in one place.  
I'm so grateful and I marvel at how you 
EVER do it...  

"Blessings on such a great work."

- Sue Mosteller, Collegeville, MN
  Formerly of L'Arche Daybreak
  Richmond Hill, ON. (executrix
  of the Henri Nouwen estate)


Special Item in this Issue -

"The Church in China - Part Two"

Selected Stories

Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor

Ron Rolheiser

Net Notes:

Ian Paisley in Hospital

Power and the Problem of Shame

Elizabeth - Queen for 60 Years

Caravaggio: A Spiritual Hedonist

Bishops Accountable for Abuse Cases

Majority of Israeli Jews are Believers

Canadian Muslims Don't Want Sharia Law

German Chancellor Visits Chinese Cathedral

English Women Bishop's Law Remains in Tact

Faithful Must Respect Scientific Questions

Global Faith Potpourri:
Ten ENI Geneva stories.

Wisdom of the Week:

Emily Dickenson
St. Marcella
Pat Conroy
Mother Teresa
Leonard Cohen

On This Day:

Britain's King George VI died; and was
succeeded by daughter, Elizabeth II (1952)

President Clinton signs telecommunications 
industry legislation as "it will bring the 
future to our doorstep" (1996)


Closing Thought - Meister Eckhart



Dear Friends:

Last week, I introduced an important new
book on Colleagues List. It is entitled
"God is Red" - the story of the emerging 
church in contemporary China.

This week, I return to this book to provide 
you with summaries of three of the eighteen 
chapter biographies contained there.

They tell the story of significant Chinese
Christians to help us better understand
the nature of this new Christian component 
to our global faith.

I hope that you might find these bios
helpful, and that you might even wish
to get a copy of the book for yourself.

Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) - takes up the
subject of honour killings, which is
currently a very hot topic in Canada.

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) - recalls
one of Henri Nouwen's literary themes
"mourning and dancing" as we begin to
engage in Lenten preparations this year.

Net Notes:

"Ian Paisley in Hospital" - the famous
(or infamous) Paisley enters the hospital
this week, a sign of advancing years
(The Guardian, UK)

"Power and the Problem of Shame" - 
an article from Christianity in the east
to remind us that the imperial church
should no longer to be tolerated (Uca News)

"Elizabeth - Queen for 60 Years" -
here are several articles to remind
monarchists and non-monarchists alike
that Elizabeth is now 60 years a queen
(Montreal Gazette, The Guardian, UK)

"Caravaggio: A Spiritual Hedonist" -
the artist whose paintings grace many
of the world's great galleries was
indeed a highly complex individual
(America Magazine)

"Bishops Accountable for Abuse Cases" -
the historic Vatican conference on
priestly abuse seems to be pointing
the Catholic Church in a good direction
(Uca News, The Tablet, UK)

"Majority of Israeli Jews are Believers" -
a recent survey demonstrates that while
Israel is a secular state, it contains
a sizable religious population
(Anglican Journal)

"Canadian Muslims Don't Want Sharia Law" -
in spite of rumors to the contrary, it
seems that Canada's Muslims do not seek to 
be governed by religious law in this country
(Anglican Journal)

"German Chancellor Visits Chinese Cathedral"
- here is an interesting report of the visit
of the German leader to China (Uca News)

"English Women Bishop's Law Remains in Tact" 
- the Church of England is governed by the laws 
of that land, and these laws are clearly 
defending an earlier decision to ordain 
women bishops (Episcopal News Service)

"Faithful Must Respect Scientific Questions" 
- in the current religion and science debate
the opinion expressed here strongly encourages
religious folk to respect the scientific method
(The Guardian, UK)

Global Faith Potpourri:

Ecumenical News International provides ten 
faith stories from around the globe.

Wisdom of the Week:

From Sojourners Online -

Emily Dickenson, St. Marcella, Pat Conroy,
Mother Teresa and Leonard Cohen share
their insights with us.

On This Day:

Britain's King George VI died; and was
succeeded by daughter, Elizabeth II (1952)

President Clinton signs telecommunications 
industry legislation as "it will bring the 
future to our doorstep" (1996)

Our closing thought is offered by the
medieval mystic, Meister Eckhart

Happy reading and reflecting!



Introducing the Full Program


"The Other Face of God:
When the Stranger Calls Us Home"

by Mary Jo Leddy

Ten Monday Nights - 
January 16th - March 26th, 2012
(except February Family Weekend Monday)

See the study schedule:

Information about the book from

Visit Romero House, Toronto on the web:

NOTE: Mary Jo Leddy is coming to St. David's
the weekend of April 20th-22nd. Watch for new
information as it becomes available.



Welcome to our -


Noon Hour Book Discussions for Faculty, 
Staff and Students Winter Series for 2012:

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor

Discovering God in the ordinary experiences of life
March 2nd - March 30th - five Friday noon sessions

Time and Location for all sessions:
12:00 to 1:00PM in the Native Centre Board Room
Located above the Dairy Queen, Mac Hall Student's 

Led by: Wayne Holst, 
Coordinator of the ACTS Ministry, St. David's United
and a Faith and Spirituality Centre Liaison.

Cost of the book: $15.00 each


Join us this year for stiumlating campus discussions!

For more information: Adriana Tulissi 403-220-5451
Co-ordinator, Faith and Spirituality Centre, U. of 
C. - artuliss@ucalgary,ca



Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



An accumulation of thirty-five books studied
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents 
more than 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.




Selected Stories

The Secret Story of How
Christianity Survived and
Flourished in Communist China
by Liao Yiwu. 

HarperOne: Toronto. 2011
$29.00 CAD. 231 pages.
ISBN #978-0-06-207846-9.

Last week, this book was introduced to
Colleagues List readers with these words:

Unwilling to let his nation lose memory of 
its past or deny its present, Liao Yiwu, the
author, set out to document the untold stories 
of brave believers whose totalitarian government 
could not break their faith in God, including:

* The over-100-year-old nun who persevered in 
spite of beatings, famine, and decades of 
physical labor, and still fights for the 
rightful return of church land seized by 
the government

* The surgeon who gave up a lucrative Communist 
hospital administrator position to treat 
villagers for free in the remote, mountainous 
regions of southwestern China

* The Protestant minister, now memorialized in 
London’s Westminster Abbey, who was executed 
during the Cultural Revolution as “an 
incorrigible counterrevolutionary.”

Here are summaries of the stories of three
heroic Chinese Christian figures who prove 
that a totalitarian government cannot control 
what is in people’s hearts.

1. The Old Nun, Zhang Yinxian

Zhang was fast for someone who was more than
a hundred years old. "She's quite a celebrity
around here," said the friend who invited me
to visit the old Catholic church on Renmin
Avenue in the old section of Dali.

Sister Tao took care of Sister Zhang and our
conversation was fast paced.

"She is still pouting about the fact that
a large plot of land that had belonged to the
church was seized by the government during
the Cultural Revolution," Sister Tao said.
"She wants it back. She wants to witness
the return of the land before she leaves this

Zhang was an orphan raised by missionaries 
from Vietnam. "I was taught to read and write
by them," she said. "I learned the Bible,
attended Mass, and said prayers."

"At public denunciation meetings during the
Cultural Revolution, we Christians were accused
of murdering orphans. They said the priests
were vampires."

In fact, many of the first Christians in the
area were abandoned orphans who, like her,
were raised by religious.

During the Communist takeover, troops moved
into the city and the whole country turned

By 1952, all foreign missionaries had been
expelled from China. Zhang became a farmer,
a low-class citizen, trampled on by the masses,
for thirty-one years, until 1983.

"They would parade us around the village
along with Buddhist and Taoist monks and nuns
and several leaders of local Protestant 
churches. Some spat on us. Such hatred."

During years of famine that followed "The
Great Leap Forward"  she had nothing left
and had to search for food. (But) she had
spent many years reading the Bible, and
God's words were etched, stroke by stroke,
on her mind and heart.

"I prayed, please forgive my sins and
correct my thoughts. Please rescue me from
evil forces of this world. Amen."

Political circumstances changed and Zhang
was able to request her church back. It
seemed like a miracle when the authorities
eventually honoured her wishes.

"The church doesn't belong to us," she was
able to say. "We only look after it for
the Lord."

In 1998 the people got a new bishop, and
a new generation of nuns. That's when Sister
Tao arrived.

"Even if we can't get all our property back,"
said Sister Zhang, "we need to record the
story in the church history. Future generations
should know what happened."

Sister Zhang is forty years older than any
of the others, but she continues to praise
the Lord at age 101. 

"I would like to continue to make sure that 
our church gets back our land..."


2. Dr. Sun

Dr. Sun, a missionary doctor, agreed to
introduce the author to some of the Christian
leaders in the ethnic Yi and Miao villages,
where he visited three or four times a year.

Dr. Sun was clearly well known in these parts
and greeted like a lost brother.

Dr. Sun's parents had been herbal doctors,
but when the Communists took over his family
was persecuted as members of an evil, 
exploiting class.

Sun became interested in medicine, and got
a good medical education in Beijing. He 
served in a medical college after obtaining
an MD, became a surgeon with considerable
experience, and, in 1995 he became deputy
dean of the medical school with which he
had been associated.

But, because of his high medical standards,
he criticized his authorities for putting
too much emphasis on material gain.

He also became a Christian. "The Bible 
taught me to be in awe of God and to love."
These were two qualities he realized the
Chinese people lacked.

He did not believe that communism would
offer these values, and so in 1990 he
was baptized a Christian with the help
of a missionary from Germany.

"I had to make a choice, but that choice
was made largely for me," he said.

His boss said to him - "You are a Communist
official. You enjoy the salary and
benefits of a Communist official, yet
you believe in Jesus Christ. What can
you do with Jesus? Can he provide you
with food and clothing (when you lose
your job?)

"I looked him in the eye and said quite
deliberately "I am quitting now. I need
to save my soul."

Sun ended up working in a hospital in
Myanmar sponsored by an international
humanitarian organization. 

Eventually, back in China, he ran into
a former student who invited him to
visit the student's home area in a remote 
part of China where all the villages had
converted to Christianity.

Sun visited the area, and soon got
involved in performing operations, using
very primitive support. He never thought
he would have to do surgery in such
conditions, but a number of good results
made him extremely popular.

He continued to return to this area
several times a year, doing medical
missions as a Christian doctor.

His work succeed over time and more
and more people with difficult conditions
sought him out.

Sometimes, he got help from foreign
religious organizations, but often
the funding would dry up over time.
He continued to find ways to do what
he believed he was called to do there.

Then, several doctors from abroad
learned about him and became interested
in his work.

Sun decided to move to this remote area
"I think I'm going to spend the rest of
my life here," he said.

But in 2009, Sun's work caught the 
attention of government officials who
accused him of "ulterior motives" for
treating patients for free and moved
to close down his mission.

A Chinese church in the USA invited
him to talk about his work. After his
time in the states, he was not allowed 
to return to China.

He now resides in California and has
been working on his English skills.
Since he can't return to his homeland he 
is looking for missionary opportunities
in Africa.


3. The Martyr, Wang Zhiming

Above the Great West Door to Westminster 
Abbey in London stand ten statues that
recognize Christian martyrs from the
twentieth century from around the globe.

One of those statues is of Wang Zhiming,
a Protestant pastor, who lived and
preached in Wuding Country in China's
Yunnan Province and served the ethnic
Miao people. He was arrested in 1969
and executed in 1973.

Wang Zhiming's story was known within
the Miao community but not in China
generally. His family members have
continued his cause, but they rarely
talk to mainstream Chinese media.

The author has attempted to learn as
much as he can from family members and
has made a number of trips to their

Wang Zisheng, son of Wang Zhiming,
now shares much of the family story
to which we are now introduced.

Christianity was first introduced to 
the Miao villages in 1906 when two
Protestant ministers, one Australian
and one English, arrived in the area.
They belonged to the famed China
Inland Mission.

Following a major disaster, the
Christian missionaries helped the
people to rebuild their homes and
to restore their lives. They were
also offered the message of the
gospel at a time when the animistic
traditions they had followed were
giving them little spiritual comfort.

Large numbers gathered from miles
around to the church these missionaries
had built.

When external forces caused the departure
of the missionaries during World War II
Wang Zhiming was chosen to take over
their work.

The parish developed fast under local
church leadership, but the Communists
came in 1951 and condemned Christianity
as spiritual opium and tools of foreign
invasion to oppress the Chinese people.

There were lots of beatings and torture
suffered by Wang Zhiming and the faithful.
Ziming was imprisoned but then released
as he was popular among his own people. 
He never trusted the Communists even 
though he once was invited to visit 
Chairman Mao.

The Cultural Revolution continued and
persecution followed. Zhiming was
ultimately put to death in 1973 because
he believed that God, not Mao, was the
Saviour of the Chinese people.

His son tells a touching story of the
last hours Zhiming spent with his family
before his execution. Eventually, his
next of kin were able to claim and
bury his body. Secretly, many of the
faithful gathered to pray and reaffirm
their faith with the pastor's remains.

A number of family members spent years
in prison as a result of continuing
political unrest in China and the
spillover resulting in their region.

In 1979, the family was able to secure
a document from the government that
cleared Zhiming of all charges against
him.  A tomb was built for him, and
a large memorial service was held in

In 1998, Westminster Abbey chose Zhiming
to be one of ten Christian martyrs of
the 20th century to be specially honored.

In the mid-sixties when Zhiming preached,
there were 2,795 Christians in the area.
After the cultural "rehabilitation" period
the numbers rose to 12,000.

Today, there are 30,000 Christians in
Wuding County, resulting from the original
efforts of two missionaries and a very
dedicated national Chinese Christian
and his family.


My Concluding Thoughts:

These stories are but three selected
from eighteen recorded in "God is Red."

Here indeed is anecdotal evidence that
a numerically vast and deeply rooted
Christianity is emerging from the
conflicted community that represents
Chinese Christianity today.

Buy the book from



Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
February 5, 2012

Lying to Hide an Unacceptable Truth


San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
February 5th, 2012




Ulster Populist has Set-back

The Guardian, UK.
February 7th, 2012


Sexual Abuse a Global Issue

Uca News
February 10th, 2012


How it Was Then and is Now
She Dedicates Herself Anew

Montreal Gazette
February 7th, 2012

The Guardian, UK
February 7th, 2012


An Artist's Paradoxical Life

America Magazine
February 27th, 2012


Major Church Policy Shift

Uca News
February 9th, 2012


"Welcome Change of Approach"


The Tablet, UK
February 11th, 2012


Israel is Home to Faith

Anglican Journal
February 7th, 2012


Applicable for Family Issues

Anglican Journal
February 6th, 2012



Merkel Encourages Social Engagement

Uca News
February 6th, 2012


No Back-tracking Due to Pressure

Episcopal News Service
February 9th, 2012


Questions at Heart of Empiricism 

The Guardian, UK
February 8th, 2012



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
6 February 2012

French candidate wants to put church-state 
separation into constitution

Paris (ENI news) - The front-runner in the 
race for the French presidency wants the 
separation of church and state to be put 
into the constitution, prompting religious 
and legal experts to question how this 
might alter the way France functions as 
a state that is already secular by law. 
The proposal is part of the platform 
unveiled by Socialist Party candidate 
Fran├žois Hollande, who leads President 
Nicolas Sarkozy and other candidates in 
public opinion polls ahead of the two-
stage presidential election scheduled 
for April and May. 

Egypt's humanitarian problems need 
addressing, say Christian representatives

New York (ENI news) - Egyptian Christian 
humanitarian leaders say while politics 
and religion are garnering the most 
attention in their country right now, 
Egypt's serious humanitarian problems 
will soon have to be addressed. As one 
example, rising food and fuel prices and 
a drop in foreign currency reserves are 
making it harder to Egyptians to put food 
on the table, causing the level of 
malnutrition to rise in the country. 
"This is going to be a serious situation," 
said the Rev. Andrea Zaki Stephanous, 
general director of the Cairo-based 
Coptic Evangelical Organization for 
Social Services, a Christian development 
organization that serves Egyptians 
regardless of religion and which 
promotes religious pluralism within 


7 February 2012

Zambian Catholic bishops oppose 
repatriation of Rwandan refugees 

(ENI news) - Roman Catholic bishops in 
Zambia are protesting a government attempt 
to repatriate nearly 5,000 refugees who 
fled different episodes of inter-ethnic 
violence in Rwanda between 1959 and 1994. 
The bishops are urging the government to 
consider integrating migrants into the 
local community, since many have lived 
in Zambia for more than 50 years. "We 
are greatly disturbed by complaints 
among refugees, especially those from 
Rwanda, that the Ministry of Home Affairs 
in agreement with the local United Nations 
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
 and possibly the government of Rwanda, 
is trying to forcefully repatriate 
Rwandese refugees from Zambia," said 
the bishops in a statement.

"Games pastors" to help 
visitors at London Olympics

London (ENI news) - More than four 
million visitors are expected to arrive 
in London during this summer's Olympic 
Games. More Than Gold, an ecumenical 
charity originally launched during the 
1996 Atlanta Games, is recruiting and 
training 1,000 volunteer "Games Pastors," 
who will be deployed at airports, bus and 
railway stations. "They will be there to 
serve, whether people need directions, 
advice or simply a listening ear. We're 
not doing this to evangelize, but we want 
to show people the love of God by the 
support we give them," Jon Burns, U.K. 
director of More Than Gold, said. The 
organization began recruiting last year, 
when it launched a countrywide "Get Set" 
tour visiting churches and other Christian 
communities, running workshops and 
information evenings. They have also 
produced packs suggesting practical ways 
churches can engage with the Games, 
including festivals, street parties, 
children's games, sports quizzes and 


8 February 2012

Polish judge says officials are 
"under pressure" in church abuse cases

Warsaw, Poland (ENI news) - A senior Polish 
judge has said police and justice officials 
are often "pressured" not to take action 
against Roman Catholic priests accused of 
sexual abuse. "No one collects data here on 
how many clergy are sentenced for offenses or 
called as witnesses," said Judge Slawomir 
Przykucki, spokesman for the Regional Court 
in the northwestern city of Koszalin, in 
early February. "But they certainly appear 
in court regularly, and this often divides 
public opinion and creates tension." The 
official was speaking during the trial of 
Fr. Zbigniew Ryckiewicz, a former parish 
rector from nearby Kolobrzeg, on charges of 
sexually abusing altar boys from 1998 to 
2001. The trial took place at the same time 
as a Vatican symposium opened in Rome on 
stopping clerical abuse. 

Anglicans urge UK action for 
Nigeria's threatened Christians

London (ENI news) - British Anglicans have 
called upon the United Kingdom government to 
support those in Nigeria seeking to protect 
religious minorities of all faiths and enable 
them to practice their religion without fear. 
The resolution passed by 344 votes to 0 with 
one abstention on 8 February at the biannual 
session of Synod, the Church of England's 
parliament. It expressed grave concern at the 
plight of Christian communities in parts of 
Nigeria, including the city of Kano where 
more than 200 people were killed by bombs 
on 20 January. 

African Anglicans appeal 
for inter-faith peace

(ENI news) - Anglican leaders from across 
Africa on 8 February made an emotional plea 
to Muslim faith leaders to stand with them 
in opposition to the "tragic violence that 
is destroying our communities." The appeal 
was issued at the end of a three-day meeting 
in Burundi of the Council of Anglican Provinces 
of Africa (CAPA) where Christian-Muslim conflict 
was high on the agenda, according to the 
Anglican Communion News Service. A statement 
from the council said it "has noted with much 
sadness the increasing deterioration between 
Muslim and Christian communities in different 
parts of the world, specifically our Provinces 
of Sudan, Nigeria, and the Diocese of Egypt.


9 February 2012

Philippine churches care for quake survivors

(ENI news) - Churches in central Philippines 
have responded after a recent 6.9-magnitude 
earthquake that left 34 people dead, 52 
injured, 71 missing and hundreds of families 
homeless. "We invite all people of good will 
to pray for the survivors of this latest 
disaster in the Philippines as they deal 
with the trauma of loss and anxiety and as 
they rebuild their lives," said Fr. Rex Reyes, 
general secretary of the National Council of 
Churches in the Philippines. "We join the 
efforts of all civic organizations in 
providing the necessary remedies to ease 
their pain and we invite you to share what 
you have that others may live," he added. 

Some church leaders join battle 
against Uganda's gay bill

(ENI news) - Following the re-introduction 
in Uganda of a bill that would harshly punish 
homosexuality, gay rights activists, including 
some church leaders, are uniting through 
Twitter and Facebook to oppose it. The Anti-
Homosexuality Bill 2009 was revived on 7 
January in parliament by David Bahati, the 
legislator who is its architect, prompting 
fresh protests worldwide, similar to those 
that led to its shelving in 2011. "I am very 
disappointed with the return of the bill," 
former Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo 
of West Buganda told ENInews in a telephone 
interview on 8 February from Kampala, Uganda's 

Psalm-inspired Japanese environmentalist 
wins UN award

New York (ENI news) - The Japanese 
environmentalist who said a biblical psalm 
inspired his campaign linking forest and
ocean received on 9 February one of the 
United Nations' inaugural Forest Hero awards. 
Shigeatsu Hatakeyama, an oyster fisherman who 
saw his livelihood destroyed when the 11 March 
2011 earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast 
coastal city of Kesennuma, was named the Forest 
Hero winner for Asia and awarded the prize at 
UN headquarters in New York. 



Provided by Sojourners Online

February 6th, 2012

“How happy is the little stone/ 
That rambles in the road alone,/ 
And doesn't care about careers,/ 
And exigencies never fears;/ 
Whose coat of elemental brown/ 
A passing universe put on;/ 
And independent as the sun,/ 
Associates or glows alone,/ 
Fulfilling absolute decree/ 
In casual simplicity."

- Emily Dickenson


February 7th, 2012

"By heaven's grace, captivity has 
found me a poor woman, not made me 
one. Now I shall go in want of daily 
bread, but I shall not feel hunger 
since I am full of Christ."

- St. Marcella


February 8th, 2012

"'Tell me a story' still comprise four 
of the most powerful words in English, 
words that are intimately related to 
the complexity of history, the origins 
of language, the continuity of the 
species, the taproot of our humanity, 
our singularity, and art itself."

- Pat Conroy


February 9th, 2012

“We are called to be contemplatives in the
heart of the world -- by seeking the face 
of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, 
all the time…”

- Mother Teresa


February 10th, 2012

"If you don’t become the ocean, 
 you’ll be seasick every day."

- Leonard Cohen



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times -

On Feb. 6, 1952 - Britain's King George VI died; 
he was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II.


On Feb. 8, 1996 -  in a ceremony at the Library 
of Congress, President Clinton signed legislation 
revamping the telecommunications industry, saying 
it would "bring the future to our doorstep."



"If the only prayer you say in your whole 
 life is 'Thank You' that would suffice."

- Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart, like Julian of Norwich,
believes that gratitude is at the heart
of genuine spiritual existence. In fact,
for him prayer is not an act of begging
or beseeching or wanting or needing -
but of thanking. The word "eucharist"
comes from the Greek word for "to give
thanks" so Chistian worship is primarily
a thank you gathering. Thomas Acquinas
also taught that the very essence of
true religion is gratitude.

- Matthew Fox in "Christian Mystics"


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