Friday, February 3, 2012

Colleagues List, February 4th, 2012

Vol. VII. No. 25


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.


Special Item in this Issue -

Book Notice:

"God is Red"

The Church in China


Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor

Ron Rolheiser

Miroslav Volf

Net Notes:

A New Day for Myanmar

US Press Freedom 47th in World

Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Return to Spirituality and to Jesus

"Visions of Ecstacy" Cleared for Release

Major Vatican Abuse Conference Coming Up

Researchers Establish Racism/Stupidity Link

Leaked Docs Reveal Major Vatican In-Fighting

Rio Statue Olympics Replica Rebuked in London

Obama Taps His Christian Faith to Craft Policies

Global Faith Potpourri:
Twenty ENI Geneva stories.

Wisdom of the Week:

Ben Okri
Flannery O'Connor
John Scotus Eriugena
Jonathan Safran Foer
Wendell Berry

On This Day:

Challenger exploded 73 seconds after
liftoff killing all seven crew members (1986)

Poet Robert Frost died in Boston (1963)

Gandhi murdered by a Hindu extremist (1948)

Nazi forces in Stalingrad surrendered in
major Soviet World War II victory (1943)


Closing Thought - Thomas Merton



Dear Friends:

Welcome to a new issue of Colleagues List!

This week I introduce one of the first
studies I've read using anecdotal evidence
to describe the growth of the Christian
Church in China. The book "God is Red"
was highly recommended by Christianity
Today at the end of 2011 and I determined
to have a look at it. Now, I pass some of
what I've learned to you my readers.

The rise of Christianity in China is a modern
miracle, and we in the West need to know more
about what this means.

Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) - writes about how
new technologies are changing our way of
thinking and living.

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) - reflects on
what Jesus meant when he said he had "other
sheep not of this flock."

Miroslav Volf (New Haven CT) - is interviewed
by the editors of the Englewood Review of Books
on his latest, "A Public Faith" - which we have
introduced to you some months ago when we used
it as a university faculty/staff/student study
this fall and when Volf visited Calgary.


Net Notes:

"A New Day for Myanmar" - a change in the political
climate of Myanmar (formerly Burma) has made it
possible for a democratic process to begin there
(Associated Press)

"US Press Freedom 47th in World" - followers of
journalism may not be surprised by this report,
but others may find it rather shocking
(The Atlantic Online)

"Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia" - it is
common knowledge that some Islamic states make
it difficult for Christians to worship - and
here is an example (Human Rights Watch)

"Return to Spirituality and to Jesus" - the
head of the Catholic Theological Society in
the USA, Roger Haight, shares his views on
where "the people are at" in his presidential
address this year (New Catholic Times)

"'Visions of Ecstacy' Cleared for Release" -
a controversial film made in the UK 23 years ago
is finally approved for release to the public
this week. It portrays a physical relationship
between Jesus and Ste Teresa of Avila
(The Guardian, UK)

"Major Vatican Abuse Conference Coming Up" -
at long last, the issue of global sexual abuse
of children by priests is being discussed at
the highest decision-making levels
(ENI News, Catholic News Service)

"Researchers Establish Racism/Stupidity Link"
- here are the findings of an interesting study
on the relationship between intelligence (or
its lack) and racism (Uca News)

"Leaked Docs Reveal Major Vatican In-Fighting"
- normally the Vatican functions as one of the
most secretive organizations in the world.
This story draws the mask from such anonymity
(Uca News)

"Rio Statue Olympics Replica Rebuked in London"
- an attempt by Brazilians to build a replica
of the famous statue overlooking the harbour of
the famous city has encountered resistance in
London, the site of the next olympic games
(USA Today)

"Obama Draws from Christian Faith to Craft Policies"
- Canadians would find it hard to accept if their
Prime Minister spoke in this way (even when it were
true!) but such talk tends to be well received
in the USA (Reuters News Service)

Global Faith Potpourri:

This week we have a healthy number of
twenty short religion news stories from
Ecumenical News International, Geneva.

Wisdom of the Week:

Ben Okri, Flannery O'Connor,
John Scotus Eriugena, Jonathan Safran Foer
and Wendell Berry share insights with us.

On This Day:

The New York Times provides these stories
as they were happening:

Challenger rocket exploded 73 seconds after
liftoff killing all seven crew members (1986)

The great American poet Robert Frost died in
Boston (1963)

Gandhi murdered by a Hindu extremist (1948)

Nazi forces in the Battle of Stalingrad
surrendered after a major Soviet WW II
victory (1943)

Closing Thought -

Thomas Merton concludes our mailing this
week with a short reflection on seeing
through the masks people wear in order
to discover the hidden face of Christ.

Lent is soon upon us. How will you
make use of this annual spiritual
discipline of the church year?



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)

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.



Book Notice:

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.

Publisher's Promo:

When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled
upon a vibrant Christian community in the
officially secular China, he knew little
about Christianity. In fact, he’d been
taught that religion was evil, and that
those who believed in it were deluded,
cultists, or imperialist spies. But as
a writer whose work has been banned in
China and has even landed him in jail,
Liao felt a kinship with Chinese
Christians in their unwavering commitment
to the freedom of expression and to
finding meaning in a tumultuous society.

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

* 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.”

This ultimately triumphant tale of a vibrant
church thriving against all odds serves as
both a powerful conversation about politics
and spirituality and a moving tribute to China’s
valiant shepherds of faith, who prove that a
totalitarian government cannot control what
is in people’s hearts.


Author's Words:

I met a Christian, known among local villagers
(of several regional Chinese provinces) a Dr. Sun,
a medical doctor. (While I was with him) Dr. Sun
did not proselytize... as he politely complimented
me on my literary efforts, I was beginning to
wonder what it was in Christianity that had driven
these successful medical doctors to abandon their
lucrative practices in the big cities to pursue a
life filled with risks and hardships. When I asked
Dr. Sun for permission to interview him, he at
first declined. "I've led an ordinary life," he
said humbly. "If you are interested, come with me
to the mountains. You will discover extraordinary
stories in the villages there."

... (the region I visited) was never immune from
both political and secular influences of the outside
world. In fact, the region was well within the
grasp of both secular and divine powers.

(People, it would seem, still told stories of
Western missionary physicians who had visited
their area generations ago, before the rise of
communism in their country.)

I found a pattern - locals had inherited their
Christian faith from their parents and grand-
parents who had benefited from the teachings of a
certain foreign missionary (who had lived there.)
Was the missionary English, French, German, American,
Australian or New Zealander? They didn't know. To
them, it was not important... Three or four
generations later, Christianity was part of the
heritage of each individual family and an integral
part of the local history. It was a path filled
with strife and blood.

(Over the years, strong Maoist indoctrination
had been forced on the people... but only a few
had openly denounced their faith. In order to
protect their faith from being totally suppressed
in their region, some brave Christians gathered
for services inside mountain caves. As a result,
Christianity survived, and a few years after Mao's
death, it came back again with a vengeance.)

Village after village become Christian territory.

I grew up in the cities, where Christianity has
also revived in the post-Mao era but with a
distinct foreign identity. Many new converts are
highly educated and well-off professionals or
retirees. They have embraced Christianity the
way they do Coca-Cola or a Volkswagen - believing
that a foreign faith, like foreign-made products,
has better quality.  Many younger urban Christians
have been throwing themselves at the feet of Jesus
because it is considered hip to wear a cross and
sing a foreign-sounding hymn...

In the urban metropolises of China, will
Christianity provide a spiritual haven that calms
the restless populace caught up in the relentless
pursuit of wealth and material comfort? or will it
make people more submissive to totalitarian power?

My trips exhilarated me, prompting me to write a
book during a time when East and West are meeting
and clashing on many fronts.

In (the remote corners of China) however, I have
discovered a center point, where East met West,
and although there has been collisions of
cultures, there is now a new Christian identity
that is distinctly Chinese.

- from the Preface


My Thoughts:

Reading this book helped me to reconnect
with various Roman historians who documented
the rise of Christianity in what was then
a period of decline in the Roman empire.
(I'm thinking here of the second and third
centuries of the Common Era.)

The author, Liao Yiwu, does not claim to be
a believer, but - like his Roman counterparts
seventeen hundred years ago - he is deeply
affected by the evidence of commitment to the
Christian faith that he observes from his
exposure to persons who are living and serving
their faith in real time and in real places.

Yiwu makes a distinction between those Chinese
who have suffered for their faith, and those
who are currently subscribing to Christianity
because it has become "the thing to do." The
jury is still out on the latter group, but
there is no question in his mind about the

A strong indigenous Christianity has emerged
in China from the work of Western missionary
doctors who responded to the plight of China
a century ago and who gave their lives in
service to the poor of that land - often in
isolated regions.

Many thought that this spiritual "footprint"
on to the soil of China had been obliterated
when the missionaries were driven out at the
time of the Maoist revolution of the 1950s.
The fact is, the local people did not forget.
They just had to wait out the time, until the
revolution spent itself. Now, they have
recovered a faith borne out of testing, and
"with a vengeance" in spite of the price that
many paid at the time.

This recalls the old mission adage that "the
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
It also proves the importance of indigenous
Christianity, as those practicing in the wake
of those early missionaries are truly Chinese
Christians today and cannot be branded as
"submissive to Western cultural inflences."


Wither Christianity in China?

Will it go the way of a passing fad amongst
the urban elites, or will it take root in those
cultures too?

I suspect that those who follow it today
without paying a price will not provide
Christianity with the fibre or indigenous
substance that can be found in currently
more isolated parts of China.

However, there is no question but that
Christianity has captured the imagination
of many in China, and it will probably
survive and thrive as it goes through its
various incarnations during this century.


I believe that there is no turning back
for Christianity in China. Even though large
questions remain about what forms it will take,
and how it may or may not help China connect
to the outside world. Something has happened
there in the wake of the twentieth century's
mission 'success' under colonialism and
'disaster' under Mao that is grounding the
faith deeply into the Chinese psyche.


Read this book to get a sense of what true
Christian witnesses and martyrs are doing in
our time. And read it also as an introduction
to one of the developmental wonders of the
Christian faith in modern times.

We in the tired and often bored West need some
of the inspiration this testimony provides.


Buy the book from



Personal Weblog
January 29th, 2012

"New Technologies Upset
 The Status Quo"


Personal Website
January 29th, 2012

"Other Sheep not of Our Flock"


Englewood Review of Books Interview
February 3rd, 2012

"A Public Faith -
 On Serving the Common God"



"We Have Secularized Badly"

Continuing the Discussion
on Dialogue With Atheism

by Ryan Dueck
Lethbridge Mennonite Church

The Christian Century Blog
February 2nd, 2012


Suu Kyi Changes Myanmar politics

Associated Press
January 30th, 2012



The Atlantic Oline
February 2nd, 2012



Human Rights Watch
January 30th, 2012



Roger Haight SJ
New Catholic Times
February 2nd, 2012


Teresa/Christ Scene OK'd
After Twenty-Three Years

The Guardian, UK
February 2nd, 2012



Ecumenical News International
Geneva, February 3rd, 2012

Vatican to host global summit
on sexual abuse

Vatican City (ENI news) Ten years after
the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted
in the United States, Catholic bishops
from all over the world will meet next
week at a Vatican summit aimed at
preventing abuse and protecting
children. The conference, "Towards
Healing and Renewal," will be held on
6-9 February and is organized by the
Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome,
Religion News Service reports. The
Vatican's top spokesman, the Rev.
Federico Lombardi, told reporters on
3 February that the summit enjoys the
"full support and participation" of
the Vatican's highest offices, but
Pope Benedict XVI is not expected
to attend.


Catholic News Service
January 30th, 2012



February 2nd, 2012



February 3rd, 2012


Replica of Statue Resisted

Latino Fox News
February 1st, 2012



US President Talks in Ways
Unlike Most World Leaders

Reuters News Service
February 2nd, 2012



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
27 January 2012

Nigerian conflict mixes religion,
poverty and politics

(ENI news) - Christian and Muslim leaders
worldwide are being urged to act together
to address the violence being unleashed in
northern Nigeria that has been blamed on
Boko Haram, a self-proclaimed Islamist group.
"It is a cause of deep concern internationally,
and the great faith traditions can be part of
the solution," said Archbishop Michael Kehinde
Stephen of the Methodist Church of Nigeria in
an interview posted by the Geneva-based World
Council of Churches (WCC). In recent months,
Boko Haram has increased attacks on in the
north of the country, raising fears of a
broader religious war in Africa's most
populous nation.

Jewish group criticizes
German Media Prize candidate

Berlin (ENI news) - Jewish organization
B'nai B'rith International on 27 January
called for the committee of the prestigious
German Media Prize to reconsider its
recognition of Mitri Raheb, an Evangelical
Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem. Raheb is due
to be presented with the prize on 24 February
in recognition of his creation of schools,
health centers and meeting places. But B'nai
B'rith, a humanitarian, human rights and
advocacy organization, said Raheb's views
"echo the widely eschewed replacement
theology maintaining that Christians
have superseded Jews in the Divine plan
and have inherited God's promises to Jews."


Russia and Italy exchange religious art

Moscow (ENI news) - The Russian Orthodox and
Roman Catholic churches are sometimes at odds
on issues ranging from church leadership to
theology, but an exchange between Moscow and
Florence shows that they have common ground
in art. The exhibits, called "In Christ,"
are on display at Moscow's State Tretyakov
Gallery and at Florence's Baptistery, the
historic octagonal building next to the
Duomo cathedral, constructed to host
baptisms. Two masterpieces by the early
Renaissance artist Giotto, the Madonna and
Child and ten-panel St. Reparata Polyptych,
which have never been to Russia before,
came to Moscow. In turn, three icons from
the Tretyakov, including one connected to
Andrei Rublev, Russia's most famousi
conographer, went to Italy.

As New Orleans still recovers,
prayer teams cover one block at a time

New Orleans (ENI news) - Millie Campbell,
76 years old, is one of the people praying
for New Orleans, a city still recovering
from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster
and experiencing a murderous crime wave.
A couple of times per week, Campbell and
her companion Betty Minor, 69, drive slowly
around assigned neighborhoods, praying for
their city, reports the New Orleans Times-
Picayune via Religion News Service. Half
a dozen others also do the prayer drives.
They pray for an end to the scourge of
murders sapping the city -- 199 last year,
and 17 or so on the streets Campbell drove
last week. In August, 2005, Hurricane Katrina
flooded 80 percent of the city and resulted
in about 1,400 deaths.


30 January 2012

Ecumenical fund helps
small Filipino entrepreneurs

La Trinidad, Philippines (ENI news) It is
harvest time for strawberries in the
northern Philippine town of La Trinidad,
so strawberry farmer Alice Rivera will
start repaying a loan extended by a Geneva-
based ecumenical church loan fund. "This
is what we appreciate ... we can start
repaying our loans only immediately
after the harvest season starts," said
Rivera, who is 45. She is just one of
7,000 clients being served by the
Ecumenical Church Loan Fund-Philippines
(Eclof-Philippines), whose initial seed
fund was provided by Eclof International,
a non-profit micro-finance organization.


European humanists demand
"equal rights" with churches

(ENI news) - Humanist and secularist
organizations have accused the European
Union of denying them equal treatment
with the continent's Christian churches.
"The EU shouldn't be holding a dialogue
with essentially undemocratic organizations.
By engaging with the Roman Catholic church,
it's giving a privileged position in EU
councils to a body which doesn't represent
its members and holds views way off
the margin of general European opinion,"
said David Pollock, president of the
Brussels-based European Humanist Federation.
However, Catholic spokeswoman Johanna Touzel
said, "We have the same opportunities for
promoting ideas as the humanists. The
difference is that the churches use this
tool to organize a fruitful dialogue, and
have something to say and offer on challenges
facing the EU." She represents the Commission
of European Bishops Conferences, COMECE, which
represents over 1,000 Catholic bishops from
the EU's 27 member-states.


Better action needed in Haiti,
urges French religious group

Paris (ENI news) - French religious and non-
governmental groups were among the first to
organize aid for Haiti in the wake of the
January 2010 earthquake. But two years later,
with some 500,000 people still living in
temporary shelters, these groups are
struggling to find ways to make a fundamental
difference in the former French colony. "We
must stop seeing everything in light of the
earthquake," says Pastor Philippe Verseils
of the Protestant Federation of France (FPF).
"The real issue is long-term, deep-rooted
underdevelopment with all the national and
international policies that are responsible.
That's what we need to talk about."


1 February 2012

Christian and animal rights groups
advocate against cockfighting

(ENI news) - A group of theologically
conservative American Christian leaders
is joining with animal rights defenders
to advocate against cockfighting, calling
the practice of watching and betting on
roosters who fight to the death
antithetical to biblical values.
"Christians should stand up and speak
out against this barbaric practice which
horrendously abuses God's creatures,"
said Richard Land, president of the
outhern Baptist Convention's Ethics
and Religious Liberty Commission.

After Fiji flood, churches,
Christian agencies help thousands

(ENI news) - Christian agencies are
assisting thousands affected by last
week's severe flooding in the western
part of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu,
which killed six people, including four
from one family whose house was buried
in a landslide. Nearly 3,500 people are
in 74 evacuation centers run by churches
and community groups. The Fiji interim
government has declared a state of
emergency in the area. The 23 January
tropical rainstorm submerged buildings
and caused FJD$33 million (US$18.
7 million) in damage and destroyed half
the crops and livestock in the area.

British churches together
oppose welfare change

London (ENI news) - Four churches in
Britain -- the Methodist Church, the
Baptist Union of Great Britain, the
United Reformed Church and the Quakers –
on 31 January called for Parliament to
hold to the humane principles of the
welfare state and reject a cap on
benefits. Church leaders said that
the principle of a cap was flawed and
would inevitably put vulnerable families
at risk of poverty and homelessness,
according to a news release from the
four denominations.


1 February 2012

Berlin churches oppose "inhumane"
detention of asylum seekers

Berlin (ENI news) - Christians of
different denominations have spoken
out in unison with human rights groups
against planned construction of a 1,000
-square-meter detention center for asylum
seekers at a new Berlin airport scheduled
to open in June. The detention center at
Berlin Brandenburg Airport would be used
to prevent asylum seekers from entering
Germany while their claims are fast-tracked
for a decision to be made within 48 hours.

Malawi bishops endorse circumcision
for HIV/AIDS prevention

(ENI news) - Roman Catholic bishops in
Malawi have endorsed a government move
to allow men to get circumcised in hospitals
as a prevention measure aimed at HIV/AIDS.
"As a church we are against the use of
condoms and recommend male circumcision
because it is in line with church teachings,"
the spokesperson for the Episcopal Conference
of Malawi, Fr. George Buleya told the media
in the capital, Lilongwe, at the end of the
 bishops' annual plenary meeting.

Latin American radio pioneer
to be remembered in webcast service

(ENI news) - The life and work of Latin
American broadcasting pioneer Paul Finkenbinder,
known to listeners around the world as Hermano
Pablo, will be celebrated with a memorial service
to be webcast live on 4 February. Finkenbinder
died 27 January in Irvine, California, at the
age of 90. He was best known for his four-minute
radio and television program, "A Message to the
Conscience," which began in El Salvador in 1964,
according to a news release on his web site,


2 February 2012

African inter-faith group calls
for end to Senegal protests

(ENI news) - With less than a month to go
until elections on 26 February, faith leaders
in Senegal are uniting to urge peace after
President Abdoulaye Wade's attempt to gain
re-election sparked violent protests across
the country. The protests follow a 30 January
ruling by the Constitutional Council, the
country's top legal body, that Wade, 85,
could seek a third term in office.

Catholic bishops in India concerned
about growing economic divide

Bangalore, India (ENI news) - Cardinal
Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of India, told the
bishops' biennial assembly on 1 February
that the widening of the gap between rich
and poor is "a matter of serious concern
for the church." "We have two sets of
Indians. One section of the people is
racing ahead while the majority are
limping," Gracias said. Meeting in
Bangalore, the assembly runs from 1-8
February and is being attended by 170

Ecumenical group affirms
relationship with Rome

Rome (ENI news) - One of the world's
most recent ecumenical entities, the
Global Christian Forum (GCF), met in
late January with Vatican officials,
affirming a desire to continue to
journey together in the search for
Christian unity. In his first GCF
committee meeting since becoming
secretary of the organization on
1 January, the Rev. Larry Miller
said the invitation to meet in
Rome by the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity and
subsequent conversations indicated
"a consolidation of the shared
commitment to build bridges between
all churches."


3 February 2012

Church of South India diocese
to challenge ruling on properties

(ENI news) - A diocese of the Church of
South India (CSI) is preparing an appeal
against a court order that has virtually
stripped it of more than half its churches
and institutions, inherited from the Basel
Mission church. "We are preparing a strong
appeal to get this order quashed. We are
hopeful that our appeal will be upheld by
the (federal) Supreme Court," Bishop J.S.
Sadananda of CSI's Karnataka Southern
Diocese told ENI news 3 February in a
telephone interview.

Argentine Methodists send hopes
for peace to British counterparts

(ENI news) - Amid renewed tensions over
the Falkland Islands, the Argentinean
Methodist Church has sent a letter to
the Methodist Church of Great Britain,
expressing its desire for their
governments to resolve their issues
peacefully. "A war is always a human
failure in the light of God's project
that we share his creation and that we
all enjoy the resources that He has given
us," wrote Bishop Frank de Nully Brown,
according to the Latin America and
Caribbean Communication Agency. "The
issue of the Malvinas Islands is for
the Argentinean people and our church,
an extremely sensitive and delicate one,
given the claim that our country has made
for the sovereignty of the islands for
many years," the letter said.


Archbishop of Greece warns
of social upheaval

(ENI news) Archbishop Hieronymos II of Athens
and All Greece on 2 February warned the Greek
government of a possible social upheaval if
more austerity measures are ushered in by
international financial institutions overseeing
the sovereign debt crisis. "Our hearts are
shattered and our minds are blurred with all
that is taking place," he said in a letter
sent to interim Greek Prime Minister Lucas
Papademos, extracts of which were published
in Greek on the Greek Orthodox Church's
official site ( "The
phenomenon of the homeless and the famished,
a reminder of WWII occupation conditions, is
taking nightmare dimensions," wrote Hieronymos.



Provided by Sojourners Online

January 30th, 2012

"It may be that what you could be haunts you.
It is real. It is a weight you have to carry
around. Each failure to become, to be, is a
weight. Each state you could inhabit is a
burden as heavy as any physical weight, but
more so, because it weighs on your soul. It
is the ghost of your possibilities hanging
around your neck, an invisible albatross,
potentials unknowingly murdered."

- Ben Okri


January 31st, 2012

“When there is a tendency to compartmentalize
the spiritual and make it resident in a certain
type of life only, the spiritual is apt
gradually to be lost.”

- Flannery O'Connor, from
  "Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose"


February 1st, 2012

“Christ wears ‘two shoes’ in the world:
Scripture and nature. Both are necessary
to understand the Lord, and at no stage
can creation be seen as a separation of
things from God.”

- John Scotus Eriugena


February 2nd, 2012

“I hope that one day you will have the
experience of doing something you do not
understand for someone you love.”

- Jonathan Safran Foer, from
  "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"


February 3rd, 2012

“Sabbath observance invites us to stop.
It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice
that while we rest, the world continues
without our help. It invites us to delight
in the world’s beauty and abundance.”

- Wendell Berry



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

On Jan. 28, 1986 - space shuttle Challenger
exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape
Canaveral, killing all seven crew members.

On Jan. 29, 1963 - poet Robert Frost died
in Boston.

On Jan. 30, 1948 - Indian political
and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi
was murdered by a Hindu extremist.


On Feb. 2, 1943 -  the remainder of
Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad
surrendered in a major victory for the
Soviets in World War II.



"The saints were capable of seeing through
the masks that cover the faces of humanity
and they saw that the masks are unreal. In
the innumerable faces of men they saw only
one face; the face of love (that is to say,
the face of Christ.)

- Thomas Merton

Merton saw the face of faces in all faces.
The Cosmic Christ in all faces and beings.
But to get to that face one must go deeper
than outer appearances and the masks and
roles people take on. We need to travel
inside others to find the Christ there,
just as week to travel into our deepest
and truest self to find the Christ in

- Matthew Fox


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