GLOBAL AND ECUMENICAL IN SCOPE
CANADIAN IN PERSPECTIVE
Wayne A. Holst, Editor
My E-Mail Address:
Colleagues List Web Site:
"Quicklinks" are included with many items
at the beginning of this issue. To get a more
complete picture, however, scroll down to
find your special selection in the body of
Note that not all items here have links.
This weekend we welcome our Muslim
friends Emine and Malik and their
associates from the Interfaith Dialogue
Institute here in Calgary to St. Davids
United Church. They will participate in
our worship with a social time following
and will be serving a Turkish delicacy -
We have been cultivating a special
relationship with the Calgary Turkish
community since our visit to that
country last year.The IDI has been
particularly welcoming and generous
and we want to value the opportunity.
My Special Item this week is a book
notice for "In Search of Deep Faith" -
a spiritual travel guide to some key
persons and places of Europe.
Colleague Communications - are from
Jim Taylor - who reflects on "The Naked
Woman at the Altar" -
Ron Rolheiser - who presents
"Holiness, Wholeness, and Depression"
Doug Shantz - who offers a seminar on
"Homeless Youth in Calgary" - a
Chair of Christian Thought" event.
"PW Talks With Thomas Moore" -
A popular spiritual writer a generation
ago, Moore is still active and will come
to The Wisdom Centre, Calgary later
this yea (Publishers Weekly)
"No Hell, Priests or Punishment" -
some young people want to create
their own religion with predictable
characteristics (RD Online Magazine)
"Noah's Ark 'Original' Was Round" -
more archeological finds in the mid-East
are coming up with precedents for the
biblical myth of Noah (Christian Post)
"Bishops Must Reject Homophobia" -
the British press has advice for bishops
in their country; encouraging them to
influence fellow bishops in Africa
(The Guardian, UK)
"Separating Evil Artists from Great Art" -
Jews have had this challenge when dealing
with Nazi German composers, but the issue
is really much more extensive and complex
(Huffington Post Canada)
"Ukraine Church Urges Return to Peace" -
the Catholic Church in the Ukraine is called
to serveas go-between between factions there
"Utah Politician Breaks With Mormon Church" -
in his attempts to liberalize the drinking laws
of his state, he opposes his own church
(The Christian Post)
"Is French Quebec Biased Against Minorities?" -
The proposed secular values legislation in QC
is against minorities - that's the irony according
to U of C grad student Jonathan Napier
"St.Jacobs Sculptor Has Work Blessed By Pope" -
my home town in Southern Ontario can now
boast of a famous artist (Christian Week Online)
"The Challenges of Ecumenism in Israel, Palestine"
- here is an enlightening article on the extent of
Christian diversity among the people of the
Holy Land (Sightings)
Wisdom of the Week:
Michelle A. Gonzalez, Wendell Berry,
Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr
and Judyth Hill - whose thoughts come
to us courtesy of Sojourners Online.
On This Day:
January 26th - Feb. 1st
Come to us from the Archives of the
New York Times
India Declares Itself a Republic
Robert Frost Dies in Boston
Closing Thought - this week is from
Søren Kierkegaard the Danish philosopher
who writes of acting first, then reflecting.
I include information on the last remaining
class of mine to be started this winter -
Church and University Classes Just Beginning
My best to you. I hope you enjoy this issue
of Colleagues List!
IN SEARCH OF DEEP FAITH
A Pilgrimage into the Beauty,
Goodness and Heart of Christianity
by Jim Belcher
Inter-Varsity Press, 2013.
Paperback. 318 pages.
Publishers Promo -
Follow pastor Jim Belcher and his family
as they take a pilgrimage through Europe,
seeking substance for their faith in Christianity's
historic, civilizational home. What they find, in
places like Lewis's Oxford and Bonhoeffer's
Germany, are glimpses of another kind of faith
and - one with power to cut through centuries
and pierce our hearts today.
Grappling with his own questions, Jim Belcher
set out on a quest to see how the Christian faith
faces the challenges of the modern world and
answers the cries of the human soul. Seeking
renewal after a draining season of life, he and
his family spent a year traveling through Europe,
exploring the faith that has shaped civilizations
throughout the centuries. They rediscovered
key figures, places and events in the history of
Christianity, from C. S. Lewis's life at Oxford to
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's death in a concentration
camp. Through the experiences of William
Wilberforce, Vincent Van Gogh, Corrie ten
Boom and others, Belcher saw glimpses of
insight, beauty and courage that transcended
human limitations. He found himself surprised
by joy and compelled by faith.
Whether you are giving up on Christianity or
encountering it for the first time, you are invited
to come along on this pilgrimage. Even if you
are unsure of the destination, the journey
itself may take you far deeper than you could
After almost 20 years pastoring two congregations,
raising four children and finishing my first book, I
was tired and worn down—out of gas. I needed to
make a change, to find a way to regain my passion
for my calling.
While I was exhausted, my wife and I were also
worried about our four children and whether they
were developing a strong enough faith to last a
lifetime. Were they being more influenced by the
culture around them—the media, materialism and
friends—than by the story of Christianity and its
reality in their lives?
Then we hit on an idea. What if we traveled on
a pilgrimage for a year to England and Europe,
and studied and experienced the biographies
and places of some of the great heroes of the
faith—people like C.S Lewis, Sheldon Vanauken,
William Wilberforce, Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich
Bonhoeffer and Maria Von Trapp. Maybe this
could get my passion back for my calling and at
the same time help my children develop a deeper
faith—a faith that shaped their imaginations and
identities and futures.
So we left the comforts of Orange County, CA and
moved to Oxford, England. We didn’t have any
definite plans but upon arriving we discovered that
a pilgrimage has three components: to rediscover
our roots, to understand that life is a journey and
to know our ultimate destination. These three ideas
became our inspiration, shaping the themes we
pursued, revealing the heroes we studied, and
steering us across time and place. And as the
pilgrimage unfolded, day by day, month by month,
what we learned and experienced over the year
would startle us and surprise us and change us
forever. In Search of Deep Faith is the record of
this pilgrimage, an unfolding drama marked by
suspense and intrigue.
I hope you will take the journey with us and go
deeper into the faith than you could ever imagine.
It is heartening to read a book authored by
a former evangelical Protestant megachurch
pastor turned seminary professor Jim Belcher
that respects and demonstrates profound
consideration for some of the classic themes
of the Christian tradition.
I am particularly taken by the author's interest
in the meaning of 'pilgrimage'.
Early in the book Belcher writes: "This book is
about the pilgrimage my family took to England
and Europe from August 2010 to June 2011.
When we set out for Oxford, (my wife) Michelle
and I knew some of the lessons we wanted to
teach our children (who accompanied us), and
we had in mind a number of historical characters
we wanted to study and experience. But we had
only the vaguest idea of which ones we would
choose and what order we would follow."
Let me assure you, this is not the way I would
go about planning a trip to some of the grand
'Christian' centers and personalities of England
and Europe. I would be a more disciplined
planner! Each to his own, I guess.
That said, I am impressed by the author's
choice of the term - pilgrimage - for what they
were about to undertake. He quotes John Inge's
book "A Christian Theology of Place"(Ashgate
2003) to suggest (and here I repeat what he
has written above) that "a pilgrimage has three
components: to rediscover our roots, to
understand that life is a journey and to
know our ultimate destination."
"These three ideas became our inspiration,
shaping the themes we pursued, revealing
the heroes we studied, and steering us across
time and place." - from the Prologue.
Pilgrimage is a term and a practice that is
common to many of the great faith traditions
of our world. Christians have no corner on it.
But the Christian tradition is remarkably rich
in pilgrimage experience. A study of this
term from two millennia of Christian history
might help us expand and enhance some of
the meanings that Belcher has chosen for this
book. Still, he is a good writer, and adds a
lot of meat to the bones of a basic definition.
My wife and I have traveled to many of the
locations and also engaged a number of the
great spiritual personalities of this book.
It was nevertheless interesting to read
another perspective - and some good prose!
This suggests to me that important places
of religious significance and accompanying
personalities of great faith will appeal to
a broad spectrum of pilgrims - whatever
their background, experience in life, and
sources of information and inspiration.
We have found this to be true in our early
exposure to Islamic places and personalities.
I assume this is true for other faith traditions
I plan to lead a study of this book for
faculty, staff and students at my university
this coming Lent and am grateful for such
a helpful resource.
You might be encouraged to do something
similar to the Belchers (even unplanned
as they did!)
Secure this book from Amazon.ca:
The Naked Woman on an Altar"
See Colleagues List Net Note, Jan. 19th, 2014
San Antonio, TX
"HOLINESS, WHOLENESS, DEPRESSION"
Chair of Christian Thought, U of C
The Iwaasa Lecture on Urban Theology
Panel on the Issue of
Homeless Youth in Calgary
A complex approach to
understanding and relating
to homeless young people.
Monday, February 3, 2014 at 7:30pm
Central United Church,
131-7th Avenue SW, Calgary
Danene Lenstra & Shannon Jones
Alex Youth Health Centre
Alina Turner Turner Research & Strategy Inc.
Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff
Professor of Social Work at University
of Calgary and member of the Canadian
Homelessness Research Network (CHRN)
former homeless youth, author of Radical Hope
In Youth Recovery Coalition
PW TALKS WITH THOMAS MOORE
Care of the Soul Author Coming to Calgary
Publisher's Weekly Religion Online
January 29th, 2014
NO HELL, PRIESTS OR PUNISHMENT
Millennials Create Own Religion
January 29th, 2014
NOAH'S ARK 'ORIGINAL' WAS ROUND
4,000 Year-Old Evidence of Story
January 27th, 2014
BISHOPS MUST REJECT HOMOPHOBIA
Call to Two African Anglican Churches
The Guardian, UK
January 26th, 2014
SEPARATING EVIL ARTISTS FROM GREAT ART
A Challenge for Discriminating People
January 29th, 2014
UKRAINE CHURCH URGES RETURN TO PEACE
Bridge Gap Between Government, Revolution
January 28th, 2014
UTAH POLITICIAN BREAKS WITH
Wants to Liberalize
State Drinking Laws
The Christian Post
January 30th, 2014
IS FRENCH QUEBEC BIASED
Reflecting on Current
Secular Values Legislation
by Jonathan Napier, U. of Calgary
January 23rd, 2013
ST.JACOBS SCULPTOR HAS STATUE
BLESSED BY POPE
Canadian In Rome for the Event
Christian Week Online
January 22nd, 014
THE CHALLENGES OF ECUMENISM
IN ISRAEL, PALESTINE
Christians in this Region are
More Diverse than Assumed
by Paul Parker
January 30th, 2014
WISDOM OF THE WEEK
Provided by Sojourners Online
"Through our relationship with God, our fellow
human beings, and the rest of creation, we reflect
the image of God within us. ... Male and female
reflect the image of God equally and express this
image through their own historical, social, and
- Michelle A. Gonzalez
"Nobody can discover the world for somebody
else. Only when we discover it for ourselves
does it become common ground and a common
bond and we cease to be alone."
- Wendell Berry
"There is a light in this world, a healing
spirit more powerful than any darkness
may encounter. We sometimes lose sight
of this force when there is suffering, too
much pain. Then suddenly the spirit will
emerge through the lives of ordinary
people who hear a call and answer in
- Mother Teresa
"He who passively accepts evil is as much
involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
He who accepts evil without protesting against
it is really cooperating with it."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wage peace. Never has the word seemed so
fresh and precious: Have a cup of tea and
rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived.
- Judyth Hill
ON THIS DAY
From the Archives of
the New York Times
Jan. 26th - Feb. 1st
INDIA DECLARES ITSELF A REPUBLIC
ROBERT FROST DIES IN BOSTON
CLOSING THOUGHT - Søren Kierkegaard:
Christ says: Do according to what I say –
then you shall know. Consequently,
decisive action first of all. By acting,
your life will come into collision with
existence, and then you will know the
reality of grace. Nowadays we have
turned the whole thing around.
Christianity has become a worldview.
Thus, before I get involved I must first
justify it. Good night to Christianity!
CLASSES STILL TO BEGIN WINTER, 2014
Contact Wayne Holst 403-286-2416
At the University:
LENTEN FRIDAY NOON FACULTY,
STAFF AND STUDENT STUDY
"In Search of Deep Faith" -
A Pilgrimage Among People and Places of Europe
by Jim Belcher, IVP, paperback. 2013.
February 27th - April 3rd, 2014
Six Fridays, 12-1PM. Native Centre Board Room,
Co-sponsored by St. David's United and the
U. of C. Faith and Spirituality Centre.
More information to appear shortly.