Saturday, September 20, 2014

Collegues List, September 21st, 2014

Vol. X.  No. 8



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
the blog. 

Note that not all items here have links.


Dear Friends:

Another busy week with many of our
fall programs beginning. After an early
taste of winter snow two weeks ago,
we're once again enjoying beautiful 
early fall weather here in Calgary.

We've had a very strong increase in
Colleagues List website hits following
our focus last week on Joan Chittister.
She certainly is a popular lady!

I must apologise for the dead link that a
number of you reported from last week's
mailing. If you missed that issue and
Joan Chittister's new book notice, here 
is a new link to use:

If ever that should happen again, just
Google "Colleagues List" and the current
issue will appear for you.


My Special Item for this week is a book
notice for another American Catholic
writer: "Eager to Love - the Alternative
Way of St. Francis of Assisi" by Richard Rohr.

I know you will appreciate his new book.

To read this item, please scroll down.


Colleague Contributions this week are by
two of our regulars:

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) writes:
"On How We React to Criticism and Opposition"

Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) writes:
"Air Strikes Can't Defeat an Ideology"


Net Notes:

"Landing in Sicily" - many thousands of North
African refugees, trying to reach Europe, are
pouring into this island nation (America)

"The Case for Mercy" - Pope Francis is again
making headlines with his indication of a
more compassionate approach to divorced
people. Traditional policy has driven many
otherwise faithful Catholics from the church.

"Review of 'Sacred Fire'" - here is a first
review of colleague Ron Rolheiser's latest
book (National Catholic Reporter)

"I Survived a Short-Term Mission Trip" -
an interesting article on how one person
handled a church-sponsored mission trip
to Honduras (Sightings)

"'Fields of Blood' - by Karen Armstrong" -
the famous writer has appeared once more
with a book that many of us wish did not
have to be written, but are grateful the
author has taken on the unhappy history
of religion and violence (The Tablet, UK)

"Where Were the Dinosaurs in Noah's Ark?"
- a secular journalist visits the creationist
museum in Kentucky and reports on his
findings (The Atlantic Online)

"Wycliffe Translators Have Big Assignment" -
the largest biblical translation organization
reports that the Bible is not yet translated,
in whole or in part, into 1870 of the earth's
living languages, but they are working on it 
(The Christian Post)

"Lutheran-Mennonite Dialogue on Peace Issues" -
the international bodies of both traditions continue
to work together after the Lutherans apologized
for the historical persecution of Anabaptists
(Lutheran World News)

"Salmond to Go After Scottish 'No' Vote Victory" -
the big news this week was the vote by Scots
to remain in the United Kingdom. Here are
a series of reports (BBC, The Atlantic Online,
The Tablet UK, National Geographic)

"England's John Oliver Spoof on Scot Referendum"
- of course, there was humour, as well as much
seriousness - over this historic referendum
(Youtube via Sojourners)


Wisdom of the Week - comes via Sojourners and
Bruderhof Online, and we thank them -

Mahatma Gandhi, Oscar Romero, Joan Chittister,
Wendell Berry, Søren Kierkegaard, Henri Nouwen
and C.S. Lewis

Please scroll down to read their insights.


Closing Thought - is from Madeleine L’Engle

Again, please scroll down to read her thoughts.


Our teaching programs are beginning
and below please find a listing of the
particulars, if you are interested -

Fall 2014 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary


Best wishes for your week, and please
let me know of any further link problems.




Book Notice -

The Alternative Way
of St. Francis of Assisi

by Richard Rohr, 2014
Franciscan Media, 294 pp.
Hardcover $24.00 CAD.
Kindle $9.99 CAD
ISBN #978-1-61636-701-5

Publisher's Promo:

Francis of Assisi, one of the most beloved
of all saints, was at once very traditional
and entirely revolutionary in the ways of
holiness. As a standing paradox, he both
stood barefoot on the earth and yet touched
the heavens; he was grounded in the church
and yet instinctively moved toward the cosmos;
he lived happily inside the visible and tangible,
and yet both suffered and rejoiced in the invisible.
Rohr places the tradition as first practiced by
Francis, and subsequently by others, within a
context for the uninitiated audience. This is not
a historical accounting, but rather a perspective
about how the alternative orthodoxy can deepen
spiritual life for anyone, whether Catholic,
Protestant, Jewish, secular, or spiritual seeker.

"Eager to Love" is grounded in the Gospels,
the prophets, a broad blend of psychology and
theology, and in literature and art, to continue
to communicate through all the sources that
articulate specific alternative ways of
understanding God with us.


Author's Bio:

Richard Rohr is a globally recognised Catholic
and Christian teacher focusing on mystical and
transformational traditions and is the founder
and director of the Center for Action and
Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
home of the Rohr Institute.

He is the author of more than twenty books,
including Yes, And... Daily Meditations;
Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self;
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves
of Life; and Breathing Under Water: Spirituality
and the Twelve Steps.


Author's Words:

Francis of Assisi was master of making room for
the new and letting go of the tired or empty. Much
of Francis' genius was that he was ready for absolute
"newness" from God and could also trust fresh and
new attitudes in himself...(The visible world provides
a doorway to the invisible world.)

In this book, I want to share with you one of the
most attractive, appealing and accessible of all
frames and doorways to the divine. It is called the
Franciscan way after the man who first exemplified
it - Francis, who lived in Assisi, Italy, from 1182 to
1226 CE. Francis and Clare, (his female religious 
associate) - when overly romanticised - can be
"dismissed too easily" (as Francis was not what
he has been too lightly made out to be by would-be
followers, even in our own time.)

Church and world. He was totally at home in both.
He and Clare were both very eager to love both,
and they knew that dying to the old and unneeded
was an essential part of living this love at any depth.

You too can let Francis and Clare show you how to
die into your one and only life, the life you must
learn to love... (I try to help them do this in my

The Franciscan way is to view the Gospel not as
a fire insurance policy for the next world but a life
insurance policy for this world...

My hope and desire in writing this book is that
you can know heaven on your own too, and now!

- from the Preface (with editorial licence)


My Thoughts:

(In the June 8th issue of Colleagues List
 I introduced the 90 page study guide -
"Embracing an Alternative Orthodoxy:
 Richard Rohr on the Legacy of St. Francis"

In a way, the current book under consideration
and the "how to" guide just noted have appeared in
reverse order for whatever reason. At least now,
with the appearance of both volumes, we have 
from Rohr a spirituality that is both theoretical
and practical).


For those unfamiliar with Rohr's writing what
we have in this book is an introduction to
mysticism - one of his specialties. The mystical
way of living the faith is common to all the
great religious traditions and is also one of the
key linkages between them.

Read what Rohr writes about this.

We used to say - in Christian ecumenical
circles - "doctrine divides, service unites"
and this helped us to work together for
social justice causes with many different
Christians as well as non-believers.

Now, we might say the same about the
phenomenon of mysticism, it seems to me.
"Doctrine divides, mysticism unites,"  - and
this helps us to find common spiritual cause
with people of many faiths or no faith.

What Rohr is able to share with us is really
nothing new. It is almost a thousand years
old, since the time of St. Francis.  And yet,
because of its nature, it can reflect a very
contemporary way of living.

Rohr describes the meaning of mysticism.
He suggests contemplation is reasonable
but not rational - a different way of knowing.
It is an integrative, rather than an exclusivist
way of understanding reality. It does not
focus on right vs. wrong, positive vs. negative
or male vs. female like so much of our inherited

Franciscan spirituality as interpreted by Rohr,
engages some important contemporary themes -
like atonement theory, eco-spirituality, the
Christ who existed before Christianity and the
Christ who will live beyond it, an approach to
Islam, and living like Jesus lived.

I continue to marvel at the way Rohr helps
us to see that there are within the Christian
tradition many untapped resources that
we did not know existed.

I recommend this book. Whether you are
new to Richard Rohr or a veteran of others
he has written, this title continues the
spiritual journey of a modern pilgrim - 
grounded in good tradition - who is not
afraid to confront challenges to Christianity
today, and very open to new ways the Spirit
is guiding us.


A Review Summary:

Rohr's attempt is to deepen contemporary
spirituality by linking it to Christian mysticism
and the contemplative tradition.

In "Eager to Love" he reclaims the mysticism
inherent in the Franciscan legacy and offers
it as an alternative to the hierarchical,
patriarchal and authoritarian Christianity
that he suggests has primary responsibility
for so much contemporary agnosticism in the
West... He is building a bridge between the
Christian mystical tradition and estranged
seekers of every ilk.

The book contains Rohr's reflections on the
best aspects of the Franciscan heritage as
lived out by its founder and its early worthies -
Clare, Bonaventure and Dun Scotus.

The message of Francis offers an alternative
way of life, a different way of knowing
and a pedagogy that teaches through living
rather than through creedal affirmation.

According to Rohr, the starting point for Francis
was not the reality of human sinfulness but
rather human suffering. The Franciscan way
is prophetic rather than priestly.

Rohr admits that he is not a scholar but a
popularizer who is laying out a different
approach to the inherited Christian tradition.
His treatment, he acknowledges, is not

Rohr both values the institutional church
and suggests ways to survive within it. He
admonishes Christians give priority to Jesus
and his message which we inherit through
Scripture and theological tools offered
through the church.

Francis was not a theologian, but a living
illumination of one open to the love of
God and eager to love God and all God's
creation, especially the most lowly.

The church of the future will be mystical,
the author believes, and Rohr is attempting
to drive that message home.

- Dana Greene, National Catholic Reporter
  July 23rd, 2014


Buy the book from



San Antonio,TX

Personal Web Site
September 15th, 2014

"On How We React
  to Criticism and Opposition"

(Note Ron's Website Health Update)


Okanagan BC

Personal Web Site
September 15th, 2014

"Air Strikes Can't Defeat an Ideology"



Thousands of Refugees

America Magazine
September 29th, 2014


Francis on Divorce, Remarriage

The Tablet, UK
September 18th, 2019

"Experts Defend Pope's Stance on
  Couples 'Living in Sin'"

Catholic News Service
September 17th, 2014

"Reclaiming Francis: How the Saint
  and the Pope are Renewing the Church"

Englewood Review of Books
September 19th, 2014


Latest by Colleague Ron Rolheiser

National Catholic Reporter
September 17th, 2014


My Destination was Honduras

September 18th, 2014


Religion and the History of Violence (review)

The Tablet, UK
September 18th, 2014


Probing a Quest for Traditional Social Order?

The Atlantic Online
September 16th, 20124


Translating 1870 Remaining Human Tongues

Christian Post
September 19th, 2014


Comitted to Moving Ahead

Lutheran World News
September 17th, 2014


Live Resignation Speech

BBC News
September 19th, 2014

"Pictures of Scotland's Big Decision"

  The Atlantic Online
  September 17th, 2014

"UK Church Leaders Urge Scottish Cooperation
  After the Vote to Remain United"

  The Tablet, UK
  September 19th, 2014

"Voting Assessment from National Geographic"
  September 19th, 2014



September14th, 2014


Provided by Sojourners and
the Bruderhof Online

In prayer it is better to have a heart
without words than words without a heart.

- Mahatma Gandhi


We must overturn so many idols, the idol
of self first of all, so that we can be humble,
and only from our humility can learn to be
redeemers, can learn to work together in
the way the world really needs. Liberation
that raises a cry against others is no true
liberation. Liberation that means revolutions
of hate and violence and takes the lives of
others or abases the dignity of others
cannot be true liberty. True liberty does
violence to self and, like Christ, who
disregarded that he was sovereign,
becomes a slave to serve others.   

- Oscar Romero


Try saying this silently to everyone and
everything you see for thirty days: "I
wish you happiness now and whatever
will bring happiness to you in the future."
If we said it to the sky, we would have to
stop polluting; if we said it when we see
ponds and lakes and streams, we would
have to stop using them as garbage dumps
and sewers; if we said it to small children,
we would have to stop abusing them, even
in the name of training; if we said it to people,
we would have to stop stoking the fires
of enmity around us. Beauty and human

warmth would take root in us like a clear,
hot June day. We would change.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. The only
place outside Heaven where you can be
perfectly safe from all the dangers and
perturbations of love is Hell.

- Joan Chittister


Laughter is immeasurable. 
Be joyful though you have
considered all the facts.

- Wendell Berry


To love God is the only happy love, but on
the other hand it is also something terrible.

Face to face with God we are without
standards and without comparisons; we
cannot compare ourselves with God, for
here we become nothing, and directly before
God, in the presence of God, we dare not
compare ourselves with others. Therefore I
n every person there is a prudent fear of
having anything to do with God, because
by becoming involved with God we become

- Søren Kierkegaard


When we honestly ask ourselves which
persons in our lives mean the most to us,
we often find that it is those who, instead
of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have
chosen rather to share our pain and touch
our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
The friend who can be silent with us in a
moment of despair or confusion, who can stay
with us in an hour of grief and bereavement,
who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not
healing and face with us the reality of our
powerlessness, that is a friend who care

- Henri Nouwen


Do not waste time bothering whether you
'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As
soon as we do this we find one of the great
secrets. When you are behaving as if you
loved someone, you will presently come
to love [that person].

- C.S. Lewis


CLOSING THOUGHT - Madeleine L’Engle

Sometimes the very walls of our churches
separate us from God and each other. In
our various naves and sanctuaries we are
safely separated from those outside, from
other denominations, other religions, separated
from the poor, the ugly, the dying.…

The house of God is not a safe place. It is a
cross where time and eternity meet, and
where we are – or should be – challenged
to live more vulnerably, more interdependently.



Fall 2014 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary:

September 15th - November 24th
7-00-9:00PM TM Room
(Thanksgiving Day exempted)

"A Fair Country" by John Ralston Saul

"Medicine Walk" by  Richard Wagamese

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

Link to study:


December 1st
7:00-9:15PM TM Room
Sponsored by the Bible Study Group

"From Jesus to Christ" -
  How Jesus Became God
  A PBS Video Series  - Part Two
  (total of two hours in length)

Hospitality and discussion

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

All welcome. Hospitality donation only


(Twelve Weeks)

September 18th - December 4th
10:00-11:00AM TM Room

"From Jesus to Christ III -
  A Study of the Book of Acts"

Led by Wayne Holst
No charge.

Study resource -
The DK Complete Bible Handbook



Interfaith Chaplains' Book Studies
For faculty, students, staff, campus guests -

Fall 2014

Native Centre Board Room
McEwan Student Centre

Fridays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Oct 17, 24, 31, Nov 7, 14, 21
(six sessions)

"Everything Belongs:
 The Gift of Contemplative Prayer"
  by Richard Rohr.

Participants are encouraged to attend
all six sessions. However, you may attend
one or more sessions on a drop-in basis.

Book cost $15.00


No comments:

Post a Comment