Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Colleagues List, February 1st, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 25



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.


Dear Friends:

This week, I share my notes taken
from a talk at the Banff Centre by
Canadian political commentator,
author and columnist -

Gwynne Dyer, who spoke on
"The New World Disorder"

I hope you find it helpful.

Please scroll down to read my words.

Colleague Comments this week
are from:

Janice L. Meighan (Toronto, ON)
Lance Woodruff (Bangkok, Thailand)

Scroll down to read their notes to me.


Colleague Communications this week
are from:

Beth Porter (Richmond Hill ON)
"A Human Future - L'Arche Jubilee"

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX)
"The Positive Side of Melancholy"
Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC)
"Flaws in the Justice System"

Doug Shantz (Calgary AB)
Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary

"Panel on Addressing Poverty in Calgary:
Issues, Challenges, Strategies"


Net Notes are as follows:

"Season of Adventists" - a helpful
report on the global spread of the
Seventh Day Adventist Church
(Christianity Today)

"Peers Feted at Launch" - the former
primate of the Anglican Church in Canada
helped to launch a book of testimonials
to him (Anglican Journal News)

"My Struggles With the Creed" - a
regular church attendee has problems
reciting the creed (Christian Century)

"Journalist Detained in China" - more
news about Christian persecution in
China (Radio Free China)

"Islam Must Open Itself to Critique" - a
helpful article on a truth that needs to
be told after Charlie Hebdo (Sightings)

"Richard O'Brien, Catholic Firebrand, Dies" -
a liberal, and very wise interpreter of the
contemporary Catholic Church for many of us
(New York Times, National Catholic Reporter)

"Magna Carta Reflects Christian Influence" -
as this famous document in Western history
reaches 800 years, some commentary on it
(The Christian Post)

"Support Shown Ukrainian Reformed Church" -
there are other Christian communions in
the Ukraine besides the Orthodox and Catholic.
Here is a story about another tradition there
(World Communion of Reformed Churches)

"Obama Warns India Over Religious Division" -
when the US president spoke in India this week
he gave good advice, but will it be heeded?
(UCA News)

"Skull Fossil Provides New Evolutionary Links" -
an interesting report on what is described as a
major link  between Neanderthals and Humans
(New York Times)


Wisdom of the Week:

Provided by Sojourners and Bruderhof online -

Rowan Williams, Corrie Ten Boom,
Kahlil Gibran, Augustine and
Anne Lamott share their thoughts


On This Day:

From the Archives of the New York Times -

"India Declares Itself a Republic"

"Robert Frost Dies in Boston"

"Mahatma Gandhi Murdered by a Hindu"


Closing Thought - by Mahandas K. Gandhi

Please scroll down to read him.


For those interested in our activities -

Winter 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary


Thanks for reading Colleagues List this week.



Notes from a Talk
by Gwynne Dyer
at the Banff Centre
January 27th, 2015 -


Gwynne Dyer is a Canadian,
London-based, independent 
journalist, columnist and writer
on war history.

Here is his Wikipedia biography:

Here is his website:

Periodically, he comes to the
Banff Centre to give well-attended
talks on global issues.

This past week Marlene and I
heard his presentation on the
theme noted above, and I took
notes on what he said.

We found his insights helpful
and we hope you find them of
value also.


Two things need to be kept in mind when
reading Dyer. The first is that he is an
independent Canadian writer. The second
is that he said he did not envision the fall
of the Berlin Wall.


The Islamic State and new wave terrorism,
Russia in the Ukraine and new Cold War threats,
and the rise of China - these are not major issues
to worry about. Population growth and climate
change - these are major concerns for our future.


1. The New Wave of Terrorism

Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) claims territory
about the size of the UK in barren parts of Iraq and
Syria with a population of 5 million. Are we in for a
terrorized world? Actually, the area under IS control
is not of much consequence. But how much harm can
they do? I don't believe the Islamic State is going to
go much beyond where it is now.

It is a phenomenon of limited power and is the
consequence of the failed allied invasion of Iraq.
The terrorist attacks are not to hurt us, but to gain
power in Arab states like Iraq. (This is what Bin
Laden did. His goal was power in Saudi Arabia.
He did things to get our attention and make us
invade places like Afghanistan and Iraq.)

Terrorist attacks are actually "recruiting tools" by
revolutionaries who want to take over their own
countries. Our reaction to Bin Laden was to attack
Arab countries but he succeeded and we failed.
Ultimately, 9/11 didn't work, but Bush invaded
Iraq - a catastrophe in an Arab country. The result
is ISIL.

The terrorists have gained recruits in poor Arab
countries with 50% unemployment and some
misguided youth in other places, but ultimately
much of this response is misguided. Very few
fighters and terrorists know "the real plan" of
ISIL leadership - which is - get Western forces
to attack Muslim nations so the "strategists" can
have a chance to get into power there.

Is it possible that we are "tools" in someone else's
strategy? So far, casualties have been dramatic
but small in number. We must not give the terrorists
what they want. We must not over-react.

In the larger scheme of things, the Arab world
represents 10% of the world's population and
3% of its wealth. Doesn't that tell us something?


2. The New Cold War

We don't have the old Russia any more. Today's
Russia has half the population of the old USSR,
it is de-industrialized, with little except oil and gas.
It is not the threat it once was.

Putin has been pushing the envelope but many of
his own people are advising him not to go too far.
Putin is too wise to over-extend himself.

The Ukraine has been a case study in bumbling.
The biggest concern Russia has is the threat of
invasion - indelibly etched in the nation's experience.
From the Central Asian hordes to Napoleon to Germany
in two world wars - the Russian mindset is focused
on defense. Russia  needs "buffer zones" to lessen the
impact of invasion. The Ukraine is an important part
of this defensive strategy.

Ukraine has fifty million people. Most in the western
part of the country want to be part of the West. That
means the EU, NATO, etc. The West has been wise
not to irritate Russia with admission to these groups.

There are some eastern Ukrainians who are Russian,
speak Russian and have Russian dreams. These
eastern regions have built industrial and resource
(coal, steel) relations with Russia and don't want
to lose their jobs. But only Russia buys their stuff.

Joining the EU would "close down" the eastern
Ukraine. Russia sees any move by the West to
support the majority Ukraine as a plot. That is
why it moved to take over the Crimea (that is
80% Russian.) But these moves have gotten
Russia into the dog house economically.

This should not be viewed as Russian territorial
expansionism. Putin over-reacted. It is now
a matter of him having to save face.

Russia cannot afford another Cold War. But
they want a strong leader, and Putin does not
want to appear weak. He won't go far with this.
Russia really does not want the Ukraine. It has
enough of its own troubles. This is a containable
crisis that is much smaller than it appears.


3. The Rise of China

Just one point. China is afraid of regional warfare
with countries like Korea and Japan. This is
not unlike the rival nationalisms of Europe in the
late 19th - early 20th centuries.

There are regional (not global) war threats, but
nobody wants war, however. The border issues
are inconsequential. We need to be cautious,
but not overly concerned about China.



The following two issues are not fast-moving
and have little drama associated with them.
But population and climate change will emerge
as the real issues of the 21st century.

1. Global Population

Several decades ago, global population was to
have levelled off at 9.5 billion (with China at 1.3
and India at 2.3 billion) Now, the UN says we
will reach 12 billion in this century. That is twice
what we are now.

This is terrifying for Africa which has 1 billion now
and will have 4 billion by 2100. Unless something
major happens, calamity will ensue in Africa.
Millions will die. There will be waves of refugees.
But this is a slow process. African leaders are
not paying attention. What will we do with all
those refugees?


2. Global Warming

Early on, there was a lot of climate talk, but little
action has resulted. We can trigger things in
nature that we can't stop. Once there is a 2.2%
level of carbon in the atmosphere, there will be
no turning back.

This point can be reached in 15-20 years.

I do not see any hope in a political solution,
but can there be other interventions we can't
predict at this point?

Other major threats in the past have not occurred.
There have been no nuclear wars in 70 years.

I have been surprized before, but the climate
change issue is major.


Comments noted from the Q&A Session:

1. Don't send Canadian soldiers to silly
    foreign wars. Even if it makes us look
    as though we are not 'doing something.'

2. Nobody wants Alberta to be poor, but
    in the next 20-30 years, Alberta will have
    to adjust the sources of its economy.
    If oil prices stay low, Alberta will have
    to re-think a lot of things. Alberta, and
    Canada as a whole - will need to move
    beyond resource extraction as the
    foundation of its economy.

    Switzerland has done it.
    Sales tax? Carbon tax?

3. Measuring a successful economy by growth
    criteria is a poor measure. We need to move
    from "growth" to "well-being" measurements.

 4. Nobody is going to invade us. The Americans
    may sometimes appear to be weird, but
    they are not dangerous.

5. Where can we find innovative ideas to help
    us deal with some of these major problems
    in our future?

   Open our post-secondary institutions and
   universities to many more foreign students.
   The payoff could be amazing.

Dyer's latest book is entitled:

"Canada in the Great Power Game 1914-2014"




Toronto, ON

January 24th, 2015

Hi Wayne,

I'm glad to hear of your good health news.

Thank you for sharing it.

In this abundant blessing.

Best regards,

Editor's Note:  Janice is the author of
"Feisty and Fearless" a biography of
Lois Wilson.

I presume Janice considers
Colleagues List a blessing!



Bangkok, Thailand

January 28th, 2015


I see you in a God-given and God-blessed
ministry as a teacher and pastor.

You are God-sent to me, a reluctant
dragging follower of Jesus, much more
willing to talk than act...

Lance, in Bangkok, soon moving to

after many false starts.





Richmond Hill ON

A Human Future -

"Celebrating L'Arches's Jubilee Year"
(click Issue 1, 2015)


San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
January 26th, 2015

"The Positive Side of Melancholy"


Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
January 25th, 2014

"Flaws in the Justice System"


Calgary, AB.

Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary

The Iwaasa Lecture on Urban Theology

Panel on Addressing Poverty in Calgary:
Issues, Challenges, Strategies

Monday, February 2, 2015 at 7:30pm
Grace Presbyterian Church
1009 15 Ave SW, Calgary

Derek Cook
Former Executive Director
Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative

Darrell Howard
Community Facilitator,
Vibrant Communities Calgary

Jeff Loomis
Executive Director, Momentum:
Community Economic Development Society



Global Denomination Booming

Christianity Today
January 22nd, 2015


"More Than I Can Say" Testimonials

Anglican Church of Canada News
January 23rd, 2015


Believe It or Not

The Christian Century
January 26th, 2015


Reporting on Religious Persecution

Radio Free Asia
January 26th, 2015


After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

January 29th, 2015


Wrote Progressive Theology
Read by Many Thoughtful People

New York Times
January 29th, 2015

"Richard O'Brien Dies at 78"

National Catholic Reporter
January 25th, 2015


800th Anniversary Noted

The Christian Post
January 26th, 2015



World Communion of
Reformed Churches Website
January 13th, 2015


Advises the Nation 
Against Partisan Politics

UCA News
January 26th, 2015

"Indian Minority Christians and Muslims
  Fear President's Advice Will Be Ignored"

UCA News
January 30th, 2015


Connects Humans Migrating
from Africa to Europe

New York Times
January 29th, 2015



Provided by Sojourners
and Bruderhof Online

Our present ecological crisis, the
biggest single practical threat to
our human existence in the middle
to long term, has, religious people
would say, a great deal to do with
our failure to think of the world as
existing in relation to the mystery
of God, not just as a huge warehouse
of stuff to be used for our convenience.

- Bishop Rowan Williams


Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door
of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It
is a power that breaks the chain of bitterness
and the shackles of selfishness.

- Corrie Ten Boom


And when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth
shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

- Kahlil Gibran


The way to Christ is first through humility,
second through humility, and third through
humility. If humility does not precede and
accompany and follow every good work we
do, if it is not before us to focus on, it it is
not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind
us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our
hand any good deed we do at the very
moment we do it.

- Augustine


Laughter is carbonated holiness.

- Anne Lamott



From the Archives of the New York Times

"India Declares Itself a Republic"

"Robert Frost Dies in Boston"

"Mahatma Gandhi Murdered by a Hindu"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Mahatma Gandhi

Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be
swept away  before the tide of time. I must
continue to bear testimony to truth even if
I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a
voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard

when all other voices are silenced, if it is
the voice of truth.



Winter 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary:


January 12nd – March 23rd, 2015
7-00-9:00PM TM Room. Ten Weeks.
(Family Day Monday exempted)

“Fields of Blood: Religion and

  the History of Violence”
  by Karen Armstrong

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

Registration $60.00. Book only $25.00

This study is now in progress.
Forty books sold.

Youtube link:

January 22nd - March 26th, 2015. Ten Weeks.
10:00-11:00AM TM Room

"Romans and James -

  Foundations for Christian
  Thought and Living"
  Study Leader: Wayne Holst

No charge.

Study resource -
The DK Complete Bible Handbook

This study has begun.



"Jerusalem and the Land of Three Great Faiths"
  October 16th - 31st, 2015

Hardcopy tour details brochure
is available in the church lobby.

Tour Company: Rostad Tours Calgary

Tour Hosts: Wayne and Marlene Holst
Sponsored by: St. David's ACTS Ministry
Endorsed by: St. David's Church Council

Talk with or write to Marlene and Wayne

Save $300. if deposit paid by March 31st.



Interfaith Chaplains' Book Studies
for faculty, students, staff, and
campus guests - Winter, 2015

"Simply Christian" by N.T. Wright

Book Study Co-Sponsored by:
The Faith and Spirituality Centre,
University of Calgary and
The ACTS Ministry,
St. David's United Church, Calgary

Native Centre Board Room
McEwan Student Centre
Fridays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM. Five sessions.
Feb. 20th, 27th, March 6th, 13th, 20th

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

Study Leader: Dr. Wayne A. Holst
Book cost $20.00


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