Sunday, September 13, 2015

Colleagues List, September 13th, 2015

Vol. XI.  No. 6



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:

My Colleagues List Special Item for the week
is a book by one of America's most famous
Jewish rabbis - Harold Kushner.

He has just published -

"Nine Essential Things I've Learned About Life"

- a summary reflection on his spiritual evolution
  and I hope that you might consider it.

To read the book themes and my reflection on it,
please scroll down


Colleague Contributions this week are from -

Martin Marty (Chicago) - writes of Ashley Madison
and the fallout, especially in evangelical churches
but as a cautionary tale for many:


Elfrieda Schroeder (Winnipeg) - invites us to
reflect upon:

"Costly Loving"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan) - provides two articles
for us this week:

"If You Couldn't Use Words at All" (and)

"Telling Them They Can Get Away With It"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio) - suggests we consider:

"God’s Ineffability – What’s Revealed in Jesus’ Eyes?"


Net Notes:

"Hummingbird's Tongue" - a beautiful production
of a natural wonder (New York Times Video)
September 8th, 2015


"Syria's Refugee Problem" - not just a Near Eastern
or European, but a global problem requiring a
global solution (The Guardian, UK)


"Will a Picture Awaken Us?" - a reflection on
a striking picture that sent a message around
the world. We slumber through a major refugee 
crisis, says this perspective from England
(The Tablet, UK)


"We Must Do More for Refugees" - yet another
call to action, this time from (America Magazine)

Then, a critique of the Harper government response
(Associated Press)


"Primate's Message to Elizabeth II" - a  milestone
was reached for the British monarchy, and the
Canadian Anglican leader wrote her majesty


"Fethullah Gulen Issues Legal Warning" - a
Turkish spiritual leader, living in exile in the
USA,  has reacted to political abuse by the
government leadership back home in Turkey
(Gulen website)


"Towering New York City Lights of 9/11" -
a dramatic video presentation from Manhattan
(New York Times video and article)


"Remembering Some 'Other' 9/11 Victims" -
a reminder that, among others,  many Muslims
were victims in the Twin Towers (Sojourners)


"Canada's Residential School Story Taught" -
in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission Report tabled this summer,
school curricula are now telling the story
to Canadian youth (


"'Comfort Women' and Japanese Religions" -
here is a war crimes story from the Far East
with which Japan still has to come to terms.
Can religion help? (Sightings/Marty Center)


Wisdom of the Week:

Maya Angelou, Terry Eagleton, Dorothy Sayers
Pope Francis, Christopher D. Marshall and
Sadhu Sundar Singh

- offer good thoughts, so just scroll down
  to read what they have to say.


On This Day - comes from the archives
of the New York Times:

"Infamous Day -
  Attackers Hit Twin Towers and Pentagon"

"Steven Biko Dies in South African Police Custody"

"German Blitz Begins Over London"

"Mao Dies in Beijing"


Closing Thought -  this week is from Dorothy Day

Please scroll to the end of the blog to read her.


Our New Program Planning Season Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs through St. David's

United Church, Calgary.

For Those Interested scroll to the blog's end.


Book Notice:

by Harold S. Kushner
Knopf Canada, Sept. 1st, 2015
$19.40 CAD. 171 pages. Hardcopy.
ISBN #978-0-385-35409-7

Publisher's Promo:

From the beloved author of When Bad Things
Happen to Good People, deeply moving and
illuminating reflections on what it means to
live a good life. 

As a congregational rabbi for half a century

and the best-selling author of twelve books
on faith, ethics, and how to apply the timeless
wisdom of religious thought to everyday
challenges, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner has
demonstrated time and again his understanding
of the human spirit. In this compassionate new
work, his most personal since When Bad Things
Happen to Good People, Kushner relates how
his time as a twenty-first-century rabbi has
shaped his senses of religion and morality.

He elicits nine essential lessons from the
sum of his teaching, study, and experience,
offering a lifetime’s worth of spiritual food
for thought, pragmatic advice, inspiration
for a more fulfilling life, and strength for
trying times.

With fresh, vital insight into belief (“there

is no commandment in Judaism to believe
in God”), conscience (the Garden of Eden
story as you’ve never heard it), and mercy
(forgiveness is “a favor you do yourself, not
an undeserved gesture to the person who
hurt you”), grounded in Kushner's brilliant
readings of Scripture, history, and popular
culture, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned
About Life is compulsory reading from one
of modern Judaism’s foremost sages.

Distilling the wisdom of an extraordinary

career, this profoundly inspiring yet practical
guide to well-being is truly the capstone to
Kushner’s luminous oeuvre.


Author's Words:

This book is in part a memoir, a description
of the path I followed as a rabbi, and of the
challenge my wife and I faced when our son
was diagnosed with an incurable illness.

It is also the story of how organized religion,
in all of its branches and formulations, has
changed over the course of my lifetime.

The religion I teach and practice is very
different from the religion I was taught.
I blame no one for this change except
perhaps the calendar. I was born in 1935.
Most of my teachers in rabbinical school
had been born in the nineteenth century.
Most of my congregants were born in the last
third of the twentieth century, and many of
their children in the twenty-first. Rethinking
religion and theology to address the spiritual
needs of that generation has been the
defining issue of my rabbinate and underlies
much of what I write about in this book...

I am grateful to the Source of all my spiritual
insight and understanding, for giving me the
ability to recognize where people hurt and
giving me the language to ease their pain.

- from the Preface


My Thoughts:

I always find it intriguing and worthwhile 
to attend to the mature spoken or written
words of persons - male and female - of
various spiritual traditions. This is also true
for those claiming no religious tradition.
I may not always agree with them, but
all can offer insights that guide my life.

Here, without specific comment, are
'nine essential things'  that Kushner has
learned about life:

1. In the twenty-first century, the
    religious agenda will be set not by
    the tradition's answers but by
    congregants' questions.

2. God is not a man who lives in the sky.

3. God does not send the problem; God
    sends us the strength to deal with
    the problem.

4. Forgiveness is a favor you do yourself.

5. Some things are just wrong: knowing
    that makes us human.

6. Religion is what you do, not what
    you believe.

7. Leave room for doubt and anger in
    your religious outlook.

8. To feel better about yourself, find
     someone to help.

9. Give God the benefit of the doubt.


Reading a book like this reminds me
that human problems and opportunities
are common to everyone.  Wisdom gained
from both positive and negative experience
is applicable to all of us.

Thanks, Rabbi Kushner, for sharing
so generously of yourself.


Buy the book from


Martin Marty
Chicago, IL

September 7th, 2015

"Ashley Madison"


Elfrieda Schroeder
Winnipeg, MB

"In Transit" Blog
September 12th, 2015

"Costly Loving"

Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
September 2nd and 6th, 2015

"If You Couldn't Use Words at All"

"Telling Them They Can Get Away With It"


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
September 7th, 2015

"God’s Ineffability –
  What’s Revealed in Jesus’ Eyes?"



Natural Wonder

New York Times Video
September 8th, 2015

Is the World's Problem

The Guardian, UK
September 11th, 2015


We Slumber Through Refugee Crisis

The Tablet, UK
September 7th, 2015

Than to Say "No Room at the Inn"

America Magazine,
September 4th, 2015

"Under Harper,
  Canada Less Welcoming of Refugees"
Associated Press
September 5th, 2015


On the Occasion of Her Record Reign

Anglican Church of Canada
September 9th 2015

Writ Against the Government of Turkey

Gulen Website
September 5th, 2015
Annual Remembrance of Tragedy

New York Times Video
September 1st, 2015

"A Small and Somber Ritual"


Muslims too were Victimized

Sojourners Online
September 9th, 2015


Will Be Taught in Classrooms this Fall
September 4th, 2015

How Some Japanese Faiths Treat this Issue

Sightings, Marty Centre, Chicago
September 10th, 2015


From Sojourners and Bruderhof online:

You can write me down in history
with hateful, twisted lies.

You can tread me in this very dirt.
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

- Maya Angelou


The word "martyr" means "witness" -
and what he or she bears witness to
is a principle without which it may
not be worth living in the first place.

- Terry Eagleton


I believe it to be a great mistake to
present Christianity as something
charming and popular with no offense
in it.. We cannot blink at the fact that
gentle Jesus meek and mild was so stiff
in his opinions and so inflammatory in
his language that he was thrown out of
church, stoned, hunted from place to
place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand
and a public danger. Whatever his peace

was, it was not the peace of an amiable

- Dorothy Sayers


When we stand before Jesus crucified, we see
the depth of his love, which exalts and sustains
us, but at the same time, unless we are blind,
we begin to realize that Jesus’ gaze, burning
with love, expands to embrace all his people.
We realize once more that he wants to make
use of us to draw closer to his beloved people.
He takes us from the midst of his people and
he sends us to his people; without this sense
of belonging we cannot understand our
deepest identity.

- Pope Francis


The New Testament looks beyond retribution
to a vision of justice that is finally satisfied
only by the defeat of evil and the healing of
its victims, by the restoration of peace and
the renewal of hope — a justice that manifests
God's redemptive work of making all things new.

- Christopher D. Marshall


A scientist had a bird in his hand. He saw that 
ithad life and, wanting to find out in what part
of the bird’s body its life lay, he began dissecting
the bird. The result was that the very life he
was in search of disappeared. Those who try
to understand the mysteries of the inner life
intellectually will meet with similar failure.

The life they are looking for will vanish in
the analysis.

- Sadhu Sundar Singh


"Infamous Day -
  Attackers Hit Twin Towers and Pentagon"

"Steven Biko Dies in  South African Police Custody"

"German Blitz Begins Over London"

"Mao Dies in Beijing"



We are told to put on Christ, and we think
of him in his private life, his life of work, his
public life, his teaching, and his suffering life.

But we do not think enough of his life as
a little child, as a baby. His helplessness.
His powerlessness. We have to be content
to be in that state too. Not to be able to do
anything, to accomplish anything.



Our New Program Planning Season Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs through St. David's

United Church, Calgary.



Theme: "Living in Darkness - Living in Light"

Books: "Learning to Walk in the Dark"
              by Barbara Brown Taylor

             "Between the Dark and the Daylight"
               by Joan Chittister

A  ten-week study in contemporary spirituality
with books by two prominent Protestant and
Catholic writers.

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 21st - November 30th, 2015

Books and Registration/Hospitality - $60.00
Books only - $35.00

Our 35 book sets are selling fast.

Brenda and Joan will help Jock when Wayne
participates in the "Jerusalem and the Lands
of Three Great Faiths" tour (October 16th - 31st)

Now into our sixteenth year of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-first series of (usually) ten week sessions!

Check our study archives for all 45 book notes:



Theme: The Book of Exodus from the Hebrew Bible
              "A Classic Story of Human Liberation"

Twelve sessions 10-11 AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 17th - December 3rd

No charge.
Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook



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

Hardcopy tour details brochure
is available at the church

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

We have 29 paid-up participants

Books for consideration -

One City, Three Faiths
by Karen Armstrong (1997)

DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

TOP TEN: Israel, Including Sinai & Petra
DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

Gathering for Tour Participants
Monday, September 14th, 2015
TM Room, St. David's, Calgary



Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

Mark your calendars!

Sunday February 28th
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

John Griffith is on sabbatical this year.
Reflections will be led by a Franciscan on staff.


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