Saturday, September 5, 2015

Colleagues List, September 6th, 2015

Vol. XI.  No. 5




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 is my first weekly issue of Colleagues List
as the summer season for us is ended and we
head into the last third of the year.

Thank you for reading Colleagues List. Some
of my summer issues had record hits.

This week, my Special Item focuses on a book
suggested to me by colleague William Shantz
of Thunder Bay, ON. He is involved in gay
concerns, and I am pleased to recommend a
helpful book emerging from the evangelical
Protestant tradition entitled:

TORN - Rescuing the Gospel
             from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

Please scroll down to read this.



WILLIAM SHANTZ (Thunder Bay, ON) who writes
me about how gay tendencies can develop in 

families, especially among males.
He communicates with legal precision.
See his letter of July 10th, 2015, below.
Do you have questions? Comments?

Please write me.


ELFRIEDA SCHROEDER (Winnipeg, MB) creates
a periodic reflection column, and I wanted to pass
this one on to you. You can subscribe to her blog.
Check the address on her site.

'In Transit' Blog.  September 1st, 2015

"Two Little Words"


JIM TAYLOR (Okanagan, BC) writes on a 
theme of interest to many as we grow older.
Here is his Web Log for September 2nd, 2015,



RON ROLHEISER (San Antonio, TX) reflects
on a favourite of his in last week's

Personal Website for August 31st, 2015

"Dorothy Day - A Saint for Our Time"

Thanks to all four of you.



OLIVER SACHS DIES - Brain quirks specialist
created a special literary genre that focused
on the strange workings of human brains
(New York Times)

"Dr. Oliver Sachs - Explorer of the Bain" -
here is Sachs in conversation
(New York Times Video)


 The Secular and the Sacred

A unique set of presentations; one by
Joan Chittister, Benedictine sister, and
a second from John Kerry, US Secretary
of State -

(National Catholic Reporter) (and)

(America Magazine online)


themes here. The American preparation
for the papal visit, and a series of pieces
on the pope's special statement on
abortion for Catholics -

"Welcome to America" Skyscraper-Sized Pope
  (New York Times Video)

"No One Separated from the Love of God"
  (The Tablet, UK)

"Pope Tells Priests to Offer
  Forgiveness for Abortion"
  (Catholic News Service)

"Pope Urging Mercy re Abortion"
  (Globe and Mail video)

"One Year? I'll Wait for Real Change"
  (Metro Calgary) 

The Plight of Refugees

A major disaster is unfolding in Europe.
Will we in North America do nothing?
(Anglican Church of Canada)


Jesus and the Gospel Witness
(a conservative Christian view)

Some Christians view biblical archeology
as a way to validate the scriptural record
(Breakpoint Commentaries)


Can Give People Power to Succeed

Talking about our failures is often more
effective than telling of our successes

(Faith and Leadership)


Author Writes of Her Experience
Few people join the Amish as outsiders.
Here is the story of an exception
(Publishers Weekly)


Scandal May have Redemptive Side
It's been a "bad news" story thus far,
but perhaps there is another perspective
(Christian Week Online)

"A Wakeup Call for the Churches"
  (The Christian Post)


It Does Not Mean Starting All Over Again
This is the story referred to in the "Torn"
book notice above. A supportive piece
from a mainline denominational journal
(The Christian Century)


Lutheran Pastor Appeals to Young, Alienated

She is not your typical Lutheran cleric, but
she does some things very well.
(The Atlantic Online)
For more details on these items, scroll down.


WISDOM OF THE WEEK is from the following:

Desmond Tutu, William Wilberforce,
Henry David Thoreau, bell hooks,
Martin Luther, Wendell Berry,
Graham Greene and Hermann Hesse

Scroll down to read their thoughts.



From the archives of the New York Times

"Germany Invades Poland - WWII Begins"

"Japan Surrenders - WWII Ends"

"Princess Diana Dies in Paris Car Crash"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Henri J. M. Nouwen

Please scroll down to the end of the blog
to read his words.


If you are interested:
Our New Program Season Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs through St. David's

United Church, Calgary.

Scroll to the end of the blog.



Book Notice -

Rescuing the Gospel
from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
by Justin Lee
Jericho Books, 2013
259 pages. $10.00 CAD. (sale price)
ISBN # 978-1-4555-1430-4

Publisher's Promo:

As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee
felt deeply torn. Nicknamed "God Boy" by
his peers, he knew that he was called to a
life in the evangelical Christian ministry.

But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew
that he was gay. In this groundbreaking
book, Lee recalls the events - his coming
out to his parents, his experiences with the
"ex-gay" movement, and his in-depth study
of the Bible--that led him, eventually, to self-

But more than just a memoir, TORN provides

insightful, practical guidance for all committed
Christians who wonder how to relate to gay
friends or family members--or who struggle
with their own sexuality. Convinced that "in
a culture that sees gays and Christians as
enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position
to bring peace," Lee demonstrates that people
of faith on both sides of the debate can respect,
learn from, and love one another.


Author's Bio: Justin Lee is the founder and
executive director of The Gay Christian Network
(GCN), a nonprofit, interdenominational
organization working to increase dialogue
between gays and Christians and support
people on both sides wrestling with related

A passionate Christian from a conservative

evangelical background, Justin thought he knew
everything there was to know about the Christian
approach to homosexuality - until unexpected
events turned his world upside down and forced
him to reconsider everything he believed. Today,
his organization works with individuals, families,
and churches to stop the debate from tearing
people apart.

Justin's work has garnered national attention

and praise from gays and Christians from across
the theological spectrum. He has been featured i
n numerous print, radio, and television venues
including Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper 360, the
Associated Press, and a front page article in 
The New York Times. He is the director of the
2009 documentary Through My Eyes about the
debate's impact on young Christians, and the
co-host of popular long-running podcast GCN
Radio. Justin lives in Raleigh, NC.


Author's Words:

This book is about a controversial subject that
touches many people's lives.

In order to address the human side of the issue,
I've chosen to use a number of personal stories
from my own life. The events described are all
real, and I've worked hard to ensure the accuracy
of the details, relying not only on my own memory
but on hundreds of pages of saved emails,
journal entries, and other documents.

I have changed some names and personally
identifying details to protect the privacy of
individuals I've written about, and in some
cases I have altered event sequences or other
minor details for the sake of brevity and clarity.
Everything else is exactly as I remember it.

- from the Author's Note (Preface)


My Thoughts:

With court and legislative rulings in both Canada
and the United States (to say nothing of many
other western democracies) coming down clearly
for gay rights/marriage equality - the same as for 
heterosexuals, many folk in the more liberal
(may I say 'progressive?') denominations might
be inclined to claim 'victory' and to settle back 
with 'well-deserved' satisfaction.

I believe this is wrong-headed and bad-spirited.
None of us can be proud of a long history of hatred
and bias against other humans. This is a moment 
of triumph for justice and human rights, but none
of us can claim righteousness in the matter.

One thing we 'liberals' in many communities can do
is reach out to our more conservative friends and
try to understand their dilemmas and challenges.
I see this as necessary behaviour for both Catholics
and Protestants as well as those of other faiths.

Recently a colleague - William Shantz - a lawyer with
Mennonite background from Thunder Bay ON, wrote
to introduce me to the book written by the author
I am introducing here. Justin Lee writes a personal
and spiritually brave book with a focus on creating
a dialogue between gays and "Christians." Shantz
asked me to comment on this book. So here goes.

In Justin's religious context, the term "Christian"
may have a different meaning from what it means
to me. "Christian" is the word many evangelical
Protestants use to distinguish themselves from
the rest of us, whether we are members of churches
or not. I do not like this term in this context, because
I, as a Christian, feel excluded by it.

Lee claims that "Christian" is a generic term, which
includes all Christians, and not just "his" kind of
Christian. Many of those he includes under that
term are no longer living with a traditional mindset
and have spent much time and spiritual struggle
to reach a new understanding. Lee is obviously not
the Christian he once was, either.  I suggest he find
a different, more inclusive term for followers of
Christ at this juncture of history. "Christian" - as
he uses it - has a lot of baggage best rejected. 

That said, however, I applaud much of what
the author has to say about his own personal
transformation. He discovered, with great effort,
that he could be both gay and Christian.  He wants
others to experience what he has experienced.
In that regard, he remains an evangelical.

Celebrate with him!

I am glad William Shantz suggested I read this
book because it is one that he too, has struggled
with in coming from his Mennonite background.
We share much in common, while he became a
lawyer and I, a pastor and teacher. Shantz writes
with a lawyer's precision but also with a spiritual
heart and a desire to work through some rather
serious issues in our society today.

I encourage you to read his comments about
gayness in our families (see his letter, below)

Many might claim a distinction between the
legality of gay rights and the morality of it. It
is in the vortex created by this difference that
quite a few religious people are struggling.

My own change of mind on the matter of gay
rights versus my faith tradition came about twenty
years ago. I too was struggling, but was greatly
helped by the writing of a Lutheran bishop (ELCA)
from California who had been 'anti-gay' until
it happened that his own son 'came out.'

The father wrote poignantly about the stages
of transition in understanding his family went
through until they came to reclaim a son or a
sibling, and to celebrate with him as a gay
person in his own right.

My experience makes me both determined to
support gay people, as well as to make me
more understanding of those who have not
made the transition that I made.

All of us need to continue talking with, and
learning from, each other. That is why I
recommend this book to those on both
sides of the discussion - and those who
are still in-between. It reflects some real
enlightenment, emerging from a conservative
position on the religious spectrum.

Thanks Justin, and thanks Bill!

Buy the book from


See also the Net Notes article below:

"Evangelicals Rethinking the Gay Issue"
 The Christian Century
 August 13th, 2015



William Shantz,
Thunder Bay, ON

July 10th, 2015

Dear Wayne:

Commenting on the book "Torn"
the book I recommended that
deals with the gay issue and
faith formation in our culture -

Some Ideas:

 I. I believe that a boy unavoidably tends
to imitate how he perceives his father and
that a father unavoidably tends to imitate
how he perceives/imagines God to be.

One might say that the gospel (good news)
that Jesus conveyed to humanity was/is
that God's fatherly * loving of humanity is
unsurpassably  supreme - beyond any loving
that nature can provide.  Logically, then, a
father's imitative 'God-like' loving is superior
to a mother's (woman's) natural loving.

[* there is no evidence that Lee, Jesus or
Jesus' disciples are/were 'gender-neutral'
regarding God's fatherhood]

II. In addition:

1) I understand that a foundational concept
of English Common Law is that "the King
can do no wrong";

2) In Christendom, it is generally assumed
that "God can do no wrong"; and

3) In assessing family functioning in clinical
situation, unless the father has been (criminally)
physically/sexually abusive or overtly hostile
to a child, little attention tends to be paid to
the possible influence of a (frequently absent)
father.  It seems tacitly assumed that, aside
from criminality or overt hostility, "the father
can do no wrong".

In Lee's Chapter V, "Why Are People Gay/",
he concisely and accurately reviews the
(negative) studies that have been published
regarding the origin of homosexual orientation.
However, he does not broach the possibility
that his father unwittingly conveyed the
impression that his after-work attention and
loving for Justin were intrinsically superior
to the day-time attention and loving provided
by Justin's mother.

And then, if a son perceives (i) that latter
fatherly opinion regarding the superiority
of a father's loving and (ii) that his father
wants the best possible life partner for him
(as parents usually do), it is logical that the
boy will find his own sexual attention drawn
to males and the loving that they can offer -
in spite of a girl being "pretty" (as queried
by Lee's father).

Broadly, this mechanism matches two instances
of male homosexuality that I know personally.

III. Finally, in our contemporary culture "love"
has become a kind of 'God' that everyone assumes
(at least in consensual adult interaction) can do
no wrong.  Is this true?

Lee points out that the "love" in the "Love the
sinner; but hate the sin" formulation can feel
like a kind of interpersonal brutality to the one
who is ostensibly being loved.

IV. The God of Genesis 1 would seem to have
identified male-female interaction as being
primary - regardless of "Love".

The Love-'God' of current Western culture makes
no distinction between male-female interaction
and male-male or female-female  interaction even
though only the former involves  procreation
(physical and/or psychosocial) as distinct from
creation and mere reproduction.


William Shantz


Elfrieda Schroeder
Winnipeg, MB

"In Transit" Blog
  September 1st, 2015

"Two Little Words"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

September 2nd, 2015



Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
August 31st, 2015

"Dorothy Day - A Saint for Our Time"



Items getting my attention this week:

Brain Quirks Specialist

New York Times
August 30th, 2015

"Dr. Oliver Sachs - Explorer of the Bain"
New York Times Video
August 30th, 2015


The Secular and the Sacred

Joan Chittister
National Catholic Reporter
August 25th, 2015

"Religion and Diplomacy"

by John Kerry, US Secretary of State
America Magazine online
September 14th, 2015



"Welcome to America"
  Skyscraper-Sized Pope

(New York Times Video)


"No One Separated from
  the Love of God"

The Tablet, UK
September 3rd, 2015

"Pope Tells Priests to Offer
  Forgiveness for Abortion"

Catholic News Service
September 2nd, 015


"Pope Urging Mercy re Abortion"
Globe and Mail (video)
September 2nd, 2015

"One Year? I'll Wait for Real Change"
Metro Calgary - Rosemary Westwood
September 3rd, 2015
The Plight of Refugees

Anglican Church of Canada
September 3rd, 2015


Jesus and the Gospel Witness
(a conservative Christian view) 

Breakpoint Commentaries
August 19th, 2015


Can Give People Power to Succeed

Faith and Leadership
(formerly Alban Journal)
August 11th, 2015


Author Writes of Her Experience

Publishers Weekly
August 21st, 2015

Scandal May have Redemptive Side

Christian Week Online
August 31st, 2015

"A Wakeup Call for the Churches"

The Christian Post
August 30th, 3015


It Does Not Mean Starting All Over Again

The Christian Century
August 13th, 2015


Lutheran Pastor Appeals to Young, Alienated

The Atlantic Online
August 28th, 2015


When the missionaries came to Africa
they had the Bible and we had the land.

They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes.
When we opened them we had the Bible
and they had the land.

- Desmond Tutu


You may choose to look the other way
but you can never say again that you
did not know.

- William Wilberforce


Our present senses are but the rudiments
of what they are destined to become.

- Henry David Thoreau


Genuine love is rarely an emotional space
where needs are instantly gratified.

To know love we have to invest time
and commitment.

- bell hooks


Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God!

- Martin Luther


We must learn to acknowledge that the creation is
full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it.
We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We
must recover the sense of the majesty of creation,
and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For
I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of
humility and reverence before the world that our
species will be able to remain in it.

- Wendell Berry


When you visualized a man or woman carefully,
you could always begin to feel pity—th
at was a
quality God's image carried with it. When you
saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the
shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was
impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of
the imagination.

- Graham Greene


We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots,
and executions. We kill when we close our
eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In
the same way all disrespect for life, all hard
heartedness, all indifference, and all contempt
is nothing else than killing. With just a little
witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the

future in a young person.

Life is waiting everywhere, the future is
flowering every­where, but we only see a
small part of it and step on much of it with
our feet.

- Hermann Hesse



From the archives of the New York Times

"Germany Invades Poland - WWII Begins"

"Japan Surrenders - WWII Ends"

"Princess Diana Dies in Paris Car Crash"

CLOSING THOUGHT - Henri J. M. Nouwen

We have been called to be fruitful – not successful,
not productive, not accomplished. Success comes
from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness
comes from vulnerability and the admission of our
own weakness.



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



Morley, Alberta

Our Theme for the Year 2015 -

"Women of the Bow Valley"

A focus on the women of the
Morley Village Community, 1875-2015
Sunday, September 14th, 2015
3:00 PM. Social hour following.

Guest Speaker:

Linda Collier, Alberta Historical Society
McDougal family descendant

"Women Contributors to the
  Morley Village School and Orphanage"

All are welcome

June service article, Cochrane Times



"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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