Saturday, November 14, 2015

Colleagues List, November 15th, 2015

Vol. XI.  No. 13



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 Special Item this week is a book notice
for "Chosen?" by popular biblical scholar 
Walter Brueggemann who takes up current
issues relating Israel to its internal and
external neighbours.

I found this book helpful and mind-changing. 

For more information on the book and my
comments, please scroll down.


My Colleague Comment for this week is from the
national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in Canada, Susan Johnson.

Please scroll down to read her words to me.

Thank-you Susan.


Colleague Contributions this week are from:

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) whose
meditation is -

"Faith, Doubt, Dark Nights and Maturity"

Martin Marty (Chicago IL) who writes about -



Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) shares two columns

"Doctor-Assisted Death" (and)

"Understanding What It's Like
  to Grow Old - Old"


Net Notes - what interested me this week
on the worldwide web are as follows:

"Killing a King" - the Assassination of
Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin. The review
appears this weekend in the
(New York Times Review of Books)


"Top Five Catholics" -  here are personalities
loved by evangelical Protestants today
(Christian Week Online)


"Current News Comment" - a review of the
news in China and Turkey (and elsewhere)
from a Christian perspective (from the
editors of America Magazine)


"A Legacy Greater than 'I-Thou'" -
a useable Bible, a useable Martin Buber
is a helpful review of the work of a Jewish
theologian widely read beyond Judaism


"Fifty Largest Megachurches in the USA" -
for those interested in statistics, but not
necessarily substance (Christian Post/


"Leaders Should Serve, Not Seek Prestige" -
Francis is in the midst of a Vatican housecleaning
and the following are his words about 'the Bank'
(UCA News)


"Prehistoric "Stonehenge" Monument Found" -
in Northern Israel, archeologists found an
unusual Golan Heights stone site (Jerusalem Post)


"Irish Group Protests the Exclusion of Women" -
here are two articles on major cultural changes
taking place in once conservative Catholic
Republic of Ireland (National Catholic Reporter)


"Francis Readying Church for an Era of Change" -
as if we don't already know it, here is an piece
on how Francis is trying to ready a conservative
institution for changing times. A good model
for others to follow (The Tablet, UK)


"Christians Join Hindus for Celebration of Diwali" - 
a rewarding news story of how two religions are
seeking common "light out of darkness" themes
and images in India today (UCA News)


Wisdom of the Week - comes via Sojourners and
the Bruderhof online:

Dorothy Day, Jacques Ellul, Rumi and Oscar Romero


On This Day -
From the archives of the New York Times

"Armistice Ends WWI With Germany"

"In Close Race, JFK Beats Nixon for US Presidency"

"Russian Revolution Begins in St. Petersburg"


Closing Thought -  is from Robert F. Kennedy
Please scroll to the end of the blog to read him.



For those interested in our fall program as
we near season's end, and prepare for Advent
Scroll to the end of the blog, please.

Continuing Our Program Season -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary.



Book Notice -

Reading The Bible Amid the
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,
by Walter Brueggemann
Westminster John Knox Press
Louisville, KY. Aug. 2015.
Paper. 88 pages. $18.00 CAD
ISBN #13-978-0-664-26154-2.

Publisher's Promo:

"The conflict is only 'seemingly' beyond solution,
because all historical-political problems have
solutions, if there is enough courage, honesty,
and steadfastness."

In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores the
situation in modern-day Israel that raises
questions for many Christians who are easily
confused when reading biblical accounts of
God's saving actions with the Israelites. Are
modern Israeli citizens the descendants of the
Israelites in the Bible whom God called chosen?
Was the promise of land to Moses permanent
and irrevocable? What about others living in
the promised land? How should we read the
Bible in light of the modern situation? Who
are the Zionists, and what do they say?

In four chapters, Brueggemann addresses the
main questions people have with regards to
what the Bible has to say about this ongoing
issue. A question-and-answer section with
Walter Brueggemann, a glossary of terms,
study guide, and guidelines for respectful
dialogue are also included. The reader will
get answers to their key questions about
how to understand God's promises to the
biblical people often called Israel and the
conflict between Israel and Palestine today.


Author's Bio:

Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933) is a retired biblical
scholar, prolific author, and professor emeritus at
Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta. 

Brueggemann is an advocate and practitioner of
rhetorical criticism. He has authored more than
58 books, hundreds of articles, and several
commentaries on books of the Bible. He is also
a minister of the United Church of Christ. 

Brueggemann has a ThD from Union Theological
Seminary, New York and a PhD from St. Louis

He has devoted his life to a passionate exploration
of Old Testament theology, with an emphasis on the
relation between the Old Testament and the Christian
canonical works, the origins and history of Christian
doctrine, and the dynamics of Jewish-Christian
interactions. Brueggemann has been known to
be called a 'postmodern' scholar.


Author's Words:

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian
people is not a static issue that permits frozen
convictions unresponsive to the changing texture
of the conflict.

Most unhelpful, so it seems to me, is the temptation
to hold to old political convictions that are not
reconsidered in light of the dramatically new
circumstances. Because the issues change over
time, it is essential that responsible thought and
responsible policy should change as well.

My own convictions concerning this conflict have
changed considerably over time, a change that I
judge responsible in the face of changing political

Mindful of the long history of Christian anti-Semitism
and the deep fissure of the Shoah (Holocaust) we
have surely been right to give thanks for the founding
of the state of Israel and the securing of a Jewish
homeland. But the issues have altered dramatically
as the state of Israel has developed into a major
military power that continues administrative-military
control of the Palestinian territories...

In his book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid" Jimmy
Carter issued a dramatic wake-up call that summoned
readers to a fresh consideration of practices and
policies that claim to be grounded in the promissory
tradition of the Hebrew Bible...

(I continue to be engaged in the continuing travail
over divestment in Israel - the current attempts of
some North American churches to put pressure on
Israel by withdrawing investment from that nation.)

As I have become aware of the depth and complexity
of these issues, in what follows I offer my attempt
to fulfill my vocation as a teacher of the church...

The issues I discuss in the book are endlessly
contested and will continue to be so. If they were
not so we would not be struggling with them so.
Such contestation, however, does not relieve us
of the obligation to bear witness as we are able.

- from this book's Acknowledgements

"New occasions teach new duties." The current
conflict, with its escalation of cyclical violence,
is a new occasion. New duties are now required.

- from this book's Introduction


My Thoughts:

It is foolish to continue applying biblical precepts
to modern situations when historical, social and
cultural circumstances have changed.

The Bible's understanding of the role of women, for
example, is now considered needing re-interpretation
by almost all Christians today except the most
fundamentalist. That holds for Judaism as well, where
many enlightened Hebrew thinkers have been voicing
considerable disagreement with those Jews who hold
to traditional biblical gender role understandings.

The same holds true for people of both faiths who seek
to engage the seemingly insurmountable problems
facing modern Israel and its internal and external

When our travel group from Western Canada visited
the Holy Land recently, we wanted to go with "an
open mind" and sought to hear representatives of
Jewish, Christian and Muslims there - seeking truth
and justice for all. This was no small desire, and a
guarenteed road to frustration I might add.

Still, as Brueggemann says above, the challenge
remains to continue our deep concern for the Holy
Land and all its people, simply because the meaning
of the place and the situation demand it.

The book consists of four main chapters that deal
succinctly with the Bible and the conflict; the issue
of what it means to be "God's chosen people" -
both claim and problem; what the term "Holy Land"
means today; and concerning matters that relate
to Zionism and Israel.

This is followed by a "Q and A" with Breuggemann;
a helpful glossary of terms and a guide to studying
this book with local groups.

If study groups are done locally in your case, I
would suggest that members might include
liberal and conservative Christians, as well as
constructive members of the Jewish and Muslim
communities known to you.

I have discovered, as a result of our travels in
the Holy Land, that it is not realistic to deal only
with people or groups with whom you agree.
What is needed, is mutual respect and a willingness
to listen to what members differing from you are
saying authentically from their hearts.

We owe visionaries like Jimmy Carter, Bill
Clinton and other political figures much gratitude
for their tangible investment in Holy Land
affairs. We owe religious visionaries who have
worked with people of all backgrounds to apply
peace and justice to inter-faith as well as
political matters.

There are too many intransigent people on
all sides of these complex issues, but honest
dialogue and progress remain possible, it
seems to me.

In spite of weariness and disappointment, we,
along with teachers like Breuggemann, must not
disengage from so great a cause.

And we owe it to ourselves to "not grow weary
in well-doing" as we seek to be open and involved.

I find this book most helpful and am grateful to 
the author for writing it from the wisdom of his


Buy the book from


Susan Johnson, National  Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

November 8th, 2015

Dear Wayne,

I don't often have the time, or take the time,
to read this gift (Colleagues List). But tonight
I did and I can't tell you how challenged and
uplifted I feel at the same time. Thank you.


The issue Susan read:



Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
November 9th, 2015

"Faith, Doubt, Dark Nights and Maturity"

Martin Marty
Chicago, IL

November 9th, 2015



Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
Novmber 9th, 2015

"Doctor-Assisted Death"

Personal Web Log
November 11th, 2015

"Understanding What It's Like
  to Grow Old - Old"



The Assassination
of Yitzhak Rabin

New York Times Review of Books
November 15th, 2015


Loved by Evangelicals Today

Christian Week Online
November 7th, 2015


Concerning China and Turkey
From the Editors of America

America Magazine
November 23rd, 2015


A Useable Bible, A Useable Martin Buber

November 12th, 2015

List Derived from
Conservative News Source

November 11th, 2015


Francis Addresses
Vatican $ Mismanagement

UCA News
November 9th, 2015


Golan Heights Site
Fuels Archeological Mystery

The Jerusalem Post
November 11th, 2015


Expresses Concern for
RC Church's Suppression

National Catholic Reporter
November 6th, 2015

"Former Irish President
  Discusses Decision
  to Defy Church Leaders
  in Last Referendum"

National Catholic Reporter
November 13th, 2015


Pope Working Diplomatically
to Achieve His Goals

The Tablet, UK
November 13th, 2015

Indian Festival Focuses
on Light Out of Darkness

UCA News
November 11th, 2015


What we do is very little, but it is like the boy
with a few loaves and fishes: Christ took that
little and increased it. He will do the rest.

What we do is so little we may seem to be
constantly failing, but so did Christ fail. He
met with apparent failure on the cross. But
unless the seed fall into the earth and die,
there is no harvest. And why must we see
the results? Our work is to sow.

Another generation will be reaping the harvest.

- Dorothy Day


We must be careful not to take love to mean
a rather vague sentiment, a more or less valid
passion - in any case a limited relationship.

In reality, love, in the Bible, is utterly totalitarian.
It comes from the entire person; it involves the
whole person, and binds the whole person without
distinction. Love reaches down into the roots of
human beings and does not leave them intact.
It leads to identification and assimilation between
the lover and the beloved.

- Jacques Ellul


What is justice? Giving water to trees.
What is injustice? Giving water to thorns.
Justice consists of bestowing bounty in its
proper place, not on every root that will
absorb water. 

- Rumi


The guarantee of one’s prayer is not in saying
a lot of words. The guarantee of one’s petition
is very easy to know: how do I treat the poor?
The degree to which you approach them, and
the love with which you approach them, or the

scorn with which you approach them – that is
how you approach your God.

What you do to them, you do to God. The way
you look at them is the way you look at God.

- Oscar Romero



From the archives of the New York Times

"Armistice Ends WWI With Germany"

"In Close Race, JFK Beats Nixon for US Presidency"

"Russian Revolution Begins in St. Petersburg"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Robert F. Kennedy

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks
wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness
of man and make gentle the life of this world.



Continuing Our Program Season -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church,


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

Registrations to date: 28.

We have sold all of our 35 supplied book sets,
but registration is still open.

Thanks to Brenda and Joan who helped Jock when
Wayne participated in the "Jerusalem and the Land
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!

Our Current "Spiritual Darkness" Study Design/Links:

Check our complete archives for all 45 book studies:



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

Ten sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 17th - December 3rd

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)



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

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 had 29 paid-up participants taking
the tour.

A service to "report to the congregation
on the tour" is taking place, Sunday,
November 15th.

Recommended books -

One City, Three Faiths
by Karen Armstrong (1997)

DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

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



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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