Saturday, January 16, 2016

Colleagues List, January 17th, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 21



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 Colleagues:

I attended the annual Peter Craigie
Memorial Lecture at my University
of Calgary this week and took notes
which I am pleased to share with you.

My Special Item for this week is entitled:

"Early Christianity - A Bookish Religion"
  Peter Craigie Lecture by Dr. Larry Hurtado
  Edinburgh University

Please scroll down to read it.


Colleague Contributions for this week are from -

Joan Gray (Calgary AB) shares a link from
Dawn Waring  who writes: "4JustPeace"
a Blog on Accompanyment in Palestine & Israel


John Stackhouse Jr. (Moncton, NB) provides
more on the 'Wheaton College Issue' from
a Canadian evangelical perspective, entitled:
"Justice Means Justice for Everyone"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) reflects on
the theme: "Forever Being Ahead of Our Souls"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) writes a column
on the theme of powerlessness -
"How Does it Feel to Feel Like God?"


Martin Marty (Chicago IL) takes on a timely
subject in inter-faith relations entitled:

Thanks to all five of you for your efforts.


Net Notes that caught my eye this week -

"Anglican Primates Issue Communique" - meeting
in Canterbury in the UK, leaders of the church
provinces from around the world sought to keep
the Anglican Communion together, under stress
(Anglican Journal)

Jean Vanier was invited to address them at
the conclusion of their deliberations and this
Catholic spiritual guide was heard respectfully
(Anglican Journal)


"Bishop Henry Blasts LGBTQ Guidelines" - the
RC bishop of Calgary is upset with a new set
of provincial operational guidelines. He says
Alberta is prejudiced against Catholics but the
province says tt must serve all citizens fairly
(Metro News)


"MLK: Non-Violence, the Sword that Heals" -
to remember his birthday, read an article
on a pivotal theme by the late civil rights leader


"Dr. Izzeldin Abuelish Becomes a Canadian" -
Gaza pediatrician whose wife died and several
children perished from an Israeli attack is now
a medical educator at the University of Toronto.
He wrote the book "I Shall Not Hate"
(The Times of Israel)


"Most Read Christian Century Articles of 2015" -
catch up on articles by the major mouthpiece
of American mainline and progressive
Protestantism (The Christian Century)


"Imam Fethullah Gulen Inspires So Much Good"
 - a Turkish spiritual leader, living in exile in the
USA is praised for his thought and good works
(You Tube and Tweet Links)

"Turkey Issues Warrant for the Arrest of the
Premier's Rival as he is considered a threat
to the current regime (Globe and Mail)


"Under ISIS - What It's Like to Live as a
Christian" - what does it mean to be a religious
minority in Syria today? A Syrian tells his story
(Buzz Feed)


"Indian Religious Leaders Debunk Conversion
Claims" - a Hindu group trumpets mass conversions
of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism, but is met
with cynicism (UCA News)


"Germany Encounters Migrants;
  Nation Faces New Realities" - as Germany opens
  its doors to many immigrants, sexual attacks on
  women in Cologne by "foreigners" from another
  culture sparks public resentment (NY Times)


"New 'Anne of Green Gables' Coming in 2017 
  to Canadian TV" - a perennial favourite of
  Canadians and many others world-wide is
  returning in a televised new version
  (Hollywood Reporter)


Wisdom of the Week -

Edith Stein, Tertullian, Oscar Romero,
Teresa of Avila, James Baldwin, Hermann Hesse,
Mother Teresa and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

- share their insights, so please scroll down
  to read what they have to tell us


On This Day - we just passed a special
anniversary for a famous American martyr
Martin Luther King Jr. :

"MLK Obituary - Birth Date and Story"
  Born January 15th, 1929


Closing Thought - this week is from a familiar
name to readers of Colleagues List
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Scroll to the end of the blog to read him.


For those wanting to know more about
our winter program, please scroll to
the end of the blog.

Beginning Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary

Thanks for joining us again this week.
Last week, CL had more than 1,000 hits.




My Notes:

Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture,
University of Calgary

Tuesday, September 12th, 2016

Dr. Larry Hurtado,
The University of Edinburgh

"Early Christianity - A Bookish Religion"
  Reading, Writing and Disseminating Texts

About the Theme:

In its Roman-era setting of the first three
centuries, Christianity was a novelty in a
number of ways, an important distinguishing
feature being the constitutive place of texts,
in worship, teaching, and group-formation. 
Within the first 250 years or so, Christians
composed at least 200 writings of various
types.  The reading of certain texts quickly
became a regular feature of corporate
worship.  Christians devoted considerable
resources to copying and disseminating their
texts.  They even made what appears to have
been a deliberately counter-cultural preference
for a relatively new book form, the codex, and
seem to have been at the leading edge in
developing this book form for their own
ambitious purposes.
About the Speaker:

Larry Hurtado was most recently the
professorial chair in New Testament in the

University of Edinburgh, where he founded
the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins. 
He is perhaps most well known for his
numerous publications on the origins of
devotion to Jesus, particularly his book,
"Lord Jesus Christ:  Devotion to Jesus in
Earliest Christianity" (Eerdmans, 2003). 
He has also contributed to the study of
New Testament textual criticism and has
led in the study of earliest Christian
manuscripts, as in his book, "The Earliest

Christian Artifacts:  Manuscripts and
Christian Origins (Eerdmans, 2005).  His
forthcoming book emphasizes the distinctive

nature of early Christianity in its Roman-era
setting:  "Destroyer of the Gods: Christian
Distinctiveness in the Roman World" (Baylor
University Press, 2016).  He was elected a

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in
2008, and was President of the British New
Testament Society, 2009-2012.


The lecture has two parts -

1. Reading texts - in corporate early church 
    worship: Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)
    scriptures, and Christian texts/Paul's
    letters/Christian gospels

2. Writing texts - over 200 known to exist
    which were adapted for reading -
    Paul's letters/Gospels/Revelation


I Reading Texts

Textual criticism reveals the significant impact
of Judaism on Jesus. Jewish and Christian texts
were used in church worship from the second
century CE onward. II Timothy 2:15 exhorts:
"Give attention to the public reading and
study of the scriptures."

Texts appeared in a variety of forms, yet never
did they assume exclusivity. Readers were
originally often pagans and gentiles, without
much awareness of the Hebrew scriptures.
Hebrew Bible texts were used from the beginning
with the intention of showing that "Jesus was
the fulfilment of scripture."

The manuscripts prepared and used for Christian
worship became a new genre and prescribed
lectionary readings were widespread. All this
emerged from a Jewish matrix. The Torah itself -
The Law and the Prophets - was read regularly
as was done in the Jewish synagogues of the
diaspora. Both Josephus and Philo comment on
this and the practice was replicated in the Christian
churches. Scripture reading at worship was unique
to Judaism and Christianity. This was in contrast
to Greek and Roman religious practice at the time.

Paul's letters were written with the specific intent
of being read at services of worship. Some were
intended for those with Jewish, and others with
Gentile, backgrounds. Local churches were
encouraged to share these letters amongst
themselves, and these became the first
authoritative Christian scriptures. Such letters
were written surrogates for Paul's actual presence.

II Peter refers to "other scriptures" with apostolic
status even though there was disagreement over
what texts were most "authentically apostolic"

Still, by the mid-second century, both the Gospels
and Paul's letters as we know them from the New
Testament were in circulation. These were "waiting"
to become part of the Christian canon.

While not all hearers of these texts were literate,
one literate reader was required in each setting.
Roman culture was strongly focused on written
texts and this is why Christians moved early to
the use of written biblical texts.

In addition to public texts, other texts for more
private devotional usage were circulated too.
Apocryphal books tended to be of this type.

II Writing Texts

For the number of Christians (200,000 by the
second century) there were a remarkable number
of circulating texts and the volume of books
increased rapidly. Letters were common means
of communication at that time and letters by
the Romans Cicero and Seneca, were widely
circulated. Paul was only following customs
already familiar to many. Nevertheless, Paul's
letters tended to be lengthier than most writers.

A variety of texts existed - e.g. homilies, treatises,
martyr stories and books on church order. It was
not long before both "heretical" and "serious"
texts emerged. We know of many texts of which
we have no copies but which were mentioned in
the texts we do have.

Paul used his letters (Romans 71,000 words;
Philippians 16,000) for serious teaching, as was
practiced by the Greek and Roman philosophers.

"Great men" biographies were popular and this
is why Christians took to hearing Jesus stories
read. These became the first gospels. Such
gospels were unique and not part of the Jewish
tradition (no existing gospels of Moses or Elijah,
for example.) In the eventual New Testament,
Jesus gets a lot of space. Four gospels-worth!

Apocalyptic literature (last times themes) like
Revelation which was sent to "Seven Churches
of Asia) by the apostle John (or written in his
name) formed another new genre of books, even
though the Old Testament book of Daniel emerged
as a similar type of "textually self-conscious"
literature. They were written with a greeting,
a body, and a closing benediction and as a single,
unified composition.

First written as prophetic, not apocalyptic, literature
Revelation represents the urgency of the Christian
late/first, early/second century period from which
it emerged. While Paul probably used a scribe to
take down his words, John (or his namesake) may
well have written his book himself.

Copying and dissemination of early texts took much
time and effort. These circulated through the early
Christian networks and interactions. Texts were
usually hand-delivered to the designated recipient
and these deliveries were costly, and given high

While the original Christian texts were written
in scroll-form, a preference for codices developed 
(stitched pages into a book-format as we know it
today.) This was likely a counter-cultural move
on the part of Christians because scrolls were
still commonly accepted in general society.

Noma Sacra or "Sacred Name" texts were a Christian
invention of the time. These writings focused on
key words like Jesus/Christ/God /Lord and were a
Christian scribal innovation to "set off" certain terms
believed to be significant about the faith. This was a
take-off from the Hebrew term "Yahweh" but only for
Christians the terms were direct references, not
substitutes for divine names.


A vivid textual culture is key to understanding
Christian "bookishness" from the very beginning.
This development was distinct. Texts became
central for Christians - even as Jews and later,
Muslims became known as "People of the Book"
in their own distinct ways. This set apart the
three faiths of Jerusalem from the other great 
faith traditions.




Joan Gray,
Calgary, AB

January 12th, 2016

Wayne, I had wanted to send you a link
to a blog that you might want to just pass
to Colleagues List members.  

You may have heard of Dawn Waring and
I wanted to give you the information on
her blog so you can have a look at it.

Personally, I read most of her blog

entries.  I do admire her Christian spirit
and determination. I met her in Edmonton. 
She and a United Church minister by the
name of Nancy Steeves lead a group of
interested people (mostly United Church
members) on a trip to Egypt, Jordan and
Israel (before the Arab Spring began some
years ago.)  I was privileged to be part of
that group...  

So if you google "4justpeace" the first 
link coming up is her WordPress blog.  

Warmly, Joan Gray

a Blog on Accompanyment
in Palestine and Israel

(on a related theme)

Visiting Bishops Turned Back from Wall
UCA  News
January 14th, 2016


John Stackhouse Jr.
Moncton, NB
January 11th, 2016

More on the Wheaton College Issue
from a Canadian evangelical perspective

"Justice Means Justice for Everyone"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
January 11th, 2016

"Forever Being Ahead of Our Souls"


Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
January 13th, 2016

Powerlessness -
"How Does it Feel to Feel Like God?"

Martin Marty
Chicago, IL

January 11th, 2016




Communion Remains Together - Sort Of...

Anglican Journal
January15th, 2016

Jean Vanier Invited to Address Primates
Catholic Spiritual Guide Heard Respectfully

Anglican Journal
January 15th, 2016

An Initial Statement from Canadian Primate Hiltz

Anglican Church of Canada
January 15th, 2016

Alberta Prejudiced Against Catholics, He Says
Province Says It Must Serve All Citizens Fairly

Metro News
January 14th, 2016


Remembering His Birthday
January 15th, 2016

January 14th, 2016

Englewood Review of Books
January 15th, 2016

"Martin Luther King - Reading List"

Palestinian MD, educator, and 
author of "I Shall Not Hate"

The Times of Israel.
December 10th, 2016


Locate Material You May
Have Missed in the Past Year

The Christian Century
January 12th, 2016

Exile in America has Global
Compassionate Reach

You Tube and Tweet Links
January, 2016

Turkey Issues Warrant for the
Arrest of Premier's Rival =
He is Considered a Threat
to the Current Regime

Globe and Mail
December 19th, 2016


A Syrian Tells His Story

Buzz Feed
January 9th, 2016

Hindu Group Trumpets Mass Conversions

UCA News
January 15th, 2016


Sexual Attacks on Women
by Men of Different Culture

New York Times
January 14th, 2016



Hollywood Reporter
January 12th, 2016


From Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

The concept which assumes that everything
in the Church is irrevocably set for all times
appears to me to be a false one. It would be
naive to disregard that the Church has a
history; the Church is a human institution
and like all things human, was destined to
change and evolve; likewise, its development
takes place often in the form of struggles.

- Edith Stein


Nothing that is God's is obtainable by money.

- Tertullian


It is wrong to be sad. Christians cannot be
pessimists. Christians must always nourish
in their hearts the fullness of joy.

Try it, brothers and sisters; I have tried it
many times and in the darkest moments,
when slander and persecution were at
their worst: to unite myself intimately with
Christ, my friend, and to feel a comfort that
all the joys of the earth do not give – the
joy of feeling yourself close to God, even
when humans do not understand you.

It is the deepest joy the heart can have.

- Oscar Romero


Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed.
Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all

that is needed is the will to love.

- Teresa of Avila


Guilt is a luxury that we can no longer afford.
I know you didn't do it, and I didn't do it either,
but I am responsible for it because I am a man
and a citizen of this country and you are
responsible for it, for the very same reason.

- James Baldwin

All disrespect, all irreverence, all hard-
heartedness, all contempt is nothing else
than killing. And it is possible to kill not
only what is in the present, but also that
which is in the future. With just a little
witty skepticism we can kill a good deal
of the future in a child or young person.
Life is waiting everywhere, flowering
everywhere, but we only see a small part
of it and trample much of it with our feet.

- Hermann Hesse


We are all capable of good and evil.
We are not born bad; everybody has
something good inside. Some hide it,
some neglect it, but it is there.

God created us to love and to be loved,
so it is our test from God to choose one
path or the other.

- Mother Teresa


If the world has not approached its end, it
has reached a major watershed in history,
equal in importance to the turn from the
Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

It will demand from us a spiritual blaze, we
shall have to rise to a new height of vision,
to a new level of life where our physical
nature will not be cursed as in the Middle
Ages, but even more importantly, our
spiritual being will not be trampled upon

as in the Modern Era...No one on earth has
any other way left but upwards.

- Alexander Solzhenitsyn



From the archives of the New York Times

"MLK Obituary - Birth Date and Story"
  Born January 15th, 1929


Forgiveness is the name of love practiced
among people who love poorly.

The hard truth is that all people love poorly.
We need to forgive and be forgiven every day,

every hour increasingly. That is the great work
of love among the fellowship of the weak that

Is the human family.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen


Beginning Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church,


Theme: "The Other Two Religions of Jerusalem"
                Judaism and Islam

Books: "Chosen? Reading the Bible
              Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
              by Walter Brueggemann

             "Islam: A Short History"
               by Karen Armstrong
A  ten-week investigation into the religious 
sources of modern global unrest centered
in the Mid-East:

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
January 18th - March 21st, 2015
Including Monday of Family Weekend

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

Total book sets available for sale: 30.

Now beginning seventeen years
of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-second series of
(usually) ten week sessions!

Course design to appear here soon.

Check our complete archives
for all 46 book studies:



Theme: Winter Study Series to
             be determined in January

Ten sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
January 21st - March 24th.

No charge.

Preparation Session,
Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)

The Bible Study Group will provide the
service reflection Sunday, Jan. 17th, 2016




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.



Coming Soon - our "Memories Project" --
Sight and Sound Packet contributed by those
taking the "Jerusalem and the Lands of Three
Great Faiths" tour last October.

Available free to all who took and tour with
additional packets at a modest price for those


New Project Later This Winter --

"Where Would You Like to Travel Next?"

Beginning our process to find a destination
for a trip somewhere in the world in 2017.


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