Saturday, March 12, 2016

Colleagues List, March 13th, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 29



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:

For some time, I have been thinking about
how I might adjust the format of my
Colleagues List blog to improve it for you.

This week, colleague Hardy Schroeder of
Winnipeg, and wife Elfrieda sent me a
note that has energized me to make some
changes, hopefully for the better.

You should begin to see some of the
improvements in next week's issue.

Please make note of their suggestions,
below, under "Colleague Communications"
and my response. If you wish, please
join in on the discussion by writing me.


My Special Item today is a book notice for:

"Flourishing" - Why We Need Religion
                         in a Globalized World

The author is Miroslav Volf. I have presented
a number of his books here, previously, and
hope you will value this one as I do:

Please scroll down to read the support material
and my thoughts on this new book.


Colleague Contributions this week are from:

Martin Marty (Chicago IL) who writes about

"Death Books"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) reflects on:

"How the Soul Matures" (and)


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) laments that:

"The Punishment Rarely Fits the Crime"

Thanks to the three of you.


Net Notes that caught my attention this week:

"Choral Singing" - enjoy the psychological
benefits as I do in my congregation's
chamber choir (Pacific Standard)


"Lang Lang, Piano Superstar" - the Chinese
sensation has an interesting story - "It's About
the Joy that Music Can Give" - he says
(The Guardian, UK)


"William Tyndale, Bible Translator" -
The English reformer paid a big price
for 'tampering' with the ancient texts
five hundred years ago (Plough Publishing)


"Francis Sets New Saint-Making Rules" -
the new broom continues to sweep in the
Vatican as the average processing cost
has been creeping past $1 Million
(The Tablet, UK)


"US Slams China's Human Rights Record" -
this week, the obvious has been raised in
US diplomatic contacts with China, and these
engagements encouraged dialogue with
the Dalai Lama - advice not likely followed
(UCA News)


"Why are Christians Leaving Bethlehem?" -
there has been a sharp population decline 
in the ancient Christian community. Any
who have visited there will especially
appreciate the video, but all will benefit
(America Media - text and video)


"Kung Appeals to the Pope on Infallibility" -
the old thorn in the side of many popes is
taking a less confronting approach but he
sees doctrinal revision as key to renewal
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Jonathan Sacks Wins 2017 Templeton Prize" -
we recently introduced his latest book 'Not
in God's Name' here. English Jewish rabbi
Sacks' interfaith efforts were recognized
(Publisher's Weekly)


"Three Things Sabotaging the Church's Future" -
A Canadian evangelical perspective but one
from which many of us would benefit
(Christian Week)


"Is Free Speech the Same as Freedom to be Rude?"
Sr. Joan Chittister addresses some of the negatives
in the current US primaries, especially from a few
of the candidates 'From Where I Stand' she says:
(National Catholic Reporter)


Wisdom of the Week comes from the following:

Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther King Jr.,
C. S. Lewis and Karl Barth

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day -

From the archives of the New York Times

"Russian Revolution Begins in St. Petersburg"

"Civil Rights Demonstration Broken Up in Selma"


Closing Thought is from - Søren Kierkegaard

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


If you are interested, please check this out
at the conclusion of the blog:

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



Book Notice -

Why We Need Religion
in a Globalized World,
by Miroslav Volf

Yale University Press.
Hardcover, 2016.
280 pages. $35.00 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-300-18653-6.

Publisher's Promo:

More than almost anything else, globalization
and the great world religions are shaping our
lives, affecting everythingfrom the public
policies of political leaders and the economic
decisions of industry bosses and employees,
to university curricula, all the way to the inner
longings of our hearts. Integral to both
globalization and religions are compelling,
overlapping, and sometimes competing
visions of what it means to live well.

In this perceptive, deeply personal, and
beautifully written book, a leading theologian
sheds light on how religions and globalization
have historically interacted and argues for what
their relationship ought to be. Recounting how
these twinned forces have intersected in his
own life, he shows how world religions, despite
their malfunctions, remain one of our most
potent sources of moral motivation and contain
within them profoundly evocative accounts of
human flourishing. Globalization should be
judged by how well it serves us for living out
our authentic humanity as envisioned within
these traditions. Through renewal and reform,
religions might, in turn, shape globalization so
that can be about more than bread alone.


Author's Bio:


Author's Words:

"Flourishing" is the title of this book. It stands
for the life that is lived well, the life that goes
well and the life that feels good - all three
together, inextricably intertwined...

(My) claim is this: far from being a plague on
humanity, as many believe and some experience,
religions are carriers of compelling visions of
flourishing. In this book, I highlight key elements
of these visions in world religions, sketch why
they are needed in a globalized world, and explore
how religions can advocate and embody them
peacefully and in concert while taking seriously
the claims to truth they make.

- from the Preface


My Thoughts:

I am grateful to the Englewood Review of Books
for providing the following assessment of this
accessible but challenging book.

Please click and read the following:


I summarize:

Robert D. Cornwall is the author of this
review and he writes a good assessment/
introduction to it. It would be redundant
to repeat verbatim what he has so well
outlined. But here are my thoughts.

Volf believes that world religions, at their
best, can play a major role in shaping the
ongoing globalization process. In other
words, in a world growing increasingly
interactive and smaller, religion need
not be an adversary, but rather an asset,
to the global life that is opening today
to all humans on the planet.

Since all faiths posit some foundational 
understanding of what a divine-human
relationship is all about, this common
vision is necessary for the human
community to flourish. By this, he takes
exception to new atheists and other
nihilists concerning religion, and sees
it as a positive, not a negative, influence.

Material life is not enough. There must
also be "the transcendent" part of life if
we are to flourish.

Religion must relate to the state, and to
politics, but since one "cannot live by
bread alone," how should faith make a
unique and positive contribution to
public life without becoming a pawn of
the state?


The first part of the book deals with the
challenge of globalization to world religions.
Globalization brings the world religions
into contact in ways they have not previously

We need a "world theology" in which the
emphasis is placed on finding a common
core uniting all faiths to reduce and eliminate
conflict between them.

In the second part, Volf outlines how the
various faiths can engage each other:
with respect, pluralism and reconciliation.
We need to do this in spite of the realities
of both apostacy and desire to convert that
exists in all religions.

Volf addresses all the major faiths in his
book but makes it clear where he stands
as a Christian. He concludes with an epilogue
on how Christian faith can challenge nihilism
in its various forms and contribute to human

(He describes exclusivists as both the
fundamentalists and the a-religious
libertines operating on opposing ends
of the human spectrum.)

He believes that religious exclusivists are
important in all the traditions and their
relationship to the state. But they must
engage society and other faiths respectfully.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen
and most religions suffer because of it.

Religion is not going away, however.

In truth, it is becoming more an issue for
global flourishing than perhaps ever before.


Not everyone will want to navigate the
clear arguments of this book. Still, for
those wanting to take an in-depth look
at current understandings about the 
place of religion in the world from a
very wise and articulate scholar and
writer - this, like all of Volf's books - 
would be a very productive read.


Buy the book from


Hardy Schroeder,
Winnipeg, MB

March 9th, 2016

Dear Wayne,

Spring Greetings from Winnipeg.

Thanks again for another news and interest-
packed posting.

You are simply amazing ... You have 24 hours

like the rest ofus and your energies are finite
(at least I'd like to think that!)
Instead of mentioning specific items, I want to
quickly share a thought that doesn't want to
leave me.

We always find your posts chock-full of
significant and valuable articles, reviews,
commentary, perspective, etc.

And we thank you wholeheartedly for your
tireless research and your enthusiastic
sharing of the fruits of your labours!

Now here's my thought of uneasiness --

Simply put, I find too much duplication/
repetition and this makes your Colleagues Lists
quite long and complicated and difficult to

For example, if you do a search on the word
"assisted" in your most recent (March 3)
posting, you will find eight hits, at least three
of which could be said to be superfluous/
redundant.  (Check them, out!)
I want to suggest that you somehow firm up
the composition of your mailings and discover
which entries might easily be dropped, without
losing the impact of your communication, your
reviewing and 'reporting.'

Just sayin'...

Best wishes as we all move into springtime,

(Elfrieda and) Hardy


Editor's Response:

Thanks for making the time and effort to
assess the way Colleagues List is presented.
I appreciate both your compliments and
your constructive critique.

I keep trying to make Colleagues List a better,
more useful tool for readers. Over the next
week I will be thinking about just that and the
next issue (March 20th) should reflect this.
Your ideas have stimulated some action!

As far as improvements go, here are some of
my current thoughts:

I have always wanted to make Colleagues
List a "cafeteria" for selective reading. I
can't imagine too many readers covering
everything, each week! But I do want to
make the information worth your investment
of time and attention.

Enhancing the reading experience is very
important to me. An important way to
do this is to reduce the length, but not
the quality, of each issue.

Therefore I want to:

- reduce the duplication
- improve the reading flow (and)
- sharpen the focus of all content

I hope that you my readers will help, like
Hardy in Winnipeg,  by your continuing
engagement and good critique.




Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

March 7th, 2016

"Death Books"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
March 7th, 2016

"How the Soul Matures"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
March 6th, 2016

"The Punishment Rarely Fits the Crime"


The Psychological Benefits

Pacific Standard,
March 9th, 2016


"It's About the Joy that Music Can Give"

The Guardian, UK
March 7th, 2016

English Reformer Paid a Big Price

Plough Publisher
Week of March 13th, 2016


Average Cost Has Been Well-Over $1 Million

The Tablet, UK
March10th, 2016

Encourages Dialogue with Dalai Lama

UCA News
March 11th, 2016


Sharp Decline of Ancient Christian Community

America Media (Text and Video)
February 25th, 2016
He Sees Doctrinal Revision as Key to Renewal

National Catholic Reporter
March 9th, 2016

His Inter-Faith Peacemaking is Recognized

Publisher's Weekly
March 2nd, 2016


Canadian Evangelical Perspective

Christian Week
March 7th, 2016

Thoughts by Joan Chittister

National Catholic Reporter
March 11th, 2016



From Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

Dare to declare who you are. It is not far
from the shores of silence to the boundaries
of speech. The path is not long, but the way
is deep. You must not only walk there, you

must be prepared to leap.

- Hildegard of Bingen


The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is
a descending spiral begetting the very thing
it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil,
it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish
the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence
merely increases hate.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


I believe that God really has dived down
into the bottom of creation, and has come
up bringing the whole redeemed nature
on his shoulders. The miracles that have
already happened are, of course, as
Scripture so often says, the first fruits of
that cosmic summer which is presently
coming on.

Christ has risen, and so we shall rise…

The day will come when there will be a
remade universe, infinitely obedient to the
will of glorified and obedient man, when
we can do all things, when we shall be
those gods that we are described as being
in Scripture. To be sure, it feels wintry
enough still: but often in the very early
spring it feels like that. Two thousand
years are only a day or two by this scale.
It remains with us to follow or not, to die
in this winter, or to go on into that spring
and that summer.

- C. S. Lewis


No cultural education, no art, no evolutionary
development helps us beyond our sins.
We must
receive assistance from the ground up.

Then the steep walls of our security are broken
to bits, and we are forced to become humble,
poor, and pleading. Thus we are driven more
and more to surrender and give up all that we
have, surrender and give up those things which
we formerly used to protect and defend and
hold to ourselves against the voice of the
resurrection’s truth.

-- Karl Barth



From the archives of the New York Times

"Russian Revolution Begins in St. Petersburg"

"Civil Rights Demonstration Broken Up in Selma"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Søren Kierkegaard

Jesus says, “Forgive, and you will also be forgiven”
(Matt. 6:14). That is to say, forgiveness is forgiveness.
Your forgiveness of another is your own forgiveness;
the forgiveness you give is the forgiveness you receive.
If you wholeheartedly forgive your enemy, you may
dare hope for your own forgiveness, for it is one
and the same.



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


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 made available for sale: 33.
All sets have now been sold.

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

Course design:

Check our complete archives
for all 46 book studies:



Theme: The Books of JOB and DANIEL
Hebrew Bible Wisdom and Apocalyptic
literature have meanings for our time.

Five sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
March 10th - April 14th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)

The Bible Study Group provided the
service reflection Sunday, Jan. 17th, 2016
and it was well received.



A Good Experience Again This Year

Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

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

Theme: "Opening the Jubilee Door:
A Focus on the Ecological Spirituality
of St. Francis of Assisi"

Registration, including lunch and
refreshments during the day - $35.00

Reflections were led by Susan Campbell
enthusiastic, qualified and new MSF director;
included a nature walk.

26 paid registrations. 24 attended



Our "Memories Project"  the Sight and Sound
Packet was supplied by persons who took the
"Jerusalem and the Lands of Three Great Faiths"
tour last October, and produced by Jock McTavish.
12,000+ pictures were offered and processed into
various electronic presentations.

Distributed free to all 29 people who participated
in our tour with additional packets available at
a modest price for those interested.


New Project Beginning 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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