Saturday, April 23, 2016

Colleagues List, April 24th, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 35



Wayne A. Holst, Editor
My E-Mail Address:

Colleagues List Web Site:

Dear Colleagues:

Enhancing your reading experience is very
important to me. I am currently involved in
up-grading the layout and presentation of
Colleagues List, so please bear with me.

I am attempting to reduce the length, but
not the content and quality, of each issue.

Please let me know how I'm doing.


This has not been a good week for many
Catholic and Evangelical Christians in Canada.
The previous and current governments of
Canada are also implicated in seemingly
questionable behaviour.

The new Liberal government has withdrawn
an appeal against the Catholic Church for trying
to evade a multi-million dollar commitment to
compensate First Nations communities for
damage done by their historic residential schools. 


(Mainline Protestant groups have been working
hard on their "healing fund projects," but
Catholics are the big players in that tragedy.)

Will this decision get Catholics off the hook?

The "not-guilty" verdict by an Ontario justice
in favour of Senator Mike Duffy casts negative
dispersion on the behaviour of former Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, a member of a
Christian and Missionary Alliance mega-church
in Calgary. One church or denomination cannot
be blamed for the behaviour of one of its members
but many conservative Canadian Christians have
faithfully supported the Harper government in three
federal elections over the past decade or so.


Church loyalty is compromised when words and
deeds lack integrity.

Church and state are legally separate in Canada
but such news can nevertheless prompt a negative
attitude on the part of the Canadian public toward
the churches.

All this leads to my book notice for this week.

I introduce a just-appearing title by Toronto
author Michael Coren. For years Coren was
a super-conservative on matters of church
doctrine and he took a strong stand against
the movement to liberalize Canadian laws
in favour of the LGBT community.

Now Michael has dramatically reversed his
former gay stance in the book:

"EPIPHANY: A Christian's Change of
  Heart and Mind Over Same Sex Marriage"

Repeating past journalistic tactics, this is a
dramatic but differing kind of testimony by
a well-known Canadian author.

Please scroll through this letter to read about
the book and my thoughts concerning it.


Colleague Communications this week are from
Marjorie Gibson, Ron Rolheiser, Jim Taylor and
Martin Marty. Thanks for sharing these items!


Net Notes - provide eleven links to stories I
thought would interest you this week.


Wisdom of the Week is provided by six people
whose insights should be helpful to you.


The New York Times offers two intriguing
news items from their archives - On This Day.


Closing Thought is from - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


For those interested, at the end of this blog, we
begin to build our new 2016-17 program year
of Adult Spiritual Development ACTS Ministry 
at St. David's United Church, Calgary

"Where Would You Like to Travel in 2017?"
  Please let me know:


Thanks for joining me this week.

Please keep the constructive critique coming!




Book Notice -

A Christian's Change of
Heart and Mind Over
Same-Sex Marriage
by  Michael Coren

McClelland and Stewart; Signal
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Hardcover. 221 pages. $24.00 CAD
ISBN #9780771024115

Publisher's Promo:

From the poster boy of Catholic conservatism, 
a major change of heart and soul on one of the
Church's most controversial and intractable

What happened was that Michael Coren
a profound spiritual and personal change of

Epiphany is about how and why that happened;
the reaction from both sides of the fence; and
how the Christian doctrine, when studied closely
and without bias, heartily supports Michael's

As a middle - aged, very white, very straight,
very Christian man, he was obliged, first
reluctantly and then eagerly, to explore
the complex dynamic between faith and
homosexuality and to work out a new

The crux of that narrative: God is love. 

Honest, brave, and rigorous in its scholarship,

Epiphany is a groundbreaking book on one of
society's most pressing issues.


Author's Words:

"This past February, a conservative Roman
Catholic blog, Contra|Diction, gave me perhaps
my best headline ever: 'Michael Coren Complicit in
Destruction of Souls Who Practice Homosexuality,
Pt 1' (I'm still waiting for part two). It was one of
countless posts, tweets, and articles that have
condemned me for coming out in favour of same-
sex marriage. I've also been fired from columns
that I wrote for years, been banned from various
Catholic TV and radio stations, had speeches
cancelled, and been accused of cheating on my
wife. My children have been called gay, and I
have been compared to a child molester and a
murderer. These are new experiences for me.

Until last year, I was considered something of
a champion of social conservatism in Canada
and was well known among politically active

I hosted a nightly show on Crossroads Television
for twelve years, was a syndicated Sun columnist,
and wrote briskly selling books with such titles
as Why Catholics Are Right. Today, I am working
away at a new book, Epiphany: Changing Heart
and Mind on Same-Sex Marriage.

How and why did it go so terribly wrong?"

(Coren encourages you to read his book)


Author's Bio:

Michael Coren is the best-selling author of
fifteen books, including biographies of
G.K. Chesterton, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan
Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well
as Why Catholics Are Right, Heresy, and Hatred.

He has contributed to the Dictionary of National
Biography and several other anthologies, and his
journalism is published in many countries and in
more than a dozen languages.

The author lives in Toronto.

More extensive Wikipedia bio:


My Thoughts:

To live is to change, and to be perfect
is to have changed often.

- John Henry Newman

I have always valued this statement by
Cardinal John Henry Newman, a wise
nineteenth century English Catholic prelate.

But I would have never until now applied
this insight to English-Canadian journalist
and writer based in Toronto, Michael Coren.
He is the notorious author of "Epiphany"
but, after engaging it, I would like to suggest
a change of heart in me as well.

Michael has been trying to influence public
opinion on many issues for some decades.
He is quite well known, at least in some circles,
for conservative, arrogant and intransigent
positions on religious and moral matters.

Because I tend to support softer and more
balanced arguments from those by whom 
I am influenced, Michael was never high on
my list of advisors. He tended to resort to
journalistic self-promotion and made his
points by articulately devastating adversaries
with his poisonous pen.

Now comes his latest book "Epiphany - A
Christians Change of Heart and Mind Over
Same-Sex Marriage." While a leopard
can never fully change his spots, I am now
inclined to view the author differently.

True, his self-promoting exhibitionism is
still evident, but his dramatic articulation
is now used to describe detractors who
were his friends a short while back.

What to make of this dramatic about-face?
I am inclined to think of myself as Ananias
in Acts 9:16-19 after Saul's Damascus road 

You will recall that the Lord appeared to
him and told him to go to Saul and help
him. Ananias protested "Lord, many people
have told me about this man, about all the
terrible things he has done to your people
in Jerusalem." But the Lord persisted and
Ananias went. "The Lord has sent me in
order that you might see again, and be
filled with the Holy Spirit," he told Saul.

The rest, of course is history.

Am I also ready to bless, and not curse,
Michael Coren for all the nasty things
he has written about gay people? (and
that's just the beginning). He has written
that Catholics are right, and by implication,
I am wrong. He has been a darling of
conservative Catholics and Protestants
alike for some of his doctrinal, social
and moral stances - widely publicized,
but now also called into question by the
new "love" criteria he has discovered.

By the way, he now considers himself
an Anglican and not a Catholic. He has
suffered some real abuse from former
allies. Some might say he should expect
as much. To my mind, few Catholics are
the arrogant bigots he was and now
the chickens have come home to roost.

I, however, like the proverbial Ananias
am inclined to advise supportive caution
when dealing with this man. Coren has
taken strong stands in the past (as he
now does in "loving" support of gays.)
He has flip-flopped once, and can change
his mind again.

And yet again, I, like Ananias, have a
positive strong urge to believe Michael
and suggest we treat him compassionately
and give him a chance.

First, the author is very honest and 
apologetic about the hurt and abuse
some of his previous views have heaped
on people. I believe his remorse is not
grand-standing but authentic. He has
had to pay a big price for his change
of heart and mind.

Second, he chronicles carefully and
clearly this change of heart and mind.
At base, he does not now believe that
a loving God would create gay people
"in His own image" only to condemn
them. He offers a gut-wrenching story
of transformation and it is believable.

While hetero with wife and family, and
not gay himself, he  has worked hard to
identify with the reality and spirituality
of gayness.

Finally, he invites the reader to hold
him accountable, not only for his past,
but for his present and future positions
on the matter.

I will not promote Michael's book as
testimony to his "seeing the light"
after all these years.

But I do encourage you to read it is
"a work in progress" - demonstrating
how one thoughtful and I believe -
sincere man - has "sought once more
to be perfect and has therefore

I suspect that Cardinal Newman would


Globe and Mail review by John Semley:
Buy the book from



Marjorie Gibson,
Vancouver, BC

Marjorie Remembers Blog
April 22nd, 2016

"Morality and Multi-Culturalism"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
April 17th, 2016

"Loyalty and Patriotism Revisited"


Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
April 17th, 2016

"Aboriginal Suicides, Loss of Hope"


Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

April 18th, 2016

"Religion Coverage"

Deseret News (Marty reference)
(March 30th, 2016)

"Why Faith-Based Media Outlets and
  Coverage Matter More than Ever"



Significant Life Mark

The Guardian, UK
(a video review)
April 21st, 2016


Now, a Serious Question

Religious News Service
April 20th, 2016

Muslim-Christian History Redux

The Atlantic Online
May 2016


They Believe Experience was a Miracle

Religion News Service
April 18th, 2016


Young Adults Dropping Out

Religion News Service
April 14th, 2016

Chronic Inter-Islamic Conflict

The Atlantic Online
May, 2016

Discovery Amid Confusion

Christian Week Online
April 19th, 2016

New Book Claims

Religion News Service
April 20th, 2016

This May be Cause for New
Conflict With Hinduism

UCA News
April 20th, 2016


One Way to Defeat ISIS

The Guardian, UK
April 19th, 2016



The Guardian, UK
April 18th, 2016


Provided by Sojourners and Bruderhof online:

Who am I to judge?
- Pope Francis


It requires less mental effort to condemn
than to think.

- Emma Goldman


Hate is a wasteful emotion.

Most of the people you hate don't know
you hate them and the rest don't care.

- Medgar Evers


The earthly-minded person thinks and
imagines that when he prays, the important
thing – the thing he must concentrate upon –
is that God should hear what he is praying for.

And yet in the true, eternal sense it is just
the reverse: the true relation in prayer is not
when God hears what is prayed for, but when
the person praying continues to pray until he
is the one who hears – who hears what God
is asking for.

- Søren Kierkegaard


Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant who crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain

- A Ute Prayer.


It is not only prayer that gives God glory
but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a
beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses,
sweeping, scouring, everything gives God
some glory if being in his grace you do it
as your duty. To go to communion worthily
gives God great glory, but to take food in
thankfulness and temperance gives him
glory too. To lift up the hands in prayer
gives God glory, but a man with a dung
fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail,
give him glory too. He is so great that all
things give him glory if you mean they
should. So then, my brethren, live.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins



From the archives of the New York Times

"Major Earthquake Hits San Francisco"

"American Writer Mark Twain Dies at 74"
CLOSING THOUGHT - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

If only it were all so simple! If only there were
evil people somewhere insidiously committing
evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate
them from the rest of us and destroy them.

But the line dividing good and evil cuts through
the heart of every human being. And who is willing

to destroy a piece of his own heart?



Beginning a New Program Year -
2016-17 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
Church, Calgary


The Planning Cycle Begins With a Question:

"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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