Saturday, July 23, 2016

Colleagues List, July 24th, 2016

Vol. XII.  No. 2



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

Colleagues List Web Site:

Dear Colleagues:

Enhancing your reading experience is very
important to me.

I continue to refine and reduce the length,
but hopefully not the content and quality,
of each issue.

Please let me know how I'm doing.


Thanks for the feedback noted in this
week's Colleague Comment section,

Special Items - this week are:

My Anglican Journal column for July -
"Brief Encounter" - revisiting the classic
film of that name from 1946 (and)

My worship reflection for Sunday
July 24th, 2016 at St. David's United
Church Calgary. It is entitled:

"Lost and Found"
 Thoughts on 'Amazing Grace'

- and I hope you find these helpful.


Colleague Contributions - this week are
from: Marjorie Gibson, Mathew Zachariah,
Martin Marty, Ron Rolheiser and Jim Taylor.
Thanks to all five of you.

Net Notes - connect us to ten key articles
of value that were located online this week.

Wisdom of the Week - reflects the insights
of six helpful spiritual guides.

Three news stories appear from the archives
of the New York Times.

A Final Thought is shared by Leo Tolstoy.

For those interested, I include information
on our developing 2016-17 Adult Spiritual
Development program at St.David's, Calgary.


Thanks for joining me again this week.




Arthur Bauer,
Pompton Plains, NJ
July 10th, 2016

Wayne and Marlene,

Your periodic mailings are inspiring,

interesting, challenging -- just what
one is thankful and encouraged and
empowered by.  A loud and strong
"Thank You:" -- you have found your 
vocation and serve it well.  

A blessing to all your recipients.

I write primarily to express appreciation

for your article:

"My Thoughts on Attending Two Family
 Nuptuals, 2010 and 2016." 

Colleagues List, July 10th, 2016

Even as more LGBT "come out" and are
accepted in society, there are many of
us not in direct contact or experience
with the change about us. 

Your thoughtful and incisive stories are
a gift to us. Keep up the good work!




My Anglican Journal column for July:

"Brief Encounter"
  Revisiting the Classic Film from 1946


My Worship Reflection for
Sunday July 24th, 2016 at
St. David's United Church Calgary

"Lost and Found"
 Thoughts on 'Amazing Grace'

My vote for the most poignant moment 
in the presidency of American President 
Barack Obama to date occurred in June 
of last year when he gave the eulogy 
for nine black members who were 
massacred during a prayer meeting at 
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Many of you will remember seeing the 
news clip that featured the president 
leading a largely black congregation 
in the singing of the famous gospel 
hymn “Amazing Grace.” 

You will no doubt recall that two of the
most famous lines from that hymn are
these: “I once was lost but now am

found, was blind but now I see.”

(You may even want to start humming
those lines now, and that’s OK!)

We are going to sing that hymn after
my reflection this morning, but if you
would like to locate the famous Obama
clip and revisit my message (since we
don’t have projection today) just google
“Wayne Holst” and click “Colleagues List.”

You will easily find it all online.


Video Clips of President Obama 
Leading the Eulogy at Emanuel AME Church, 
Charleston SC, June 27th, 2015

"Amazing Grace" (from eulogy)

Charleston Eulogy (complete)


So today I’d like to share some of my 
insights on the theme:

“Lost and Found – 
         Thoughts on Amazing Grace”

- in addition to commenting on Obama 
in Charleston, I would like to develop 
some discoveries from two of today’s 
lections (taken from the books of Hosea 
and Colossians) that John Wilkes read 
for us earlier.


Obama in Charleston

Charleston was a major locus of the 
American slave trade until slavery was 
legally abolished during the 1860s after
President Abraham Lincoln. 

Use your imagination. Watch President 
Obama as he enters movingly into the 
eulogy. He talks about “grace” and how 
it impacted the lives of the nine deceased; 
then he connects to the words of that great
hymn so familiar to him from his youth in 
the black church. Gradually, he enters into 
his thoughts and feelings behind the words. 

He is joined in typical black church antiphony 
by members of the clergy behind him, and 
the congregation before him.

I believe that this pivotal moment on video 
speaks volumes about the president’s own 
faith and the community that shaped it.

In spite of Harvard Law School and almost 
eight difficult years as US president the 
meaning and message of “Amazing Grace” 
has not left him. We glimpse at that moment 
and note how profound this biblical, Christian 
motif really is for him; as it is for so many of 
us (repeating) -

“I once was lost, but now am found, was 
blind, but now I see…”

We are moved by this. You don’t have to be 
black to identify with it it. True spiritual 
wisdom cuts across the barriers of race, 
class and creed; speaking universally to 
people. It spoke to those descendants of 
the slave markets who were members of 
Charleston’s AME Church, as well as to 
the current occupant of the White House.

It speaks to us today. We can quibble about 
terms like “being lost in sin” or “being saved 
by the blood of Jesus” - but the important 
point is this. All of us have experienced what 
it means to be lost. And happily, many of us 
have been able to celebrate the joy of being 
found. The words we use to describe those 
feelings may vary, and yet the resulting 
experience can be profound.

Lost and Found - it is one of the great themes 
of our Christian faith. No matter what spiritual 
heritage or faith tradition we claim – the images 
of rejection and acceptance, of aimlessness and 
new focus for our lives, are known to us. 

I truly believe that is what lies at the center 
of your faith. It stands at the core of this 
congregation’s tradition and remains at the
heart of our current life together. Let’s not 
forget that; in spite of all the confusing talk
with which modern life confronts us.


Hosea and Colossians

The unfaithfulness of God’s people is met 
by the faithfulness of God. But there is a 
price to be paid and judgment is part of 
the redemptive process. That, in a nutshell, 
is the meaning of the book of Hosea  - the 
biblical prophet we heard this morning 
from our first reading. (repeat)

We don’t like the bad news. We don’t 
appreciate it when we’re told we’re 
wrong and need to change. Yet, Hosea 
was very much a bad news man; even 
as he was a good news man as well.

Hosea came from Israel, and from what 
was the northern part of the Holy Land 
centered in Samaria and Galilee. 

Israel had split from Judah, the southern 
region and soon Israel was destroyed by 
its enemies to the east, the Assyrians. 
Hosea was told by God that he had a 
lesson to teach the people from all this 
– northerners and southerners alike. 

To prove his point, God told Hosea to take 
as his wife a sinful woman, a prostitute 
named Gomer. Just as the faithful prophet 
restored unfaithful Gomer by marrying 
her and returning her to respectability, 
so God will renew his marriage covenant 
with  God's people Israel and Judah. 

A price must be paid, but through the 
struggle, forgiveness and redemption 
would be possible. The unfaithfulness of 
God’s people is met by the faithfulness 
of God.

We may question why it is the woman, 
not the man in the story, who is declared 
unfaithful. But I believe that if Hosea were 
telling this formative myth today, he would 
advocate for true gender balance and mutual
responsibility. In truth, and again, human 
unfaithfulness is met by divine faithfulness.

Amazing grace is what God is about when 
God deals with all of us - whatever our gender.


In our second reading, the book Paul wrote 
to the Christians of the early church in 
Colossae (Asia Minor in modern Turkey) 
the apostle writes to a community of 
people he had never met, but whom he 
wanted to instruct in true faith.

“Rival spiritualities” within the community,
Paul believed, needed to be challenged by 
his faithful teachings.

Apparently many of the early members of the 
Colossian church had been followers of the 
teachings of Paul – possibly through the efforts 
of some of his disciples. But the community had 
become divided because other teachings 
(unfaithful to Paul’s original message) had 
begun to infiltrate among the members.

Scholars today tend to be convinced that 
Colossians is one of Paul’s authentic New
Testament letters. What Paul claims to be 
“true Gospel” is, in fact, real Paul. What 
Paul in this letter claims are the“rival 
spiritualities” were in competition to 
his core message. 

”Remain faithful to the truths I originally 
shared with you,” he admonishes; “and 
don’t be misled by false teachings.” Much 
of his letter continues as a repeat of what 
the apostle wanted the church of Colossae 
to know. He wanted them to stand secure 
in “the Way of Christ” as he understood and 
proclaimed it.

Hosea and the Colossians (books of the 
Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) 
were separated by perhaps 800 years of 
history and considerable distance (Israel 
and Turkey). Yet one overarching theme 
connects them. Unfaithfulness is met by 
faithfulness. Human flaws are redeemed 
because of the “amazing grace” of God.

Sometimes we quibble over these points, 
because the world evolves and perspectives 
change. But as its core, truth is changeless. 
Our task is to distinguish between what is 
essential and non-essential.


Concluding Thoughts

As I reflected this week on Obama in 
Charleston and on our lections for today -
I see valuable connections between 
the hymn “Amazing Grace” and 
“unfaithfulness met by faithfulness” -
in the messages of Hosea and Colossians.

President Obama - through the use of 
a hymn greatly loved in the black church 
and beyond it - was admonishing his 
hearers (white and non-white alike) to 
resist fear and hatred in the wake of 
tragedy and loss. He was reminding all 
of us that God’s love and acceptance is 
greater than even the worst evils to 
befall and affect our lives.

Hebrew prophets like Hosea and Christian 
apostles like Paul remind us that God’s 
'marriage covenant' with us remains true, 
in spite of our infidelities.

“Lost and Found” is a beautiful motif, 
describing our faith. All of us, in our own 
ways, know that we can become lost. 

But thank God that Someone is there 
watching over us. We are not alone. 
We live in God’s world.




Marjorie Gibson,
Vancouver, BC

Marjorie Remembers Blog
July 9th, 2016



Mathew Zachariah
Calgary, AB

July 11th, 2016

I write a suggestion for your CL blog. 
This is a very interesting l-o-n-g article by 
a journalist about his three-week visit to 
Israel with 450 "Christian Zealots." 

Your readers might be interested.
(there is a cost to read complete article)


Harper's Magazine, July 22nd, 2016

"My Holy Land Vacation:
  Touring Israel With 450 Christian Zionists"


Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

July 18th, 2016

"White Protestant America"

Religion News Service
July 12th, 2016

"'The End of White Christian America' 
   (the phrase) is Meaningless"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio., TX

Personal Web Site
July 18th, 2016

"Angels With Sicles and God's Fury"


Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
July 17th, 2016

"Internet Pro and Con"
July 20th, 2016

"A Handful of Theologies"



Netherlands Tells Full Holocaust
Story of How 75-80% of Dutch
Jews were Annihilated.

New York Times
July 17th, 2016


Why More Western Concern for Paris?
July 3rd, 2016


Where Goliath May Have Walked

Religion News Service
July 9th, 2016


Following a Heroic President

Spiritual Politics
July 13th, 2016 


Canadian Church Joins Others News
July 12th, 2016


Space Limits Lead to Policy
that is Closer to Hindu Beliefs

UCA News
July 19th, 2016


Funerals for Men, Women, Children

New York Times,
July 19th, 2016


Muslim Cleric Lives in US Exile

Religion News Service
July 17th, 2016



Christian Week Online
July 18th, 2016

Responding to the Republican Convention -
"God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear"

Sojourners Online
July 22nd, 2016


Pew Survey Discovers a Bi-Polarity
Party, But No Trump Loyalty

Christianity Today
July 20th, 2016



From Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

To be wealthy and honored in an 
unjust society is a disgrace. 

- Confucius


Although the world is full of suffering,
it is full also of the overcoming of it.

- Helen Keller


Generosity is also an act of freedom,
a casting off of the constraints of
prudence and self-interest.

- Marilynne Robinson


A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples 
that spread in all directions. 

And each one of our thoughts, words, 
and deeds is like that. 

- Dorothy Day


Obviously, while I love all, I must, like Christ 
have a special love for the poor. At the last 
judgement, we shall all be judged by the 
treatment we have given to Christ, to Christ 
in the person of those who are hungry or 
thirsty, who are dirty, wounded, and oppressed.

- Dom Helder Camara


Perhaps the moral ambiguity of money is
most plainly evidenced in the popular belief
that money itself has value and that the
worth of other things or of men is somehow
measured in monetary terms, rather than
the other way around.

- William Stringfellow


I am not afraid of being thought a sentimentalist
when I say that I believe natural beauty has a
necessary place in the spiritual development of
an individual or a society. I believe that whenever
we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute
something manmade and artificial for a natural
feature of the earth, we have retarded some
part of our spiritual growth.

- Rachel Carson



From the Archives of the New York Times

"Spanish Civil War Begins. Franco Emerges"

"Last Russian Czar/Family Executed by Bolsheviks"

"Monkey Trial Ends in Tennessee; John Scopes
  Found Guilty of Teaching Evolution"


Wrong does not cease to be wrong 
because the majority share in it. 



For Those Interested

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


This series begins in September

Theme: "Rediscovering the Bible for Today"

Book: "Reclaiming the Bible 
             for a Non-Religious World"
             by Bishop John Spong

A ten-week introduction to the entire Bible
with help to engage it meaningfully, today.

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 19th - November 28th, 2016
Excluding Monday of Thanksgiving Weekend

Books and Registration/Hospitality - $60.00
Books only - $20.00

Total book sets made available for sale: 35.
All sale books have now been secured.

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

Course design: TBA in September

Check our complete archives
for all 48 book studies since 2000:



Theme: TBA in September, 2016
Group Decides Theme at First Meeting

Ten sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30 AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 15th - November 24th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)



The Planning Cycle for a 2017 Tour Continues.

The Travel Destination has been selected
with Rostad Tours. It is a seventeen-day trip
which will take place in October of next year.

Location, cost and itinerary will be made 
available summer 2016. Promotion will begin 
in September. Follow these notices for 
weekly updates.


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