Saturday, January 30, 2010

Colleagues List, January 30th, 2010

Vol. V. No. 23


Edited by Wayne A. Holst

New Blogsite:


In this issue:

My Book Review of -

"Jesus Wars"
 Written by Colleague Philip Jenkins
 Book to be published in March, 2010
 Review to appear in America, March, 2010


Colleague Contributions:

Marlene Holst
John Stackhouse Jr.
Brian Arthur Brown


Net Notes:

A Believer's To-Be List
Hinduism and Modern India
Cardinal John Henry Newman
Current US Catholic Bestsellers
Special Saints of Today's Church
The Pandora's Box of James Cameron
Daunting Obstacles to Haiti Recovery
Church Leaders are Wrong on Equality
Green Religion: The Vatican May Be Right
Salvadoran Bishops Boost Romero Canonization
Jury Says Guilty in Murder of Abortion Doctor


Global Faith Potpourri:

Sixteen Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Mother Teresa
Martin Luther
Brenda Salter McNeil
Zora Neale Hurston
Kenneth Miller


Obituary: J.D. Salinger


On This Day (January 24-30):

Jan. 23, 1973 - Richard Nixon Announces Vietnam Accord
Jan. 24, 1965 - Winston Churchill dies in London
Jan. 26, 1950 - India proclaims itself a republic
Jan. 27, 1967 - Astronauts die in Apollo spacecraft fire
Jan. 28, 1986 - Challenger explodes killing 7 crew members
Jan. 30, 1948 - Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi murdered


Humour (sort of):

Obama, Republicans & Healthcare, by Garrison Kiellor


Dear Friends:

This week I begin Colleagues List with a book
review of "Jesus Wars" which was written by
colleague Philip Jenkins. The book will be
published March, 2010, the same month in
which my review appears in America Magazine.


Colleague Contributions this week are from my
wife Marlene Holst who shares a Calgary Herald
article on David Mans whose BioSand filter is
helping to provide clean water for the people
of Haiti during their time of tragedy.

On the Haiti topic, colleague John Stackhouse Jr.
shares a blog story of two of his cousins who are
involved personally with victims of the disaster.

Brian Arthur Brown - whose book "Noah's Other Son"
was reviewed here last January shares his website
and the on-going story of Christian-Jewish-Muslim
dialogue based in Toronto.

Thanks to Marlene, John and Brian for this material.


Net Notes this week include:

"A Believer's To-Be List" - from Philip Yancey who
is a favourite of readers of Colleagues List.
(Christianity Today)

"Hinduism and Modern India" - is a Religion & Ethics
story about how Hinduism is evolving in India as a
result of the changing interests of its young people
and the growing influence of the West (PBS)

"Cardinal John Henry Newman" - is on the way to
beatifiction in the Roman Catholic Church. We could
all gain from a better understanding of this learned
nineteenth century English prelate (America Magazine)

"Current US Catholic Bestsellers" - here is a list of
the most popular American Catholic books. I find it
interesting that C. S. Lewis is being read by so many
US Catholics at this point in time (Publishers Weekly)

"Special Saints of Today's Church" - Richard McBrien
writes of the "sainthood" of Mahatma Gandhi and others
at a time commemorating the great Hindu's death on
January 30th - see On This Day article, below.
(National Catholic Reporter)

"The Pandora's Box of James Cameron" - is an article
on the current blockbuster movie 'Avatar' (Sightings)

"Daunting Obstacles to Haiti Recovery" - in spite of
the great outpouring of support for Haiti in its time
of need, there are great challenges to be faced.
(New York Times)

"Church Leaders are Wrong on Equality" - a story from
England, here is comment on the paradox of Anglican
bishops as caring pastors and public officials.
(The Guardian)

"Green Religion: The Vatican May Be Right" - another
perspective on 'Avatar' - a negative assessment
given it by the Vatican film reviewer.
(Globe and Mail)

"Salvadoran Bishops Boost Romero Canonization" - we
draw close to the thirtieth anniversary of the
martyrdom of Oscar Romero. El Salvadoran Catholic
bishops and many others are in support of his
process to formal sainthood (Zenit News from Rome)

"Jury Says Guilty in Murder of Abortion Doctor" -
this week, a Kansas jury declared it was murder in
the case of Scott Roeder who killed late-term,
Lutheran abortion doctor, George R. Tiller (NYT)


Global Faith Potpourri:

Read these stories, gleaned this week from
around the world by ENI Geneva.


Quotes of the Week:

Memorable thoughts from Mother Teresa, Martin Luther,
Brenda McNeil, Zora Neale Hurston and Kenneth Miller


J.D. Salinger - was a favour author of mine during
my college years "Catcher in the Rye," "Fanny and Zooey"
and then he seemed to drop from sight. Read his obituary
provided by the New York Time with ab illustrated piece

On This Day (January 24-30):

Richard Nixon announces end of Vietnam War; Winston Churchill
dies in London India proclaims itself a republic; several
astronauts die in Apollo spacecraft fire; Challenger explodes
killing 7 crew members and Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was

Read six historic stories from the New York Times.


It would be funny, if it were not so sad.
Read what Garrison Kiellor has to say about the Healthcare
situation in the US Congress right now.


We have already reached the end of January.
Soon we will be entering the Lenten Season.
Colleagues List will journey with you as we go.




Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -
Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish



Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010
An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.

Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:



A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!

You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.



Reviewed for America Magazine, New York, NY.
Pat Kossmann, Literary Editor.
January 30th, 2010.

JESUS WARS: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens and Two Emperors
Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years
by Philip Jenkins. HarperOne: New York. March, 2010. Hardcover.
$27. US. $33. CAD. 352 pages. ISBN #978-0-06-176894-1.

Reviewed by Wayne A. Holst. (980 words)


If you seek a credible study of how evil profoundly defiled
ancient church councils, read Philip Jenkins new book
"Jesus Wars."

If you seek clarity on how one of those same church councils
produced timeless teachings about Christ still honored by
Catholic, Orthodox, most Protestant Christians today, you should
also read this book.

This perceptive study challenges common perceptions of how lofty
Christian doctrine was formulated amid human chaos and  it all centers
on Chalcedon (451 CE.)

The author helps us see that the key factors at work were often not
religious but extraneous. "When we look at what became the church's
orthodoxy," says Jenkins, so much of those core beliefs gained the
status they did as a result of what appears to be historical accident
or the workings of raw chance."

It was not a matter of one side having better theological arguments
than the other. All had good people and arguments. "What mattered,"
writes Jenkins, "were the interests and obsessions of rival emperors
and queens, competitive ecclesiastical princes and their churches,
and the empire's military successes or failures against particular
barbarian nations."

In the long term, it seems, debates defining the meaning of Christ
were settled by one straightforward issue: which side gained and held
supremacy within the Christian Roman Empire and was therefore able to
establish its particular view of orthodoxy.

Just because one view became orthodoxy does not mean it was always
and inevitably destined to do so so; in truth, the Roman Church became
right because it survived.

"It was all mere chance and accident - unless, of course, we follow a
tradition common to Christians, Jews and Muslims of seeing God's hand
in the apparently shapeless course of worldly history."

Jenkins is known for helpful studies like this. He teaches and
researches at Penn State and Baylor universities [previous books
appearing in America include "The New Faces of Christianity"
(Oct. 9th, 2006) and "The Lost History of Christianity"
(Jan. 5th, 2009.)]

He helps us look at this era strategically and prevents our drowning
in historical minutiae while alerting us to the developing story
within the story. However remote and irrelevant the narrative of
those early conciliar conflicts may appear to us, they set
precedents that continued to influence and divide the Christian
world in later eras. Those affected were the Catholic/Orthodox
split; the Reformation; early-modern Victorian battles between
faith and reason and on to the present.

Great councils like Chalcedon are important because they debated
pivotal, timeless issues such as the quest for authority in
religion, the relationship between church and state, the proper
ways of interpreting Scripture, the ethics and conduct demanded
of Christians, and the means of salvation.

What ultimately became known as Christian orthodoxy was hammered
out in a process that was painfully slow, gradual and often bloody.
We are helped to see how Christianity evolved over time and this
provides a perspective to help us understand how Christianity and
other world religions evolve in new circumstances. For example,
some modern African Christianity and Islamic religious behaviour
today demonstrate parallels to what occurred in early 5th-6th
century conciliar Christianity.

Why study the protracted debates over the two natures of Christ
which was the theological thread running through that entire era?
We chart the course of theological evolution and why it was
important to ancient audiences who believed theological
orientation had practical consequences for state and soceity.

Why did ordinary people get so passionately involved in such
intricate theological debates? We learn that when court
rivalries shaped theological debate, having the 'right' theology
meant having the kind of empire God favoured. Even the slightest
concession to error in such essential matters was understood to
affect the substance of Christian truth.

Four sees played primary roles in the councils under consideration -
Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome. The councils were
centres of political theatre and action. Powerful prelates became
linked to powerful political leaders. Fortunes rose, fell, rose
and fell again.

In defining Christ as both fully divine and fully human, having
one personhood but two natures Chalcedon served as a solid
theological base for several key Christian communions such as
Rome and Constantinople. It also set the stage for the tragic
process of condemning the churches of Antioch and Alexandria
as the Nestorian and Monophysite traditions were declared
heretical. The emerging churches of Western Christendom
effectively lost half their world, the churches of the East.

What was not weakened in Eastern Christendom through internal
dissention was ultimately all but destroyed when Islam began
to emerge as a new religious force with which to be reckonned.

Many of the contentious issues surrounding Chalcedon survive
to modern times and remain alive in contemporary forms and ideas
like the God who suffers with us. Much has changed and they are
no longer viewed generally as heresies.

Jenkins reflects in his concluding chapter on what was saved
from so much spiritual calamity. After fifteen hundred years
the churches - "have never found a path that avoids the powerful
pressures of individual ambition and political interest. If
nothing else, that experience argues strongly for being
tolerant of nonessential expressions of the faith."

Viewed historically, we know that other theologies might have
succeeded and might yet do so in times to come. We should
therefor give "heresy" its due since all views expressed in
a debate seeking "orthodoxy" remain part of and integral to
the Christian faith. The very existence of heresy is a sign
of a vital faith tradition.

Amazingly, Jenkins concludes, the church preserved its belief
that Christ was human as well as God. Today, that belief is
standard, official doctrine for the vast majority of Christians.
We need constantly to reexamine and restate the grounds of our
belief (Dorothy Sayers) since the Chalcedonian formula is not
only our end, but also our beginning (Karl Rahner).

The author might have entitled his book "Back to the Future
of Faith."


Reviewer's Bio: Wayne A. Holst teaches religion and culture
at the University of Calgary and helps co-ordinate Adult
Spiritual Development at St. David's United Church in
that city.

Buy the book online:





Calgary Herald,
January 24th, 2010



Posted January 27th, 2010

My Cute Little Cousin ‹ Now on the Ground in Haiti:

I used to pick up and tickle my cousin Kent when I
was a Bible school student in Edmonton and lived with
his parents for that year. He and his littler sister
Jeannie were as adorable as two kids can be.

I'm not kidding: Check 'em out (and ignore the
impossibly young man holding them ):

Well, little Jeannie is now Dr. Jeannie Annan, child
psychologist whose doctoral dissertation discussed the
traumatic effects of war on children in northern Uganda
and southern Sudan. She conducted her research sometimes
in a flak jacket between armed guards.

Cute little Kent is now well over six feet tall, a
graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and a co-
director of Haiti Partners. The fine Canadian journalist
George Strombolopoulos interviews Kent about what Haiti
is like and what it needs:

Kent's tender and provocative new book, "Following Jesus
through the Eye of the Needle" - about being a middle-class
kid trying to walk with Jesus in Haiti is here:

(Yes, I'm proud of my cousins.)

See email updates from Prof. John Stackhouse's Weblog

New York Times
January 28t,h 2010

Amid Earthquake's Ruins, Signs of Revival in Haiti
by Deborah Sontag

As Haiti tries to restart its economy and piece together
its capital, hundreds of thousands of its people are taking
the first steps to rebuilding their lives.
Read the article, click:



For blog updates, including discussions
involving Christians, Jews and Muslims -
January 28th, 2010

Dear Wayne:

Publishing details are in negotiation, as Jews, Christians
and Muslims in Toronto add breadth to the conversation at
our website.


Click this link -




Christianity Today
January 26th, 2010
by Philip Yancey
A Fresh Start With God
Read the article, click:



PBS Religion & Ethics
January 22nd, 2010



One of the Church's Great Teachers

America Magazine,
February 1st, 2010



Publishers Weekly
January 27th, 2010



National Catholic Reporter
January 25th, 2010
by Richard McBrien

This coming Saturday, Jan. 30, is the day of death of one
of the 20th century's spiritual giants. He has never been
canonized, however, nor even put on the canonical track
leading to canonization.

This individual, though not a Christian, was, in the literal
meaning of the word, a martyr (or "witness") for peace and
reconciliation. He was a Hindu holy man and modern pioneer
of non-violent resistance, who inspired many others,
including the American civil rights leader Martin Luther
King, Jr., to follow this same path against all odds.

His name is Mohandas Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948
by a young Hindu fanatic.

An apostolic delegate to the United States once praised
Gandhi as a "naturally Christian" person. To be sure, the
Vatican's representative intended his remark as a compliment
to Gandhi, but in fact it was not.

The assumption was, and still is, among many Christians that
only Christians can live a highly moral, even saintly, life.
Whatever is good and holy in the world must be claimed
somehow by the church.

All else is a form of "anonymous Christianity," one of the
few insights of the great theologian Jesuit Fr. Karl Rahner
that happily never caught on.

If Gandhi's life taught us anything, it is that God's presence,
which is the basis of all holiness, is not limited to any
religious community, including the church.

God is the loving Creator and Redeemer of all humanity. The
Holy Spirit blows wherever the Spirit wills. Grace is offered
to everyone...
To ead the rest of this column, post this link
to your brower or address bar:



Sightings 1/28/10
by Joseph Laycock

Avatar, James Cameron¹s high-budget blockbuster, is on track
to become the highest grossing film of all time. This two and
a half hour saga tells the tale of the Na'vi, a race of blue
skinned aliens with a pre-industrial culture. Their planet,
Pandora, is home to an ecosystem that has achieved a kind of
sentience, and which the Na¹vi revere as a deity. The Na¹vi
way of life is interrupted by human strip-miners, who have
come to Pandora in search of a mineral with the unlikely name

Read the rest of the article, click:



New York Times
January 23rd, 2010

Obstacles to Recovery in Haiti May Prove Daunting
Beyond Other Disasters
by Ray Rivera

The relief effort in Haiti could end up being the most
difficult, faith-testing recovery from a modern disaster,
according to aid groups.



The Guardian
January 26th, 2010



Globe and Mail
January 26th, 2010



Write Pope for 30th Anniversary of Archbishop
Zenit News from Rome
January 26th, 2010

San Salvador, El Salvador

The episcopal conference of El Salvador has expressed
to Benedict XVI its hopes for the canonization of
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

Archbishop Romero was assassinated March 24, 1980, when
celebrating mass. He was a staunch critic of the El
Salvadorian government and defender of the poor...

On Sunday, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San
Salvador announced that the Church would begin the
commemorative events of the 30th anniversary of
Archbishop Romero's death with days of reflection...

It was also noted that Archbishop Romero's teachings
regarding social doctrine were still being studied...

Read the rest of the article, click:



New York Times
January 29, 2010

It took jurors 37 minutes on Friday to convict Scott
Roeder, an abortion opponent, of first-degree murder
in the death of George R. Tiller, one of the few
doctors in the country to perform late-term abortions.

Read More:



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
25 January 2010

WCC head to tell Davos meeting, Haiti debt
should be cancelled

Geneva (ENI). The head of the world's largest grouping of
churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, is to tell the World
Economic Forum meeting in Davos that Haiti's foreign debt
must be immediately and unconditionally cancelled. Tveit,
a Norwegian Lutheran, who took over as general secretary
of the World Council of Churches on 1 January, is due to
attend the Davos summit later this week. In a statement
made available to Ecumenical News International 25 January,
Tveit said, "The time has come for the international
community – politicians, business and civil society
organizations – to focus on how Haiti can become


French court rules Orthodox cathedral in Nice belongs
to Russia

Moscow (ENI). A French court has ruled that the St Nicholas
Cathedral in Nice, built with funding from the Russian Tsar
Nicholas II and completed in 1912, just prior to the country's
revolution, belongs to Russia and must be handed over. The
victory is Russia's latest in a series of battles for church
property around the world, which represent attempts by the
Russian government and Russian Orthodox Church to reassert
control over a widespread diaspora. A Russian émigré group
has run St Nicholas Cathedral under the jurisdiction of the
Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople since
the 1920s.


Christians, Muslims blame each other as Nigeria
relaxes curfew

Lagos, Nigeria (ENI). A curfew in Jos, a city in the central
part of Nigeria, has been relaxed a week after interreligious
violence erupted and left about 500 people dead. Fighting
first broke out on 17 January, when, according to some reports,
Christian youths were protesting at the building of a mosque
in the Christian-majority area of Jos, the capital of Nigeria's
Plateau State. The violence later spread to nearby towns and
villages. Followers of both Christianity and Islam in Jos,
which has a population of about half a million people, each
blamed gangs from the other's community for sparking the


Swiss and S. Africa Muslim scholars no longer
banned from US.

Washington, DC (ENI/RNS). The U.S. State Department has
announced that two prominent Muslim intellectuals will no
longer be barred from travelling to the United States
based on past accusations that they had supported terrorism.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed orders allowing
Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib to re-apply for U.S. visas,
said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on 20 January,
Religion News Service reports. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who
teaches at England's Oxford University, had been barred from
entering the United States since 2004 for allegedly endorsing
terrorism. Habib is a scholar and senior administrator at the
University of Johannesburg in South Africa and had been
critical of the actions of the United States in the Iraq war.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
26 January 2010

S. African Methodists feud over
Zimbabwe-refugee-aiding bishop

Johannesburg (ENI). Members of the Methodist Church in
South Africa are at loggerheads over the suspension of
Bishop Paul Verryn, whose former congregation in central
Johannesburg has provided a home in its church for a
continuous stream of Zimbabwean refugees. A group of 150
supporters and friends of Verryn have launched a campaign
using the social networking Web site Facebook. Many of the
comments on the site come from disgruntled Methodist
members and ministers. "There is a real hunger in the
Methodist Church to express concern," said organiser Wendy
Landau. "It is a fight for the soul of the church. It is
about what Paul can and cannot do."


Faiths join in mourning atheist Indian Communist leader

Bangalore, India (ENI). Indian faith leaders and the Roman
Catholic Church in the city of Kolkata (formerly, Calcutta)
have praised the life of Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, an
atheist who fought for the poor, and who has died aged
95. Basu died on 17 January, and about 5000 people later
attended an interfaith service for him at the Jesuit St.
Xavier's College and School in Kolkata. Representatives
from Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and
Zoroastrianism took part in the service, and paid
tribute to the late Communist leader.


Online archive opens the Reformers' works at US seminary

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI/RNS). Some surprises started
unfolding when a team of Calvin Theological Seminary
professors and graduate students recently launched the
Post-Reformation Digital Library. Chief eye-openers
included successfully tracking down rare Reformed
theologians' manuscripts once thought lost, Religion
News Service reports. Another revelation: 16th-18th
century theologians and philosophers were brutally
honest about their doctrinal positions and emotions,
including the well-known Reformer John Calvin, who
pushed the boundaries of good taste in a sermon about
rowdy adolescents.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
27 January 2010

Canadian military to delete Bible verses
from gun sights

Toronto (ENI). Canada's military says it plans as soon
as possible to remove references phrases from the Bible
references inscribed on some of its firearm sights that
have whipped up a storm of controversy. Before a U.S.
television network broke the news story on 18 January,
militaries around the world - including the United States,
Britain, New Zealand and Australia - did not realise that
U.S. manufacturer Trijicon had put biblical citations on
firearm sights in use by forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Kenya's Catholic bishops protest law
they say legalises abortion

Nairobi (ENI). Roman Catholic bishops in Kenya are contesting
a new clause in the country's draft constitution, which states
that life begins at birth instead of conception. The bishops
have warned that a parliamentary select committee debating the
draft law in Naivasha, a town about 70 kilometres (42 miles)
west of Nairobi, is secretly attempting to legalise abortion
through the new clause.


Panel in France recommends partial ban on Islamic veils

Paris (ENI/RNS). Six years after banning Muslim girls from
wearing headscarves in public schools, French lawmakers appear
close to a measure to ban women from wearing face-covering
veils in some public spaces. On 26 January, a parliamentary
commission delivered a long-awaited report recommending that
women be barred from wearing the full veil in public
institutions and on public transportation, Religion News
Service reports.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
28 January 2010

European Court reprimands Romania over
Catholic minority

Warsaw (ENI). In a ruling that could affect similar
disputes, a European court has ordered the government
of Romania to compensate a Greek Catholic parish for
failing to return to the parish properties seized from
it under communist rule. "Legislative shortcomings have
helped create a drawn-out preliminary procedure capable
of hindering the applicant parish's access to a court,"
the European Court of Human Rights said in a 15 January
judgment. The court said the Romanian government had
violated articles of the 1950 European convention on
human rights. It ordered Romania to pay 23 000 euros to
the Greek Catholic parish to cover damages and expenses.


Kyoto traditional fan meets Japanese biblical imagery

Tokyo (ENI). An original Sensu, or traditional Japanese
folding fan, with two biblical prints on it from the renowned
late Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe, has been produced in
Japan for domestic and international sale. The prints include
one that shows two of the magi, the wise men who the Bible
says visited the baby Jesus. They come from the collection
of Watanabe, who lived from 1913 to 1996. Although the fan
can only be put to practical use in warmer weather, its
makers say it looks beautiful when put on display. Watanabe
was a Japanese artist known for his special way of printing
images from biblical stories; he employed a technique taken
from Japanese textile dye art. Watanabe converted to
Christianity at the age of 17.


Lithuania steps into European crucifix debate

Vilnius (ENI). Lithuania has come out in support of Italy in
its efforts to revise a ruling of the European Court of Human
Rights that obliges State schools throughout Italy to remove
crucifixes from classrooms. The online news daily,
on 13 January reported that the Committee for Foreign Relations
of the Lithuanian Parliament had decided to join the dispute
with the European court, and to defend the right of believers
to the public display of religious symbols. "The public use of
crucifixes reflects the Christian tradition of Europe, and
should not be considered a restriction of religious freedom,"
said Lithuanian foreign minister, Vygaudas Usackas.


Church of England loses $78 million in
New York real estate deal

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). The Church of England stands to lose
about US$78 million in a New York real estate investment gone
sour, according to Episcopal News Service. The Anglican church's
investment was part of a record-setting $5.4 billion deal put
together in 2006 by two New York-based firms to buy two massive
apartment complexes in Manhattan, Religion News Service reports.
After defaulting on loan payments, the firms will cede the
downtown properties -- Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village -
to its lenders.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
30 January 2010

Church criticises 'cut off their hands' solution
to ongoing attacks
Bangalore, India (ENI). An Indian church leader has
criticised the chief minister of India's southern Karnataka
state for saying that those responsible for a continuing
series of attacks on churches should have their hands cut
off. In apparent exasperation about criticisms of government
action following the attacks in Karnataka, its chief minister,
B.S. Yeddyurappa, declared, "I am telling you, chop off the
hands of these people if you catch them." Methodist Bishop
Taranath S. Sagar, president of the National Council of
Churches in India, told Ecumenical News International ,"We
do not want hands to be chopped off; we want the government
to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice."


Red Brigades planned to kidnap Pope John Paul II, says book

Rome (ENI). A new book about Pope John Paul II reveals that
shortly before the 1981 assassination attempt on the pontiff's
life, he learned that the militant Red Brigades group planned
to kidnap him. ''Shortly before the attack, the Italian secret
services warned that the Red Brigades' terrorists had a plan to
kidnap John Paul,'' the book, "Why he is a saint", explains.
Polish Monsignor Slawomir Oder, who is heading the cause for
the canonisation of Pope John Paul, co-authored the book with
Italian journalist, Saverio Gaeta, and presented it to the
public on 27 January. Before the 13 May 1981 attack on the
Pope by a Turkish assailant, the Red Brigades, which aimed to
overthrow the Italian State, had assassinated Roman Catholic
Judge Vittorio Bachelet.



January 25th, 2010

For me and my sisters poverty is freedom, and the
less we have the more we can give. Poverty is love
before it is renunciation. It is not that we cannot
have luxuries. We choose not to have them. This
freedom brings joy, and joy enables us to give in
love until it hurts.
- Mother Teresa


January 26th, 2010

This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process
of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being
but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what
we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not
yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not
the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything
does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being

-  Martin Luther


January 27th, 2010

The message of salvation is more than our verbal
proclamation of the gospel. We must redefine evangelism
to include how we live and interact with people -- what
it means for us to call them into God's family to become
members of God's household. This is as important as our
ability to accurately quote scriptures.

- Brenda Salter McNeil, from her book "A Credible Witness:
  Reflections on Power, Evangelism and Race"


EkklesiaJanuary 27th, 2010

"HMD 2010 is an opportunity for us all, whoever we are,
wherever we are, whatever we do or don't believe. It's a
day for everybody to take on the experiences of those who
suffered this most horrendous persecution and to make
their voices and their hopes part of our shared future."

- Carly Whyborn, chief executive of the U.K. Holocaust
   Memorial Trust on today's observance of Holocaust Memorial
   Day, which coincides with the 65th anniversary of the
   liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Sojourners Online
January 28th, 2010

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
- Zora Neale Hurston, American writer, folklorist, and
   anthropologist (1891-1960)


January 29th, 2010

The ultimate purpose of the work of this God may never be
understood by the [human] mind. Perhaps as it was, as the
Baltimore Catechism told me long ago, that God wanted to
be known, loved, and served. If that is true, [God] did
so by devising a universe that would make knowledge,
love, and service meaningful.

- Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University,
   on why he thinks science and faith are compatible



J.D. Salinger

The New York Times
January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger, Author of 'The Catcher in the Rye,'
Is Dead at 91

J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most
important American writer to emerge since World War II but
who then turned his back on success and adulation, has died
in Cornish, N.H., where he lived in seclusion for more than
50 years, his son told The Associated Press. He was 91.

Mr. Salinger's literary reputation rests on a slender but
enormously influential body of published work: the novel "The
Catcher in the Rye," the collection "Nine Stories" and two
compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional
Glass family: "Franny and Zooey" and "Raise High the Roof
Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction."

Read More:

January 29th, 2010

"The Catcher in the Rye": A story in covers
A slide show of the most memorable jackets for J.D. Salinger's
best-known book:



On Jan. 23, 1973, President Richard Nixon announced an accord
had been reached to end the Vietnam War.


On Jan. 24, 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.


On Jan. 26, 1950, India proclaimed itself a republic.


On Jan. 27, 1967, Astronauts Virgil I. ''Gus'' Grissom, Edward
H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test
aboard their Apollo I spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, Fla.


On Jan. 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds
after liftoff from Cape Canaveral killing all seven crew members.


On Jan. 29, 1963, poet Robert Frost died in Boston.


On Jan. 30, 1948, Indian political and spiritual leader
Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist.



Republicans Believe Defeating Obama
More Important than Health Care
January 27th, 2010
by Garrison Kiellor


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