Saturday, January 15, 2011

Colleagues List, January 15th, 2011

Vol. VI. No. 19


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:


In this Issue -

My review of -

"Souls in Full Sail:
 A Christian Spirituality 
 for the Later Years"
 by Emilie Griffin


Colleague Contribution:

Doug Shantz


Net Notes:

Evolution Conference
Haiti's Recovery Continues
In Search of the Real Islam
Cracks in the Crystal Cathedral
Pakistan Divided Over Assassination
The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings
'De-Baptism' Trend Gains Strength in Belgium
The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene
Vatican Announces May 1st Beatification of JPII
Pope's Call for Christian Protection Sparks Reaction


Global Faith Potpourri

8 Stories from Ecumenical News International

Quotes of the Week:

Martin Luther King Jr
Teresa of Avila
Mohandas Gandhi
Peter J. Gomes


On This Day (Jan 10th - Jan 14th)

Jan. 10, 1946 - First UN Assembly Convenes in London
Jan. 11, 1935 - Amelia Earhart 1st Woman to Fly 
Jan. 14, 1943 - Roosevelt and Churchill Meet in 

Closing Thought 



Dear Friends:

Colleague Pat Kossmann, literary editor
for America Magazine, published by the
Jesuits of New York, asked me to review -

"Souls in Full Sail: A Christian Spirituality 
 for the Later Years," by Emilie Griffin

It's a book about the spiritual benefits and
challenges of growing older which I enjoyed 
very much.

I wrote that review this weekend, and share
the pre-edited version with you now.


Colleague Contribution:

Doug Shantz - announces a lecture he will soon
be giving as Chairholder of Christian Thought
at the University of Calgary.


Net Notes:

"Evolution Conference" - Joan Chittister announces
a timely gathering on a subject of great import
right now - better relations between science and 
faith (National Catholic Reporter)

"Haiti's Recovery Continues" - a positive story on
developments in Haiti, one year after the earthquake.
Many of the other stories I've read have been rather
negative (America Magazine)

"In Search of the Real Islam" - a YouTube report
on the essence of the Muslim faith as we struggle
to understand it better (America Magazine)

"Cracks in the Crystal Cathedral" - a sobering
statement on the demise of the very first of 
the big American megachurches (Christianity Today)

"Pakistan Divided Over Assassination" - the
death of a moderate politician in Pakistan has
caused considerable debate in that country
(The Age, Sydney, AU)

"The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings" -
The most significant news in the USA this past
week came from Tuscon as a tragedy unfolded
and the nation tried to come to terms with it
(The Atlantic, Sojourners, The Guardian UK)

"De-Baptism Trend Gains Strength in Belgium" -
this story relates to the reaction of some 
Belgians to the priest abuse scandal there
(Associated Faith Press)

"The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene" -
Dawkins the atheist has made much of the selfish
gene in his writings. Here is a review of a book
with a religious bias that takes on his arguments
(The Tablet, UK)

"Vatican Announces May 1st Beatification of JPII" -
John Paul II will begin the first step on his way
to sainthood with a ceremony in Rome this spring
(National Catholic Reporter, the Associated Press)

"Pope's Call for Christian Protection Sparks Reaction" -
When Benedict spoke out in defense of the Coptic
Christians in Alexandria, Egypt recently he got
unexpected flack from some Muslim spokespersons
(The Guardian, UK)


Global Faith Potpourri

8 religious news stories from around the world
are provided for us this week from Ecumenical 
News International, Geneva.

Quotes of the Week:

Martin Luther King Jr, Teresa of Avila,
Mohandas Gandhi and Peter J. Gomes share
their wisdom with us through the services


On This Day (Jan 10th - Jan 14th)

News stories as they happened are reported
courtesy of the archives of the New York 

First UN Assembly Convenes in London (1946)
Amelia Earhart 1st Woman to Fly Pacific (1935)
Roosevelt and Churchill Meet in Casablanca (1943)

Closing Thought - On "Theological Positions" 


Classes are beginning again, new books are arriving
and life is getting back to normal after Christmas.

I hope this dark season of Canadian winter does not
negatively affect your spirits. I like to find ways
to counter the mid-January blahs... and I hope the
same for you!




Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish



Books Considered:

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor 

"I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
 by Izzeldin Abuelaish

More study and website particulars will be posted
as they become available




We continue our investigation of the New Atheists and
consider the question: "Can we be good without God?"

Text for the course will be Sam Harris' new book:

"The Moral Landscape:
 How Science Can Determine Human Values"
 (Free Press, October, 2010)

Course description and registration information:




We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire. Choir
members from our group will sing at various
informal cathedral events through the day
and at Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!

We have 26 choristers signed up as part of the
tour group. This special choir begins rehearsals
in early January - led by our congregation's
music director, Brent Tucker.

Details are presently being finalized with
the St. David's cathedral dean, Fr. Jonathan Lean.

We are also planning to sing while visiting Iona,
Scotland and the Church of Mary Immaculate in
Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland. Fr. Ned Carolan, host.
Rehearsals begin Sunday, January 23rd.


We continue to gather a waiting list for this trip,
as they may be some drop-outs as we near deadlines.
We have started an interest list for future tours!

Let me know if you are interested in knowing more
about exciting, spiritual tourism!



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.



Book Review
Prepared for America Magazine
Literary Editor, Colleague Pat Krossmann:

A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years
by Emilie Griffin

InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL
Release Date: February, 2011. 183 pages.
ISBN #978-0-8308-3548-2.

Reviewed by Wayne A. Holst  (900 words)

A dear friend and role-model for voyaging the 
senior years died during the Christmas holidays. 
He had lived a rich and full life, and ended his 
days with an ‘undaunted’ but ‘surrendered’ spirit. 
Often, his exemplary way of handling things came 
to mind as I read Emilie Griffin’s helpful 
spiritual guide to Christian aging. He lived, 
to my mind, what the author so beautifully 

“I’m adjusting to the new normal,” was his 
frequently brave and always hopeful comment as 
he ‘navigated longingly toward home’ with an 
inspiring blend of restlessness and 

“There are right and wrong ways to deal with our 
fears as we move into later life,” writes Griffin 
in a chapter on the challenges that must be faced. 
“As we pursue the life voyage, we stop keeping a 
resume; earning a degree seems less important than 
receiving an accolade; it is time to do less, to 
accept the thanks being given for what we have 
already done.” 

Griffin is a writer and editor. A native of New 
Orleans, she worked and lived for many years in 
New York City. The author of sixteen books on the 
spiritual life, she has contributed to many more. 
She and her husband William, an author, editor and 
translator, now reside in Alexandria, Louisiana. 
As playwrights, they studied under Edward Albee 
in New York. This rich experience is reflected 
on these pages.

A lover of words and proud of her English ancestry, 
Griffin enriches her chapters with quotes from such 
notables as C. S. Lewis and John Henry Newman. She 
includes examples of her own poetry to emphasize a 
point. Her wide-ranging literary and dramatic tastes 
display her as adept at quoting from the Latin 
authors as she is in using songs from Broadway 
musicals like Gypsy or Chorus Line.

A woman whose forebearers have known privilege, 
and lost it, she writes from a background of both 
opportunity and difficulty. She has had to contend 
with physical loss and walks today with a cane. 
From it all, a profound spiritual maturity serves 
as grounding for what appears in this book’s ten 

As the title suggests, the author uses the images 
of sailing and voyaging to reflect the imagery and 
metaphor she believes are necessary for unpacking 
and clarifying the mysteries of faith encountered 
along our life journey.

We set out on this new and uncharted mission 
recognizing that old age has indeed arrived. We 
may deny it, or try to fight it, but ultimately, 
we will need to surrender to it if we want to be 
enriched. Older people can serve as our mentors, 
both in how we too want to live and what we want 
to avoid.

Our true “vocation” in the senior years is to 
spend time working with the people that inspire 
us and the things we are good at. Newman says 
that we all need to be engaged with ‘some 
definite service’ that provides meaning and the 
rewards of faithfulness. 

Living well with a “baptized imagination”(Lewis) 
is a gift we give ourselves and others as we 
cultivate old and new friendships across the 

Like the spiritual teacher in my opening example 
was able to do, we all need to learn how to 
transcend and reframe the infirmities we encounter, 
while we continue to grow with those we love and 
seek to forgive our adversaries while there is 
still time.

In the chapter on “Night Fears” Griffin refers to 
the temptations we could face as certain powers 
diminish. Sexuality, for example remains part of 
our humanity. Both men and women may be tempted to 
resort to thoughts and behaviors that can 
blindside us into thinking we retain the prowess 
we once commanded. Spiritual courage helps us to 
realize that we still have much to offer and to 
discern what truly nurtures the ego.

Family rituals on special occasions like 
Thanksgiving and Christmas need to be rethought. 
The weave of family personalities and their 
stories gives meaning, but senior members need 
to “give way” to the younger generations, 
treating them as peers and allowing them to 
take responsibility for many family activities. 

A great gift of aging is to be able to look at 
“spiritual pinpoints’ – when we become more 
keenly aware of the things that matter and 
the things that do not.

George Bernard Shaw was a late-bloomer as a 
playwright who did some of his best work as 
an octogenarian. We too can venture in 
creative ways that bring us joy. The important 
thing is to be focused on the present and to 
let the future tend to itself.

Readers will need to square their own unique 
experiences with those of the author. Few of 
us share her ancestry, her professional 
achievements and gift with words, yet all of 
us can identify with her because of the way 
her writing engages us.

The voyage tends homeward as a longing toward 
completion becomes more real.“Growing older 
doesn’t have to be learned,” she writes. “It 
simply happens. But to live it with grace is 
a kind of learning, which like all learning 
is painful.”

We need to be concerned about practical 
things, but people of faith are often better 
prepared for life’s vagaries. Hopefully, we 
too can continue to adjust to the ever changing 
“new normality” which life brings, and when our 
time for completion comes, we too will face it 
with equanimity.

This book should find its place in our libraries, 
even as many of us seek to divest ourselves of 
much lifelong accumulation.


Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the 
University of Calgary and helps to co-ordinate 
adult spiritual development at St. David’s 
United Church in that city.


Reserve the Book from




Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary

"What a Church Historian 
Can Offer the Church Today"

Christ Church, Elbow Park Calgary
Monday, February 7th, 2011

The posted lecture will appear here
when it becomes available:



A Timely Event

Joan Chittister
Jan. 10th, 2011


One Year After the Earthquake

America Magazine
Jan. 14th, 2011


Reflecting on Core Values

America Magazine
January, 2011

YouTube Presentation


Sobering Message About Megachurches

Christianity Today Editorial
January 10th, 2011


Strong Sides Taken For and Against

The Age, Australia
January 11th, 2011


Tuscon Tragedy and National Assessment

The Atlantic
Jan. 13th, 2011
by James Fallows


What a tragedy can call us to do
by Jim Wallis


Left and Right Praise Obama's
Appropriate Speech at Tuscon

The Guardian, UK
Jan. 4th, 2011


In Wake of Clerical Abuse Scandals

Associated Faith Press
January 10th, 2011


A Challenge to Dawkins

The Tablet, UK
January 14th, 2011



Late Pope on Way to Sainthood

National Catholic Reporter
January 14th, 2011


Former Pope a Step Closer 

YouTube Presentation - Associated Press
January 14th, 2011


Egypt is Offended by His Statement

The Guardian UK
Jan. 12th, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights

10 January 2011

WCC delegation conveys condolences 
to Pope Shenouda

New York (ENI news)--A delegation from the 
World Council of Churches, led by general 
secretary the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, 
on 8 January visited in Cairo Pope Shenouda 
III of the Coptic Orthodox Church and 
expressed condolences for the New Year's 
Day church bombing in Alexandria, Egypt. 


11 January 2011

In wake of U.S. shooting, religious leaders 
call for calm, civility

Washington, DC (ENI news/RNS) Tucson Bishop 
Gerald Kicanas was thousands of miles away 
from the shooting rampage that rocked his 
Arizona diocese on Saturday, 8 January but 
the emotional shock hit him hard. "It broke 
me up," said Kicanas, who was in Jerusalem 
attending a meeting of Catholic bishops on 
peace in the Holy Land. "I could not sleep. 
I just wanted to return home as soon as 
possible," the bishop wrote to his spokesman, 
Religion News Service reports.


Haitians mark a "very, very difficult year."

Port-au-Prince, Haiti(ENI news)--From the streets 
of Port-au-Prince to the hills of northern Haiti, 
Haitians were commemorating the anniversary of the 
12 January 2010 earthquake that killed some 250,000 
persons, devastated major cities and fueled Haiti's 
uncertain political future.


14 January 2011

Pakistani churches criticize government's refusal 
to amend blasphemy law 

Bangalore, India(ENI news)Churches in Pakistan 
have expressed frustration over the government's 
refusal to amend a controversial blasphemy law, 
as urged by the Pope and protesting civil rights 
activists. "We are disappointed by the stand 
taken by the Prime Minister," said Joseph Francis, 
director of CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid Assistance 
& Settlement), which has defended dozens of 
Christians and Muslims charged under the law.


Scientists probe brief brushes with the afterlife

Washington, DC(ENI news/RNS)--Wanda Colie vividly 
remembers what she saw in 1984 when, at age 28, 
a condition that produced blood in her lungs 
nearly killed her. The pain vanished and a crowd 
of familiar faces came to welcome her in a light-
drenched valley. For more than two decades, Colie
kept her experience secret. But she's recently 
joined hundreds of others who've started going 
public with their near-death experiences, or 
NDEs, Religion News Service reports. 


14 January 2011

Ecumenism takes time to bear fruit, 
says U.S. church leader

Toronto, Canada(ENI news)--While the progress 
of ecumenism can typically only be measured 
over decades, simple local events during the 
upcoming week devoted to Christian unity are 
critical to the future of the church, said 
an ecumenical leader in the United States.


First Anglican bishops to join 
Catholic Church under new structure

London(ENI news)--Three former Anglican bishops 
are to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests 
on Saturday, 15 January at Westminster Cathedral 
– the first bishops to join Rome under a new 
structure set up by Pope Benedict XVI for 
dissident Anglicans. 


Australian churches come together 
in flood crisis

Canberra(ENI news)--As northern Australia 
suffers the worst flooding in more than 30 
years, Australian churches have moved rapidly 
to respond to the community’s urgent needs. 
Flooding has continued to build since late 
December with flood waters covering an area 
the size of Germany and France combined. 
Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, with 
53 missing and more than 200,000 people 
stranded. Local church leaders who spoke 
with ENI news on 13 January said they are 
dealing with the immediate effects of the 



January 10th, 2010

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; 
only light can do that. Hate cannot 
drive out hate; only love can do that."

- Martin Luther King Jr.


January 11th, 2011

"Christ has no body now, but yours. 
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. 
Yours are the eyes through which Christ 
looks compassion into the world. Yours 
are the feet with which Christ walks 
to do good. Yours are the hands with 
which Christ blesses the world."

- Teresa of Avila


January 12th, 2010

"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. 
Properly understood and applied, it is the 
most potent instrument of action."

- Mohandas Gandhi 


January 13th, 2011

"We do not live to win. We do not live even 
to finish. We live to persevere and to endure. 
Nothing more than this is necessary, but 
nothing less than this will do until that 
new heaven and that new earth come, the 
former things have passed away, the sea 
is no more, and the vision has become 
the reality."

- Peter J. Gomes



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

Jan. 10, 1946 - first General Assembly of the 
United Nations convened in London


Jan. 11, 1935 - aviator Amelia Earhart began a 
trip from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif., becoming 
the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific 


Jan. 14, 1943 - President Roosevelt and British 
Prime Minister Winston Churchill opened a wartime 
conference in Casablanca



"Theological positions that are set in stone
 are heavy - and that's about all they have
 going for them."


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