Saturday, January 22, 2011

Colleagues List, January 22nd, 2011

Vol. VI. No. 19


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:


In this Issue -

My Book Notice of:

"Godless Morality"
 by Richard Holloway

Colleague Comment:
Doug Koop

Colleague Contributions:
Jim Taylor
Martin Marty

Net Notes:

Alma Hotel a Hidden Gem
Why Radical Muslims Hate You
Not All are Equal Before the Law
The Sunni-Shia Conflict Within Islam
GGeneral Honours Ploughshares Co-Founder
Gender Politics Drag on School Spirit Plans
Vatican Official Joins event With Lutherans
Catholic/Orthodox Unity Coming Close Enough
Twelve Good Ways to Live a Compassionate Life
Priest Returns to Inuit Community - on Charges
Ignatieff Defends Sikhs' Kirpan Case in Quebec


Global Faith Potpourri

13 Stories from Ecumenical News International

Quotes of the Week:

Martin Luther King Jr
Joan Chittister
Nelson Mandella
Mother Teresa


On This Day (Jan 17th - Jan 21st)

Jan. 17, 1893 - Hawaii's monarchy is overthrown
Jan. 18, 1912 - Scott expedition reaches the
                South Pole
Jan. 19, 1937 - Millionaire Hughes sets
                transcontinental air record
Jan. 20, 1981 - Iran releases 52 American hostages
Jan. 21, 1924 - Russian revolutionary Lenin dies


Closing Thought - Leonardo da Vinci



Dear Friends:

In this Issue -

I begin teaching a number of classes this
coming week and am happy to share with you
my book notice of "Godless Morality" by
Richard Holloway, former Primus or Primate
of the Episcopal Church (Anglican) of

This book complements my text by Sam Harris
which I am using for my university course.
It is entitled:

"The Moral Landscape - How Science Can
Determine Human Values"

I introduced it to you early in October.
(Colleagues List, October 9th, 2010.)

My university class is usually made up of
atheists, agnostics and some people of
faith. My main task is normally one of
refereeing the discussion!


Colleague Comment:

I appreciated the brief feedback from
the Christian Week (Winnipeg) editor
Doug Koop and share it with you now.


Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor - writes of guns and violence
in the United States from a Canadian
point of view.

Martin Marty - writes of the very busy
presence of religion in the United States
from an American point of view.


Net Notes:

"Alma Hotel a Hidden Gem" - the U of C
has built a unique hotel on campus with
a focus on cross-cultural engagement
(Calgary Herald)

"Why Radical Muslims Hate You" - the
theme is strong, but times are difficult.
This article lays things out starkly
(Virtual House, Evangelical Fellowship
 of Canada)

"Not All are Equal Before the Law" -
- this article describes the current
status of gay rights in Britain
(The Tablet, UK)

"The Sunni-Shia Conflict Within Islam" -
for those who think that Islam is a
unified whole, here is an expose
(Religion and Ethics, NPR)

"GGeneral Honours Ploughshares Co-Founder" -
Ernie Regehr has given much of his life to
a unique form of Canadian peacemaking, and
he is finally being recognized by society
(Globe and Mail)

"Gender Politics Drag on School Spirit Plans" -
here is an example of what happens when a
conflict of values occurs in an Ontario high
school (Cdn. Ctre. for Progressive Christianity)

"Vatican Official Joins event With Lutherans" -
the Vatican is recognizing a special event
in Rome attended by representatives of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany
(Zenit News from Rome)

"Catholic/Orthodox Unity Coming Close Enough" -
long-time friend Fr. Tom Ryan writes about the
growing thaw in relations between Rome and
Constantinople after about 1,000 years!
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Twelve Good Ways to Live a Compassionate Life" -
Karen Armstrong has just come out with her new
book on compassion and here is a summary of it
(Religion and Ethics, NPR)

"Priest Returns to Inuit Community - on Charges" -
here is a most unfortunate story of a Belgian
Oblate priest who is returning to Canada for
justice after being protected from the law for
some years by his order (Globe and Mail)

"Ignatieff Defends Sikhs' Kirpan Case in Quebec" -
the opposition leader has taken a strong stand
for justice against the popular will of many in
Quebec. He deserves credit (Globe and Mail)


Global Faith Potpourri

13 stories are provided this week from Geneva,
and Ecumenical News International (WCC)


Quotes of the Week:

Martin Luther King Jr, Joan Chittister,
Nelson Mandella and Mother Teresa share
their insights with us courtesy of


On This Day (Jan 17th - Jan 21st)

The New York Times provides on the scene
historical reports as they happened:

Hawaii's monarchy is overthrown (1893)
Scott expedition reaches the South Pole (1912)
Hughes sets transcontinental air record (1937)
Iran releases 52 American hostages (1981)
Russian revolutionary Lenin dies (1924)


Closing Thought -

A helpful insight from Leonardo da Vinci


Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed
Colleagues List this week.




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




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

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 Notice -

"Godless Morality:
 Keeping Religion Out of Ethics"
 by Richard Holloway (new edition)
 Canongate Books: Edinburgh, UK
 2009. 163 pages. Price varies.
 ISBN #1-84195-5787

Publisher's Promo:

The use of God in moral debate is so
problematic as to be almost worthless.
We can argue with one another as to
whether this or that alleged claim
genuinely emanated from God, but surely
it is better to leave God out of the
argument and find strong human reasons
for supporting the systems we advocate.
We need a sensible and practical approach
that will help us pick our way through
the moral maze that confronts us in the
pluralistic society we live in. "Godless
Morality" offers exactly this: a human-
centered justification for contemporary

One of the most outspoken and best-loved
figures in the modern church, Richard
Holloway recently stood down as the
Anglican Bishop of Edinburgh but remains
Gresham Professor of Divinity in the City
of London and a Fellow of the Royal
Society. He has written for many newspapers
in Britain including The Times, The Guardian,
Sunday Herald and The Scotsman; and presented
his own series on BBC Television.


Author's Words:


This is not a book about God or about whether
God exists. This book argues that we must
disconnect religion and God from the struggle
to recover some elements of a common ethic.

To discover a morality apart from God may be,
paradoxically, the final test of faith because
I believe that God must be involved in our
moral struggles even though morality need not
be based on God. (5)

The good life... is now a more subtle business
of developing appropriate inner intentions,
leading to love of, and compassionate action
toward, our neighbors. (10)

Morality is a human construct. It tries to
base itself on observed consequences and its
primary goal is "do no one harm." (14)

Religious systems have tended to claim divine
authority, eternal punishment for disobedience,
and operative systems based on fear. However,
the most effective moral systems operate on
the basis of consent, not coercion. (17)

Different moral systems frequently compete
and conflict with one another. Each of such
good systems has greatness, appeal, and a
shadow side. (19)

This book values moral pluralism but it
refused to endorse any one system. It is
better to leave God out of the moral
debate and find good human reasons for
supporting the system we advocate. (20)

This book is an attempt to offer sensible
approaches to the confused moral maze that
surrounds us (relating to the gay issue,
abortion, euthanasia, withdrawal of life
support, artificial insemination, surrogate
motherhood, genetic engineering, etc.)

It seeks a human approach. A morality
without God. (20)


My Thoughts:

I have found this book to be most helpful,
and a worthy alternative to Sam Harris' new
study "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can
Determine Human Values" (Free Press, 2010)
which came out in October.

Harris believes that science, not religion,
should ultimately determine human ethics.

Holloway believes that God should be kept
out of definitive ethics but that God can
serve as a partner with humans in
determining what our ethical behavior
around certain issues should be. He
rejects any exclusivist claims - i.e.
the belief that one ethical system has
all the answers.

The moment God is put in the role of
ultimate, divine arbiter of what is right
and wrong we experience unsatisfactory
results and useless conflict between
various religiously-based ethical systems.


I however, want to pursue a third approach.

I cannot accept Harris' view that science
should become our ethical arbiter, even though
I believe that science can provide us with much
good data to help us in moral decision-making.
Science, no more than religion, is fit to
be the ultimate arbiter of anything.

I cannot fully accept Holloway's view that
there is no place for divine or transcendent
meaning as humans seek to determine what for
them is good, ethical behavior.

To say that it ALL depends on what we as
humans do is inappropriate, since I believe
that there are times when a contending moral
argument needs to appeal to an "authority
beyond the human 'however we wish to define
that. Otherwise, we will never have a sense
of 'assurance' in our ethical stances. While
we must avoid ethical complacency, we do
need to carry with us a sense that we are
doing the right thing for ourselves.

I agree with both Harris and Holloway that
religion has too often in the past done us
more harm than good as an ethical arbiter.

But I am not about to concede my view that
there must be a reality and a point of
reference beyond what humans can know
or do on their own.

It is with this frame of mind that I look
forward to teaching a university course
this winter on "God, Atheism and Morality."
I anticipate good, fermentive discussion
and debate on these points. Hopefully, we
can move good ideas from various sources
forward as we seek to better understand
responsible contemporary ethical behavior.


Buy the book on




Thank you.

"I especially appreciated the
 review of 'Souls in Full Sail...'"



Okanagan, BC

Sunday January 16, 2011


By Jim Taylor

Don’t expect this column to be balanced
and impartial.
I tried that last week, when I suggested
that violent metaphors in our speech
encourage real violence in our society.
By some tragic coincidence, that column
was published the day after 22-year-old
Jared Lee Loughner fired 30 rounds from
a Glock semi-automatic pistol, killing
six people and injuring 20 others.

The United States is still reeling from
last Saturday’s assassination attempt on
U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in
Tucson, Arizona.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnick made
my point for me, referring to “the vitriol
that we hear inflaming the American public....”
“It is true,” wrote Paul Krugman in the
New York Times, “that the shooter in Arizona
appears to have been mentally troubled. But
that doesn’t mean that his act can or should
be treated as an isolated event, having
nothing to do with the national climate...”

Read the rest of the article:



Religion not 'on the ropes'

January 17th, 2011



U Calgary Venture in
International Community

Calgary Herald
January 20th, 2011


One Christian Take on the
Current Crisis With Islam

Virtual House (EFC)
Jan. 21st, 2011


UK Still Needs to Improve
its Treatment of Gays

The Tablet
Jan. 21st, 2011


Internal Muslim Politics

Religion and Ethics (NPR)
January 21st, 2011



Ernie Regehr has been
hard at it since 1976

The Globe and Mail
January 21st, 2011



School values met with reaction

Canadian Centre for
Progressive Christianity
January 21st, 2011



Rome Meeting with German Group

Zenit News from Rome
January 20th, 2011



A warming state of relations

National Catholic Reporter
January 18th, 2011
by Fr. Thomas Ryan


New Karen Armstrong Book

Religion and Ethics
National Public Radio
January 17th, 22011


Oblate to Come Back from Belgium

Globe and Mail
Jan. 19th, 2011


Takes an important stand

Globe and Mail
Jan. 21st, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
17 January 2011

Churches mobilize as flooding affects Brazil

New York(ENI news)--Church and ecumenical groups
in Brazil are gathering resources to help the
thousands affected by devastating floods and
mudslides near Rio de Janeiro. In the past week,
days of heavy rain have drenched hillside towns
around the city. More than 600 people have died
and another 14,000 people have been driven from
their homes, according to state officials.


18 January 2011

National Council praises new Obama
policy towards Cuba

New York (ENI news)--The general secretary
of the National Council of Churches (NCC) on
18 January welcomed a White House decision
that will lift travel restrictions between
the United States and Cuba to make it easier
for religious groups in both countries to
engage with one another.


Faith representatives meet
with Hungarian EU Presidency

Budapest(ENI news)--As part of a series of
regular encounters between churches and the
incoming EU Presidencies, a delegation of
Hungarian and European faith representatives
was received by Hungarian Prime Minister
Victor Orbán on 17 January in Budapest.


Howarth appointed to inter-religious
post for Church of England

London(ENI news)The Rev. Dr. Toby Howarth has
been appointed to serve as Secretary for Inter
Religious Affairs for the Church of England,
according to an announcement on 18 January
from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the
church's Mission and Public Affairs Council.


Faith gets star treatment
at Sundance film festival

Park City, Utah(ENI news)--Celebrity sightings
and up-and-coming indie flicks are a given at
the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City,
Utah, but this year something else is drawing
attraction on the red carpet: faith on film.


19 January 2011

Activist for womens' ministry re-elected
to Church of England council

Canterbury, England(ENI news)--The re-election
of Christina Rees, a strong supporter of
women's ministries, to the Church of England's
Archbishops' Council is a sign that the
church's mainstream wants to move forward on
the ordination of women as bishops, observers


Exiled Sudanese clergy hope for peaceful return

Nairobi(ENI news) – Rev. Jacob Nhail Guut recalls
painfully the relentless bombardment of his
village in Southern Sudan about 20 years ago.
"I was only ten years old and I can remember
the intense bombing. We all had to flee to
safety. After walking for 16 days in the bush
without any food or water, we finally arrived
in Ethiopia," Guut, a leader from the Episcopal
(Anglican) Church in Sudan who lives in Kenya
told ENI news in an interview in Nairobi on
15 January.


Muslim countries cited on religious freedom

Washington, DC (ENI news)--The New Year's Day
massacre at a Coptic church in Egypt. Christian
converts facing the death penalty in Afghanistan.
Swastikas painted on a Jewish synagogue in
Venezuela. As the headlines deliver fresh
stories of the persecution of the faithful,
two recent reports by watchdog groups and a
new book take a fresh look at the persistence
of religious intolerance worldwide, with
Muslim-majority nations facing particular
criticism, Religion News Service reports.


20 January 2011

'Flying Dutchman' will minister
to oil and gas industry

Edinburgh, Scotland (ENI news)--A Dutch Church of
Scotland minister has been appointed to one of
Britain’s most prominent chaplaincy posts. The
Rev. Martin Grashoff, 54, minister at Kilcalmonell,
Killean and Kilchenzie churches in Kintyre, will
take over as chaplain to the oil and gas industry
on 1 March 2011, according to a news release from
the Church of Scotland.


Religious leaders must be more open,
says senior Muslim in UK

Canterbury, England (ENI news)--Religious leaders
in Britain must make themselves more available to
journalists in order to provide the public with
"authentic, mainstream" views in order to overcome
intolerance and misunderstanding, a senior Muslim
leader has told ENI news.


21 January 2011

Sentencing is significant for Egypt's Christians

Jerusalem (ENI news)—The sentencing to death of a
Muslim man in connection with an attack in 2010
that killed six Coptic Christians and a Muslim
police officer is seen as being particularly
significant for Egypt's Christians and a marked
difference from previous responses to attacks
on Copts.


Indigenous traditions infuse
theological gathering

Toronto, Canada (ENInews)—Indigenous Christian
theologians from around the world will gather
in La Paz, Bolivia in the coming week to share
their experiences and reflections. Sponsored
by the World Council of Churches (WCC), in
partnership with local ecumenical organizations,
the 23-27 January gathering is a follow-up to
previous indigenous consultations in the
Philippines in 2008 and Switzerland in 2009.


Minority Christians cling to
tenuous position in Pakistan

Lahore, Pakistan (ENI news)--As Pakistan's main
churches held special prayers in memory of
Salman Taseer, the Punjab governor assassinated
for his opposition to a law that punishes insult
to Islam by death, Christians in Pakistan spoke
of their feelings that they are in a precarious
position in their own country.



Provided by Sojourners Online

January 17th, 2011

"You don't have to have a college degree
to serve. You don't have to make your
subject and your verb agree to serve.
You don't have to know about Plato and
Aristotle to serve. You don't have to
know Einstein's theory of relativity to
serve. You don't have to know the second
theory of thermodynamics in physics to
serve. You only need a heart full of grace.
A soul generated by love...

"And you can be that servant."

- Martin Luther King Jr.


January 18th, 2011

"Compassion for the other comes out of our
ability  to accept ourselves. Until we
realize both our own weaknesses and our
own privileges, we can never tolerate lack
of status and depth of weakness in another."

- Joan Chittister


January 19th, 2011

"To be free is not merely to cast off one's
chains, but to live in a way that respects
and enhances the freedom of others."

- Nelson Mandela


January 20th, 2011

"Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come
to you without leaving better and happier."

- Mother Teresa



Provided from the archives of the
New York Times

Jan. 17, 1893 -  Hawaii's monarchy was
overthrown as a group of businessmen
and sugar planters forced Queen
Liliuokalani to abdicate.


Jan. 18, 1912 - English explorer
Robert F. Scott and his expedition
reached the South Pole, only to
discover that Roald Amundsen had
gotten there first.


Jan. 19, 1937 - Millionaire Howard Hughes
set a transcontinental air record by
flying his monoplane from Los Angeles
to Newark, N.J., in 7 hours, 28 minutes
and 25 seconds.


Jan. 20, 1981 - Iran released 52 Americans
held hostage for 444 days, minutes after
the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter
to Ronald Reagan.


Jan. 21, 1924 - Russian revolutionary
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died at age 54.



"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

- Leonardo da Vinci


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