Saturday, October 22, 2011

Colleagues List, October 22nd, 2011

Vol. VII. No. 10


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:


Special Item:

In This Issue -

Book Notice for:

"Practicing Reverence:
 An Ethic for Sustainable
 Earth Communities,"
 by Ross Smillie

Colleague Contribution:

Phil Calloway

Net Notes:

Occupy Wall Street
Water is no Commodity
Priest Detained at Vatican
Van Gogh: Did He Commit Suicide?
The Dignity of Changing Your Mind
John Howard Yoder's Political Jesus
Christians Support Condemned Pastor
Clericalism Spells Disaster in China
Tibetan Protests - Chinese Resistance
Chittister: Lack of Women Harms Church

Global Faith Potpourri:
Twelve ENI Geneva stories.

Quotes of the Week:

Alfred Lord Tennyson
Barbara Brown Taylor
Winston Churchill
Willa Cather
Barack Obama

On This Day:

Oct. 19, 1987 -
Stock market crashes; Dow Jones plunges
508 points - history's second biggest drop.

Oct. 21, 1879 -
Thomas Edison invented a workable electric
light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

Closing Thought: Meister Eckhart



Dear Friends:

I have not yet received a review copy of
colleague Mary Jo Leddy's new title:
"The Other Face of God" - but as soon as
it arrives, I will introduce it to you.

This week - and for the first time in more
than twenty years - I met with the Lutheran
pastors of Calgary at their monthly gathering.
I know that people from various study groups
at St. David's United, Calgary, were thinking
and praying for a good outcome.

I can report that I was well received.
It was a low-key but meaningful encounter
after more than two decades of mutual

"Pastor Holst is with us this morning,"
said the chair. "He has been away from
us for a while, and we welcome him."

The communion service was very meaningful.

Life goes on. My ministry has taken new
directions. But I believe it is very
important that Christians seek healing
and closure when relational wounds impact
our communities. It can be a sign - even
for those not involved in the past - that
Christians seek to model reconciliation
in the way of Jesus.


This week I introduce to you a new book
by a fellow-Albertan, Ross Smillie. Ross
is a United Church of Canada minister who
teaches at St. Stephens College (UCC) the
University of Alberta, Edmonton; an alma
mater of mine. The book is entitled:

"Practicing Reverence: An Ethic for
 Sustainable Earth Communities,"

Colleague Contribution:

Phil Calloway - an evangelical Christian
colleague, has a heavy travel schedule,
but I always appreciate when he shares
some of his humour with us.

Net Notes:

"Occupy Wall Street" - I offer an
article explaining the meaning of
this movement, and another on possible
future directions that it may take
(Montreal Gazette, Christian.week)

"Water is no Commodity" - here is
an article by Latin American Jesuits
on the theological meaning of water
which speaks to the general ecological
theme of this issue of Colleagues List

"Priest Detained at Vatican" - we
continue to report on developments
in the prophetic ministry of Fr. Roy
Bourgeois a Marynoll father and a
strong advocate for women priests.
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Van Gogh: Did He Commit Suicide?" -
the commonly accepted story is that the
famous artist died by his own hand
while in a state of depression, but
a new book challenges this view
(Christian Science Monitor)

"The Dignity of Changing Your Mind" -
United Church minister Bob Ripley
writes this piece as a guest columnist
for New Catholic Times

"John Howard Yoder's Political Jesus" -
Catholic priest John Deer has been
profoundly influenced by the writings
of Mennonite theologian Yoder and
Deer writes about that impact here
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Christians Support Condemned Pastor" -
ecumenical support has emerged for an
evangelical pastor who was hit with a
a death sentence by a court in Pakistan
(Ucan News)

"Clericalism Spells Disaster in China" -
an insightful article - written from
within China - about clericalism (unearned
respect for clergy) and how this can
deeply hurt the church in that country
(Ucan News)

"Tibetan Protests - Chinese Resistance" -
this has been a tragic week in Tibet
as a number have died because of violence
by the Chinese (The West Australia)

"Chittister: Lack of Women Harms Church" -
another fine article by a Colleagues List
regular who takes up the subject of a
possible permanent loss to the Catholic
church due to its stance against women
(National Catholic Reporter)

Global Faith Potpourri:

This week I am able to share twelve stories
with you from Ecumenical News International,

Quotes of the Week:

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Barbara Brown Taylor,
Winston Churchill, Willa Cather and President
Barack Obama share wisdom to inspire us.

On This Day:

The New York Times archives offer these
historic events, reported as they occurred:

Stock market crashes; Dow Jones plunges
508 points - history's second biggest drop (1987)

Thomas Edison invented a workable electric
light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ (1879)

Closing Thought:

Meister Eckhart returns and we are again
reminded of the significant relationship
between sensuality and spirituality. This
is a quote from "Christian Mystics" (Fox)

With my best wishes,



Introducing the Full Program


Series underway:

"Living Ethically Amid Chaos"
 Two Books by Richard Holloway

September 19th - November 28th
TM Room, St. David's United Church
7:00PM - 9:00PM

"Godless Morality"
 Learning how to separate "God says"
 from doing what is right

Information about the book from


"Between the Monster and the Saint"
 Spiritual support for pursuing a life
 that seeks above all to be good

Information on the book from


Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

Registration: $25.00 for class fees,
and special hospitality. No more books
are available. Order from



A Study Program Sponsored by:
The Department of Continuing Education
At the University of Calgary

Taught by: Wayne Holst

"God, Atheism and Morality" (ten sessions)
 Tuesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00 PM
 September 27th - November 29th

Series underway.



Series underway:

Welcome to our -

Noon Hour Book Discussions for Faculty,
Staff and Students Autumn and Winter Series
for 2011-12

Series One -

"A Public Faith:
 How Followers of Christ Can Serve the Common Good"
 by Miroslav Volf

Putting your personal faith to work for others.
Oct. 14th - Nov. 25th - six Friday noon sessions


Series Two -

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor

Discovering God in the ordinary experiences of life
March 2nd - March 30th - five Friday noon sessions

Time and Location for all sessions:
12:00 to 1:00PM in the Native Centre Board Room
Located above the Dairy Queen, Mac Hall Student's

Led by: Wayne Holst,
Coordinator of the ACTS Ministry, St. David's United
and a Faith and Spirituality Centre Liaison.

Cost of the books: $15.00 each


Join us this year for stiumlating campus discussions!

For more information:  Adriana Tulissi 403-220-5451
Co-ordinator, Faith and Spirituality Centre, U. of C.



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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



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 for:

An Ethic for Sustainable
Earth Communities,
by Ross Smillie

Wood Lake Publishing
Kelowna, BC. October,
2011. 206 pages.
ISBN #978-1-55145-593-8.

Publisher's Promo:

Every day we hear more about how humans
are degrading the environment and causing
suffering to themselves and the rest of life.
Where will it end? "Practicing Reverence" shows
that it is up to all of us, in community, to
live in ways that honour not just our own
lives, but all life.

Minister, theologian, and environmental
ethics teacher Ross Smillie combines his
areas of expertise to document our current
situation and, even more importantly, to
offer hope. Smillie’s science background
is evident in his extensive factual
reporting of ecological issues. His
engagement with theology and ethics
balances scientific fact with moral
and ethical ponderings. The result is
an up-close view of how things “are,”
and a glimpse of how things “could be.”

Smillie’s hope is that we learn to create
“sustainable earth communities,” that we
will leave our children, grandchildren,
and the generations beyond with a vital
and bountiful earth upon which to live.
Of course, to reach this goal we must
adapt our current actions. And so
Smillie examines economics, technology,
and religion, and identifies alternatives
to our current practices. As a minister
and theologian, he also allows for the
work of the Spirit, to bring about more
just and sustainable ways of living.

"Practicing Reverence" represents both a
call and a challenge to those who genuinely
desire the best for themselves and future
generations, to join their efforts for the
good of all.


Author's Words:

I wrote this book to provide realistic hope
about how our communities can become more
sustainable. Writings about the environment
are often depressing and dis-empowering.

"Practicing Reverence" is a positive, hopeful
look at how we can reshape the social practices
which contribute to environmental problems. It
emphasizes the importance of community life as
the well from which ethical wisdom, ecological
sensitivity, and hopeful action all flow.

After early chapters exploring basic approaches
to ecology and ethics, the book focuses on
social practices which give shape to our common
life. Thoughtful critiques are offered on
economic practices which systematically devalue
the environment, technological practices which
encourage the human manipulation of nature, and
religious practices which encourage us to
disregard the rest of creation as profane.

The alternative I suggest is "to practice

In religious terms, practicing reverence
requires that we develop practices of
prayer, praise and lament that nurture an
appreciation for the sacredness of all life
and a sensitivity to the specific ecosystems
in which we live and on which we depend.

In economics, practicing reverence means
finding ways to include environmental costs
in the way we measure progress and development.

In technology, practicing reverence means
resisting reductionist approaches to
ecosystems and cultivating a pluralism of
mind which values a constellation of ways
of understanding and appreciating the natural

The book concludes with an exploration of how
to practice hope, inviting the development of
communities which anticipate the future, by
exploring new patterns of living, even while
they ground their life together in laughter
and joyful celebration of life's gifts.

I wrote this book in an attempt to blend
theory and practice. It will be particularly
helpful for communities who will read it
together and consider how they might become
more sustainable as part of the wider earth
community. The book is committed to thinking
globally, while acting locally.


My Thoughts:

This spring we bought a new lawn mower that
was equipped with a mulching blade. That meant,
my wife Marlene and I had made a decision to
stop bagging all the cut grass and leaves in
our yard, and to mulch them back into the soil.

It meant a little extra work. I usually mow
the yard twice to make sure that all particles
have been suitably reduced for easy integration
into the soil.

Within one year of doing this, we are convinced
it was a good decision. The grass remains greener
through the entire growing season because the
bed we create has a way of holding moisture better.
The natural fertilizer we are maintaining continues
to feed the grass all season long.

By some estimates, we are saving at least a hundred
bags of grass, twigs and leaves from the dump and
re-cycling our own yard with what we previously
considered garbage!

As I read Smillie's book I experienced a sense of
satisfaction that we are, indeed, starting to
think like him! In our own little place we are
doing what we hope the entire world will come to
see as important.


Smillie writes with a scientific background.
His material has gone through the rigors of
teaching notes and classroom discussion and
feedback. These are two assets that are not
always present in theological approaches to
the subject.

What I also appreciate is that Smillie
writes with a theological and liturgical
sensitivity. He is offering more than what
a secular humanist might contribute to the
subject of ecological renewal.

The author wants group discussion of his

material - especially within congregations - 
and this is a very practical and helpful 


This week, Marlene and I heard Jane Goodall
speak to a packed house at the Banff Centre.
She showed her recent movie "Jane's Journey"
- a recounting of her life story which began
fifty years ago when, as a young English woman,
she decided to go to Africa and attempted to
better understand the life of chimpanzees.

From there, she evolved into a person with a
great passion for environmental protection, as
well as for a healthy co-existence between
animals, humans and the natural world. Her
"Roots and Shoots" movement is active in many
countries around the world.

It is great to learn more about what global
figures like Goodall are doing to reverence
the environment. Such an inspiration!

But people like Ross Smillie are doing their
part as well. Marlene and I are becoming more
ecologically conscious in our daily lives.
Our annual yard work is, in it own way, a
liturgical/spiritual cycle of recognizing
the goodness of creation and our part in it.

I can't help but think that this is one of
the most spiritually worthwile things we
are currently living.


Buy the book -

From Wood Lake Website:




Three Hills, AB.

Bob and Mary are newlyweds and it 's the honeymoon.
Bob paces the floor saying to himself, "How will
I ever tell my new wife that I have the world's
smelliest feet? "

He throws his socks under the bed. Mary walks out
of the bathroom and Bob runs past her. She says
to herself, "How will I ever tell my new husband
that I have the world 's worst breath? "

When Bob comes out of the bathroom Mary runs up
to him, plants a huge kiss on his face and says,
"Honey, I 've got something to tell you!"

"Yeah I know," says Bob, "You just ate my socks."

Now, if you're expecting a spiritual application,
I'm sorry. I hope you at least received a grin.



A Primer on What They Want

Montreal Gazette
October 18th, 2011


Where Does "Occupy Wall Street"
Go From Here?
Oct. 18th, 2011


October, 2011


Demonstrator for Women Priests

National Catholic Reporter
October 17th, 2011

Open link with Mozilla Firefox:



Christian Science Moniter
October 19th, 2011


UCC Minister Writes

New Catholic Times
October 17th, 2011


Mennonite Theologian
Influenced Catholic Writer

The Road to Peace
by John Deer

National Catholic Reporter
October 18th, 2011



Ucan News
October 19th, 2011


Western Church Scandals
are Well Publicised

Ucan News
October 18th, 2011



The West Australia
October 18th, 2011



National Catholic Reporter
October 17th, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
17 October 2011

Seminary in Malaysia opens ecumenical worlds

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (ENI news) - Timithy Jerry,
a master's student in theology at Sabah Theological
Seminary (STS) in eastern Malaysia, relishes his
weekends -- but not for time off. Jerry, who belongs
to the Iban tribe from eastern Malaysia, is one of
a number of students who are sent on weekends to
churches of different denominations, some in remote
villages, for Sunday services. "It is great
opportunity to interact with people of different
ethnic traditions," Jerry told ENInews. The school,
located at the city of Kota Kinabalu, has 336
students including over three dozen from a dozen
countries in southeast Asia.

"Occupy" protesters welcomed
at St. Paul's Cathedral in London

London (ENI news) - Scores of anti-corporate
demonstrators invaded London's historic St. Paul's
Cathedral on 16 October, but police who tried to
stop them were told to leave by church officials,
Religion News Service reports. The protesters --
who were targeting the global financial system
as part of worldwide demonstrations against
corporate greed – were welcomed into the
17th-century cathedral, and Sunday services
went on uninterrupted. The protesters were
allowed to continue their presence into 17
October, provided they did not interfere with


18 October 2011

Circus ministry is a high-wire act
of faith for chaplain

Worcester, Massachusetts (ENI news)- With a
stairwell for a confessional and a folding
table for an altar, the lobby of the DCU
Center arena in Worcester, Massachusetts,
about 40 miles west of Boston, doesn't look
especially holy -- until a band of circus
workers gathers for Mass. That's when the
Rev. Jerry Hogan dons a colorful chasuble
festooned with images of big tops, lions
and zebras. The event is no act, Religion
News Service reports. The Circus and
Traveling Show Ministries of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops provides
the spiritual lifeblood for about 4,500
Catholics who work in circuses, carnivals,
rodeos and auto racing.


German book features stories
of Christian-Muslim projects

Berlin (ENI news) - "It Does Work" is a
phrase that could describe the Evangelical
(Protestant) Church in the Rhineland's view
on multiculturalism – and the title of a
new German book documenting projects that
foster Christian-Muslim dialogue. The book
stands in contrast to "Germany Does Away
With Itself," by German politician Thilo
Sarrazin, published last year. Sarrazin
predicted the destruction of Germany
society by Muslim immigrants.


Despite kidnappings, Christian agencies
continue refugee work in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - Relief work
at the huge Dadaab refugee camp in northern
Kenya will continue, days after the kidnapping
of two Spanish aid workers from the complex,
Christian and secular aid agencies said. "The
camps are calm and delivery of life saving
services is continuing. This is because
security has been stepped up," Ann Wangari,
the Lutheran World Federation Dadaab area
coordinator told ENInews on 18 October. The
workers were serving as logisticians for
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without
Borders) when armed men seized them on 13


Ecumenical accompaniment program
launched in Colombia

Geneva (ENI news) ,- An ecumenical
accompaniment program has been launched
to assist victims of violence in Colombia,
where internal armed conflict has drive
nearly five million people away from their
land and property, according to the Latin
American Council of Churches (CLAI).
"The churches have been asked to break
the silence and communicate all the
atrocities taking place in Colombia,"
the Rev. Carlos E. Ham, program executive
for Diakonia and Latin America Caribbean
with the Geneva-based World Council of
Churches (WCC), told ENI news on 18 October.


19 October 2011

Greek Orthodox church
will rebuild at Ground Zero

New York (ENI news) - Ten years after
tiny St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
was destroyed by falling rubble from the
World Trade Center towers, church leaders
have reached an agreement to rebuild at
Ground Zero, Religion News Service reports.
The church, founded by Greek immigrants in
1916, sat in the shadow of the twin towers
 and was the only religious building to be
completely destroyed during the terrorist
attacks of 11 September 2001. Under the
current agreement, brokered by New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo, the church agreed
to drop a lawsuit filed in February
against the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, which controls rebuilding
at Ground Zero.


20 October 2011

Brazilian Lutherans prepare
for Reformation anniversary

Porto Alegre, Brazil (ENI news) - Leaders
of two Brazilian Lutheran churches on 18
October said that local events in 2017
commemorating the 500th anniversary of
the Protestant Reformation would include
creation of a space called "Luther Square"
in Porto Alegre. At a launch event here,
the churches presented a commemorative
stamp and shared their plans for common
publications leading up to the anniversary.
In 1517, German monk Martin Luther
published his "95 Theses" in Wittenberg,
Germany -- criticisms of Catholic Church
practices that inspired the growth of
Protestantism, including establishment
of the Lutheran Church.


Amid stress of protests,
St. Paul's mulls closing

London (ENI news) - Feeling the
stress of a growing camp of anti-
corporate protesters on its doorsteps,
London's iconic St. Paul's Cathedral
on 20 October closed several entrances
and said it is reviewing "the extent
to which it can remain open." "People
entering the cathedral through the main
west door are able to move around as
normal and, if they desire, go down
into the crypt," press officer Hannah
Talbot told ENI news. However, she added,
an entrance that leads from the street
into the crypt has been closed. One of
London's most famous visitor attractions,
St. Paul's receives about 1.9 million
visitors per year, she noted. About 180
tents have been set up outside the
cathedral and Naomi Colvin, one of
the organizers, said, "we're staying
where we are."


21 October 2011

Relief efforts respond
to El Salvador floods

San Salvador, El Salvador (ENI news) - Severe
flooding and mudslides caused by tropical rains
throughout El Salvador have cut off dozens of
communities and resulted in almost 40 deaths.
It has been described by Anglican Bishop of
El Salvador Martin Barahona as "a catastrophe
unparalleled by other disasters" in the country
in recent history, Episcopal News Service reports.
Hurricane Jova made landfall on 11 October as a
Category 2 hurricane over Jalisco, Mexico, where
it was responsible for six deaths, but El Salvador
"has been the most affected country in Central
America," according to the Rev. George Woodward,
vice president of Fundacion Cristosal, a church
partner and nonprofit organization that is
working with Episcopal Relief & Development,
the local Anglican diocese, and other
organizations to respond to the disaster.


In Philippines, native wisdom
enhances Christian spirituality

Baguio City, Philippines (ENI news) -
Indigenous spirituality is enhancing the
Christian tradition in some Philippine
churches as they retrace the local context of
their faith. "There are several initiatives
to bring indigenous spirituality into our
churches such as incorporating the chanting
of indigenous peoples into ourliturgy," the
Rev. Ferdinand Anno, coordinator of the
graduate program of the Union Theological
Seminary (UTS), told ENI news on 21 October.
He cited the United Church of Christ in the
Philippines, which has been promoting
indigenization of worship. Supporting the
initiative are seminaries like UTS, the
Baguio City-based Ecumenical Theological
Seminary, and the Central Philippine-based
Silliman Divinity School.


St. Paul's Cathedral closes,
asks protesters to leave

London (ENI news) - Due to health, safety
and fire concerns connected with an anti-
corporate protest camp at its doors, St.
Paul's Cathedral, London's 16th-century
landmark, announced it is closing until
further notice and asked the protesters
to leave. "The decision to close ... is
unprecedented in modern times," said the
Rev. Graeme Knowles, the cathedral dean,
in a statement on St. Paul's website
( With hundreds of
people and about 200 tents pitched
around the huge building, "health,
safety and fire officers have pointed
out that access ... is seriously limited.
With so many stoves and fires and lots
of different types of fuel around, there
is a clear fire hazard. Then there is
the public health aspect which speaks
for itself. The dangers relate not just
to cathedral staff and visitors but
are a potential hazard to those encamped
themselves," Knowles said.



Provided by

October 17th, 2011

“Tho' much is taken, much abides: and tho'/
We are not now that strength which in old days/
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;/
One equal temper of heroic hearts,/
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, from "Ulysses"


October 18th, 2011

“No one longs for what he or she already has,
and yet the accumulated insight of those wise
about the spiritual life suggests that the
reason so many of us cannot see the red X that
marks the spot is because we are standing on it…
All we lack is the willingness to imagine that
we already have everything we need. The only
thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”

- Barbara Brown Taylor, from
 "An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith"


October 19th, 2011

"What is the use of living if not to strive for
noble causes and to make this muddled world a
better place for those who will live in it after
we are gone?"

- Winston Churchill


October 20th, 2011

"Where there is great love
 there is always miracles."

- Willa Cather


October 21st, 2011

"We are shaped by every language and
culture, drawn from every end of this
Earth; and because we have tasted the
bitter swill of civil war and segregation,
and emerged from that dark chapter stronger
and more united, we cannot help but believe
that the old hatreds shall someday pass;
that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve;
that as the world grows smaller, our common
humanity shall reveal itself; and that
America must play its role in ushering in
a new era of peace."

- Barack Obama,
  from his 2009 Inaugural Address



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

On Oct. 19, 1987 - the stock market crashed
as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged
508 points, or 22.6 percent in value - its
second biggest percentage drop.


On Oct. 21, 1879 - Thomas Edison invented a
workable electric light at his laboratory in
Menlo Park, N.J.



"God is voluptuous and delicious."

- Meister Eckhart

"This saying, like many of Meister Eckhart,
 is surprising. We often forget that the
 creator of pleasure must know something
 about pleasure, himself and herself...

"The voluptuousness of an orange, of a rose,
 of a beautiful piece of music, of a sunset,
 of a tantalizing meal, of the human body -
 the delicious symphony provided by our
 senses of taste, smell, touch, sight, and
 hearing - does not go unnoticed by the
 Creator of all voluptuousness."

- Matthew Fox


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