Saturday, September 28, 2013

Colleagues List, September 29th, 2013

Vol IX No.8



Wayne A. Holst, Editor

My E-Mail Address:

Colleagues List Web Site:

"Quicklinks" are included with many items
at the beginning of this issue.

To get a more complete picture, however,
scroll down to find your special selection
in the body of the blog.


Dear friends:

This is a longer issue of Colleagues List
than many, because I have included the
full text of some parts of this letter. Some
links were just not available.

Please bear with me.


My Special Item this week continues
on the theme of multi-faith relations,
and introduces a book by popular
American writer, Brian McLaren.

We will be using this book for our autumn
faculty, staff and student study at the
university (sponsored by the Faith and
Spirituality Centre) and this is my first
encounter with:

"Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World"
 (shortened from a longer title)


Colleague Contributions:

 - this week are from: Jim Taylor,
Lorna Dueck, Ron Rolheiser, Doug Shantz
and Martin Marty - a fine collection.
Please check them out!


Net Notes:

"Targeting Russian Gays" - we need to
understand that the roots of the Russian
approach to the gay issue is different from
many of us in the West (Sightings)

"Seeds of Reconciliation" - a good way
to move beyond racial bias in our society
is to take a different approach to our
children's education (Anglican Journal)

"Guru's Sex Charges Divides India" -
the special regard India's people have
for their "holy men" makes sexual abuse
a highly divisive issue in that society
(Washington Post, Uca News)

"Rick Warren Speaks of Son's Suicide" -
some time ago, the Warrens lost their son
to suicide, a very painful experience. They
have now consented to appear for an
interview (Christianity Today video)
"Peshawar Pakistan's Church Massacre" -
major news this week was the horrible
slaughter of Christians worshiping in an
Anglican church in Pakistan (Assist
News, ACNS/Anglican Journal)
(scroll down for core article)

"Why I Refuse to Use the Term 'Mainline'" -
this term, long used to describe mainstream
Protestant denominations in North America
is becoming dated  (The Christian Century)

"Christians and Non-Christians - A Difference?"
- more insight on addressing the relationship
between people of other faiths or no faith
"Progressive Catholic Media Fight Over Pope"
- an intriguing article on how several major
American progressive journals have recently
been rubbing each other the wrong way
(Religion News Service)

"Evangelical Sex Abuse 'Worse Than Catholics'"
- the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, a
lawyer, answers questions about the problem
of sex abuse in American evangelical churches


Wisdom of the Week:

- is provided by Sojourners Online -

Mary Oliver, Martin Luther King Jr.,
Mary L. Mild and W.E.B.Du Bois


On This Day:

From the archives of the New York Times -

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
First Round-the-Word Flight

Closing Thought: Howard Thurman


Blessings as we approach Canadian
Thanksgiving. We have much for
which to be grateful and it helps
to start thinking about it early.






"Immortal Diamond - The Search
 for the True Self"" by Richard Rohr

Description of the Book:

Mondays, 7:00PM - 9:00PM
September 16th - November 25th, 2013


Team Taught With Jock McTavish
Books on sale at the church --
Registration, Hospitality and Book - $50.00
Book only - $20.



"Major and Minor Prophets of Israel "
(Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah)

Two Six Week Series:

Weekly from September 26th - December 5th
10:00  - 11:00AM





Presented by the Christian Chaplains
For Faculty, Staff and Students -

 A Six Week Series on the Book:

"Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed:
 Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World"
 (title shortened)

Six sessions - Fridays October 18th
through November 22nd, 2013
12 Noon to 1:00PM

Native Centre Board Room
MacEwan Student Centre



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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



An accumulation of thirty-five books studied
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents
more than 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 -

Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
by Brian McLaren. Jericho Books, reprint.
$12.74 paperback. $9.99 Kindle..
288 pages. (released September 10th, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1455513954

Publisher's Promo:

Can you be a committed Christian without having to
condemn or convert people of other faiths?

Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without
watering down your own?

In his most important book yet, widely acclaimed
author and speaker Brian McLaren proposes a new
faith alternative, one built on "benevolence and solidarity
rather than rivalry and hostility." This way of being
Christian is strong but doesn't strong-arm anyone,
going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality
toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other.

Blending history, narrative, and brilliant insight, McLaren
shows readers step-by-step how to reclaim this strong-
benevolent faith, challenging us to stop creating barriers
in the name of God and learn how affirming other religions
can strengthen our commitment to our own. And in doing
so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than
ever before.


Author's Bio:

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and
public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian
was a church planter, pastor, and networker in the
Baltimore-Washington DC area for over 20 years.
He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent
guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical
leadership gatherings in the U.S. and internationally,
and is Theologian-in-Residence at Life in the Trinity

Brian's writing spans over a dozen books, including
his acclaimed A New Kind of Christian trilogy,
A Generous Orthodoxy, and his most recent titles,
Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple
Words (2011) and the eBook prequel to this title,
The Girl with the Dove Tattoo (June 2012). A
frequent guest on television, radio, and news media
programs, Brian is also an active and popular blogger,
a musician, and an avid outdoor enthusiast. Learn
more at his website, Brian
is married to Grace, and they have four adult children.


Author's Words: (shortened considerably)

Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed
cross the road? The question, of course, recalls an
old riddle about a chicken...going back to the 1840's.

The original riddle exemplifies "anti-humor" - a joke
that is funny because it isn't funny.  Anti-humor works
by setting up a convention that leads us to expect
a joke, and then reverses that expectation in a
humorous way... (author gives an example)

The image of the four men (representing different
faiths) surprises and interests us because it puts the
four in a similar situation, in a common predicament.
Whatever the answer will be, it will be the same for
all of them, perhaps rendering them companions
rather than competitors. That possible makes claims
on all of us who follow them.

How do you think Jesus would treat Moses,
Mohammed, and the Buddha if they came to a
cross-walk together?

If his three counterparts reached out their hands
in friendship, it's pretty hard to imagine that "the
friend of sinners" would cross his arms or turn
his back...It's much more likely that he would
embrace them with open arms and without
hesitation... Jesus had (according to the four
gospels) extraordinary insight into human character.
He saw value where others saw only flaws.

And if you know anything about Mohammed,
Moses and the Buddha, how do you think they
would approach Jesus and one another, if they
encountered one another along the road?

Conversations among these four are growing
more important than ever. It is obviously the
kind of conversation Christians should have.
I've heard deeply earnest and highly committed
Christians raise questions about what it means
to be Christian in a multi-faith world... They
convinced me that I should write on the subject.

What approach should I take?

In the end I felt I should take a practical, pastoral
and constructive one, focusing on how to
develop a healthy, sane and faithful Christian
identity in a multi-faith world like ours.

I wish to do two things. Help Christians form
a sound Christian identity that does not form
a combative, negative approach to other faiths
with a primary purpose of proselytizing them.
I believe it is possible to have a loving and open
way of dealing with people of other faiths without
attempting to convert them to Christianity.

My pursuit  is a Christian identity that moves me
toward people of other faiths in wholehearted
love... because of my identity as a follower of
God in the way of Jesus.

I write for a general audience of thoughtful
(people) rather than a specialized audience
of scholars. I am an avid reader of relevant
scholarship on the subject and I seek to bring
the best scholarly insights on the grassroots
struggles faced by religious leaders and lay
people. I'm especially interested in writing
for younger Christians who inhabit a very
different world that I first encountered.

I propose not minor changes in the Christian
identity, but rather a different paradigm

If you can't always agree with me, follow
along the lines of reasoning and imagination
that seem best to you.

We are increasingly faced with a choice,
I believe, not between kindness and
hostility, but between kindness and non-

That is the choice we must make,
the road we must cross.


My Thoughts:

I have been interested in inter-denominational
and inter-faith ministry and mission all my life.
Sometimes I find it hard to slow down and
realize that many people have lived their
faith very differently from mine.

In some ways I may be unique. I find it
easy to include many people in God's
family, and find it difficult when some of
my fellow-Christians put up barriers to
that possibility.

At the same time, I have come to realize
that I cannot really reach out to people
of many Christian and other-faith traditions
without a strong sense of who I am as
as follower of Jesus.

Sometimes I grow a bit impatient
with Brian McLaren in this book because
he seems to be dealing with issues that
I have put to rest years ago. At other
times I am struck by the breadth of his
vision and the vision of his insights.

I must realize that McLaren emerges
from a strong American evangelical
Protestant tradition that has long been
committed to "mission" as "proselytism."
While I cannot live in that mode any longer
I understand it well, because that was my
view of it for much of my life.

Only as I have grown older, travelled,
and become more cognizant of the
changing Canadian multi-cultural and
rights-conscious society I live in, have
I become aware that my old missional
model is not longer realistic.

How do be committed to one's faith
and equally committed to respect and
engage that faith of another - is the core
theme of this book. I would suggest that
readers who are not Christian could learn
as much from it as I.

McLaren is very readable, and well
worth engaging. Few will come away from
a book like this without experiencing
positive, hopeful change.


Buy the Book from



Okanagan, BC

Personal Weblog
September 22nd, 2013



By Jim Taylor

Under Canadian law, you can’t persecute any one religious group.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, embedded in the
Constitution Act of 1982, guarantees religious freedom.
But apparently you can target religions as a whole.
That seems to be the reasoning behind the Parti Quebecois’ proposed
Charter of Values. The draft legislation would outlaw the wearing of
any specifically religious clothing and/or religious symbols by public
service workers.
 That means medical personnel in hospitals. Road workers. Clerks
in government offices. Bus drivers. Librarians. Tax assessors. Police.
The list goes on and on.
 Sikhs fought long and hard through federal courts for the right to
wear turbans in the RCMP. Quebec’s law would invalidate that
victory. Jews could not wear yarmulkas. Christians, even nuns
and priests, could not wear obtrusive crosses or clerical collars
in secular jobs. Hindus would be denied the bindi -- that red dot
on the forehead.

And, of course, Muslim women would have to give up their
burkas and hijabs.  Just to clarify, the hijab is a scarf that covers
a woman’s hair and chest. The burka, or burqa, is the mobile
tent that conceals everything but a woman’s eyes.


I suspect that Muslim women were the Charter’s original target.
After all, if a Muslim woman is allowed to keep her face covered
in public, shouldn’t a bank robber have the same right to wear a
balaclava? Or a rioter, to hide his face behind a bandanna?

But because any laws specifically aimed at Islam and at women
-- both politically touchy subjects -- would be quickly struck
down in the courts, Pauline Marois’s PQ government chose to
restrict all religions, without exceptions.

In some ways, that makes sense. When we make use of a public
service, we expect the person serving us to be impartial. So
Saskatchewan requires marriage commissioners to perform
same-sex marriages even if it offends their religious convictions;
Alberta doctors must be willing to perform abortions regardless
of their church’s teachings.

As a general principle, public servants may not use their privileged
position to impose their convictions on clients or patients. Social
workers should not pressure distraught people into having, or not
having, an abortion. Bus drivers should not be allowed reject
riders they think of as infidels.
And Calgary’s Muslim mayor should not expect to apply Sharia
standards to City Council meetings. But the proposed legislation
makes an assumption -mistaken, I believe - that religious symbols
are worn to promote a person’s particular faith. Wrong! A Sikh
does not wear a turban, nor a Jew a yarmulke, as a form of
evangelism. Certainly, few Muslim woman would expect her
hijab or burka to prove an irresistible attraction to western women.
No, these clothes, this symbol, that ritual, serve to identify who
they are -- sometimes at significant personal sacrifice.

My friend Ralph Milton described a friend who travelled widely
to international meetings and conferences. But when those events
spilled over into a weekend, he spent Saturday alone in his hotel
room. Because as a Jew, he honoured the command to keep the
 “I’m almost envious,” Ralph admitted. “I have nothing that
identifies who I am.”
 Nor do I. I don’t wear a cross. I don’t flaunt a Jesus bumper
sticker. I often do work on Sundays. I don’t hand out tracts on
street corners.
Some might say that the absence of overt symbols matches my
lack of valid Christian beliefs. I disagree. I firmly believe that my
relationship with God shapes every moment of every day. But
how would anyone know that?


 Does a secular appearance connote secularism?       

If it does, the Parti Quebecois Charter of Values, far from being
neutral, is in fact an attempt to impose its own set of beliefs on
everyone in Quebec’s public services. It asserts, in effect, that
there is only one acceptable belief -- the belief that no religion
has any validity.

According to the latest census (not totally reliable because the
prime minister imposed his subjective beliefs about personal
privacy on the objective science of gathering statistics) the
fastest growing religious group in Canada is the “nones” -
those who profess no religious affiliation at all. Since 1971,
the first year the national census offered that option, the “nones”
have grown from 4 per cent to nearly 25 per cent.

One in four Canadians -- almost eight million people - claim
to belong to no religion.
Naturally, then, they have no common symbols, no identifiable
By their proposed Charter of Values, Pauline Marois and her
Parti Quebecois government are pushing every public employee
into that camp.
Lucie Martineau, president of the union that represents 42,000
provincial civil servants, put the PQ presumption well: “People
can practice their religion outside working hours.The state is
In public, it seems, public servants do not have freedom of
religion after all. They must look and act like secularists.


Toronto, ON.

Globe and Mail
September 27th, 2013

"Muslims Finding Common
 Ground With Christians"


San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
September 22nd, 2013

"On Not faking Humility"


Calgary, AB

Chairholder of Christian Thought
University of Calgary
The Bentall Lectures in Christian Theology


James K. A. Smith
Professor of Philosophy
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Two Themes:

"Worship, Worldview & Cultural Liturgies"

Monday, September 30th, 2013 at 7:30pm
River Park Church
3818 14A Street SW, Calgary

"The Secular is Haunted:
Inhabiting Our Cross-Pressured Present"

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 12:00pm
Scotia Bank Milling Area, Rozsa Centre
University of Calgary

All are welcome to these free lectures -
please join us!


Chicago, IL

Religious News Service "Sightings"
September 23rd, 2013

"Francis Broadens Church's Agenda"



The Issue There is Very Complex

September 26th, 2013


Native and Non-Native Children Together

Anglican Journal
September 27th, 2013


"Holy Man" Has Special Status There
Washington Post
September 23rd, 2013

"What Is It With Indian Men and Rape?"

UCA News
September 24th, 2013



Christianity Today Viseo

September 18th, 2013
Assist News
September 22nd 2013

On Sunday 22 September, as up to 600 worshippers were
mingling at the close of the service, two Islamic militants armed
with automatic rifles and grenades entered the grounds of All
Saint's Church, Peshawar. After slaughtering many, they
detonated their explosive vests, triggering two huge explosions
that blasted shrapnel through the believers. The death toll,
presently 89, continues to rise; more than 150 were wounded,
many critically. The internet images are shocking and deeply

Two different wings of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
have claimed responsibility. A spokesman from TTP Jundullah
claimed: 'They [Christians] are the enemies of Islam, therefore
we target them. We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims
on Pakistani land.' Later a spokesman from Junood ul-Hifsa
claimed the attack was in response to US drone strikes.
This was the most deadly terrorist attack on Pakistan's
Christian community in modern history.

"Global Christians Cry Out for Justice in Pakistan"

Anglican Journal
September 27th, 2013


 The Term in America Has Outlived its Usefulness

The Christian Century
September 23rd, 2013


How Much Is Separating Believers from Others?

Sojourners Online
September 27th, 2013


"Liberal" and "Conservative" Terms No Longer Helpful
Religion News Service
September 26th, 2013


Evangelical Lawyer Blunt in Criticism of His Own

Sojourners Online
September 27th, 2013



Provided by Sojourners Online

"I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know
how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass, ... which is what I
have been doing all day.Tell me, what else should I
have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too
soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your
own wild and precious life?"

- Mary Oliver


"Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause
the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of
economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"All of God's people who hear the call [of God] are
commissioned by God to answer that call wherever
it takes us. There are many places of injustice in our
world that are waiting for the Good News of the
gospel. It is not necessary to have anyone's
permission for any of us to address these needs."

- Mary L. Mild


Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed
which we well know cries to be done. Let us
not hesitate because of ease, or the words of
[other's] mouths, or our own lives. Mighty
causes are calling us — the freedom of women,
the training of children, the putting down of hate
and murder and poverty — all these and more.
But they call with voices that mean work and
sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God,
the spirit of Esther, that we say: I will go unto
the King, and if I perish, I perish. Amen.
- W.E.B. Du Bois 



From the Archives of the New York Times:

September 22nd - 28th






"Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask
yourself what makes you come alive, and then
go do it. Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive."


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