Thursday, November 14, 2013

Colleagues List, November 17th, 2013

Vol. IX. No. 14



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:

Welcome to a new edition of Colleagues List! 
I now seem to be returning to my former stride 
after going through the travail of trying to learn 
a new computer which, by the way, is a lot smarter 
and creative than I!)

My book notice for this week focuses on a hero 
of mine. I hope you will enjoy him too.

The Remarkable Chester Ronning
Proud Son of China, by Brian Evans


Colleague Contributions:

Douglas John Hall,  Ron Rolheiser,
Jim Taylor and  Martin Marty
have much to tell us this week.


Net Notes:

Immortal Diamond - A key insight 
from the book by Richard Rohr
that we are studying at the church
right now (UCA News)

John Tavener Dies at 69 - a
leading contemporary British
composer and devoted Christian
passed away this week
(The Guardian, UK)

Sri Lanka: Continuing Strife - while
the civil war is over, on-going
persecution of the minority Tamil
population is real (UCA News)

Remembrance Day Reflection -
we remember those who have given
much in the past and who continue
to do so today (Youtube video)

A Church for Our Grandchildren -
the training we provide our clergy
in training today will strongly influence 
the kind of church our grandchildren 
will inhabit (Alban Journal)

Francis Warns About Apparitions -
the pope tries to head off too much
attention to paranormal experiences
of true believers (

Flannery O'Connor's Prayer Journal -
the great Southern American writer
reveals a profound spirituality here
(New York Times Review of Books)

Northern Nigeria Tops Martyr's List -
Christians are experiencing severe
persecution in this West African nation
(The Christian Post)

Suffering and Climate Change Denial -
these presentations not only show
the devastation of the Philippines
after the recent typhoon but suggest
reasons for why it occurred 
(Washington Post, Atlantic Online)


Wisdom of the Week:

Nilus of Ancyra, Jean Vanier,
Audre Lorde, Georges Bernarnos
and Maya Angelou - share their insights 
with us, courtesy of  Sojourners Online.


On This Day:

Provided from the New York Times -

Armistice Signed - WWI Ends


Closing Thought:

Søren Kierkegaard:

from the Bruderhof Community website:


Nice to visit you again this week.




Book Notice -


Proud Son of China
by Brian Evans
University of Alberta Press and
The Chester Ronning Centre for
The Study of Religion and Public Life
306 pages. $34.95 CAD paperback
ISBN #978-0-88864-663-7

Publisher's Promo:

Scholar and diplomat Brian L. Evans gives us 
the first English-language biography of Chester 
A. Ronning (1894–1984): diplomat, politician, 
educator, and one of Canada’s major public 
figures. This fascinating story depicts Ronning, 
the man who received many honors, and 
deepens readers’ knowledge of Canada’s post–
World War II diplomacy and Canada–China 

Ronning was an extraordinary Canadian who 
combined Chinese sensibility with Norwegian 
calm practicality and American drive. His life 
journey was entwined with the history of China
over many decades. Based on written materials,
historical documents, and many hours of 
interviews with Ronning, his friends, and fellow 
politicians, The Remarkable Chester Ronning 
offers both a thorough and entertaining 
biography and a lens through which to view 
international politics.


Author's Words:

Chester Alvin Ronning died the last day of
December 1984, aged ninety. Those who 
gathered at his funeral a few days later
included family, friends colleagues, and
admirers from Canada, the United States,
Norway, and China. During his nine decades,
Ronning touched many lives and accomplished
many things...

Canadian (media) marked Ronning's passing
as that of a great man; farmer, rancher, teacher,
musician, sculptor, soldier, pilot, politician,
author, and diplomat, but many failed to note
his greatest source of pride - he was born in China.

... from the day of his birth, 13 December 1894,
Ronning's life was entwined with the history
of China... (he invariably measured his life
by key events in the history of modern China.)

I first met Ronning in August 1965 in Banff at
an international conference, and again the next
year following his special missions to Hanoi
(and we became good friends.)

He  was a polymath; a natural at everything 
he attempted from sculpting to diplomacy. (He
spoke fluent Mandarin and the Hupei dialact
from the Chinese region where he grew up - 
as well as English, of course.)

(At Camrose Lutheran College, where he was
president for a decade and a half, he taught
agriculture, music, mathematics and religion
to the high school-level students who attended.)

(Camrose Lutheran College is now Augustana
University and part of the University of Alberta,
centered in Edmonton.)

A meeting with Ronning was invariably punctuated
with laughter and amazing stories of exotic
places and extraordinary people. After Canada,
he identified with China and Norway, and latterly 
with the United States. Thus we was a proud
Canadian with Chinese sensibility, Norwegian 
calm practicality and American drive. 

Throughout his life, he used languages to great 
effect, communicating easily with people. His
intelligence, impish sense of humor, and 
innate curiosity made him a natural teacher,
politician and diplomat.

(To write this biography) I was given items
related to him from many people. (I was 
encouraged to press on with what is before
you as I myself was entering my seventies.)

- from the Preface


My Thoughts:

Only a few Canadian Lutherans have made
a name for themselves in wider international
circles, but Chester Ronning was an exception.

I remember first encountering his name when
I moved to Alberta in 1979. He was still alive
and inhabiting a small home he had built for
his family when he came to become president
of Camrose Lutheran College. 

Because Lutherans in Canada were in the
process of merging into larger, non-ethnically 
defined denominations, and because I wanted 
to get a better handle on the various traditions
making up what is now the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in Canada, I visited Ronning in his
little house by the campus and spoke to him
as one eager to learn about his life.

I was greatly impressed that one who had
had such vast experience and international
exposure as a shaper of modern global
relations, could have such a common, down-
to-earth demeanor. It was an encounter 
that I shall not forget.

Ronning was indeed a man far ahead of 
many in his time. Against the common
wisdom of Canadian and American foreign
policy during the fifties and sixties, Ronning
was a strong advocate for the recognition
of Red China as it was known in those
days. He was recognized for his diplomatic
skills with several foreign postings, and
was heavily involved in attempts to get
America and Vietnam to the peace table -
well before Nixon had similar inclinations
leading to the end of that difficult war and
his visit to China in the early 1970's.

Ronning was well-loved and respected in
China. He would travel there often and
returned near the end of his life to be feted 
by the top Chinese leaders of the day.

Ronning was himself a socialist - and
an early supporter of the CCF and then,
NDP parties in Canada. He held these
views largely because of his experience
in China during formative years. He
maintained a good rapport with many
who differed with him politically in an
emerging Canadian province with
heavy conservative leanings.

Ronning was well-connected; one of
his daughters was married to a leading
executive of the New York Times
and Canadian prime ministers like
Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau
would seek his advice.

Ronning was a deeply religious man;
yet his Haugean (Norwegian, often-anti-
clerical) pietism did not get in the way of 
his ability to relate to a range of people 
in his church, his nation, and the world.

Always, this man retained a common touch 
and could converse in equal authenticity 
with the Norwegian farmers who had little 
or no education but whom he convinced 
to support his college and send their children.

He was a true Canadian Renaissance Man.
Canadian Lutherans can be proud of
him. All Canadians should respect him.


I was honored to have met Ronning at
the end of his life. This book, so carefully
written by Brian Evans, has brought
back many memories and added a good
deal more to what I have come to know
and appreciate about Ronning.

The book contains many interesting
pictures which amplify Ronning's life
and contribution to humanity.

Readers who are interested in Canadian
history, international affairs, the role
that religion has played in the development
of this land, and even those who want to
engage an inspiring man with a great
story will want to secure this book.


Buy the Book from or
The University of Alberta Press



Montreal, QC

Emmanuel College Website
University of Toronto

"The Future of the Church"
The Cousland Lecture
October 16th,  2013


San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
November 10th, 2013

"Handling Resentment in Our Lives"


Okanagan, BC

Personal Website
November 10th, 2013



Chicago, IL

America Magazine
November 25th, 2013

"Robert McAfee Brown -
 A Witness in Our Time" (review)



Your True Self (Richard Rohr)

UCA Spirituality
Undated but Current


English Composer Chose Orthodoxy

The Guardian, UK
November 12th, 2013

Tavener Helped Many Encounter the Divine

The Tablet, UK
November 15th, 2013


But Atrocities Against Tamils Continue

UCA News
November 15th, 2013

Religious Freedom Dies a Slow Death in Sri Lanka
Continuing Persecution of non-Buddhist Minorities

UCA News
November 12rh, 2013


Canadian Troops in Afghanistan Honoured

Youtube Website
November 11th, 2013


Their Leaders Will be the Ones We Train Today

Alban Letter
November 10th, 2013


Placing Faith in them Misses the Point
November 15th, 2013


A Look Into the Writer's Spiritual Life

New York Times Review of Books
November 17th, 2013


More Christians Killed than Rest of World Total

The Christian Post
November 15th, 2013


Philippines Tragedy - ‘Super’ Typhoon Haiyan

Washington Post
November 12th, 2012

Pictures of Devastation in the Philippines 

The Atlantic Online 
November 11th, 2013


Provided by Sojourners Online

"We should remain within the limits imposed by
our basic needs and strive with all our power not
to exceed them. For once we are carried a little
beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures
of life, there is then no criterion by which to check
our onward movement, since no bounds can be
set to that which exceeds the necessary."

- Nilus of Ancyra


"Peace is not stasis; it is not the absence of violence:
where there is isolation, separation and indifference
 between peoples, conflict can break out at any time.
Nor is it simply civility and respect for the law, in which
the walls of separation remain firm. Peace, rather, is the
counter-dynamic to competition, rivalry and the clash of
strengths. Peace can only come when the chain of
violence is broken and the weaker members of society
are fully welcomed, loved and respected."

- Jean Vanier


It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept,
 and celebrate those differences.

- Audre Lorde


"The wish to pray is a prayer in itself."

- Georges Bernarnos


"I have found that among its other benefits,
giving liberates the soul of the giver."

- Maya Angelou


From the archives of
The New York Times




Provided by the Bruderhof Community

Søren Kierkegaard:

Christ willed to be the socially insignificant one.
The fact that he descended from heaven to take
upon himself the form of a servant is not an
accidental something which now is to be thrust
into the background and forgotten. No, every true
follower of Christ must express existentially the
very same thing – that insignificance and offense
are inseparable from being a Christian. As soon
as the least bit of worldly advantage is gained by
preaching or following Christ, then the fox is
in the chicken house.


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