Friday, July 25, 2014

Colleagues List, July 27th, 2014

Vol. X.  No. 2



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. 

Note that not all items here have links.


Dear Friends:

As my Special Item  this week I introduce
the book "Feisty and Fearless" - a life of Lois 
Wilson, notable Canadian citizen and church 
person. I thank Janice L Meighan of Toronto 
for writing this book and the people at the
United Church Centre in that city for sending
me a review copy.

Scroll down for my book notice

Colleague Contributions - this week are from

Cameron Harder - on community-building

Faith Nostbakken - on joint worship planning

Dennis Greunding - on Gaza and Middle East peace

Jim Taylor - on truth as a moving target and
lessons from gardening

Martin Marty - on intolerance and violence
and Russian Orthodoxy

Ron Rolheiser - on suicide in the family


Net Notes -

"Nadine Gordimer Dies" - the South
African author was a strong witness
against racism (The Guardian, UK)

"Women and Wardrobe" - so much
appears today on women's dress and
our rape culture. Here's a 'Christian' take
on the subject (Christian Week online)

"Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices" - a 
woman of great experience is currently 
considering another run at the American 
presidency (The Tablet, UK)

"Current Events at the Vatican" - three
unique activities occurring this past week
(Faith Today, Irish Times, National 
Catholic Reporter)

"God, 'Please Let My Team Win'" - we
may roll our eyes when sports figures
engage in prayer but here is an
interesting reflection on the phenomenon

"Anglican Journal has New Editor" -
we welcome an experienced church
news writer to the AJ helm this week
(Anglican Journal)

"Holy Land Bishop Decries the Strife" -
the Palestinian Lutheran bishop shares
his grief at developments in Gaza
(Lutheran World News)

"C of E Votes to Ordain Women Bishops" -
a historic event for a traditional church
signals an attempt to catch up with society
(BBC News, UCA News)

"Who's Right and Wrong in the Middle East?" -
an insightful article on the complex, yet not
impossible situation involving Israel/Palestine
(New York Times)

"Americans Cite Jesus in Healthcare Debate" -
this discussion would probably never happen
in Canada, but the USA is obviously different!
(The Christian Post)

"Islam - Real Threat or Current US Scapegoat?" -
a helpful article on why Islam has become such
a big issue in American politics/the press today
(UCA News)

"Reformation 500th Celebration Plans Unravel -
we have worried that insular thinking might
sink a significant anniversary in Germany,
and it would now appear that it has
(The Tablet, UK)


Wisdom of the Week -

Pope Francis, Rigoberta Menchú, Aung San Suu Kyi,
Rachel Carson, Vincent van Gogh and Herman Melville

- share their insights courtesy of Sojourners and
   the Bruderhof online.

Please scroll down for these quotes/


On This Day -

From the archives of the New York Times
selected from July 13th - 26th:

These stories are reported as they occurred -

Nicholas II family executed by the Bolsheviks

Spanish Civil War Begins

Austria Issues Ultimatum Leading to WWI


Closing Thought - Don Marquis

I'll be back in touch with you two weeks 
from now, on August 9th.




  Glimpses into the Life of Lois M. Wilson"
  by Janice L. Meighan
  United Church Publishing House, Toronto ON
  April, 2014. 327 pages. $26.95/$16.90 CAD
  Kindle edition $9.50 CAD
  ISBN #978-1-55134-214-6.

Publisher's Promo:

Meet the many sides of Lois M. Wilson:
Moderator, senator, minister, mother,
chancellor, activist, wife, canoeist,
feminist. Feisty and Fearless explores
the legacy of an accomplished, vibrant
public and religious leader, a woman
of firsts who shattered the stained-glass
ceiling. With access to Wilson and to her
unpublished papers, photographs, and
diaries, Janice Meighan has created an
authentic window into this remarkable
woman’s story, evolving views, and vision.
This book of stories will make you think,
laugh, and cheer. Feisty and Fearless is
a must-read for all Canadians.

Foreword by Lois Wilson (selections) -

When Janice Meighan first told me she wanted
to write a book about me, I told her I wanted it 
to focus on my ministry and not on me...

Additionally, I thought it might be helpful to 
present a slice of history to the church at a
time when we were searching for both roots
and wings...

Janice has done well on both counts and has
compressed mounds of meticulous research 
into a number of main themes.

Leadership in both church and society requires
awareness of the societal context for ministry,
and my life has been enriched enormously
through the gifts received from Canadians
inside and outside the church, as well as from
international companions in the peace movement,
the human rights movement, and the ecumenical

As I enter the home stretch, one scriptural text
echoes and re-echoes in me: "Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing, give thanks in all 
circumstances; for this is the will of God in
Christ for you" (I Thess. 5:16-18).


Author's Words (selections from the Preface) -

Like many secularized Christians, I didn't grow
up in the church - my family never attended
and only celebrated Easter and Christmas
traditions. At age 25, after a year or two of
church shopping, I walked into a United Church
and stayed.

(From the start, I was impressed by the life
and witness of Lois Wilson, and eventually I
decided to write a book about her).

This is the first book to take a critical look at this 
little-known but remarkable woman who with
one foot in each camp wove the religious, the
secular and the political throughout her life...

Lois is unique in her understanding of a Christian
ecumenism that incorporates multi-religious
and non-religious pluralism... her daring example
could be a guide for all Canadians at this time...

She gave me 11 interviews spanning the years
2008 to 2013 and I have read almost everything
she has ever written - both published and un-
published - and watched many hours of media
interviews made by her.

I attended her 85th birthday celebration in 2012...

Lois helps shatter stained-glass ceilings to become
"a woman of firsts." She becomes the first
president of the Canadian Council of Churches,
and then the first Moderator of the United Church,
as well as a president of the World Council of
Churches... Many women and men are indebted
to Lois's trailblazing efforts, and some have felt
the sting of her views and leadership as she
breaks through the religious patriarchy...

(She served in the Canadian Senate in Ottawa 
from 1998 to 2002 and retired at age 75)...

My hope is that however you choose to read
this book, you will find a window into the life
of this great Canadian, one who has done an
enormous amount of good in our world.


My Thoughts:

I have experienced Lois Wilson on two separate
occasions and would like to share them here.

Twenty-five years ago I was interviewing for 
an ecumenical, mission-related administrative 
position in Toronto and Lois was one of those 
conducting the interview. I didn't get the job
but Lois must have sensed that personal and
vocational problems were going on in my life
at the time. After the interview, she expressed
an interest in inviting me for breakfast before
I headed back on a long and lonely trip to
Calgary. I don't remember much of what was
said but I won't forget the pastoral support
she offered me at a time I really needed it.

Fifteen years ago, and as a representative
of the Gandhi Society of Calgary, I had the
opportunity to introduce her to our annual
dinner which usually featured a peacemaker 
in the spirit of the Mahatma. In the course
of getting some current background for
the introduction, I learned she had just
returned from a trip to the DPR (North
Korea) as part of her service as chair of
the Canada-DPR Korea Association. I
reminded her of our previous encounter
(which she recalled) and of how I was glad
to be able to welcome her to Calgary under
happier circumstances for me!

A pastoral and a peace-making set of
experiences - but in both I encountered
the same kind of person in Lois Wilson
that I am now being introduced to in
Janice L. Meighan's valuable book. 

While the circumstances and issues under
consideration were considerably different,
the person with whom I was dealing was
much the same. No nonsense but deeply
compassionate - is a way I have experienced
Lois. This is also the person portrayed in a
great variety of circumstances as described 
in Feisty and Fearless.

As Meighan describes it, the chapters follow
a chronological approach as Lois's life evolved,
but they are also thematic.  The author uses a
story-telling format that I find most engaging.

The first two chapters describe the first
forty years of her life. Married to Roy, also
a United Church minister, she grew unsatisfied
with being confined to the roles of minister's
wife and mother and sought out broader ways 
to serve in both community and church.

Her journey to ordination as a woman pioneer -
at a time when few were brave enough to
function in a highly patriarchal era - is quite
enlightening for those of us who live at a
different though not all that removed time.

Chapter three tells of how Lois began to
to work 'with a foot in both church and
society' simultaneously.

Chapters four and five relay how she 
became an early woman leader in her own 
denomination and in several significant 
national and international ecumenical 

Chapter six recounts some of her many
friends and associates from over the years;
and seven tells of how her life blended religion
and national  politics. She was proud of her 
appointment to the Canadian senate and saw 
it as a high point of her career.     

The final chapter provides Lois with an
opportunity to reflect on her life, her vocation,
and on her beloved church. She describes her
joys as well as her regrets. She is no less
willing to whitewash parts of her own story,
even as she observed others. In this
chapter I see the no-nonsense person 
of compassion I have discovered myself.


I like to collect and read biographies and
autobiographies ranging from heroic
figures like Nelson Mandela to hardly-
known figures  in remote places. I will
treasure this book  and return to it
often because I see in it glimpses of
the person I might have become if
circumstances in my own life had been

This is a book I recommend and I
thank Janice L. Meighan for writing it. 

Buy the Trade Paper Edition from:
United Church Resource Distribution

Buy the book from Chapters Indigo:

Kindle Edition of the book from



Saskatoon, SK

Professor, Systematic Theology
Executive Director of the Centre for 
Rural Community Leadership 
Lutheran Theological Seminary
University of Saskatchewan

Alban Weekly
July 20th, 2014

"Discovering the Other"

Note his website:


Edmonton, AB

Anglican Journal 
July 21st, 2014

"Anglican/Lutheran Worship Conference at the
  Edmonton Providence Catholic Retreat Centre"


Ottawa, ON.

UC Observer Online
July 24th 2014

"The Gaza War - History Does Matter"

  The Middle East's cycle of violence and retaliation  
   can only be ended through negotiations -

   See also the 'Net Notes' article posted below:
    "Who's Right and Wrong in the Middle East?"

Okanagan, BC

Personal Weblog
July 15th, 2014

July 23rd, 2014

"Truth as a Moving Target"

"Roots and Branches"


Chicago. IL

July 14th, 2014

July 21st, 2014

"Intolerance and Violence"

"Russian Orthodoxy"


San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
July 20th, 2014

"Suicide - Reclaiming the 
  Memory of Our Loved One"




"Her Obituary"
The Guardian, UK
July 14th, 2014

"A Tribute by Margaret Atwood"
The Guardian, UK
July 14th, 2014

"Five Must-Read Gordimer Books"
The Guardian,
July 15th, 2014


Moving Beyond Objectification

Christian Week
July 15th, 2014


Review of her Recent Book

The Tablet, UK
July 25th, 2014



"Evangelicals and the Pope"

Faith Today,
July/August, 2014

"Pope and Curia Not on Same Page"

Irish Times
July 19th, 2014

"Apostate Sudanese Woman Meets Pope"

National Catholic Reporter
July 24th, 2014



July 17th, 2014


Marites (Tess) Sison Very Experienced

Anglican Journal
July 15th, 2014


Palestinian Lutheran Shares Grief

Lutheran World News
July 17th, 2014


"Brings Church More in Step With Society"

BBC News
July 14th, 2014

UCA News
July 15th, 2014


Complex Conflict Has Been 
Hijacked by the Hardliners

New York Times
July 20th, 2014


RCs and Protestants Say

Jesus Supports Obamacare

The Christian Post
Juy 26th, 2014


American Scholar Takes a 
Long Look at History

UCA News
July 23rd, 2014


German Catholics Feel

Protestant "Slap in the Face"

The Tablet, UK
July 18th, 2014



Provided by Sojourners and Bruderhof Online

 "Inequality is the root of social evil."

- Pope Francis


"The Bible has been used as a way of
making us  accept our situation, and not
to bring enlightenment to the poor."

- Rigoberta Menchú


"It is undeniably easier to ignore the hardships
of those who are too weak to demand their
rights than to respond sensitively to their needs.
To care is to accept responsibility, to dare to act
in accordance with the dictum that the ruler is
the strength of the helpless."

- Aung San Suu Kyi


I am not afraid of being thought a sentimentalist
when I say that I believe natural beauty has a
necessary place in the spiritual development of
an individual or a society.  I believe that whenever
we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute
something manmade and artificial for a natural
feature of the earth, we have retarded some part
of our spiritual growth.

- Rachel Carson


Let us go forward quietly, forever making
for the light, and lifting up our hearts in the
knowledge that we are as others are (and
that others are as we are), and that it is right
to love one another in the best possible way –
believing all things, hoping for all things, and
enduring all things…And let us not be too
troubled by our weaknesses, for even he who

has none, has one weakness, namely that he
thinks he has none, and anyone who believes
himself to be so perfect or wise would do well
to become foolish all over again.

- Vincent van Gogh


"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand
fibers connect us with our fellow-men; and along
those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions
run as causes, and come back to us as effects."

- Herman Melville


June 13th - 26th

From the Archives of the New York Times

"Nicholas II Family Executed by the Bolsheviks "

"Spanish Civil War Begins"

"Austria Issues Ultimatum Leading to WWI"



"When a man tells you that he got rich
  through hard work, ask him whose."


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