Saturday, November 22, 2014

Colleagues List, November 23rd, 2014

Vol. X.  No. 16



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 Colleagues:

My Special Items this week include:

My November Anglican Journal
"Insights" Column

"An Emerging New Sense of Canadian Identity"

Also, a reflection on the life of an important
mentor of mine:

"Remembering William Hordern" (obituary)
(two of his most important books)

Please scroll down to read my reflections
on his influence in the development of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and
potential to influence the future of mainstream
Canadian Protestantism.


Colleague Comment this week is from a
seminary classmate of mine, John Horman,
who lives in Waterloo, ON. He responds to
my notice of the new Karen Armstrong book
on religion and violence.

To read him, please scroll down.

I've had 2,300 hits (330 per day) from that
November 13th issue - half of them from the
USA and Canada, and half from the rest of
the world. Much appreciated.


Colleague Communications this week are from:

Jim Taylor - who writes on -

Ron Rolheiser - who takes on the subject -
"Less People are Going to Church -
  Whom to Blame?"

Martin Marty - who tackles -
"Mormon Issues"


Net Notes are as follows:

"Bill Cosby Scandal" - sad but also necessary
news emerged this week (The Guardian, UK)

"Why God Will Not Die" - an important article
on a theme that keeps returning over the years
(Atlantic Online)

"Deadly Attack in Israel" - more sad news
from Israel, a global religious trouble spot
(The New York Times, The Guardian, UK)

"Advocacy Not a Dirty Word" - for those
that still need convincing, here is a
helpful article (Christian Week online)

"Five Top Regrets of the Dying" - a list
of comments on "might-have-beens"
(The Guardian, UK)

"The Curious Case of Jesus' Wife"- here
is a story that continues to intrigue
and will probably not go away
(The Atlantic online)

"Francis to Raffle Off Unneeded Gifts" -
almost every week we find the pope
is breaking new ground; that's why
I keep posting articles about him
(UCA News)

"Millions to Honor Francis Xavier Remains" -
a famous Asia missionary who contradicted
the Vatican of his day continues to be popular
among people to whom he brought Good News
(UCA News)

"More Protestant Conversions in Latin America" -
it will probably take more than one good pope
to turn this around, if ever (Christianity Today)

"Religious Extremism Main Cause of Global Unrest" -
a new study confirms what many have suspected
was true for some time (The Guardian, UK)


Wisdom of the Week:

This comes to us from
Sojourners and Bruderhof online.
We hear from -

Ella Baker, Helen Keller and Brother Lawrence

Scroll down to read them.


On This Day:

November 16th - 22nd

From the archives of the New York Times -

"Spain Votes to Become a Democracy"

"Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address"

"Nuremberg War Trials Begin in Germany"

"JFK Assassinated"


Closing Thought -  is offered by
Edward Said, middle east specialist
Please scroll down.



For those interested -

2014/2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary

Please scroll down.


Anglican Journal
November 18th, 2014

"An Emerging New Sense of Canadian Identity"


A Personal Reflection:


Here is an edited version of his obituary,
which appeared Nov. 10th-13th, 2014
in the Saskatoon (SK) Star-Phoenix

William Edward HORDERN (Bill)
September 8, 1920 – November 9, 2014

On September 8, 1920, Bill was born on a
farm at Dundurn, and died at 94 years in

He attended the Dundurn high school, the
University of Saskatchewan, and St. Andrew's
College. His call to ministry arose from his
concerns for the social stresses faced by
people during the "Dirty Thirties," the deep
faith of his parents, and his experiences as
a student minister with the United Church.

He was ordained by the United Church of
Canada and his first call was to Marsden and
Neilburg where, due to wartime shortages, he
usually rode a bike or a horse from one church
to the next.

Last spring he celebrated the 70th anniversary
of his ordination. In 1944 he married Marjorie
Joyce whom he had met seven years previous,
when she was the new school teacher the 
area. Throughout their fifty-eight years
of marriage she was a strong partner in his
professional work.

In 1945 they went to New York City where Bill
entered graduate studies at Union Theological
Seminary. He came there to study with John
Bennett and also spent significant time with
Paul Tillich (who first interested Bill in Lutheran
theology) and Reinhold Niebuhr (his doctoral

As graduation approached he sent letters to
schools across Canada, seeking employment,
but was rejected by all. He kept a letter that he
had received from a school in Toronto that said
explicitly that they did not hire Canadians.

He was hired by the highly ranked Swarthmore
College (near Philadelphia) and then Garrett
Theological Seminary at Northwestern University
(Evanston, Illinois), until he received his first
offer of a position in Canada, as president of
Lutheran Theological Seminary (Saskatoon).

Overjoyed to return to Saskatchewan, he
quickly accepted, and arrived with his family
in 1966. He had a strong sense that his calling
was to be in Saskatchewan. He retired in 1985.

He was a prolific author and many of his books
were adopted as textbooks by colleges and
seminaries, and translated into a dozen languages
for use around the world.

His "Layman's Guide to Protestant Theology" 
was a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection and
is still in print (2nd edition)

He was also one of the founding presidents of
the American Academy of Religion, and was
widely sought as a speaker. His personal
theology was best expressed in his book,
"Living by Grace" and emphasized the
importance of a generous acceptance of
other people just as God generously accepts
and affirms us.

He was widely respected and appreciated.
Former friends, colleagues, and students
mention the strength of his own personal
convictions and his ability to give them
confidence in their own abilities and
viewpoints, even when their views did
not coincide with his. Every question
was treated as being very important.

During his time in the U.S. he gave support
to the civil rights movement while living in
a Republican dominated and segregated
community. In Canada he was a strong
voice for the ordination of divorced persons,
and women, in the Lutheran Church, and a
firm supporter of the New Democratic Party. 

He was deeply affected by the death of his
wife Marjorie in 2002, and the death of his
daughter Joyce, in 2010.

When the seminary in Saskatoon feted his
90th birthday, and dedicated the William
Hordern Chair in Theology, he was asked
which of his accomplishments he was most
proud of. Bill replied "My family."


Here is the testimony of one of his students
Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson, Medicine Hat, AB.
Here is what I wrote in his e-memorial book -

November 20th, 2014

Bill was a significant teacher of mine, even though
I never sat in his classroom. He was a special gift
to the church in Canada and a strong witness to
truth and justice. I experienced these qualities in
a very special way at a difficult time in my life and
am forever grateful.



Because Hordern was much involved in the
negotiations and planning that resulted in
the emergence of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Canada during the 1970s and 80s.
I believe he had a strong influence on at least
three main qualities of that church as it exists

While the ELCIC is not a large denomination
in Canada, it can and should play an important
role in the shaping of the future of mainstream
Protestantism in this land. It has already made
good progress in formalizing ties with the
Anglican Church in Canada.

I hope to reflect more on the themes below, but
for the present, here are three important qualities
of that church that I believe are worth considering
by many today.

1. Biblical-Theological Foundations:

In terms of its presentation to the wider
church and to the world, biblical-theological
foundations are important Hordern themes.
"Evangelical Lutheran" means "bible-based
and focused" but not biblical fundamentalist.
Many mainstream Protestant denominations
seem to downplay this quality, or it no longer
seems to be as important as it once was.
Evangelical Lutherans continue to struggle
to represent this in preaching and teaching.


Ecumenical-Interfaith Openness:

By virtue of his background and vocation,
William Hordern was clearly open to
ecumenical and inter-faith realities. In
his day, "ecumenical" in terms of "inter-
church" was clearly his frame of reference.
If he were still teaching, lecturing and
writing today, he would undoubtedly be
an "interfaith" person as well. Luther
made a deep impression on Hordern and
he was a worthy interpreter. That,
however, did not prevent him from
being a man of dialogue and learning
from those of other churches and faiths
- be they liberal or conservative.


Justice-Seeking Intentionality:

Hordern was committed to the important
Christian values of justice and peace.
He reflected this through his ministry
with people in both church and society.
His background in Saskatchewan and
the United Church of Canada prepared
him for that ministry. Lutherans - for
much of their history in Canada - have
tended to be "the quiet in the land."
Hordern believed that Lutheranism
and the social gospel were not
contradictions in terms. Instead, and in
these areas, church and society should
be partners.


Hopefully, I can write more about these
three pivotal themes in future reflections.



Waterloo, ON.

November 17th, 2014

Responding to the Colleagues List
issue of November 16th, 2014 on
Karen Armstrong's New Book:

"Fields of Blood -
 Religion and the History of Violence"

Dear Wayne:

I find it helpful to think of religion in the
same way I think of music. We often think
of music as a great force for peace. And so
it can be. And I am every bit as enthusiastic
in promoting music for everyone as Karen
Armstrong is in promoting religion. But is it
really a force for peace?

I reflect back on the summer I spent at age
sixteen as an army cadet at Camp Ipperwash
(Ontario) in 1956. Without question it was
preparing us for war. The chief duty of a soldier,
we are told, in not to romantically "die for his
country", but to "kill the enemy", who, it went
without saying, was all too ready to return the
favour blow for blow, corpse for corpse. We
had a chaplain, of course, church parades,
that sort of stuff. But music was practically
ubiquitous, beginning first thing in the morning
with a wake-up call by trumpet, and ending at
bed time with the Last Post. Formal parades of
course involved music with marching bands,
but even on long marches or in the barracks
music was there. There was no need of a band;
we provided our own music, usually with lyrics
which even today in our permissive times would
not be permitted in public performances or on

Do not tempt me to sing such immortal
ditties as "The North Atlantic squadron" or
"Captain Mulligan's raiders". Believe me, you
don't want to know what the cabin boy did to
the captain. There was not the slightest
suggestion that we should stop singing, or
even the we should clean up our lyrics. This
is because our singing had a huge military
value. Consider: Why would a sixteen year
old boy want to march for twenty miles
(no kilometers in those days!) on a hot
summer day with no water or snack on the
way? It was the music that kept us going,
just as it would keep slaves going in a cotton
field or a sugar cane plantation. It is an
anaesthetic of sorts, keeping the brain from
being governed by the suffering of the body.

But it would have worked exactly the same
way whether we were going to an actual war
or going to assist e-bola patients in Sierra
Leone or going to build houses for a Habitat
project in Winnipeg. So you can't really say
that music is a force for peace any more than
you can say that it is a force for evil or banality.
It is a device that the human mind uses to
reinforce group solidarity and to keep from
thinking to closely about inconvenient aspects
of the situation at hand and get on with what
one intends to do.

To me religion seems to work the same way.

I know that some apologists like to denounce
the cruel actions that some religious folk practice
as false or misunderstood or even perverted
religion, as if the person being tortured for his
religious beliefs is religious while the person
who turns the thumbscrew to elicit a confession
is doing something else, while some enemies of
religion like to present the jihadi as the
authentically religious person while the person
whom he is beheading is doing something else.
But both approaches seem to me unfair.

Religion, like music, can be used to reinforce
whatever one believes one must do, whether
it is to behead someone or put up with being
beheaded or torture someone or endure being
tortured or simply lead a banal life in a settled
society, doing good according to one's best
understanding of what the good might be.

We see examples of religion promoting great
good, but also great evil. It is up to us. But it
seems to me not very helpful to eagerly claim
the good aspects of practicing religion as true
and authentic religion while pretending that
the more awkward manifestations are really
something else.

John Horman



Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
November 16th, 2014



San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
November 16th, 2014

"Less People are Going to Church -
  Whom to Blame?"


Chicago, IL

November 17th, 2014

"Mormon Issues"



Why Now?

The Guardian, UK
November 18th, 2014


Science Makes Us All Religious

The Atlantic Online
November 17th, 2014


Four Rabbis Massacred
Palestinians Claim Responsibility

New York Times Slideshow
November 17th, 2014

"Attack on Synagogue
  Puts Israel Close to Brink"

The Guardian, UK
November 19th, 2014


We're More Powerful Than We Think

Christian Week Online
November 14th, 2014


Study on this Theme Continues

The Guardian, UK
November 15th, 2014


Science and Biblical Scholars Clash

The Atlantic Online
November 17th, 2014


Symbolic Gesture on Behalf of Homeless

UCA News
November 20th, 2014


Famous Missionary Lauded in Goa

UCA News
November 19th, 2014


'Francis Effect' Not Yet Noted
as Protestant Numbers Grow

Christianity Today
November 13th, 2014


Terrorism is Major Reason for Conflict

The Guardian, UK
November 18th, 2014



Provided by Sojourners and
Bruderhof online:

Give light and people will find the way.

- Ella Baker


I believe that God is in me as the sun is
in the color and fragrance of a flower —
the Light in my darkness, the Voice in
my silence.

- Helen Keller


The time of business does not with me
differ from the time of prayer, and in t
he noise and clatter of my kitchen, while
several persons are at the same time
calling for different things, I possess
God in as great tranquility as if I were
upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.

- Brother Lawrence



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

"Spain Votes to Become a Democracy"

"Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address"

"Nuremberg War Trials Begin in Germany"

"JFK Assassinated"



Every empire tells itself and the world that
it is unlike all other empires, that its mission
is not to plunder and control but to educate
and liberate.



Fall 2014 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's
and at the University of Calgary:

September 15th - November 24th
7-00-9:00PM TM Room
(Thanksgiving Day exempted)

"A Fair Country" by John Ralston Saul

"Medicine Walk" by  Richard Wagamese

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

Link to study:


December 1st
7:00-9:15PM TM Room
Sponsored by the Bible Study Group

"From Jesus to Christ" -
  How Jesus Became God

  by Bart Ehrmann
  A PBS Video Series  - Part Two
  (total of two hours in length)

Hospitality and discussion

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

All welcome. Hospitality donation only


(Twelve Weeks)

September 18th - December 4th
10:00-11:00AM TM Room

"From Jesus to Christ IV -
  A Study of the Book of Acts"

Led by Wayne Holst
No charge.

Study resource -
The DK Complete Bible Handbook



"Jerusalem and the Land of Three Great Faiths"

October  16th - 31st, 2015

Tour Company: Rostad Tours Calgary
Tour Hosts: Wayne and Marlene Holst
Sponsored by: St. David's ACTS Ministry
Endorsed by: St. David's Church Council



Interfaith Chaplains' Book Studies
For faculty, students, staff, campus guests -

Fall 2014

Native Centre Board Room
McEwan Student Centre

Fridays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Oct 17, 24, 31, Nov 7, 14, 21
(six sessions)

"Everything Belongs:
 The Gift of Contemplative Prayer"
  by Richard Rohr.

Participants are encouraged to attend
all six sessions. However, you may attend
one or more sessions on a drop-in basis.

Book cost $15.00




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