Saturday, March 28, 2015

Colleagues List, March 29th, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 33



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 Colleagues:

I am pleased to introduce the title -

"Henry David Thoreau -
  Spiritual and Prophetic Writings"

It has just been published by Orbis
Books, Maryknoll, NY. and contains the
work of one of America's favourite
early writers who is probably more
popular today than 175 years ago when
his books first appeared.

I hope you enjoy it -


Colleague Comment this week 
features a note received from 
Hardy Schroeder of Winnipeg.
Thanks, Hardy.

Please scroll down to read him.


Colleague Contributions  feature -

Reginald Bibby of Lethbridge, AB -
has a new series of books coming out
and gets special attention in a MacLean's
Easter issue. Bibby writes about some
surprizing new developments in Canada's
religion and culture world.

Note also the following -

Isabel Gibson  of Ottawa, ON whose
blog features some vacation reflections -
"What it is to Scale the Heights"

Jim Taylor  of Okanagan, BC who writes on -
"Tribes Always Protect Themselves"

James Wall of Chicago, IL unpacks the story
of the recent election in Israel -
"Bibi Wins with Racism and a Revoked Promise"  and

Ron Rolheiser of San Antonio TX contributes
to the current discussion on -
"Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Death"

Thanks to all five of you!


Net Notes - this week's web survey includes -

"Lyle Schaller Dies" - Schaller was a significant
consultant for many in the mainstream churches
of the US and Canada during the 60s thru 90s.
(New York Times)

"Christianity Without God" - another title from
a writer who poses some serious questions of
those who think the new atheist threat is past
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Turkish Women Face Much Abuse" - Turkey
is more liberated than many Arab states, but
it is not that liberated (Atlantic Online)

"Winnipegers Respond to Maclean's" - Canada's
national magazine called Winnipeg our most
racist city because of First Nations issues, but
some in Winnipeg beg to differ (Christian Week)

"China Sentences Pastor for Cross Protest" -
a continuing signal from this nation that the
persecution of Christians and lack of human
rights is still a major factor of life there
(UCA News)

"Salvadorans March to Remember Romero" -
March brings memories of the martyrdom of
a great man who is about to be canonized
UCA News/International)

"Yemen  -  the Mid-East's Latest Nightmare" -
the region includes a complex array of
states and here is an update on one of them
(Buzz Feed News)

"Situating the Coptic Persecution in Context" -
the recent gruesome story of the slaughter of
Coptic Christians in Libya requires background
(Christian Post)

"20,000 Attend Saddleback's 35th Anniversary" -
Rich Warren is probably the most famous
mega church pastor in the USA and - he has
been able to run a pretty clean ship for decades
(The Christian Post)

"The Pope Greets Homeless During Sistine Tour" -
our continuing report of how Francis is changing
the face and focus of the papacy appears here
(AFP International)

"Diverse Evangelical Response to Franklin Graham" -
recently, the young Graham created a lot of
controversy in evangelical US Christian circles
with comments on "obeying the police" in
Ferguson MO. Here is some fallout from that
(Christianity Today)


Wisdom of the Week - we learn much from -

Malcolm X, Fred Rogers, James Baldwin,
Flannery O'Connor, Jean Vanier and
Frederick Buechner

- thanks to Sojourners and Bruderhof online.

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day - comes via the archives of
the New York Times -

"Worst American Oil Spill Off Alaska Coast"

"Camp David Accord Signed by Begin and Sadat"


Closing Thought - W.H. Auden

Please scroll to the end of the blog.


If you are interested in our current programs
please scroll to the end of the blog for -

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


Book Notice:

Spiritual and Prophetic Writings
Edited with Intro by Tim Flinders

Modern Spiritual Masters Series
Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY
February, 2015. 196 pages.
Paper $34.50 CAD. Kindle $9.99 CAD.
ISBN #978-1-62698-110-2.

Publisher's Promo:

"Only that day dawns to which we are awake."
- Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) embodies
classic features of the American spirit:
nonconformity, the impulse to seek spiritual
renewal in nature, and the will to stand firm by
his convictions. Famous for his retreat to Walden
Pond and "The Duty of Civil Disobedience" after
spending a night in jail, Thoreau was a profoundly
religious man while remaining unaffiliated with
any organized church.
He experienced mystical ecstasies in his youth;
he followed an almost monastic discipline of
contemplation; he explored Hinduism and
Eastern religion which he integrated with
his deep immersion in nature and his highly
refined social conscience.

This anthology draws on Thoreau's voluminous
journals, correspondence, and essays, including 
Walden and other key works providing readers
new and old with the extraordinary depth and
remarkable relevance of his spiritual thought.


Editor Information:

Educator and writer Tim Flinders is author of 
Sacred Surround: The Thought and Spirituality
of Thomas Berry and has edited John Muir:
Spiritual Writings in the present series.

He lectures on contemplative spirituality at the
Sophia Center, Holy Names University in Oakland,
CA, and is a research fellow at the Spirituality and
Health Institute, Santa Clara University.


Editor's Comments:

In 1848, Henry Thoreau mentioned the idea
of retreating into the wilderness, anticipating
a two-year sojourn at Walden Pond (just south
of Concord MA) where he lived.

In an letter exchange with a friend he talked of
"sundering himself from society for this time,
from the spell of institutions, customs, and
conventionalities, that I might lead a fresh,
simple life with God, without and within." (and)

"I do believe that the outward and inward life
correspond. I do believe in simplicity."

Thoreau had been educated at Harvard, in Boston,
just east of Concord. He encountered the work of
New England transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo
Emerson, also of Concord. and was smitten by his
call for personal freedom and living in accord with
nature and the inner voice of conscience - radical
views for a culture of the time that was saturated
with an authoritarian Calvinist ideology.

After graduation, Thoreau wrote: "Let men, true
to their natures, cultivate the moral affections,
lead manly and independent lives... Let them make
riches the means, not the end, of existence."

Thoreau met and cultivated a friendship with
Emerson, who introduced the young man to
many leading writers and intellectuals of the

It was most likely that Emerson suggested
Thoreau keep a journal, a decision that would
contribute significantly to his ultimate reputation
as a writer, social critic and naturalist. Over the
years that journal would serve multiple functions
as a record of his thoughts and impressions,
especially of the natural world. He included there
a rich detail of his empirical observations of plants,
animals and other aspects of nature he encountered
in his daily walks and at the pond.

His spiritual questing led him to mystics of many
ages and he was drawn to medieval Catholic writers
previously unknown to  him because of Protestant
sectarianism and narrow thinking. He was particularly
fond of Augustine, Teresa of Avila and Meister Eckhart.

He was also a pioneer in the study of spiritualities
in non-Christian faith traditions.

Thoreau rejected the Christian redemptive
theology in which he was raised and said:

"God prefers that you approach him as thoughtful,
not penitent... though you are the chief of sinners."

We may regard Thoreau as a literary stylist of
the first rank, a penetrating social critic, a skilled
and intuitive naturalist, a philosopher. At heart,
however, he was a spiritual seeker.

"My profession," he would say, "is always to
find God in nature." Thoreau's most famous book 
and core of his lasting legacy is "Walden" (1854)

- edited from the Introduction


Read his Wikipedia bio:


My Thoughts:

I first encountered the writings of Thoreau during
the 1960's in a revealing course on American literature 
taught by Dr. Flora Roy, professor of English and the
first woman dean of an Ontario college department.
Today the school is known as Wilfrid Laurier University.

Roy really helped Thoreau speak to me. But at the time 
I was not readily able to understand what the man was
talking about. Transcendentalism seemed so distant
to the Christianity I knew, and Thoreau's nature
reflections seemed a bit strange to a youth brought
up and still living in small town, rural Ontario close
to nature.

But Thoreau has remained an enticing voice for
me. Three years ago, Marlene and I spent a whole
day in Concord MA. We visited the Alcott house,
the Unitarian Church, and indeed, Walden Pond.
So much of my life almost fifty years earlier
came back to me, as with much more experience
I could associate these sights with a world that
was much different for me now.

(Concord is also famous for Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
and as a birthplace of American democracy, but those
stories are for another time.)


As with many books in the Orbis Modern Spiritual
Masters Series, "Henry David Thoreau - Spiritual
and Prophetic Writings" is a worthy introduction
to his story and his work as an eco-spiritualist
and social justice advocate.

It took a hundred years for many people to come
to understand him better and to see him as a
prophet for our time, not just an historical figure.

The book includes selections from many of his
key writings under the categories of - journal
and letters, essentials, spiritual life, sacred nature,
God, religion and the times, essays, and of course,

I know of no better or convenient introduction
to this early American genius than this book.

Thanks again to Orbis and friends like colleague
Robert Ellsberg for bringing it to us in 2015.

Buy the book from

From Orbis Publications:



Hardy Schroeder
Winnipeg MB

March 22nd, 2015


Thank you for your most recent
Colleagues List, especially. the 
Wisdom of the Week section
(Vaclav Havel) and the articles
from The Atlantic and from
National Catholic Reporter
(Joan Chittister)

Blessings as you, along with us,
enter into Passion Week.



Reginald Bibby
Lethbridge AB

March 27th, 2015

Hi Wayne!  Hope this finds you well.

I've just completed a major new national
religion survey in association with Angus
Reid.  I designed the questionnaire, the
Angus Reid Institute collected the data. 
Maclean's is running some of the initial
findings as part of a cover story on
spirituality and religion this week.

March 26th, 2015

"What Canadian Really Believe"

As well, there's lots of material available on
the AR Institute website:

Also FYI: contracts in place as of this month
for two new books that will draw heavily on
the findings - a second edition of "Beyond the
Gods & Back" (UBC Press, Spring 2016) and a
coauthored book with Angus, Canada's

Catholics (Novalis, February 2016).

Very best, Wayne! 
 - Reg


Isabel Gibson
Ottawa ON

Traditional Iconoclast
March 22nd, 20125

"What it is to Scale the Heights"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan BC

Personal Web Log
March 25nd, 2015

"Tribes Always Protect Themselves"


James Wall
Chicago IL

Wall Writings
March 22nd, 2015

"Bibi Wins with Racism and a Revoked Promise"


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio TX

Personal Web Log
March 22nd, 2015

"Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Death"



Assisted Many Churches

New York Times
March 27th, 2015


Serious Study Continues Debate

Begin at the end of Daniel Maguire's
Christianity Without God. The epilogue
provides context for his searing scholarship
on core Christian beliefs: the existence of
God, Jesus as divine, an afterlife.

His rejection is not new, but it presents
unsettling arguments that a larger audience
today will find easier to process. He candidly
acknowledges reaction to his work will vary
from grief to anger. The "nones" - those who
do not identify with any religion and who
make up one-fifth of adults in the United
States, may find his work a gospel.

National Catholic Reporter
March 25th, 2015


But They are Starting to Fight Back

The Atlantic Online
March 27th, 2015


"Not More Racist; Concerned About Racism"

Christian Week
March 24th, 2015


Protestant Contested
Church Demolitions

UCA News
March 25th, 2015


Gunned Down 35 Years Ago -
"The People's Saint"

March 26th, 2015


Arab Spring Passed By

Buzz Feed News
March 26th, 2015


ISIS Persecutes Like 
Other Radical Islamic Groups

The Christian Post
March 21st, 20125



The Christian Post
March 23rd, 2015

"We Dared to Dream Big" Says Warren


Continues His Focus on the Poor

AFP International
March 27th, 2015


Remarks About Ferguson Contested

Christianity Today
March 21st, 2015



Provided by Sojourners and Bruderhof Online:

You're not to be so blind with patriotism that
you can't face reality.

Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.

- Malcolm X


I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that
when we look for what's best in the person we
happen to be with at the moment, we're doing
what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor,
we're participating in something truly sacred.

- Fred Rogers


Ignorance, allied with power, is the
most ferocious enemy justice can have.

- James Baldwin


I think there is no suffering greater than
what is caused by the doubts of those who
want to believe. I know what torment this
is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway,
as the process by which faith is deepened.
A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith
and all right for children, but eventually
you have to grow religiously as every other
way, though some never do. What people
don’t realize is how much religion costs.
They think faith is a big electric blanket,
when of course it is the cross. It is much
harder to believe than not to believe.

If you feel you can’t believe, you must at
least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it
open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep
asking for it, and leave the rest to God.

- Flannery O'Connor


People with intellectual disabilities are not
able to assume important roles of power and
of efficacy. They are essentially people of the
heart. When they meet others they do not have
a hidden agenda for power or for success.

Their cry, their fundamental cry, is for a
relationship, a meeting heart to heart. It is
this meeting that awakens them, opens them
up to life, and calls them forth to love in great
simplicity, freedom and openness. When those
ingrained in a culture of winning and of individual
success really meet them, and enter into friendship
with them, something amazing and wonderful
happens. They too are opened up to love and
even to God. They are changed at a very deep
level. They are transformed and become more
fundamentally human.

- Jean Vanier


There is little we can point to in our lives as
deserving anything but God’s wrath. Our best
moments have been mostly grotesque parodies.
Our best loves have been almost always blurred
with selfishness and deceit. But there is something
to which we can point. Not anything that we ever
did or were, but something that was done for us by
another. Not our own lives, but the life of one who
died in our behalf and yet is still alive. This is our
only glory and our only hope. And the sound that
it makes is the sound of excitement and gladness
and laughter that floats through the night air from
a great banquet.
- Frederick Buechner



From the New York Times Archives

"Worst American Oil Spill Off Alaska Coast"

"Camp David Accord Signed by Begin and Sadat"



What the mass media offers is not popular art,
but entertainment which is intended to be
consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced
by a new dish.



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


January 12nd – March 23rd, 2015
7-00-9:00PM TM Room. Ten Weeks.
(Family Day Monday exempted)

“Fields of Blood: Religion and

  the History of Violence”
  by Karen Armstrong

Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst

Registration $60.00. Book only $25.00

This study has ended.
Forty books sold.

Study design and class links

Lorna Dueck interviews Karen Armstrong
Youtube link:

January 22nd - April 16th, 2015. Ten Weeks.
10:00-11:00AM TM Room

Part Two -

"Romans and James -

  Foundations for Christian
  Thought and Living"
  Study Leader: Wayne Holst

No charge.

Study resource -
The DK Complete Bible Handbook

This study continues.



"Jerusalem and the Land of Three Great Faiths"
  October 16th - 31st, 2015

Hardcopy tour details brochure
is available in the church lobby.

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

Talk with or write to Marlene and Wayne

Save $300. if deposit paid by March 31st.

This tour is filled up with 30 registrants.
Waiting List is open.



Interfaith Chaplains' Book Studies
for faculty, students, staff, and
campus guests - Winter, 2015

"Simply Good News" by N.T. Wright

Book Study Co-Sponsored by:
The Faith and Spirituality Centre,
University of Calgary and
The ACTS Ministry,
St. David's United Church, Calgary

Native Centre Board Room
McEwan Student Centre
Fridays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM. Five sessions.
Feb. 27th, March 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th.

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

This study has ended.

Study Leader: Dr. Wayne A. Holst
Book cost $20.00


No comments:

Post a Comment