Saturday, March 7, 2015

Colleagues List, March 8th, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 30



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:

As my Special Item book notice for this
week I include an unusual title, which is
in fact a commentary on the Book of
Numbers from the Hebrew Bible.

It is entitled  "Bewilderments"

To read my thoughts please scroll down.


Colleagues Contributions this week
are provided by:

Harry Winter (St. Paul, MN) who, for
the spring-training season, writes on -

"Francis's Triple Play
  Economics, Ecology, Ecumenism"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) who reaches
a milestone in his writing -

"1000 Weekly Columns"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX)
who reflects with us on -

"Fear Masking Itself as Piety"


Net Notes:

Father Ted's Legacy - the famous former
president of Notre Dame University died
recently, and here is information -
(America, National Catholic Reporter)


Who Speaks for Islam? - after ISIS
atrocities we don't often hear from
moderate Muslims. Why is this?


An American Spiritual Father - George
Whitefield, English Methodist, was very
instrumental in bringing his faith to
America (Christianity Today)


Canadian Pastor Missing in N Korea -
this week brought news of the sudden
disappearance, then the detainment of
a Korean Canadian who visited often
(Christian Post, BBC News)


Nigeria's Next Presidential Election -
the incumbent president is Christian, and
the next president may possibly be Muslim.
What are the implications? (Sightings)


Christian Anti-Fraud Group Goes Global -
a Texas-based company is moving from
national to international anti-fraud work
involving billions in abuse of funds
(The Christian Post)


Gender Pay Gap Won't Close for 70 Years -
a UN study suggests it will take three
generations for women to catch up with
men in terms of equal pay for equal work
(The Guardian UK)


Rape Victim's Father Promotes Documentary -
these articles continue our review of abuse of
women in Indian society today (UCA/AFP News,
The Guardian UK) 


Mennonite Pastor is Inspired by Saint Patrick -
Canadian Mennonite pastor sees the Catholic
saint as an important model for mission work
(Christian Week online)


Richard John Neuhaus - Moved from Left to Right -
during his career Neuhaus started as a Lutheran
pastor and ended up as a Catholic theologian


Wisdom of the Week:

Thanks to Sojourners and Bruderhof online -

Ida B. Wells, Edward Said, Kallistos Ware,
Henry David Thoreau and Emil Bruner

- offer us their insights.

Scroll down to read them.


On This Day:

Provided from the archives
of the New York Times -

"Churchill Gives 'Iron Curtain' Speech in USA"

"Civil Rights March Broken Up in Selma"


Closing Thought:  Miroslav Volf

Please scroll to the end of the blog.


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

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



Book Notice -

Reflections on the Book of Numbers
by Anivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Random House Canada, Toronto
Hardcover, 359 pages. $21.50 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-8052-4304-8.

Publisher's Promo:

The newest book in Avivah Gottlieb
Zornberg’s award-winning series of
commentaries on the hebrew bible.

The book of Numbers is the narrative

of a great failure. What should have
been for the Israelites a brief journey
from Mount Sinai to the Holy Land
becomes a forty-year death march.
Both before and after the devastating
report of the Spies, the narrative centers
on the people’s desire to return to Egypt,
to undo the miraculous work of the Exodus.
At its heart are speeches of complaint and
lament, expressing a profound existential

But by contrast, in the narrative of the book
of Numbers that is found in mystical and
Hasidic sources, the generation of the
wilderness emerges as one of extraordinary
spiritual experience, receivers of the Torah
to the fullest extent, fed on miracles and 
nurtured directly by God: a generation of
ecstatic faith, human partners in an
unprecedented conversation with the Deity.

Drawing on kabbalistic sources, the Hasidic
commentators on the book of Numbers depict
a people who transcend prudent considerations
in order to follow God into the wilderness,
where their spiritual yearning comes to full

This view of the wilderness history invites us

into a different kind of listening to the many
cries of distrust, lament, and resentment that
issue from the Israelites throughout the book
of Numbers. Is there a way to integrate this
narrative of dark murmurings, of obsessive
fantasies of return to Egypt, with the celebration
of a love-intoxicated wilderness discourse?

The question touches not only on the language
the Israelites speak but also on the very nature
of human utterance. Who are these people? Who
are we who listen to them? What effect does the
cumulative trauma of slavery, the miracles of
Exodus, the revelation at Sinai, have on a nation
that is beginning to speak?

In Bewilderments, one of the most admired
biblical commentators at work today posits
fascinating answers to these questions
through the magnificent literary, scholarly,
and psychological analysis of the text that
is her trademark.


Author's Bio:


Author's Words:

The Hebrew name for the Book of Numbers (in
english) means "In the Wilderness." Although
the Israelite wilderness experiences begins in
Exodus and concludes in Deuteronomy, the book
of Numbers claims the interior of this world of
wilderness as its peculiar territory. It evokes
not only geographical terrain, but also an inner
landscape, an "inscape" as it were - a world
of imaginative being.

Between Egypt and the Holy Land, the wilderness
intervenes. As the Torah tells the story, this was
meant to form a brief episode in the history of
the Israelites, a passage between leaving Egypt -
and... entering the Land. But the brief interlude
suddenly and tragically swells to deathly
proportions. In one traumatic moment the divine
decree goes forth: this interval will encompass
the life and death of a whole generation. Those
who left Egypt will sink into the sands of this
wilderness. Only their children will see the Land.

What is the nature of this interim space, so 
terribly extended?... Terrible images haunt the
reader who contemplate the vanishings of a
whole generation. The wilderness is indeed
an environment that is inimical to human life.

This land does not yield to human demands: it
frustrates the need for food and drink but also
the basic demand for direction.

At the heart of the wilderness story, then, there
is a gap that is masked by apparent continuities.
This macabre secret at the heart of the narrative
is revealed only after the catastrophe is over. It
becomes one of the central "bewilderments" of
the book. The other "bewilderment" - also
essential to this wilderness - is the lack of faith
that continuously and repeatedly characterizes
the people's utterances...

Strangely, the wilderness seems to bring out
latent skepticism, even in those who are
capable of moments of faith and trust...

The darkest moment in this journey may be
when Israel begins to doubt herself, her own
capacity for love... Despair declares itself, in
all the cries and laments and death-wishfulness 
of the people... As it turns out, it is only when
hatred is acknowledged that love begins to

Perhaps, after all,, the wilderness history with
the hidden catastrophe at its heart is not about
catastrophe, but about a healing process... If
this is, then, a progress narrative, it is a very
complicated one...

In this book I adopt a "musical" strategy, in which
I repeatedly circle back to certain key passages...
revealing spiral meanings that gather with the
movement of the narrative.

This formal device seeks to express the double
character of wilderness speech: the fatalistic
litany of similar complaints on the one hand, and
the movement toward redemption on the other.

- from the Preamble


My Thoughts:

When was the last time, if ever, you read the
Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible? Even
more unlikely, have you ever considered this
book to be a aid to spiritual reflection?

Numbers is a hodgepodge of material that
concludes the story of Israel's wanderings
in the wilderness before finally arriving in
the Promised Land. It is a book of Hebrew
case law, heavy on punishment for infidelity
to God and God's absolute demands. There
is some poetry and magical practice in the
text, but generally speaking it does not rate
highly as far as interest goes - for Jew or
Christian, it would seem to me.

Could Numbers serve another purpose as
a basis for spiritual reflection and personal
growth as well as an attempt to help fill a
forty-year gap in Israel's history between
the Exodus from Egypt and the arrival into
the Promised Land?

That is the challenge Jewish author
Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg takes upon herself
to add to a series of commentaries on the
Torah (she has already written studies on
Genesis and Exodus and other psychological/
spiritual works that have gained her quite a
lot of attention in Europe and North America.)

This book contains a creative blending of both
ancient and modern, Hebrew and Christian,
and modern spiritual themes that makes it
appealing to those who want to build their
awareness of shared inter-faith meaning in
our time. She firmly grounds her work in
Hebrew tradition.

Christian spiritual tradition describes much
about which the author alludes as "the dark
night of the soul" but in her able expression
it is not hard to link Hebrew, medieval and
modern Christian spiritual writings. We
discover that all of these contain key and
common themes because they deal with what
is essentially the human predicament.

Good writing. Spirituality. Inter-faith learning.
All three are to be found here and together,
the book is well-worth considering.


Purchase the book



St. Paul MN

US Oblates Website
March 1st, 2015

"Francis's Triple Play
  Economics, Ecology, Ecumenism"


Okanagan BC

Personal Web Log
March 4th, 2015

"1000 Weekly Columns"


San Antonio TX

Personal Web Site
March 2nd, 2015

"Fear Masking Itself as Piety"



Famous President of Notre Dame

America Magazine
March 16th, 2015

"Testimonies to Theodore Hesburgh
  Honoring Notre Dame's Ex-President"

National Catholic Reporter
March 4th, 2015


Moderates Not Always Heard

America Magazine
March 16th, 20125


English Methodist George Whitefield

Christianity Today
February 19th, 2015


He is a Frequent Traveler in that Country

The Christian Post
March 4th, 2015

"Canadian Pastor Detained in North Korea"

BBC News
March 5th, 2015


Will the New Leader be Christian or Muslim?

March 5th, 2015


Seeking up to $50B
in Bilked Money

The Christian Post
March 7th, 2015


Global Women's Salaries Lag

The Guardian UK
March 5th, 2015


Urges People to Consider
State of Women in India

March 5th, 2015

"India's Sons Must Respect
  India's Daughters"

UCA News
March 6th, 2015

"India, Turkey, Oxford -
  A War Against Women"

The Guardian, UK
March 4th, 2015 


Sees Him as a Model
for Doing Mission

Christian Week Online
March 4th, 2015


Lutheran Pastor Became
Key US Catholic Theologian

America Magazine
March 5th, 2015



Provided by Sojourners
and Bruderhof online:

The way to right wrongs is to
turn the light of truth upon them.

- Ida B. Wells


Every empire, however, 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.

- Edward Said


This idea of openness to God, openness to
other persons, could be summed up under
the word love. We becometruly personal by
loving God and by loving other humans. By
love, I don’t mean merely an emotional feeling,
but a fundamental attitude. In its deepest sense,
love is the life, the energy, of God himself in us.
We are not truly personal as long as we are
turned in on ourselves, isolated from others.
We only become personal if we face other
persons, and relate to them.

- Kallistos Ware


Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself
out of much life so. Aim above morality.

Be not simply good – be good for something.

- Henry David Thoreau


This visible, earthly world is still God’s creation:
one should not condemn it as a valley of tears;
it is really the miracle work of God. And this
earthly life is the life that God gives us, which
it is our task to develop. Here is our place of
work, the vineyard in which the Lord calls and
places us.…Here are the neighbors whom we
ought to love; whether we have been true to
the realization of the talents entrusted to us
will be decided when we are called to give an
accounting. Therefore we must, so long as this
life still lasts, give our whole attention to it and
confidently allow what awaits us on the other
side of death’s line to come upon us when it comes.

- Emil Bruner



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

"Churchill Gives 'Iron Curtain' Speech in USA"

"Civil Rights March Broken Up in Selma"



Forgiveness flounders because I exclude
the enemy from the community of humans
and myself from the community of sinners.



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 is now in progress.
Forty books sold.

Study design and class links

Lorna Dueck interviews Karen Armstrong
Youtube link:

January 22nd - March 26th, 2015. Ten Weeks.
10:00-11:00AM TM Room

"Romans and James -

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

No charge.

Study resource -
The DK Complete Bible Handbook

This study has begun.



"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 filling up. 24 registrants to date.
30 participants max.



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 program has started.

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




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