Saturday, April 11, 2015

Colleagues List, April 12th, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 35



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:

We have entered the season of Easter
and a number of pieces in this issue help
to bring Easter meaning to our attention.

The first is my Special Item entitled --
"Bunnies and Eggs are Just the Beginning"
which is my April Anglican Journal column.

Second is the first of two parts on the theology
of inter-faith specialist Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, who
gave a presentation at my church in Calgary
last December. I have saved my notes of that
event to present to you now to coincide with
the appearance next week of his paperback
"Islam's Jesus." It is a helpful and current 

reflection on the Muslim view of Jesus.

I will introduce this book to you next week.

I hope you will enjoy both Special Items.
Please scroll down to read them, and to
click several other links that illuminate


Colleague Contributions -

Monica Kilburn Smith (Calgary AB) a Catholic

woman-priest shares an article on how the
confessional box in Catholic churches became
a place of shame in too many instances

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) writes a

typically meaningful Easter meditation -
"Where to Find Resurrection"

Jim Taylor (Okanagan  BC) also writes on
the resurrection theme:
"Easter - the Sunday that Divides Us"


Net Notes - I found eleven plus articles
on the www this week that I thought you
might find interesting.

"Francis "Most Trusted" Pope" - the people
of the Philippines have nothing but good to
say about the pope who visited them recently.
(UCA News)

"Salvadoran General Deported" - 25 years
ago this man covered up the slaughter of
many people, including four Catholic nuns.
He emigrated to the USA and has lived in
Florida since then. Now, he has been deported
to an uncertain future back home in El Salvador
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Why Evangelicals Should Love the Pope" -
an interesting article, written by an American
evangelical Christian on how the pope shares
similar values and commitments (New York Times)

"Ex-Muslim Writer Proposes Reformation" -
the author, who has left Islam, writes about
what she thinks her former faith needs to do
to become relevant in the modern world
(The Christian Post, NYT Review of Books)

"A More Realistic Era for US-Israeli Relations" -
the current stand-off between America and
Israel provides the possibility of a new era
of maturity in the relationship between these
two nations (National Catholic Reporter, Sightings)

"Jesus' Tomb Discovery Called Sensationalist" -
more than a decade ago, I reviewed a book on
the possible discovery of Jesus' bones that would
call into question the doctrine of the resurrection.
Now that story, once discredited, has revived
(The New York Times, the Christian Post, the
Globe and Mail)

"Islam's Growth-Rate is Outpacing Christianity" -
a recent large Pew Study on the growth of two
major world religions provides a comparison
(UCA News International, Christianity Today)

"Tibetan Monasteries Ordered to Fly China Flag" -
further evidence of the Chinese commitment
to repress this small but valiant nation
(UCA News)

"Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding" -
on the 100th anniversary of her birth, the gifts and
tragedy of this great black American artist is recalled
(Jazz Night in America website, via Sojourners)

"Obama Wants End to Conversion Therapies for Gays" -
a milestone in the sad attempts to "cure" gays, lesbians
and others appears to be getting official US government 

condemnation (The Guardian, UK)

"Congregation Praying for Pastor Detained in N. Korea" -
several weeks ago we reported on the detainment of a
Canadian pastor in North Korea. Now more on the story
(Christian Week online)


Wisdom of the Week - courtesy of Sojourners and
the Bruderhof online - are offered by the following:

Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King Jr.,
George Bernard Shaw, Dom Helder Camara,
N.T. Wright, Vandana Shiva, Charles Taylor
and Henri J.M. Nouwen

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day -

From the archives of the New York Times -

"Peary and Henson Discover North Pole"

"Picasso, 91, Dies in Southern France"


Closing Thought - this week is provided by
Malala Yousafzai a Pakistani author.

Please scroll to the end of the blog to read
her and about her.


We are coming to the end of our program year,
except for our Holy Land Tour in October. If
you are interested in the activities we are
completing, please scroll to the end of the blog.

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



My Anglican Journal Column for April

"Bunnies and Eggs
  are Just the Beginning"


My Notes on a Lecture Entitled:

by  Dr. Zeki Saritoprak 

Held at St. David's United Church Calgary
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Presentor Bio:

Zeki Saritoprak is associate professor in the
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
and the Beddiüzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic
Studies at John Carroll University, Cleveland OH. 

He is the author of numerous works on Islamic
theology in English, Turkish, and Arabic.


The event was a Calgary launch for the book
entitled"Islam's Jesus" (hardcover, 2014,
paperback, 2015) University Press of Florida.

This book is a comparative theology of Jesus
from a Muslim perspective, which differs in
intent from the recent title: "Zealot: The Life
and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" by Reza Aslan.

Aslan takes a religious studies approach to Jesus.
My review of that book appeared on the Anglican 
Continuing Education Program website, last
January 12th, 2015:

My review of the Saritoprak book will  appear
next week in Colleagues List (April 19th, 2015).

About 60 people attended this lecture held at
the church just before Christmas. Many of the
attendees were Muslim and I had the opportunity
to welcome them. The event was co-sponsored
by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute of Calgary
Malik Muradov, executive director; the Faith and
Spirituality Centre at the University of Calgary, 
Adriana Tulissi, coordinator; and the ACTS Ministry
(Adult Spiritual Development) of St. David's United
Church, Calgary. Interfaith dialogue is a priority
for all three groups.


Who was Jesus?

From a Muslim perspective, he experienced a
miraculous birth, born of the virgin Mary. He
is a bringer of peace, and one of five prophets
recognized by Islam - Noah, Abraham, Moses,
Jesus, and Muhammad. Muslims consider Jesus
to be a Muslim because he submitted to the
will of God. He is also viewed as a miracle-
worker and an intercessor on behalf of humans
before God.

Jesus in the Primary Islamic Sources

He is mentioned 90 times in the Qur’an and also
in the Hadith commentaries of Muhammad.
Some of the Qur’anic quotes originate in the
Christian scriptures, and also in secondary
Christian literature.

Many Jewish-Christian links to the Qur’an are
noted in the Torah, Psalms and Gospels. These
are all considered part of the Islamic faith,
just as Jesus confirmed to be a fulfillment of
the Jewish law and prophets.

Only God is worshipped, however. You don't
worship Jesus or Mary.

(Many references to Jesus in the Qur’an can be
  located in the author's book.)

The Christian belief in the second coming of Jesus
(known in Islam as the 'descent') is blended into
the Islamic belief in eschatology or of last things.

Muslims assume a range of understandings of
Jesus based on their interpretation of the texts.
They range from modernist/minimalist through
literalist - with the majority being literalist.
Islamic scholars are inclined to take a non-
literalist but respectful understanding of the
return or decent of Jesus.

The author read a number of references to
Jesus in the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Sufi
mystical literature and then linked these
references to modern interpreters like the
Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gülen
who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

Scriptural Literalism

Scripture literalism is a problem in Islam
today. We need to study and live in the
spirit, not the letter, of what we read about
Jesus and many other subjects in our scriptures
and sacred literature.

Inter-Faith Dialogue

This will help us in our inter-faith discussions
with Christians. Between us, we make up
58% of the earth's population. One of our
prophetic voices Said Nursi, a Turkish Muslim
spiritual reformer, wrote over 100 years ago
(in 1911) that dialogue between Muslims and
Christians is a growing necessity to help bring
about peace and justice in our world. He also
encouraged Christians to return to the original
message of Jesus, because he did not always
see Christians living as worthy followers.

Other Comments in Response to  Questions:

In many cases, he quoted references to the
Qur’an in his answers -

Common Ground - we need to tone down our
rhetoric and avoid terms like "infidel" for
Christians and others. We are all People of
the Book. The original meaning of "infidel'
has been perverted in Islam.

Human Diversity - is part of God's way for
humanity. God could have made us one
community, but didn't. Difference can be
good. Compete with one another in doing
good. Come together to worship one God.
As peaceful offspring of Abraham we need
to fight poverty, addictions, and other
great human problems together.

One example of Muslim-Christian Dialogue
in our time is the greeting of Fethullah Gülen
to John Paul II  (February, 1998) -


A contextual reading of the Qur’anic
revelation suggests that for the sake
of co-operation, Muslims, Christians
and Jews and all other people of faith
should focus on shared ideas and
common values.


Editor's Ending:

Any errors in transcription of these notes
are my own. Please read my notice of the
author's book "Islam's Jesus" - in the
April 19th issue of Colleagues List.



Monica Kilburn Smith
Calgary, AB

CBC Tapestry (radio broadcast)
March 20th, 2015

The Dark Box -
Sins and Secrets of the Confessional


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
April 6th, 2015

"Where to Find Resurrection"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
April 5th, 2015

"Easter - the Sunday that Divides Us"



Filipinos Rate Him Highest

UCA News
April 9th, 2015


Covered Up Churchwomen's Deaths
Lived 25 Years in Florida

National Catholic Reporter
April 9th, 2015


Like Jesus, Francis
Embraces the Outcast

New York Times
April 4th, 2015


Hirsi Ali Posits Five Points
for Changes in Islam

The Christian Post
April 9th, 2015

"Heretic - Why Islam Needs
  a Reformation Now"
  Review of Her Latest Book

New York Times Review of Books
April 5th, 2015



National Catholic Reporter
April 10th, 2015

"A More Realistic Era
in US -Israeli Relations"

"Israel: Two Cases in Politics
  and Freedom of Religion"

April 9th, 2015


Findings Re-Ignite Debate
on Claim of Jesus' Bones

The New York Times
April 4th, 2015

The Christian Post
April 9th, 2015

From the Archives -

The First Jewish Christian:
Holst Review of "The Brother of Jesus"
Globe and Mail, April 26th, 2003


This Will be Obvious by 2050

UCAN News International
April 6th, 2015

"Predicting Shifts in Christianity
   and Islam by the Year 2050"

Christianity Today
April 2nd, 2015


Head of Communist Party
Makes New Demands

UCA News
April 9th, 2015


100th Anniversary of Her Birth

Jazz Night in America
(via Sojourners)
April 7th, 2015


Seeks Stop to Therapies Seeking
Change in Sexual Orientation
The Guardian, UK
April 8th, 2015


He's Been Helping There for 20 Years

Christian Week Online
April 8th, 2015



Provided by Sojourners and Bruderhof online:

But now the power of Easter has burst upon
us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we
find in ourselves a strength which is not our
own, and which is freely given to us whenever
we need it, raising us above the Law, giving us
a new law which is hidden in Christ: the law of
his merciful love for us. Now we no longer strive
to be good because we have to, because it is a
duty, but because our joy is to please him who
has given all his love to us! Now our life is full
of meaning!

- Thomas Merton


Easter comes out ringing in terms that we all
hear if we seek to hear it, that the soul of man
is immortal. Through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ we have fit testimony that this earthly
life is not the end, that death is just something
of a turn in the road, that life moves down a
continual moving river, and that death is just
a little turn in the river, that this earthly life is
merely an embryonic prelude to a new awakening,
that death is not a period which ends this great
sentence of life but a comma that punctuates it
to more loftier significance. That is what it says.
That is the meaning of Easter. That is the question
that Easter answers - that death is not the end.

- Martin Luther King Jr.


This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a
purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish
little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining
that the world will not devote itself to making you
happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to
the community and as long as I live, it is my privilege
to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly
used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more
I live. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of
splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment,
and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.

- George Bernard Shaw


When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.
When I ask why the poor have no food, they call
me a communist.

- Dom Helder Camara


I do not know how the painting an artist paints
today in prayer and wisdom will find a place in
God’s new world. I don’t know what musical
instruments we will have to play Bach, though
I’m sure Bach’s music will be there. I don’t know
how my planting a tree today will relate to the
wonderful trees that will be in God’s recreated
world. I don’t know how my work for justice for
the poor, for remission of global debts, will
reappear in that new world. But I know that
God’s new world of justice and joy, of hope for
the whole earth, was launched when Jesus came
out of the tomb on Easter morning; I know he c
alls me and you to live in him and by the power
of his spirit, and so to be new-creation people
here and now, giving birth to signs and symbols
of the kingdom on earth as in heaven.
- N.I. Wright


Whenever we engage in consumption or production
patterns which take more than we need, we are
engaging in violence.

- Vandana Shiva


We define our identity always in dialogue with,
sometimes in struggle against, the things our
significant others want to see in us. Even after
we outgrow some of these others — our parents,
for instance — and they disappear from our lives,
the conversation with them continues within us
as long as we live.

- Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition"


Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship
in which you allow someone other than yourself to
enter into the very center of your person, to see there
what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch
there what you would rather leave untouched. 

- Henri J.M. Nouwen



From the Archives of the New York Times:

"Peary and Henson Discover North Pole"

"Picasso, 91, Dies in Southern France"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Malala Yousafzai

"We realize the importance of our voices
  only when we are silenced."

Malala is a Pakistani woman author and activist



Winter/Spring 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's United
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

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


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