Saturday, April 25, 2015

Colleagues List, April 26th, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 37



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.


Colleague Philip Jenkins has written an
insightful study of how World War 1
was a religious crusade with major
implications for subsequent history.

That book comes out in paperback this
week and I am pleased to provide you
with some background to reading it.

My Special Item is a book notice entitled:

"The Great and Holy War - How World War One
  Became a Religious Crusade"

Please scroll down to read the background info
and my thoughts

Colleague Contributions -

Harry Winter (St. Paul MN) reports
"Cardinal Francis George OMI, Dies"

Harry's Bio of the cardinal can
be found in "Oblate Missiologists"
Scroll down in online book to page 65


Lorna Dueck (Toronto ON) shares her
Globe and Mail column on a Supreme
Court public prayer ruling this week:

"No-Prayer Rule? a Godsend"


An Ontario Friend (Niagara Falls) 
sends two pieces on abortion and
pro life issues:


Martin Marty (Chicago IL)
Lutheran columnist Marty assesses why
Rome has stopped beating upon American
Catholic nuns:

"Vatican and Sisters"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) writes on
how systems stifle progress:

"Systems Develop Their Own Inertia"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) comments
on Pope Francis' famous comment:

"Who Am I to Judge?"

For their letters to me, and more information
please scroll down to part of the blog, below.


Net Notes -

This week 12 themes caught my attention
and I am pleased to share them with you:

"Books for the Dark Night" - popular authors
share their suggestions for difficult times
(The Christian Century)

"Shifting Canadian Culture" - how is the
church responding to rapidly changing
Canada today - here are 40 examples
(Christian Week online)

"Francis and the Power of Humility" - the
pope has a special, symbolic way of dealing
with people and situations. Here is an
article and book review on the subject
(Aleteia and America Magazine)

"China Cracks Down on Funeral Strippers" -
periodically, we discover interesting cultural
practices and share some for human interest
(UCA News)

"Should We Have the Right to Blaspheme?" -
a major thorn in the side for many Muslims
is the western cultural practice to allow
blasphemy of the Divine. Here is an interesting
report on the topic (Sightings)

"Unification of Koreas Will Require Patience" -
a report on how South Koreans are preparing
for a future reconciliation with the North
(Radio Free Asia)

"Horrendous Loss of Life in the Mediterranean" -
an important story this week was the tragic loss
of life of would-be escapees from North Africa to
Europe and mutual unpreparedness for this
(America Magazine, The Tablet, UK)

"Young American Muslims Building Community" -
an intriguing account of how young western
Muslims are moving outside the mosque to
build religious community (Good Magazine)

"Armenian Church Canonizes 1.5 Million Martyrs" -
to commemorate the tragedy that occurred for
Christian Armenians one hundred years ago at
the hands of Turks, this event took place this week
(The Tablet, UK)

"More Martyrs - ISIS Executes Ethiopians in Libya" -
another sad story - this time involving Christians
from Ethiopia, particularly targeted because of their
faith; with Muslim scholars protesting the action
 (Christianity Today, The Christian Post)

"Canada Ranked Fifth Happiest Country on Planet" -
one of the reasons I am proud to be a Canadian
is reflected in this article. With blessing comes
responsibility, I hasten to add (CTV News)

"Holocaust Survivors Who Rebuilt in Canada Lauded"
- this is a not-unusual story, but their numbers are
decreasing through aging and death (Toronto Sun)


Wisdom of the Week -

William James, Aung San Suu Kyi, Frederick Buechner,
Common Prayer, Thomas Merton and Nelson Mandela

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

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day -

- from the archives of the New York Times:

"American Author Mark Twain Dies"


Closing Thought -  is by one of our favourite
colleague writers, Richard Rohr

Scroll to the end of the blog to read him.


Interested in keeping up with our
programs for autumn? Scroll to the
end of the blog.

Our Fall Program Planning Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's United
and at the University of Calgary



Book Notice -

How World War I Became
a Religious Crusade
by Philip Jenkins

HarperOne, Toronto.
Paperback Edition, April 28/15
438 pages. $20.00 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-06-210514-1

Publisher's Promo:

The Great and Holy War offers the first look
at how religion created and prolonged the
First World War. At the one-hundredth
anniversary of the outbreak of the war,
historian Philip Jenkins reveals the powerful
religious dimensions of this modern-day
crusade, a period that marked a traumatic
crisis for Western civilization, with effects
that echoed throughout the rest of the
twentieth century.

The war was fought by the world's leading
Christian nations, who presented the conflict
as a holy war. Thanks to the emergence of
modern media, a steady stream of patriotic
and militaristic rhetoric was given to an
unprecedented audience, using language
that spoke of holy war and crusade, of
apocalypse and Armageddon. But this
rhetoric was not mere state propaganda.

Jenkins reveals how the widespread belief
in angels and apparitions, visions and the
supernatural was a driving force throughout
the war and shaped all three of the major
religions-Christianity, Judaism and Islam -
paving the way for modern views of religion
and violence. The disappointed hopes and
moral compromises that followed the war
also shaped the political climate of the rest
of the century, giving rise to such phenomena
as Nazism, totalitarianism, and communism.
Connecting numerous remarkable incidents
and characters-from Karl Barth to Carl Jung,
the Christmas Truce to the Armenian Genocide -
Jenkins creates a powerful and persuasive
narrative that brings together global politics,
history, and spiritual crisis as never before and
shows how religion informed and motivated
circumstances on all sides of the war.


Author's Words:

The First World War was a thoroughly religious
event, in the sense that overwhelmingly Christian
nations fought each other in what many viewed as
a holy war, a spiritual conflict. Religion is essential
to understanding the war...

However thoroughly Eurocentric the conflict might
appear, in the long term, it transformed not just
the Christianity of the main combatant nations,
but also other great faiths, especially Judaism and
Islam... The Great War redrew the world's religious
map as we know it today...

Advancing the nation's cause and interests is
indistinguishable from promoting God's cause...
the holy war framework defines attitudes to the
role of the armed forces and the conduct of combat
operations. That nation should broadly accept the
idea that military action has a sanctified character,
equal or superior to any of the other works approved
by that religion... we can confidently speak of a
powerful and consistent strain of holy war ideology
during the Great War years... all the main participant
nations placed Christ himself on the battle lines...
The war began as a clash of messianic visions...
(involving Muslims and Jews as well as Christians.)
For both sides, the Great War was a day and night
conflict against cosmic evil...

The German approach to the war still stands out
for its widespread willingness to identify the
nation's cause with God's will... However tempted
we may be to consider such militaristic pastors
to the demagogic fringe, we find near-identical
sentiments from some of Germany's greatest
thinkers and theologians, and this at a time when
the country could plausibly claim cultural and
spiritual leadership in the Christian world... holy
war views were advocated by some of the most
respected mainline clergy...

In modern times, radical Muslim clergy and
activists have often sighted religious justifications
for violence, to the extent that many Jews and
Christians even doubt that Islam is a religion,
rather than a militaristic doomsday cult. Yet,
Christian leaders in 1914 to 1918 likewise gave
an absolute religious underpinning to warfare
conducted by the states that were seen as
executing the will of God and they used well-known
religious terms to contextualize acts of violence...
both (Christians and Islamists) have shared a
common symbolism of sword and shield... such
ideas gave an overwhelming spiritual dimension
to worldly conflict and aroused expectations of
gigantic cosmic changes lying on the horizon...

(Apocalyptic ideas exercised a special power and
the common people were profoundly influenced
by these end times images. Images of Armageddon
messianic and millenarian developments underlay
the great revolutions that swept the world in the
immediate aftermath of the war to the extent that
often bypassed the mainline churches... for
example, totalitarianisms such as Nazism and
Communism, and this forced the Catholic and
Protestant churches to come to terms with a
new political world as the ancient church-state
alliance was widely replaced by new forms of
separation and independence.)

(This had a widespread impact as European religion
became a global phenomenon. Christianity, Judaism
and Islam had to adapt to a changing world brought
about by developments that emerged in the wake
of the Great War.)


Without appreciating its religious and spiritual
aspects, we cannot understand the First World
War. More important though, modern religious
history makes no sense except in the context of
that terrible conflict.

The war created our reality.

- from the Introduction


Author's Bio:

Philip Jenkins is in 2013 the Distinguished
Professor of History at Baylor University and
Co-Director for Baylor's Program on Historical
Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies
of Religion. He is also the Edwin Erle Sparks
Professor of Humanities Emeritus at
Pennsylvania State University. He was
Professor and a Distinguished Professor
of History and Religious studies at the same
institution; and also assistant, associate and
then full professor of Criminal Justice and
American Studies at PSU, 1980–93.

Wikipedia Bio:


My Thoughts:

During the years 2014-18 many videos, books
and articles are appearing on the First World War
(WWI). These presentations take various themes,
but not many of them deal with the profound
subject of faith associated with that great conflict.

Jenkins' book "The Great and Holy War" elucidates
the religious and spiritual dimension of WWI in a
special way and is uniquely worthy of our attention
amid all the other available material.

Of considerable import is the way common Christian
and holy war themes were utilized by both sides
in the conflict. Because of significant questions
arising from that development in the early twentieth
century, a growing religious and secular peace
movement began to emerge. This movement
countered religious and secular justification for
war and violence to an extent that has grown,
not abated, into our own times.

The new atheist critique of religious involvement
in war and violence has prompted a serious
re-thinking of how religion engaged politics,
economics, etc. since WWI. Karen Armstrong's
book "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History
of Violence" - is one response. The current book
by Jenkins is another. From the reading of both
studies, it is not difficult to see how closely religion
and warfare have been integrated and implicated
into our modern experience.

Three of the world's great religions - Judaism,
Christianity and Islam - were drawn into serious
conflict as a result of that war. That led to larger
abuses in World War Two and the era following.
When Christians are quick to judge the Israelis
in the Palestinian conflict and so-called Muslim
terrorism today, we need not look back that far
into history to see very scary skeletons in our
own closet.

Another important discovery for me has been the
way the great religions have been forced to
rethink their role in the world as a result of what
WWI prompted. Finding a common, constructive
religious response to the past evils we supported, 
is a redemptive way to engage the future.

Lessons learned from WWI and its interpreters
like Philip Jenkins can set faith-based people
from many traditions and around the world
on a new and constructive course in the service
of humanity.

Buy the book from



Harry Winter
St. Paul, MN

OMI  News US Province
April 21st, 2017

"Cardinal Francis George Dies"

April 21st, 2015

Dear Wayne:

I suspect that as vicar general of the Oblates
from 1974-86, Francis spent a lot of time in
Canada.  To get those dates, you probably have
to go to your Canadian Oblate sources. And of
course he did most of his seminary studies at
Ottawa, where he probably became fluent in


Harry's Bio of the cardinal can
be found in "Oblate Missiologists"

Scroll down in online book to page 65


Lorna Dueck
Toronto, ON.

Globe and Mail
April 20th, 2015

"No Prayer Rule a Godsend"


Ontario Friend
Niagara Falls, ON

April 22nd, 2015

Dear Wayne:

I thought this article from Christianity Today
might interest you.  In fact, I even wondered
if you might want to review the book, especially
since Stackhouse is a fellow Canadian.

Editor's Note:

I will  look into it. Thanks for the tip.


Review of:

Beyond the Abortion Wars:
A Way Forward for a New Generation

Christianity Today
April 22nd, 2015

"Why the Time is Ripe
  for Pro-Life Reform"

Written by Colleague
John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Article Intro Only


Martin Marty
Chicago. IL

April 20th, 2015

"Vatican and Sisters"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Site
April 20th, 2015

"Systems Develop Their Own Inertia"


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Log
April 20th, 2015

"Who Am I to Judge?"



Suggestions from Authors

The Christian Century
April 20th, 2015


How is the Church Responding?
World Vision Study Published

Christian Week Online
April 23rd, 2015


He Offers Us All a Model of Behaviour

April 23rd, 2015

"A Church that Can Change"
  Review of New Book by Gary Wills

America Magazine
April 27th, 2015


A Custom in Rural Areas

UCA News
April 24th, 2014


Charlie Hebdo's Haunting Question

April 23rd, 2015


South Korea Will Need to
Demonstrate Magnanimity

Radio Free Asia
April 21st, 2015


Appeal to the EU

America Magazine
April 22nd, 2015

Italy Calls On Europe for Help -
"They are Men and Women Like Us"

The Tablet, UK


"Don't Call it a Mosque"

Good Magazine
April 16th, 2015


Turkish Genocide Remembered

The Tablet, UK
April 24th, 2015



Christianity Today
April 20th, 2015

"Muslim Scholars Decry Slaughter"
 Acts Go 'Beyond All Religion'

The Christian Post
April 22nd, 2015



CTV News
April 23rd, 2015


They Turned Tragedy into Success

Toronto Sun
April 19th, 2015



Provided by Sojourners
and Bruderhof online:

The art of being wise
is knowing what to overlook.

- William James


A revolution which aims merely at changing
official policies and institutions with a view to
an improvement in material conditions has little
chance of genuine success. Without a revolution
of the spirit, the forces which produced the
iniquities of the old order would continue to
be operative, posing a constant threat to the
process of reform and regeneration.

- Aung San Suu Kyi


In honesty you have to admit to a wise man that
prayer is not for the wise, not for the prudent, not
for the sophisticated. Instead it is for those who
recognize that in face of their deepest needs, all
their wisdom is quite helpless. It is for those who
are willing to persist in doing something that is
both childish and crucial.
- Frederick Buechner


Though you are worthy of trumpets and the song
of angels, you graciously receive our daily prayers
of whispered words and mundane habits. Enable us,
Lord, to love you with all that we are and in all that
we do. Teach us how we might truly pray without
ceasing. Amen.

- Common Prayer


The duty of the Christian as a peacemaker is not
to be confused with a kind of quietistic inertia
that is indifferent to injustice, accepts any kind
of disorder, compromises with error and with evil,
and gives in to every pressure in order to maintain
“peace at any price.” The Christian knows well, or
should know well, that peace is not possible on
such terms. Peace demands the most heroic labor
and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater
heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to
the truth and a much more perfect purity of

- Thomas Merton


It always seems impossible until it's done.

- Nelson Mandela



From the archives of the Ne York Times

"American Author Mark Twain Dies"



Every time God forgives us, God is saying that
God's own rules do not matter as much as the
relationship that God wants to create with us.



Our Fall Program Planning Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs at St. David's United
and at the University of Calgary:


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

Hardcopy tour details brochure
is available at the church

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.


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