Friday, May 29, 2015

Colleagues List, May 31st, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 42



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:

I write this issue of Colleagues List from
Northern Alberta where Marlene and I
are visiting with family here. Four years
ago this month, Slave Lake was devastated
by a major forest fire. Today, it would be
hard to detect that a fire had occurred,
except for the large areas of burnt trees
that are visible from east and west entries
to the community. Slave Lake today is a
proud symbol of human resilience.

My Special Item this week is a book
notice for "Learning to Walk in the Dark"
by Barbara Brown Taylor whose titles
I have introduced here before.

I hope you find her new book interesting.


Colleague Comment this week is from:

Martin Marty (Chicago IL) who writes -

"Progressives Look Forward"


Marjorie Gibson (Vancouver BC) who
shares past remembrances - 

"The Memories Life Triggers"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) who

provides two columns this week -


"Deciphering Bible Codes" (and)


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio, TX)
who also offers two selections -

"Inordinate Attachments" and
"Contemporary Spiritual Writers"

Thanks to all four of you!


Net Notes are my special web discoveries -

"God's Not Dead" - reflections on the church
in Canada from an evangelical Protestant
perspective and Angus Reid poll information
(Christian Week Online)


"Refugees at Sea in SE Asia" - the migrant
story opposite the Mediterranean reflects a
long history of regional ethnic oppression
(Christian Week Online)


"John M. Templeton Jr. Dies" - until his death
this last week, he headed a major foundation
in support of spiritual contributions to people
around the globe (New York Times)


"Islamic State Takes Palmyra" - two a
articles on what that event means for history
and on the ancient ruins terror can't destroy
(Fusion and the New York Times)


"The Gospel is Not About Prosperity" -
many of the world's poor are misled by
this misreading of the biblical message
(Washington Post via UCA News)


"Alberta Creationist Promotes Evolution" -
'it's all how you interpret the evidence' --
an interesting contradiction as a creationist
appears with university scientists 
(Calgary Sun)


"Church Ponders Future After Irish Vote" -
a collection of articles with Catholic hierarchy
in state of disconnect with the people of Ireland
(New York Times, National Catholic Reporter,
The Tablet, UK, The Guardian, UK)

"Salvadorans Flock to Honor Archbishop" -
here is the story of a church that is deeply
connected to the people via their martyr
Oscar Romero (New York Times, National
Catholic Reporter, America Magazine video)


"Jean Vanier: Prophet for the 21st Century" -
an assessment of the contribution of the
recent recipient of the Templeton Prize
(Sojourners Online)


"Anglican Church Head Pays a Visit to China" -
Archbishop of Canterbury Welby seeks to build
ties with Christians in China (UCA News)


"Prince Charles Makes Plea for Healing in Ulster" -
amazing photos this week showing Charles shaking
hands with former IRA terrorist Gerry Adams, and
here, speaking to the people of N. Ireland (BT News)


"Remarkable Moment in American
Religious Publishing" - the book publishing
industry is a bell weather of a major shift in
American cultural history (Publisher's weekly)


Wisdom of the Week - is provided via Sojourners
and the Bruderhof online:

Desmond Tutu, Chief Seattle, Dom Helder Camara,
Madeleine L'Engle, Aldous Huxley, Corrie ten Boom,
Etty Hillesum, Søren Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
and Dorothy Day.

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day -

Comes from the archives of the New York Times

"Lindbergh First to Fly Solo Across Atlantic"

"Jawaharlal Nehru, First PM of India, Dies"

"T.E. Lawrence of Arabia Dies in England"

"Mt. Everest Conquered by
  Edmond Hillary and Tensing Norkay"


Closing Thought - Thornton Wilder

Please scroll to the end of the blog
to read his words.


For those interested in our developing
program for the summer and fall of this
year, please scroll to the end of the blog:

Our New Program Planning Season Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs through St. David's

United and the University of Calgary



Book Notice -

by Barbara Brown Taylor
HarperOne: Toronto, ON  Paperback.
March, 2015, 200 pages. $13.50 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-06-202434-3.

Publisher's Promo:

From the New York Times bestselling author of
An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor's
Learning to Walk in the Dark provides a way to
find spirituality in those times when we don't
have all the answers.

Taylor has become increasingly uncomfortable
with our tendency to associate all that is good
with lightness and all that is evil and dangerous
with darkness. Doesn't God work in the nighttime
as well? In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor
asks us to put aside our fears and anxieties and
to explore all that God has to teach us "in the
dark." She argues that we need to move away
from our "solar spirituality" and ease our way
into appreciating "lunar spirituality" (since,
like the moon, our experience of the light waxes
and wanes). Through darkness we find courage,
we understand the world in new ways, and we
feel God's presence around us, guiding us
through things seen and unseen.

Often, it is while we are in the dark that we
grow the most.

With her characteristic charm and literary wisdom,
Taylor is our guide through a spirituality of the
nighttime, teaching us how to find our footing in
times of uncertainty and giving us strength and
hope to face all of life's challenging moments.


Author's Words:

When I look around the world today, it seems clear
that eliminating darkness is pretty high on the
human agenda - not just physical darkness, but
also metaphysical darkness, which includes
psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual

Most people do not know what they mean by
"darkness" except that they want to stay out of it...

If you decide to read the rest of this book, you will
learn plenty about what darkness means to me.

Most of the books on the New York Times "How to"
bestseller list are about how to avoid various kinds
of darkness. If you want to learn how to be happy
and to stay that way, how to win out over your
adversaries at work, or how to avoid aging by
eating the right foods, there is a book for you.

If you are not a reader, you can always find
someone on the radio, the television, or the web
who will tell you about the latest strategy for
staying out of your dark places...

I wish I could turn to the church for help, but
so many congregations are preoccupied with
keeping the lights on right now that the last
thing they want to talk about is how to
befriend the dark. Plus, Christianity has never
had anything nice to say about darkness.
From earliest times Christians have used
"darkness" as a synonym for sin, ignorance,
spiritual blindness, and death.

(Much Christian spirituality) deals with darkness
by denying its existence  or at least depriving
it of any meaningful  attention... (Christians
are encouraged to) strive to be positive in
attitude, firm in conviction, helpful in relationship,
and unswerving in faith... Who would not like to
dwell in the light 24/7?

(But what happens) when darkness falls in your
life, which can happen in many unsurprising ways:
you lose your job, your marriage falls apart, your
child acts out in some attention-getting way, you
pray hard for something that does not happen,
you begin to doubt some of the things you have
been taught about what the Bible says...

Christian teaching thrives on dividing reality
into opposed pairs: good/evil, church/world,
spirit/flesh, sacred/profane, light/dark... 

If there is any truth to the teaching that spiritual
reality is divided into halves, it is the truth that
those pairs exist in balance, not apposition...

What can light possibly mean without dark?

(I invite you to walk with me as we learn to
walk in the dark... and at various stages of
life this can take on different meaning.)

I am especially aware of how many old-time
Christians are looking into the dark right now.
Attendance is down; debt is up. Plenty of
smaller churches are closing or at least putting
their buildings up for sale... Learning to walk
in the dark is an especially valuable skill in
times like these...

Meanwhile, here is some good news you
can use; even when light fades and darkness
falls... God does not turn the world over
to some other deity. Even when you cannot
see where you are going, and no one answers
when you call, this is not sufficient proof that
you are alone...

Here is the testimony of faith: darkness is not 
dark to God; the night is as bright as the day.


Author's Bio:

Barbara Brown Taylor's last book, "An Altar in the
World" was a New York Times bestseller that
received the Silver Nautilus Award in 2012. 
Her first memoir, "Leaving Church" received an
Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers
Association and won the Theologos Award for best
general interest book of 2006. Taylor spent fifteen
years in parish ministry before becoming the Butman
Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, where
she has taught world religions since 1998. She
lives on a working farm in rural north Georgia
with her husband Ed.
Wikipedia bio:


My Thoughts:

Twenty-five years ago, Toronto-author and
educator Mary Jo Leddy wrote a book which
she entitled "Say to the Darkness - We Beg
to Differ." That title succinctly implied a
profound defiance of dark and evil forces.

Brief Leddy bio:

"Learning to Walk in the Dark" by Barbara
Brown Taylor takes a more nuanced approach.
It recognizes that evil darkness exists, but it
also sees there is value to be gleaned from
the "shadowlands" and the possibility of
learning from them.

Both books take evil darkness seriously.

Leddy's volume focused strongly on issues of
justice within her own Catholic church at the

Taylor's effort is a venture in personal growth 
and follows in the classic spiritual tradition of
writing on "the dark night of the soul."

Twenty-five years ago, many of us were quite
sure we knew what was right and wrong about
the gay issue, assisted suicide, marriage,
abuse in male/female relations, etc.

Today, we are probably not so sure and many
of us have moved 180 degrees from stances
strongly taken in the past. Confusion continues.

I believe that Taylor's book is especially 
helpful for people who are inclined to be
ambivalent, pessimistic, or at least overly
cautious by nature.

If you are inclined to react to our times
with a defensive, rather than an open
spirit, I think Taylor can speak especially
to you. She does not ignore or deny the
evil darkness of the world, but she helps
us to confront it and "live through it."

In truth, Taylor is not really different
from Leddy a quarter century ago. Both
"beg to differ" with the darkness; but
they "differ differently" - and both have
an important message to convey.


Buy the book from


Chicago IL

May 25th, 2015

"Progressives Look Forward"


Vancouver, BC

Marjorie Remembers Blog
May 28th, 2015

"The Memories Life Triggers"


Okanagan BC

Personal Web Log
May 24th and 27th, 2015


"Deciphering Bible Codes"


San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
May 18th and 25th, 2016

"Inordinate Attachments" and
"Contemporary Spiritual Writers"



Neither is the Church

Reflections on the church in
Canada from an Evangelical
perspective and Angus Reid

Christian Week Online
May 12th, 2015


A Long History of Oppression

Christian Week Online
May 25th, 2015


He Headed Foundation that Honored
the Spiritual Dimension of Life

New York Times
May 19th, 2015


What This Means for History

May 21st, 2015

New York Times
May 23rd, 2015

"The Ancient Ruins Terror Can't Destroy"


Pernicious Message Attracts the Poor

Washington Post via UCA News
Mary 26th, 2015


He Does This in Spite of His Beliefs

Calgary Sun
May 25th, 2015


Reflection on Disconnect With the People

New York Times
May 24th, 2015

National Catholic Reporter
May 25th, 2015

"Vote a Reality Check for Irish Church"

The Tablet, UK
May 28th, 2015

"Clear Challenge to the Church in Ireland"

The Guardian
May 26th, 2015

"Vatican Diplomat Calls the
  Irish Vote Defeat for Humanity"

Romero on Way to Sainthood, Already a Saint

New York Times
May 23rd, 2015

National Catholic Reporter
May 26th, 2015

"Romero a Brilliant Star of the Church"

National Catholic Reporter
May 20th, 2015

"Violence, Culture of Impunity
  Continue to Plague El Salvador"

America Video
May 25th, 2015

"Romero Through Salvadoran Eyes"


Spirituality for Our Times

Sojourners Online
May 26th, 2015


Seeks Better Ties with
Chinese Christians

UCA News
May 29th, 2015


Calls on the People to
Not be Imprisoned by History

BT News
May 22nd, 2015


The Gay Wave Has Come

Publisher's Weekly
May 22nd, 2015


Provided by Sojourners and
the Bruderhof online:

If you are neutral in situations of injustice,
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a
mouse, and you say that you are neutral,
the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

- Desmond Tutu


How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth
of the land? The idea is stange to us. Every part
of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining
pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the
dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is
holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We are part of the earth and it is part of us."

- Chief Seattle


Without justice and love, peace
will always be the great illusion.

- Dom Helder Camara


How often we children have been unwilling:
unwilling to listen to each other, unwilling to
hear words we do not expect. But on that first
Pentecost the Holy Spirit truly called the people
together in understanding and forgiveness and
utter, wondrous joy. The early Christians, then,
were known by how they loved one another.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could say
that of us again? Not an exclusive love, shutting
out the rest of the world, but love so powerful,
so brilliant, so aflame that it lights the entire
planet – nay, the entire universe!

- Madeleine L'Engle


Every moment of our human life is a moment
of crisis; for at every moment we are called
upon to make an all-important decision – to
choose between the way that leads to death
and spiritual darkness, and the way that leads
towards light and life; between interests
exclusively temporal, and the eternal order;
between our personal will, and the will of God.

- Aldous Huxley


Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,
it empties today of its strength.

- Corrie ten Boom


That is why I must try to live a good and faithful
life to my last breath; so that those who come
after me do not have to start all over again.

- Etty Hillesum


Worry about making a living, or not making a
living, is a snare. In actuality, it is the snare. 
No external power, no actual circumstance,
can trap a person. If we choose to be our own
providence, then we will go quite ingenuously
into our own trap, the wealthy as well as the
poor. If we want to entrench ourselves in our
own plot of ground that is not under God’s care,
then we are living, though we do not acknowledge
it, in a prison.

 -  Søren Kierkegaard


Those who love their dream of a Christian community
more than they love the Christian community itself
become destroyers of that Christian community even
though their personal intentions may be ever so honest,

earnest, and sacrificial.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


We may be living on the edge of eternity – but that
should not make us dismal. The early Christians
rejoiced to think that the end of the world was near,
as they thought. Are we so unready to face God?
Are we so avid for joys here, that we perceive so
darkly those to come?

- Dorothy Day


Provided from the archives of the New York Times

"Lindbergh First to Fly Solo Across Atlantic"

"Jawaharlal Nehru, First PM of India, Dies"

"T.E. Lawrence of Arabia Dies in England"

"Mt. Everest Conquered by
  Edmond Hillary and Tensing Norkay"

CLOSING THOUGHT - Thornton Wilder

Without your wound where would your power be?
The very angels themselves cannot persuade the
wretched and blundering children on earth as can
one human being broken on the wheels of living.
In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can



Our New Program Planning Season Begins -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry Programs through St. David's

United and the University of Calgary:


Sunday, June 14th, 2015 at 3:00PM

Speaker: Sarah Harvey

Theme: "Women of the West"
140th Anniversary of the Founding
of the McDougal Stoney  Mission Church

"Elizabeth Cantler, Elizabeth Boyd -
  Wives of George and John McDougall"

Come to learn more about the rich history
of the oldest Protestant Church in Southern
Alberta holding continuous services.

Our May 2015 Newsletter:


"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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