Saturday, May 2, 2015

Colleagues List, May 3rd, 2015

Vol. X.  No. 38



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:

J.K. Rowling, the famous author, provides us
with a small but significant book this week.
I am introducing it as my Special Item, and it
is entitled:

"Very Good Lives:  The Fringe Benefits of Failure
  and the Importance of Imagination"

She first presented this text as the commencement
address to Harvard University graduates in 2008
and it now appears in book form. The video version
(see below) is the most visited item on the Harvard
website after seven years.


Colleague Comment - You may recall that my
Special Item last week was the newly published
paperback edition of Philip Jenkins book "The
Great and Holy War: How World War I Became
a Religious Crusade."

Jenkins appreciated the appearance of his
latest book on Colleagues List and I draw your
attention to comments from " Ontario Friend"
who had an interesting response to WWI in
the life of his own family.

Please scroll down to read his thoughts.


Colleague Contributions - a great selection:

Robert Ellsberg (Maryknoll NY) a compelling piece on:
"Why I Support the Canonization of Dorothy Day"

Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) a reflective column on:
"Knowing Where We've Come From"

Martin Marty (Chicago IL) an instructive article on:
"Grace in the Media"

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) a meditation on:
"Praying for Those 'Not of This Fold'"

Thanks to all four of you for sharing your work.


Net Notes - Here are ten themes from the
web selected from hundreds I have perused:

"Envoy for Christians" - a timely call to activate
a US government project and office established
to investigate global religious persecution
(America Magazine)

"Ecumenical Friendships" - in the spirit of
Pope Francis, here is a spiritual reflection
on a continuing need (UCA News)

"Toward a More 'Human' Pieta" - we all know
of the "classic" Pieta, on exhibit in St. Peter's
in Rome. Here is another, on display in Chicago

"Forty Years After Fall of Saigon" - a key event
in history was remembered this week, with
a reflection worth considering (UCA News)

"Will Pope Francis Break the Church?" -
liberals are encouraged but conservatives are
worried about the direction the current pope
is leading Roman Catholicism. Here is an
intriguing account and an additional piece on
the pope's words to a dialogue group
(The Atlantic Online, The Tablet, UK)

"Pakistan Court Jails 10 in Malala Attack" -
the famous Pakistani woman author got
some vindication this week, but will it stick?
(The Guardian, UK)

"Canadians Responding to Nepal Earthquake" -
the continuing tragedy in this mountain nation
is important to some Canadians, personally
(Christian Week Online)

"Food Banks in the UK - A Lesson from Canada" -
Canadian experience with food banks as a kind
of "band  aid solution" to poverty is considered
(The Tablet UK)

"Mennonite Church USA Appears to be Dividing" -
the gay issue has been roiling the mainline for
some time, but here is an example of it entering
a denomination serving as a bridge to evangelical
Christian churches that seem next in line. My
thought - "to follow the Gospel you pay a price"
(Christianity Today)

"71 Given Life Sentences for Torching Egypt Church"
- we have been waiting for this for some time and
this week Egypt has responded. May this action set
an important precedent in the face of other injustices
against Coptic Christians (CNN News)


Wisdom of the Week - thanks to Sojourners and
the Bruderhoff online, we hear from the following: 

Alice Walker, Thomas Merton, Jane Addams,
Dorothy Day, Elisabeth Elliot and Vandana Shiva.

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day - here are pivotal events from history,
as reported at the time, and from the archives of
the New York Times:

"Saigon Falls, Refugees Flee in Boats"

"World's Worst Nuclear Accident Occurs
  at the Chernobyl Plant in Soviet Union"

"Kon Tiki Expedition Sails from Peru"

"Allies Announce Fall of Axis Powers

  in Europe"


Closing Thought - Søren Kierkegaard

To read him, please scroll to the end of the blog.

Keep up with our fall event development
by scrolling 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 -

The Fringe Benefits of Failure
and the Importance of Imagination,
by J.K. Rowling. Little, Brown: New York
Released April 14th 2015. Hardcover.
75 pages. $10. CAD.
ISBN #978-0-3126-36915-2.

Publisher's Promo:

J.K. Rowling, one of the world's most inspiring
writers, shares her wisdom and advice.

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting

commencement speech at Harvard University.
Now published for the first time in book form,
"Very Good Lives" presents J.K. Rowling's words
of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life.
How can we embrace failure? And how can we
use our imagination to better both ourselves
and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate

years, the world famous author addresses some
of life's most important questions with acuity
and emotional force.

With beautiful illustrations by Joel Holland and
a small trim size, "Very Good Lives" is the perfect
gift for anyone at a crossroads. 

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have sold

more than 450 million copies worldwide.

Sales of "Very Good Lives" will benefit both

Lumos, a non-profit international organization
founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to end
the institutionalization of children around the
world, and university-wide financial aid at
Harvard University.

Author's Words: J. K. Rowling Quotes

On the benefits of failure -

There is an expiry date on blaming your parents
for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment
you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility
lies with you.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you
are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never
known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence
never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of
the Fates.

I am not going to stand here and tell you that
failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark
one, and I had no idea that there was going to be
what the press has since represented as a kind of
fairy tale resolution.
Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential.
I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything
other than what I was, and began to direct all my
energy into finishing the only work that mattered
to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else,
I might never have found the determination to
succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.


On the power of imagination and empathy -

We do not need magic to change the world, we
carry all the power we need inside ourselves
already: we have the power to imagine better.

Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations
at all. They choose to remain comfortably within
the bounds of their own experience, never
troubling to wonder how it would feel to have
been born other than they are.

Those who choose not to empathise enable
real monsters. For without ever committing
an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude
with it, through our own apathy.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s
I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was,
to live in a country with a democratically elected
government, where legal representation and a
public trial were the rights of everyone.

One of the many things I learned at the end of
that Classics corridor down which I ventured at
the age of 18, in search of something I could not
then define, was this, written by the Greek
author Plutarch: ‘What we achieve inwardly

will change outer reality’ That is an astonishing
statement and yet proven a thousand times
every day of our lives. It expresses, in part,
our inescapable connection with the outside
world, the fact that we touch other people’s
lives simply by existing.

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but
how good it is, is what matters. 

- with help from Marta Bausells
   The Guardian, March 30th, 2015

Rowling's 2008 Commencement address at
Harvard is the most-viewed item on the
Harvard website.


Author's Bio: Wikipedia


My Thoughts:

I am drawn to this book because it is one that
should appeal to a wide range of humanity -
from all cultures and faith traditions.

At the same time, it speaks to people who
may not enjoy the benefits of a democratic
society - like her British one - that offers
a social-safety network not enjoyed, still
today, by too many people on this planet.

Think, for example, of the millions of disaster
victims and refugees who struggle for life
across the face of the earth.

Similar wisdom could probably be offered by
quite a few who have not experienced her
success in life - and the commensurate income
- that she now commands as an author. Still, in
our world, voices like her voice are respected
and convey considerable heft.

(For me, the fact that Rowling found herself
in a touch place, and one that she may not
have ever considered possible for herself,
speaks clearly to my own life experience.)

(When things were lowest for me, I still
realized I enjoyed certain benefits not
experienced by everyone.)

Her difficulties have taught her character,
perseverance and humility which have
attracted her to many - and not just the 
privileged hearers who first attended this
public address at Harvard.

There is a sweet irony to a speech like this.
Our world honours success and public acclaim.
Rowling is certainly a worthy recipient of both.
But the fact is - success might never have come
to her had she not decided to follow a certain
path when things were at their worst for her.

Learning from that path is what earns Rowling
the ability to speak to us in her current book.

For personal growth, inspiration, and as a
thoughtful gift to others, this volume deserves
to be read. It also deserves to be returned
to, and re-thought, at various life stages.

Buy the book from



Ontario Friend
Niagara Falls ON

April 26th, 2015


Thanks for your review of Philip Jenkins' book.

This past week, as you know, marked the 100th
anniversary of the beginning of the "Second
Battle of Ypres."  For the first time in the history
of warfare, poison gas was used. 6,000 young
Canadians - and many more thousands of others -
died in those weeks of late April and through
May of 1915.  Two among the 6,000 were from
my home village (in Ontario) one of them a great-
uncle of mine, the youngest of five siblings,
grandchildren of Catholic pacifist immigrants
of both German and French ethnicity from
Traubach in Alsace.

As a young boy growing up around three of those
siblings in the late 1940's and early 1950's I saw
how his volunteering for military service in the
autumn of 1914 and then never coming home
marked his siblings' lives and for ever changed
their views of God and their faith in Jesus Christ. 
For background: the oldest of those five siblings 
was my maternal grandmother.  And "Catholic
pacifists" is not an oxymoron.  Part of the reason
for my great-great-grandparents leaving Alsace
was the scorn for their pacifist beliefs by leaders
of their own Church, a scorn fuelled in part by
ethnic differences, and a scorn that also
continued here in North America, leading
at least some of them to publicly affiliate
here with the Mennonite community.

On another note: thank you for  sharing the 
article from Christianity Today that I shared
with you.  Hopefully soon all the truly pro-life
groups will be able to converse civilly and come
to some consensus as to how to address the issue
of abortion in the "public square."  That would
certainly be, for many of us, a vast improvement
on the situation we currently have, the result of
pressure on our politicians a generation ago from
the "all-or-nothing" groups on both ends of the

Best wishes!



Robert Ellsberg
Maryknoll, NY

May 4th, 2015

"Why I Support the
  Canonization of Dorothy Day"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan BC

April 29th, 2015

"Knowing Where We've Come From"


Martin Marty
Chicago IL

April 27th, 2015

"Grace in the Media"


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio TX

April  27th, 2015

"Praying for Those 'Not of This Fold'"



Time to Activate an Office

America Magazine
May 11th, 2015

A Spiritual Reflection

UCA News
April 27th, 2015

Modern Interpretation of Famous
Work Seeks Divine Intimacy

April 30th, 2015


A Reflection on Vietnam

UCA News
April 30th, 2015


Liberals Encouraged, Conservatives Worried

The Atlantic Online,
May, 2015

Francis Applauds Anglican-Catholic
Dialogue, Saying "Christian Martyrs
are an Instrument of Unity"

The Tablet UK
May 1st, 2015

Famous Author
Receives Some Justice

The Guardian UK
April 30th, 2015


Some Close Relations Exist

Christian Week Online
April 28th, 2015


Not a Long-Term Solution

The Tablet UK
May 1st, 2015


Follows Other Denominations
in Conflict Over Gay Issue

Christianity Today
April 24th, 2015

Some Justice for Coptic Christians

CNN News
April 29th, 2015



Provided by Sojourners
and the Bruderhof Online

People do not wish to appear foolish;
to avoid the appearance of foolishness,
they are willing to remain actually fools.

- Alice Walker


The beginning of love is the will to let
those we love be perfectly themselves,
the resolution not to twist them to fit
our own image.

- Thomas Merton


In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice
and oppression we must all dig channels
as best we may, that at the propitious
moment somewhat of the swelling tide
may be conducted to the barren places
of life.

- Jane Addams


The mystery of the poor is this: That they
are Jesus, and what you do for them you
do for him. It is the only way we have of
knowing and believing in our love.

The mystery of poverty is that by sharing

in it, making ourselves poor in giving to
others, we increase our knowledge of
and belief in love.

- Dorothy Day


Accept your loneliness. It is one stage,
and only one stage, on a journey that
brings you to God. It will not always last.
Offer up your loneliness to God, as the
little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves
and two fishes. God can transform it for
the good of others.

Above all, do something for somebody else!

- Elisabeth Elliot

You are not Atlas carrying the world on
your shoulder. It is good to remember
that the planet is carrying you.

- Vandana Shiva



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

"Saigon Falls, Refugees Flee in Boats"

"World's Worst Nuclear Accident Occurs
  at the Chernobyl Plant in Soviet Union"

"Kon Tiki Expedition Sails from Peru"

"Allies Announce Fall of Axis Powers

  in Europe"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Søren Kierkegaard

Silence is the measure of the power to act;
that is, a person never has more power to
act than he has silence.

Anyone can understand that to do something
is far greater than to talk about doing it. If,
therefore, a person has a plan or idea and is
fully resolved to carry it out, he does not
need to talk about it. What he talks about
in connection with the proposed action is
what he is most unsure of and most unwilling
to do.



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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