Saturday, September 19, 2015

Colleagues List, September 20th, 2015

Vol. XI.  No. 7



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 Colleagues:

I am pleased to share my book notice on
the recent release of -

"Phyllis Tickle: Essential Spiritual Writings"

Orbis books, whose editorial director is friend
Robert Ellsberg has just published a book on
the spiritual writings of another friend,

Phyllis Tickle.

I hope you enjoy it.

To read interesting comment and my thoughts
on the book, please scroll down


Colleague Contributions:

This week are from -

Mark Noll (Notre Dame U. South Bend, IN) -
who does a fine review essay - "O Canada"
on religion in Canada, including two histories
of the United Church of Canada. Colleague
Don Schweitzer wrote one of them


Jim Taylor (Okanagan, BC) who writes a column
about: "Authority: Use and Abuse of the Bible"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio, TX) reflects on -
"Our Overextended Grandiosity -
  and Impoverished Symbols"


Martin Marty (Chicago, IL) assesses the
changes occurring in the Catholic church
around the matter of marriage annulments
"Annulments and Change"

My thanks to all four of you.


Net Notes:

"Soil and Soul" -
Our North American Protestant Agricultural
past is well presented in a timely way
(The Christian Century)


"A Walk in the Woods" - Marlene and I
recently viewed this movie with Robert
Redford and others. A senior pilgrimage
and a film about recovery and rebuilding
(America Magazine Online)


"Seeing Jesus as a Refugee" - a Canadian
evangelical Protestant take on the current
global crisis and the role the church can play
(Christian Week Online)


"ISIS' War Against the Past" - why the
need to destroy history? Helpful comment


"Salmon Rushdie Interviewed" - Marlene
and I will be hearing the author speak at
the Banff Centre next Saturday -

"Christopher Hitchens Makes Me Laugh"
(New York Times)


"Hindus of Goa Rebuild After 200 Years" -
They claim Catholic missionaries destroyed
their temple and they are restoring it
(UCA News)


"Pacific Earthquakes/Indigenous Stories" -
interested in the science behind the mythology?
Aboriginal myths go back millennia and help
us understand earthquakes scientificially
(The Atlantic Online)


"Anglicans Could Have a 'Looser' Communion" -
Archbishop of Canterbury Welby is attempting
to find a solution to hold the global family together
(New York Times)

"The Anglican Communion -
                                       Catching Up With Reality"
(The Guardian UK)


"Korean Megachurches Showing Signs of Age" -
Signs of vulnerability are tarnishing a modern
megachurch success story (UCA News)


"Pope Begins His Cuba/US Visit this Weekend" -
here are a series of interpretive articles as
Francis begins his pastoral voyage this weekend

(The Tablet, UK) "Francis Has Different Message
for Each Place"

(Sojourners Online)  "Francis' US Message
Reveals the Man"

(New York Times) "A Humble Pope, Challenging
the World"


Wisdom of the Week:

Arundhati Roy and William T. Cavanaugh share
insights via Sojourners and the Bruderhof online.


On This Day:

From the archives of the New York Times:

"Four Black Girls Killed in Birmingham Church"

"Egypt and Israel Sign Peace Accord at White House"


Our closing thought is from - Abba John the Little

Please scroll to the end of the blog.


If you are interested on our Fall program -

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

United Church, Calgary.

Please scroll to the end of the blog.



Book Notice -

Essential Spiritual Writings
Introduction, Jon M. Sweeney
Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY
2015. 162 pages. $28.50 CAD
ISBN #978-1-62698-137-9.

Publisher's Promo:

Phyllis Tickle is a prolific author, lecturer,
founding religion editor for Publishers Weekly,
and commentator on religious matters, whose
writing has appealed to readers for six decades. 
She is especially known for her series, "The
Divine Hours," popularizing the observance
of fixed-hour prayer, and for her analysis of
"Emergence Christianity" - its precedents,
history, and challenges.

At every stage of her career - reflected here
in essays and poems, sermons, lectures,
reflections on the words of Jesus and the
future of faith - her vocation has been to
as sist in the human struggle to come to
terms with what it means to live a life with
and for God. This collection of her "essential
spiritual writings" will be a revelation to her
newer readers, a treasury for those who have
long admired and followed her work.


Phyllis Tickle Wikipedia Bio:


Comment by Jon Sweeny:

Phyllis Tickle has been an active,
published author for half a century.
She has surely lectured and preached
to more people over the last quarter
century than any other women in
America with the possible exceptions
of Joan Chittister and Sister Helen
Prejean. Good company.

Tickle has earned her place as one
of the modern spiritual masters of
the late twentieth and early twenty-
first centuries... Tickle's readership
quickly transcends her Episcopalianism.
(Anglicanism). Raised a Presbyterian,
she fell in love with Anglican liturgy,
prayer and practice during college,
and other than a brief period of time
when she first married, she has
remained devoted to that path all
her life.

One does not have to be Episcopalian
to be stirred by her expressions of
faith. There is a universal quality to
her passions for religious language
and its potential to form and transform
a life...

Tickle's oeuvre has evolved through five
chronological periods - from poet to
journalist of religion, to evangelist for
fixed-hour prayer, and finally to popular
historian of Emergence. Over the course
of these genres and aspects of her career,
her vocation has always been to struggle
to come to terms with what it means to
live a life with and for God.

Her career has followed a similar trajectory
to her writing. She taken turns as academic,
book publisher, freelance writer, religious
journalist, and then, finding her greatest
commercial success with "The Divine Hours"
series of volumes and her various
prognostications of Emergence Christianity,
most of all "The Great Emergence." It is
these works of the last fifteen years that
95 percent of Tickle's current readers know
her for.

For this reason, the present volume aims to
introduce you to what one might call "Rare
Tickle" - the substantial, important, and
rarely seen work of her long career.

Chances are good that more than half of what
you'll read in this book you have never read
before, even if you have been a avid reader
of Tickle's work for many years. This is
because her writing has spanned nearly
three generations, but most of her current
readers know her only for the major books
published since 2000.

(You will be introduced to the poetry written
in her youth which she herself considered
in a dismissive way during her later years
but which many will appreciate here.)

Many readers will be surprized by the poetry.
I hope so...

There are many recurring emotions throughout
these spiritual writings as well...Tickle reflects
on loss, death, and the opacity of the veil
between the life here and the life to come.
This is a woman who has lived deliberatively
and who has deeply experienced death as well.

(Her husband Sam was a physician so she has
experienced a great deal of life and death with
him and in the birth/raising of seven children.)

Tickle's writings point to virtue, not progress
(which she brings to us as a writer from the
American South.) She clearly values taking
risks. Instead of optimism, she articulates
a Christian hope. She often ends an essay
in the kind of mystery that, by definition,
eschews any clear or simple conclusion...

Above all, Tickle is a passionate writer,
whether she is acting as sociologist of religion,
essayist on the meaning of the spiritual life, or
creator of accessible fixed-hour prayer,
she packs a punch... This is surely why she
has the following of readers that she does.
And Tickle never leaves a subject... without
expressing herself in personal terms that
resonate with any person of any faith.

The faith communicated in all her work is
never simply Christian. Tickle is in company
with those who see and understand other
traditions and practices so clearly because
they are deeply rooted in her own.

(For her, Islam, by whatever name, is no
longer a theory, and this captures our

- from the Introduction by Jon M. Sweeney


My Thoughts:

I am pleased that a book reflecting the
sweep of colleague Phyllis Tickle's lifelong
writing is now just published by Orbis.

This is very timely, given the RNS report
which appears at the end of this notice.


Quite apparently, I am one of those readers
who have connected mainly with her during the
last stages of her life, and do not yet appreciate
the larger scope of her work.

In November of 2010 I heard Phyllis speak
at Christ Church, Elbow Park in Calgary.
Her presentation focused on "emergence" -
the theme that dominated the final part
of her career.

As usual, I interviewed her, and made copious
notes of her dramatic presentations. It was
quite apparent that she was both "Anglican"
and "Southern American" and I found the
combination winsome.

This comes through in her writing as well,
and the book brings that out effectively.

For those interested in reading my summary
notice for Tickle's "Emergence Christianity"
and "The Great Emergence" please click:


For those who want a thumb-nail statement,
here is her summary for how her two major
books on the theme describe what she means
when she writes about - Emergence:

"... Of the general characteristics that the
Great Emergence and Emergence Christianity
hold in common, these of deinstitutionalisation;
non-hierarchical organization; a comfortable
and informed interface with physical science;
dialogical and contextual habits of thought;
almost universal technological savvy; triple
citizenship with its triple loyalties and
obligations; a deeply embedded commitment

to social justice with an accompanying, though
largely unpremeditated, assumption of all
forms of human diversity as the norm; and
a vocation toward greenness - these are
undoubtedly among the most characterizing."
(page 137.)


Probably unbeknownst to those who first
decided to include Tickle in the now 50 plus
series of the Orbis "Modern Spiritual Masters
Series" edited by colleague Robert Ellsberg -
Phyllis had contracted cancer. Here is an
official notice:

Religion News Service, May 22nd, 2015

"Author Phyllis Tickle Faces Death Just as
  She Enjoyed Life - My Dying is my Next Career"


Even at this stage of her life, Phyllis remains as
vital and connected to what is going on as she is

Here is what her automated response to each
issue of Colleagues List informs me:

From: "Phyllis Tickle" <>
Sent: Friday, 28 August, 2015
Subject: out of office

Re: Colleagues List, August 30th, 2015

"Because of declining health, I am not able to
interface with my mail as fully as I would like.
Please understand, though, that each message
is being read and appreciated. Gratefully,"


Phyllis Tickle

My response:


Many of your friends in Canada are keeping you
in our thoughts and prayers.

I've read you for years. I met you personally at
Christ Church, Calgary a few years ago and you
agreed to receive my Colleagues List mailings.

May God be with you at this time.

Wayne Holst, Calgary, Canada


Buy the book from

Orbis Books Website:



Mark Noll
Notre Dame University
South Bend, IN

Books and Culture
September 15th, 2015

"A Study of Liberal Evangelicalism"
  The United Church of Canada
  (review of book by Phyllis D. Airhart)

Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
September 16th, 2015

"Authority: Use and Abuse of the Bible"


Ron Rolheiser
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
September 14th, 2015

"Our Overextended Grandiosity -
  and Impoverished Symbols"


Martin Marty

September 14th, 2015

"Annulments and Change"


Our Protestant Agricultural Past

The Christian Century
September 2nd, 2015


Film About Recovery, Rebuilding

America Magazine Online
September 28th, 2015

Church Has Special Role to Play

Christian Week Online
September 7th, 2015


Why the Need to Destroy History?

September 17th,2015


"Christopher Hitchens Makes Me Laugh"

New York Times
September 17th, 2015


Claim Catholic Missionaries
Destroyed Their Temple

UCA News
September 18th, 2015


Aboriginal Myths Go Back Millennia

The Atlantic Online
September 14th, 2015


Global Talks Seek to
Retain Semblance of Unity

New York Times
September 16th, 2015

The Guardian - editorial
September 17th, 2015

"The Anglican Communion -
  Catching Up With Reality"

Signs of Vulnerability

UCA News
September 16th, 20125

Francis Has Different
Message for Each Place

The Tablet, UK
September 17th, 2015

"Francis' US Message Reveals the Man"

Sojourners Online
September 18th, 2015

"A Humble Pope, Challenging the World"

New York Time
September 19th, 2015



From the websites of
Sojourners and the Bruderhof:

There's really no such thing as the voiceless.
There are only the deliberately silenced, or
the preferably unheard.

- Arundhati Roy


The fact that the Church is literally changed
into Christ is not a cause for triumphalism,
however, precisely because our assimilation
to the body of Christ means that we then
become food for the world, to be broken,
given away, and consumed.

- William T. Cavanaugh



From the archives of the New York Times:

"Four Black Girls Killed in Birmingham Church"

"Egypt and Israel Sign Peace Accord at White House"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Abba John the Little

"We have abandoned a light burden,
namely self-criticism, and taken up a
heavy burden, namely self-justification."




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

United Church, Calgary.


Theme: "Living in Darkness - Living in Light"

Books: "Learning to Walk in the Dark"
              by Barbara Brown Taylor

             "Between the Dark and the Daylight"
               by Joan Chittister

A  ten-week study in contemporary spirituality
with books by two prominent Protestant and
Catholic writers.

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 21st - November 30th, 2015

Books and Registration/Hospitality - $60.00
Books only - $35.00

Our 35 book sets are selling fast.

Brenda and Joan will help Jock when Wayne
participates in the "Jerusalem and the Lands
of Three Great Faiths" tour (October 16th - 31st)

Now into our sixteenth year of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-first series of (usually) ten week sessions!

Check our study archives for all 45 book notes:



Theme: The Book of Exodus from the Hebrew Bible
              "A Classic Story of Human Liberation"

Twelve sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 17th - December 3rd

No charge.
Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook



"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

We have 29 paid-up participants

Books for consideration -

One City, Three Faiths
by Karen Armstrong (1997)

DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

TOP TEN: Israel, Including Sinai & Petra
DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

27 persons attended the Jerusalem Tour
gathering at St. David's, September 14th.


Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

Mark your calendars!

Sunday February 28th
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

John Griffith is on sabbatical this year.
Reflections will be led by a Franciscan on staff.



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