Thursday, March 3, 2016

Colleagues List, March 6th, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 28



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:

A lot of interesting things to consider this week.

I want to introduce to you a just-published book
by a favourite of mine - Harvey Cox. This time
he writes:

"How to Read the Bible"

Like most of his writings this title is accessible
and timely. I hope you will consider reading
the material I have collected and my thoughts.

Here is his bio:

Please scroll down to read this week's Special Item.


Colleague Contributions this week are from -

Lorna Dueck (Toronto) - whose Context
website shares a presentation on "physician
assisted suicide" The term used by others is
"physician assisted dying"

Please read this and other items on a current
hot topic in Canada.

"The Future of Doctor Assisted Death in Canada"

Jean Vanier (France) also writes a good
Globe and Mail column on the subject
from his L'Arche experience:

"What We Must Remember: We all are Fragile"


Martin Marty (Chicago)  helps us think about:

"Social Media"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio) continues with  
a Lenten theme:

"The Cries of Finitude"


Doug Shantz (Calgary) presents a retirement
lecture from the Chair of Christian Thought,
University of Calgary after many years of 
teaching religious studies:

"How Should We Teach Religion?"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan) - offers a reflection on
what it means to really hear another:


Thanks to all of you for sharing these insights.
For more information, please scroll down.


Net Notes - these subjects caught my eye this week -

"The Church is in Decline"  - but I'm still hopeful
writes a positive-thinking columnist this week
(Christian Week)


"Life After the Ashley Madison Affair" -
sifting through the ashes six months later,
a journalist assesses the fall-out from an
on-line disaster for many (The Guardian, UK)


"Vatican Newspaper Praises 'Spotlight'" -
the movie expose of the Boston Archdiocese
sexual abuse scandal of two decades ago saw
international visibility and response from many
quarters, including the Vatican (Daily Motion video)

A leading Catholic newspaper in the US declares:
"A Fitting Humiliation" (editorial)
  (National Catholic Reporter)

"25,000th Syrian Refugee Lands in Canada" -
good news from Canada this week as a refugee
reception and commitment milestone was reached
(CBC News)


"The Entire EU Has a Duty of Care to Refugees" -
This is Our Common Responsibility - states an
editorial (The Tablet, UK)


"Calgary Woman Given Physician-Assisted Dying" -
a different view from that presented by colleague
Lorna Dueck, above (CBC News)

Also, "UCC Moderator's Letter on
             Physician Assisted Death"

(United Church of Canada website)


"Southern Baptists Lose
  Almost 1,000 Missionaries"

- you know things are changing when the SBC
is forced to do this as a result of declines and
spending cuts (Christianity Today)


"Chinese Crackdown Continues
  as Christianity Thrives" -

- increased government pressure against
religion, including state-sanctioned churches
suggests hopeful changes are ahead for
Christianity in China (UCA News)


"In War-Ravaged Ukraine
  Evangelical Missionaries Active"

- when a vacuum happens, something usually
fills it, and in this case it is a new form of
Christianity, offering solace and hope
(New York Times)


"Donald Trump - the Death Knell of
  White American Supremacy"

The big news of the week, and a number of
helpful perspectives -


Globe and Mail:
"Trump is Running Against History"

America Magazine:
"What Did He Say? - The Pope on Trump"

New York Times:
"What Wouldn't Jesus Do?"

And finally a familiar story from the USA

CTV News:
"As Primaries Progress, Some Americans
  Threaten to Move to Canada"

PS - it rarely happens!


Wisdom of the Week -

Hildegard of Bingen, Harper Lee, William Wilberforce,
G.K. Chesterton, Henri J. M. Nouwen & Romain Rolland

- share their thoughts this week
Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day -

From the archives of the New York Times:

"Branch Davidian Cult Standoff in Waco"

"Churchill Gives Famous 'Iron Curtain'
  Speech at Missouri College"

Closing Thought - Philip Berrigan

This Catholic activist/theologian concludes
our time together this week.

Please scroll to the end of the blog to read him.


For Those Interested -

Continuing Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary

Scroll to the end of the blog to read what we are doing.


Blessings on your continuing Lenten spiritual journey.




Book Notice -

by Harvey Cox
HarperOne: Toronto ON.
Available March 1st, 2016
Paper, 257 pages, $20.00 CAD.
ISBN # 378-0-06-234316-1

Publisher's Promo:

Renowned religion expert and Harvard Divinity
School professor Harvey Cox deepens our
experience of the Bible, revealing the three
primary ways we read it, why each is important,
and how we can integrate these approaches for
a richer understanding and appreciation of key
texts throughout the Old and New Testaments.

The Bible is the heart of devotional practice,
a source of guidance and inspiration rich with
insightful life lessons. On the other side of the
spectrum, academics have studied the Bible
using scientific analysis to examine its historical
significance and meaning. The gap between these
readings has resulted in a schism with far-reaching
implications: Without historical context, ordinary
people are left to interpret the Bible literally, while
academic readings overlook the deeply personal
connections established in church pews, choir
benches, and backyard study groups.

In How To Read the Bible, Cox explores three
different lenses commonly used to bring the
Bible into focus:

Literary—as narrative stories of family conflict,
                   stirring heroism, and moral dilemmas;
• History—as classic texts with academic and
                  theological applications;
• Activism—as a source of dialogue and engagement
                    to be shared and applied to our lives.

By bringing these together, Cox shows the Bible in
all its rich diversity and meaning and offers us a
contemporary activist version that wrestles with
issues of feminism, war, homosexuality, and race.
The result is a living resource that is perpetually
evolving as our understanding changes and deepens
from generation to generation.


Author's Words:

I was born, as many of us were, in a Bible-
drenched country... In Protestant America,
with its historic aversion to "idols", the Bible
was the only universally recognized sacred icon.

(One day I looked inside the (unused) Bible in
the home where I grew up. It seemed like a
preserve for family history, nothing more. I
was intrigued.)

I think of my personal history with the Bible
as unfolding in three stages. The first I call
the "narrative" stage. Like many people, I
simply took the Bible at face value and more
or less literally, although even as a youngster
I had my doubts about some of the accounts
that seemed improbable.

The second phase of my evolving understanding
of the Bible  might be called the "historical" one.
It began when I was in college and continued
through seminary and beyond. In this period,
the emphasis was on the context in which a
a particular book was written, for and to whom,
when and why.

The third stage which has been developing over
my adult years, I would call the "spiritual" stage.
I do not, however, mean "spiritual" in a narrow
or merely inward sense but in a holistic one that
includes inner and outer, personal and social...

I will have more to say about all these modes
in the rest of the book...

All of these ways of grasping the Bible remain
part of my repertoire. But I believe they need
to supplement and complement each other in
order to get the most from any reading of the
biblical texts. That is something I attempt to
do throughout his book...

(I try to answer the question of how to start
reading the Bible, and go back to my three stages
of my life with the Bible - the narrative, historical
and spiritual. This means that the best way to
read any passage in the Bible is to incorporate
all three elements...)

First, never forget that the story is utterly
fundamental.. "What is happening here?"

Second, become an amateur history detective
and uncover the "who, when, where and why
about a particular text..." I will include "Study
Tips" throughout the book to assist with this

Then, move to the spiritual stage. Start to
engage the text in a no-holds-barred wrestling
match. Listen, and be prepared to change,
but also to argue. Respect the right of the text
to say what it says and not what you would
like it so say. But don't be cowed by it. Insist
on your right to see things differently if you
do. This is what I mean by "dialogue," and
if you open both your mind and your heart to it,
the spiritual meaning for today of any text
will find its way across the centuries.

I guarantee it.

- from the Introduction


Author's Bio:


My Thoughts:

Few theological teachers of the past half-
century have covered the breadth of modern
themes and key issues that Harvey Cox has.
He has written many books.  For me, here
are some that taught the most -

It all began in 1965 with a very popular book -
"The Secular City" in which the new author
started to introduce several generations of
students to what is now a taken-for-granted
reality - secularization; i.e. living without an
apparent need for God in our western societies.
Here he introduced many to liberation theology.

"Turning East' (1978) started us thinking about
the value and importance of eastern religions
before many of us had any idea of their value
for human spirituality in our time.

"Many Mansions" (1988) was a book I used
in many religion classes to introduce the
modern necessity of interfaith relations.

"Fire from Heaven" (1994) is one of the best
introductions to the global phenomenon of
Pentecostalism, and still available.

"The Future of Faith" (2009) an insightful look
into the ways faith continues to be globally
vital and significant in spite of the rise of
the new atheism and the "nones" in our time.

Now, with this book, Cox takes us back to
our Judeo-Christian foundations - the Bible
- and our need to recover what we have
lost because it seems to be a dated book.

As much as we want to be spiritually attuned,
ecumenically open and wise to inter-faith
developments in our modern world, we need
to re-ground ourselves in the foundations of
the Jewish and Christian tradition. That
foundation is the Bible.

How can we truly know who we are while
encountering 'the other' in all its expressions
if we fail to come to terms with our religious
heritage? I can only contribute to the dialogue
if I know who I am as a Christian.

Cox continues to impress with his perceptions,
clarity and insightfulness. Age has not clouded
his vision (he is 87) and time has not dampened
his vitality and enthusiasm as one of Harvard's
most popular professors.

You will not go wrong to include but another
book by Harvey Cox in your library.

Buy the book from



Lorna Dueck,
Toronto, ON

February 26th, 2016

"The Future of Doctor Assisted
  Death in Canada"

- a conservative perspective

Jean Vanier and Hollee Card

Globe and Mail
March 2nd, 2016

"What We Must Remember: We all are Fragile"

Doug Shantz,
Calgary, AB

Chair of Christian Thought
Swanson Lecture in Christian Spirituality

"How Should We Teach Religion?"

Monday, March 7th, 2016


Martin Marty
Chicago, IL

February 29th, 2016

"Social Media"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio TX

Personal Web Site
February 29th, 2016

"The Cries of Finitude"


Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
March 2nd, 2016




But I'm Still Hopeful

Christian Week Online
March 1st, 2016


Sifting Through the Ashes
Six Months Later

The Guardian UK
February 27th, 2016


Best Academy Picture
Gets Approval from Rome

Daily Motion (with video)
March 3rd, 2016

National Catholic Reporter
February 29th, 2016

"A Fitting Humiliation" (editorial)

Two Months Late, But Still...

CBC News
February 27th, 2016


This is Our Common Responsibility

The Tablet, UK
March 3rd, 2016


She Was First Outside Quebec

CBC News
March 1st, 2016

"UCC Moderator's Letter on
  Physician Assisted Death"

United Church of Canada
February 19th, 2016

Due to Spending Cuts

Christianity Today
February 24th, 2016


State-Sanctioned Churches Also Hit

UCA News
March 4th, 2016


They Offer Solace and Hope

New York Times
March 4th, 2016

A Commentary on the US Primaries
by Jim Wallis of Sojourners Online

March 3rd, 2016


Globe and Mail,
March 4th, 2016

"Trump is Running Against History"


America Magazine
March14th, 2016

"What Did He Say? - The Pope on Trump"


New York Times
March 2nd, 2016

"What Wouldn't Jesus Do?"


CTV News
March 1st, 2016

"As Primaries Progress, Some Americans
  Threaten to Move to Canada"


Provided by Sojourners and
the Bruderhof online:

All of creation is a song of praise to God.

- Hildegard of Bingen


I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.
- Harper Lee


We know the road to freedom has always
been stalked by death.

- Angela Y. Davis


I continually find it necessary to guard
against that natural love of wealth and
grandeur which prompts us always,
when we come to apply our general
doctrine to our own case, to claim
an exception.

- William Wilberforce


Jesus promised his disciples three things -
that they would be completely fearless,
absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.

- G.K. Chesterton


A seed only flourishes by staying in the
ground in which it is sown. When you keep
digging the seed up to check whether it is
growing, it will never bear fruit. Think of
yourself as a little seed planted in rich soil.

All you have to do is stay there and trust
that the soil contains everything you need
to grow. This growth takes place even when

you do not feel it.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Be reverent before the dawning day.
Do not think of what will be in a year,
or in ten years. Think of today.

Leave your theories. All theories,
you see, even those of virtue, are bad,
foolish, mischievous.

Do not abuse life. Live in today.

Be reverent towards each day.
Love it, respect it, do not sully it,
do not hinder it from coming to flower.
Love it even when it is gray and sad like today.
Do not be anxious.

See. It is winter now. Everything is asleep.
The good earth will awake again.

You have only to be good and patient
like the earth. Be reverent. Wait.

- Romain Rolland



From the archives of the New York Times:

"Branch Davidian Cult Standoff in Waco"

"Churchill Gives Famous 'Iron Curtain'
  Speech at Missouri College"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Philip Berrigan

I don’t gather that God wants us to pretend our
fear doesn’t exist, to deny it, or eviscerate it.

Fear is a reminder that we are creatures – fragile,
vulnerable, totally dependent on God. But fear
shouldn’t dominate or control or define us.

Rather, it should submit to faith and love.
Otherwise, fear can make us unbelieving,
slavish, and inhuman. I have seen that struggle:
containing my fear, rejecting its rule, recognizing
that it saw only appearances, while faith and love
saw substance, saw reality, saw God’s bailiwick,
so to speak:

“Take courage, it is I. Do not be afraid!”



Continuing Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary


Theme: "The Other Two Religions of Jerusalem"
                Judaism and Islam

Books: "Chosen? Reading the Bible
              Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
              by Walter Brueggemann

             "Islam: A Short History"
               by Karen Armstrong
A  ten-week investigation into the religious 
sources of modern global unrest centered
in the Mid-East:

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
January 18th - March 21st, 2015
Including Monday of Family Weekend

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

Total book sets made available for sale: 33.
All sets have now been sold.

Now beginning seventeen years
of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-second series of
(usually) ten week sessions!

Course design:

Check our complete archives
for all 46 book studies:



Theme: The Books of JOB and DANIEL
Hebrew Bible Wisdom and Apocalyptic
literature have meanings for our time.

Five sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
March 10th - April 14th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)

The Bible Study Group provided the
service reflection Sunday, Jan. 17th, 2016
and it was well received.



A Good Experience Again This Year

Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

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

Theme: "Opening the Jubilee Door:
A Focus on the Ecological Spirituality
of St. Francis of Assisi"

Registration, including lunch and
refreshments during the day - $35.00

Reflections were led by Susan Campbell
enthusiastic, qualified and new MSF director;
included a nature walk.

26 paid registrations. 24 attended



Arriving this Weekend - our "Memories Project" --
Sight and Sound Packet contributed by persons 
taking the "Jerusalem and the Lands of Three
Great Faiths" tour last October and produced
by Jock McTavish. 12,000 pictures were offered
and processed into various presentations.

Available free to all 29 people who participated
in our tour with additional packets available at
a modest price for those interested.


New Project Beginning This Winter --

"Where Would You Like to Travel Next?"

Beginning our process to find a destination
for a trip somewhere in the world in 2017.


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