Friday, May 6, 2016

Colleagues List, May 8th, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 37



Wayne A. Holst, Editor
My E-Mail Address:

Colleagues List Web Site:

Dear Colleagues:

Enhancing your reading experience is very
important to me. I am currently involved in
up-grading the layout and presentation of
Colleagues List, so please bear with me.

I am attempting to reduce the length, but
not the content and quality, of each issue.

Please let me know how I'm doing.


Global news feeds this week have told
much of humanity about the great Northern
Alberta fire in Fort McMurray. 

I plan to share some helpful reflections
about this when, hopefully, the crisis is

Please stay tuned. But in the meantime,
remember the 80,000+ displaced citizens
and those thousands on the ground helping
them - in your thoughts and prayers. 


Colleague Comment - this week is rich
and varied. Please scroll past this letter
to read what Brian Arthur Brown, John
Everard Griffith, Harry Winter and
Isabel Gibson have to say.


I introduce two short books this week
as my Special Item. Please scroll down
to read about:

"Off to a Good Start" by David Sparks (and)
"Time - From Famine to Feast" by Donna Shaper


Net Notes - provide my usual 10 gleanings
from the World-Wide-Web this past week.


Wisdom of the Week - is offered by
six spiritual guides whose words I
found helpful.


On This Day - offers 2 historical events
retrieved from the NYTimes archives.


Closing Thought - is by Winston Churchill.

If interested, please journey with me,
at blog's end, as we build our Adult
Spiritual Development Ministry at
St. David's Calgary for the coming year.


Thanks for the almost 1,000 hits this
blog has received during the past week.




Brian Arthur Brown
Niagara Falls, ON

April 30th, 2016

Hi Wayne
Thank you for the piece on
Ralph Waldo Emerson;
(May 1st, 2016 CL)
I am slightly embarrassed that I was
not more knowledgeable about his
position on Indian and related Eastern
religious thought ... almost a parallel
to Spinoza a few years earlier. That has
been my area of work for the last four years.
Four Testaments:
Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada,
Bhagavad Gita
This book will be published on July 15
and I'll have the publisher send you a
copy for possible review.
Thanks, Brian


John Everard Griffith
Calgary, AB
April 30th, 2016

Hi Wayne, this article from The Guardian
(April 15th) was sent to me and I think
it is worth reading. It is about the
economic theory of "neoliberalism"
that has dominated our world for many
decades and here is credited with being
the root of many of our problems.
Also, this is a failed theory that is now
coming to an end.  The ending is most
scary saying that there is no theory
waiting in the wing to lead us into our
As I read it I began to wonder if the
Christian teachings (as many progressives
interpret them) could form the basis for a
new economic theory and practice that can
bring together compassion and justice. 

I am no academic and wonder if others
are thinking about this?   

An aside:  Having a Moravian grounding
I have always felt the United Church of
Canada's jump from "Jesus Saves" to
"Social Action" has been a leap and not
a bridge… and now, after many years we
are trying to build that bridge that brings
the gospel and social action together in a
solid foundation. 

P.S.  your list postings always inspire me
to think more deeply about more things…

Blessings, John


Editor's comment:

Thanks for your attempts to link economic
with theological thought for our times.
Your comments about the failure to create
better bridging between traditional theology
and modern issues like economics, inter-faith,
and the plethora of spiritualities out there -
really concern me too.

We seem to have lost touch, as Christians,
with so much of what is actually going
on around us, and in our daily lives.

So many people of faith seem to be left
stranded and un-fed theologically
(including you and I).



Harry Winter
St. Paul MN

May 1st, 2016

Many, many thanks, Wayne, for
Ron Rolheiser's column of April 25th,
in your May 1st CL offering: 
In my opinion, it's one of his very best,
and I've forwarded your offering to the
Oblates of Mary in the Minnesota, USA
district... Canadian and USA Oblates
continue to work together

Thanks too for your effort to update and
improve your blogsite. 

It's looking better and better.


Editor's Comment:

Ron and I go back to 1989 when I
invited him to speak at a Lutheran
Health Care Conference in Banff AB.
That's 27 years ago!



Isabel Gibson
Ottawa, ON

May 1st, 2016

Re: William Blake quote
May 1st CL issue:

"The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life,
is this: that the more distinct, sharp, and wiry the
bounding line, the more perfect the work of art,
and the less keen and sharp, the greater is the
evidence of weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling.

"What is it that distinguishes honesty from knavery,
but the hard line of rectitude and certainty in the
actions and intentions? Leave out this line and you
leave out life itself; all is chaos again, and the line
of the Almighty must be drawn out upon it before
man or beast can exist."

- William Blake



Nice quote from William Blake. 
I see that he was talking about
painting, not writing, but it makes
sense to me, too (as a writer.)



Book Notices for Two Titles -
(noted separately)

Openers & Prayers
for Church Meetings,
by David Sparks

United Church Publishing House,
Toronto, ON. April, 2016. Paper.
138 pages. $19.95 CAD.
ISBN #978-1-55134-239-9.

Publishers Promo:

Will you give the devotion at the beginning
of the meeting?” With "Off to a Good Start"
you can confidently answer, “Yes!” 

Inside are 24 openers with a scripture, prayer,
reflection, questions, and a simple activity.

My Thoughts:

I find that many "opening" and "closing"
rituals at church meetings, studies and
other activities have a tendency to be
perfunctory and "last minute" in nature.

It's almost as though we should call a
one year hiatus on all such rituals  -
until some serious thinking  is done
about why we go through these activities
in the first place.

Is it because we are meeting in church
and should therefore "do" something

Is it to give a member of the clergy in
our midst an opportunity to perform a
duty befitting their vocation?

If we find the traditional Bible-reading
and reflection-devotional of the past to
be boring, what are we doing to take its
place - if anything?

Like prayers before meals at home,
family devotions, or at other public
gatherings - meaningful reflections at
church (not just a quick "spiritualized"
ritual harvested at the last minute from
the internet) - seem to be going the way
of the dodo bird.

As one raised in an era of devotional
reverence at home, at church, and in
the public square, I find this development
very sad. But what am I doing about it?

I think David Sparks is on to something
with a book like "Off to a Good Start."
We are people of ritual. If we continue
to do rituals, why not fill such experiences
with meaning?

Buy this book to liven up your life while
doing the work and ministry of the church!

We need more people like Sparks and
more books reflecting a philosophy like
this one to help us move past the routine
to a sense of doing something worthwhile,
and worthy of special investment.

(buy the book, below: and now a second title)

From Famine to Feast
by Donna Schaper

Wood Lake Publishing
Kelowna, BC. 2016. Paper.
87 pages. $14.95CAD.
ISBN #978-1-77064-811-1

Publishers Promo:

Help! I just don’t have enough time!

If this sounds like you, know that you
are in good company. There is a time
famine out there – a pervading sense
that we have more to do than we can
possible get done in the time we have
and most of us live with some version
of it. The trick, of course, is to move
from famine to feast, from a sense of
not having enough time, to a sense of
freedom, enjoyment, and fulfillment
within the time we have.

In Time: From Famine to Feast,
Donna Schaper offers encouragement
and advice on how to leave the land of
famine and find a seat at the feast.

Discussing and then moving beyond
the systemic sources of the time
famine, Schaper’s ultimate goal is
to explore:

“the inner way, the way we have
internalized the commandments
of multiple systems and feel bad
or wrong or in violation or out of
compliance if we don’t obey our
orders to be busy, active, connected,
overworked, and time famished.”

This is a spiritual journey that will
require us to be honest about just
how starved we really are, as well
as navigate our “work-family time
dilemma,” discern what “coheres” us,
begin to use “spiritual technologies,”
and get comfortable with play.

Of course, practice is required,
so Schaper provides 52 of them –
a “spiritual practice,” for each
week of the year designed to
bring us to our place at the feast.


My Thoughts:

Schaper correctly recognizes that
the intense nature of our lives, many
of our inter-personal conflicts and
our nagging sense of fatigue and
overwork are all spiritual problems
at base.

The author sets out to deal with
a spiritual problem with a spiritual
solution. That is also, essentially,
what I believe this book is about.

This book is written as a 6-week
Lenten devotional kind of small-
group study guide. But it's 52
practices can be followed most
any time of year.

Shaper is a seasoned writer and
spiritual guide. I like her work.

So, I need to stop my busy routine
for a while, and with a group of
spiritually "dis-abled" colleagues,
spend quality time with her book.


Buy the books from:

United Church Publishing -
"Off to a Good Start"


Wood Lake Publishing -
"Time - From Famine to Feast"



Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
May 4th, 2016

"The Most Successful Subversives"


Thomas Ryan,
Washington DC

Paulist Fathers,
May, 2016

"Approaching the Anniversary
  of the Protestant Reformation"


Michael Higgins,
Fairfield,  CT.

Globe and Mail,
April 30th, 2016

"The Catholic Church Must Find the Money"


Martin Marty,
Chicago. IL

May 2nd, 2016

"Religion in Global Affairs"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
May 2nd, 2016

"Daniel Berrigan - RIP"



Christian Existentialist

Christianity Today,
May 1st, 2016


Peacemaking with Clarity and Humor

America Magazine
April 30th, 2016

Six Nations Listed in Top 20 Visitors

UCA News
May 5th, 2016


"A Shakespearean Figure"

National Catholic Reporter
April 30th, 2016


Music History Made

Religion News Service
May 1st, 2016

Discovering Value in Tradition

Christian Week online
May 1st, 2016


Talk of Creating a Third Party

The Christian Post
May 4th, 2016

Don't Ignore Constituency

The Guardian, UK
May 4th, 2016


2017/500 Celebration Being Planned

Lutheran World Federation Feature
With Canadian Colleague Susan Johnson
May 6th, 2017


Humanitarian and Ecological Concerns

New York Times (text and videos)
May 5th, 2016



From Sojourners and Bruderhof online:

Religion without humanity
is very poor human stuff.

- Sojourner Truth


Love is holy because it is like grace —
the worthiness of its object is never really
what matters.

- Marilynne Robinson


To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will
certainly be wrung and possibly be
broken. If you want to make sure
of keeping it intact, you must give
your heart to no one...

Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and
little luxuries; avoid all entanglements;
lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of
your selfishness. But in that casket –
safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will
change. It will not be broken; it will
become unbreakable, impenetrable,

The alternative to tragedy, or at least
to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside heaven where
you can be perfectly safe from all the
dangers and perturbations of love is hell.

- C. S. Lewis


I knew before that God gave life to
humankind and desires that they
should live; now I understand more
than that. I understand that God
does not wish people to live apart,
and therefore he does not reveal
to them what each one needs for
himself; but he wishes them to live
united, and therefore reveals to each
of them what is necessary for all.

I now understand that though it
seems to people that they live by
care for themselves, in truth it is
love alone by which they live.

He who has love is in God, and
God is in him, for God is love.

- Leo Tolstoy


The chief biblical analogy for baptism
is not the water that washes but the
flood that drowns. Discipleship is more
than turning over a new leaf. It is more
fitful and disorderly than gradual moral

Nothing less than daily, often painful,
lifelong death will do. So Paul seems to
know not whether to call what happened
to him on the Damascus Road “birth” or
“death” – it felt like both at the same time.

- William Willimon


Every day and every hour, every minute,
walk round yourself and watch yourself,
and see that your image is a seemly one.

You pass by a little child, you pass by with
ugly and spiteful words, with wrathful heart;
you may not have noticed the child, but he
has seen you, and your image, revolting
and godless, may remain in his defenseless
heart. You don’t know it, but you may have
 sown an evil seed in him and it may grow,
all because you were not careful before the
child, because you did not foster in yourself
a careful, actively benevolent love.

Love is a teacher; but one must know how
to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is
dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labor.
For we must love not only occasionally,
for a moment, but forever.

- Fyoder Dostoyevsky



From the archives of the New York Times:

"Allies Announce Fall of Berlin,
  German Collapse in Italy and Austria"

"German Dirigible Hindenberg Crashes
  and  Burns in New Jersey"
CLOSING THOUGHT - Winston Churchill

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.



For Those Interested:

Beginning a New Program Year - 2016-17
Adult Spiritual Development/ ACTS Ministry 
at St. David's United  Church, Calgary


The Planning Cycle Begins With a Question:

"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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