Friday, August 5, 2016

Colleagues List, August 7th, 2016

Vol. XII.  No. 3



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

Colleagues List Web Site:

Dear Colleagues:

Enhancing your reading experience is very
important to me.

I continue to refine and reduce the length,
but hopefully not the content and quality,
of each issue.

Please let me know how I'm doing.


We have now reached the second half of
our summer in these northern climes. We
have enjoyed the presence of grandchildren
in our midst - now hailing from Oman in the
Saudi Peninsula, Slave Lake in northern
Alberta, and Calgary too.

I'd like to recognize a Colleagues List
record. Since my last mailing of CL on
July 23rd - less than two weeks ago -
4,200 global hits have been registered. 
If only some of that number have read 
my thoughts on "Amazing Grace" I would
be very pleased.

See also below the contributions of
five readers in Colleague Comment.
They are Hardy Schroeder, Herb O'Driscoll,
Mathew Zachariah, William Shantz and
John Griffith. Thanks to all of you.


My Special Item this issue is a book notice
for 90 year-old writer Frederick Buechner.
I introduce his new offering "Buechner 101" 
and I am honored to do so.

We have an unusually rich collection of
Colleague Contributions this week - from
Isabel Gibson and Marjorie Gibson, plus
Jim Taylor, Martin Marty and Ron Rolheiser.
Thanks to all five of you.

Net Notes - offers a summer update on
my search for helpful stories from the
world of faith on the web.

Wisdom of the Week - is a good selection
of thought - ancient and modern.

On This Day - offers two special stories
from the archives of the New York Times.

Closing Thought - is a striking quote from
Angela Y. Davis.


If you are interested, check in, at the end
of the blog, for our developing Autumn 2016
ACTS Ministry program at St.David's Calgary, 
where I attend and serve.

Blessings to all readers,




Hardy Schroeder,
Winnipeg, MB

July 28th, 2016

Dear Wayne"

Thanks, Wayne, for your heartfelt 
observations on "Lost and Found" 
-- thoughts on 'Amazing Grace.' 

Colleagues List, July 24th, 2016:

Elfrieda and I continue to appreciate 
and benefit from your insights and 
reflections. Blessings,



Herbert O'Driscoll,
Victoria, BC

July 23rd, 2016


Thank you for your moving reflections 
on "Amazing Grace".

Your Colleagues List ministry is so very fine. 

Thank you. Blessings.



Mathew Zachariah,
Calgary, AB

August 4th, 2016

Thank you, Wayne, for sharing your poignant 
thoughts about President Obama starting the 
singing of "Amazing Grace" in Charleston,Va. 
What a empathetic moment it created!

May I take this opportunity to bring up a 
controversy about the melody of this famous 

​Wintley Phipps, man with a resonant voice, 
is known to many of us via his interpretation 
of many great hymns.Several years ago, he 
noted that while the author of the words of 
the hymn was undoubtedly John Newton​, 
former slave trader, the origin of the tune 
is always listed as "Unknown." Phipps
quipped that when he arrives in heaven,
he would love to meet the slave whose 
name is Unknown.  

He argued that the tune came from the 
pitiful singing of the captured Africans in 
the belly of the beastly slave ships which 
Newton must have heard. Phipps went on 
to note the striking similarity of the hymn's 
tune to West African sorrow songs and
the uniquely interesting fact that all
"Negro Spirituals" (now called Gospel songs)
can be played only on the black notes of a

I accepted Phipps' ​assertion about the origin 
of the tune​ as another instance of the dominant 
"​white culture"​devaluing and denigrating ​the
contributions and of achievements of African-
Americans and their cultures.

On further research, I​ found Greg Howlett's
"Amazing Grace: Debunking A Myth" 

He states that Phipps' assertion is simply 
not correct.

Your readers might be interested in knowing 
about this controversy. ​



William Shantz,
Thunder Bay, ON

July 22nd, 2016

Re: Your reflection on attending
family nuptuals in 2011 and 2016

Colleagues List, July 10th, 2016


1) In case it hasn't occurred to you the concept
'same-sex marriage' is a contradiction in terms.
Marriage is the union of two persons of opposite

2) Two persons of the same sex can be strongly
tied together by shared sexual experience but
this is not marriage. This homosexual bonding
may be stronger than marriage but does not
constitute such.

3) I have recently become aware that
sophisticated politically correct young men
now believe that the concepts/terms 'man',
'woman', 'male', 'female' are basically obsolete.
A person is simply a 'person', not a man or a

4) The idea that every person is bi-gendered
(without sexuality related to anatomy) is
reminiscent of Jung's idea that every person's
psyche is both 'animus'- male and 

'anima' - female.

5) Since my sincere politically correct friend
brought me up-to-date regarding the obsolescence
of sexuality, I understand the antipathy of American
Democrats to Republicans who mostly have no
doubt about whether they are sexually male or

6) If, like me, you believe that (with occasional
exceptions) a person is fundamentally male or
female (corresponding to their anatomy regardless
of gender) you are considered to be a SEXIST!

7) I look forward to watching the Convention of
the American Democratic Party in Philadelphia
that will be carried out by up-to-date PERSONS
who are SEX-FREE!


Bill Shantz


John Griffith,
Calgary, AB.

July 21st, 2016

Hi Wayne,

I have been growing my way in faith from 
process theology while I was still in Seminary,
through many years of exploration in the
contribution of mysticism and science to the
development of evolutionary Christianity
(Diarmuid O'Mercu: 'Evolutionary Faith' and
Paul Smith: 'Integral Christianity'). 

I have enjoyed this stance in my later years
(thinking I have found a place to settle) but
now have been blown away by a new book
by Nancy Ellen Abrams called, 'A God That
Could Be Real.'

She argues that the Christian religion has not
kept up with scientific discoveries about the
nature of reality.  That is why the atheist
challenge was able to be so successful,
because it was picking at the points in
Christian thinking that do not make sense
anymore to many people.  However, she
goes way beyond defending the traditional
idea of an omnipresent, omnipotent Creator
to a much more exciting Christian belief in
a God that she calls an "Emergent God". 

I recommend this book to progressive
Christians open to new ways of believing.
I won't say more because like a mystery
novel, I don't want to give away her
conclusions. To join her on the journey
through the evidence brought me, the
reader to a fuller understanding of the
transformation that is happening in our
understanding of reality and the
possibilities for humanity if we embrace
the God who could be real.  A very
challenging book.  I will be interested
to follow the debate she will inspire.

Blessings for a wonderful summer,




Book Notice:

Essays and Sermons
by Frederick Buechner

Published by the
Frederick Buechner Centre
With an Introduction by
Anne Lamott, 2016. 165 pp.

With tributes from Brian McLaren,
Barbara Brown Taylor and others.
Paperback $20.70 CAD 
$10.00 CAD Kindle edition.
ISBN #978-0-9908719-0-3

Publisher's Promo:

Buechner 101 - introduces critically-acclaimed 
and widely-admired author Frederick Buechner 
to a new generation of readers, many of whom 
already know of him from widely shared quotes 
on social media. Published by The Frederick 
Buechner Center, and curated by Anne Lamott, 
the volume samples his essays, sermons, and 
excerpts from memoirs and novels. 

The book also features tributes by admirers 
such as Lamott, Barbara Brown Taylor, and 
Brian McLaren. One of the most important 
writer-theologians of the twentieth and twenty-
first centuries, Buechner is a Presbyterian 
minister and a Pulitzer-nominated writers’ 

A prolific writer for six decades, Buechner has 
published more than thirty books in a variety 
of genres: fiction, autobiography, theology, 
essays, and sermons. Among his most beloved 
works are The Book of Bebb, a tetralogy based 
on the character Leo Bebb; Godric, a first person 
narrative of the life of the medieval saint, and a 
finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1981; Secrets in 
the Dark, a collection of sermons; four volumes 
of memoir, The Sacred Journey, Now and Then, 
Telling Secrets, and The Eyes of the Heart; and 
his best selling book, Listening to Your Life: 
Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner. 

Buechner's work has often been praised for its 
ability to inspire readers to see the grace in 
their daily lives. 

As stated in the London Free Press, "He is one 
of our great novelists because he is one of our 
finest religious writers." He has been a finalist 
for the National Book Award, Presented by the 
National Book Foundation and the Pulitzer Prize, 
and has been awarded eight honorary degrees 
from such institutions as Yale University and 
the Virginia Theological Seminary. 

In addition, Buechner has been the recipient 
of the O. Henry Award, the Rosenthal Award, 
the Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres 
Prize, and has been recognized by the American 
Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He 
is continually listed among the most read 
authors by Christian audiences.


Frederick Buechner Website -
Subscribe to regular mailings of his writings:


Welcome by Anne Lamott:

(I insist) that anyone interested in God, grace,
meaning and truth needs to immerse his or
herself in (Buechner's) memoirs, essays, novels,
and sermons... I thrust him into people's
unsuspecting hands... and tell them "You have
got to read this..."

Buechner is the person I consider America's
most important living theologian, that most 
amazing mixed grill of gentle intelligence, 
a brilliant, lovely religious thinker, with a 
great sense of humor, a first class writer... 
No one has brought me closer to God than 
C.S. Lewis and Frederick Buechner...

Buechner writes of the truth, both of the Gospel
and of his own damaged family, and of our truth,
sight unseen - we've never met - in a way that 
is so precise, revelatory and profound, that it
makes me experience an awakening to spiritual
reality all over again, each time. He writes about
the joy and grief and mystery and confusion of
each human life, his faith journeys, his family,
the existence of God in most unlikely places...
he writes about listening, to your own heart,
to the rythms and narrative of your own life...

He has the most beautiful humility... he throws
on the lights for you, and accompanies you on
your own journey...

Buechner writes about forgiveness like no one
else can. He makes me feel that he would love
and understand me, exactly as I am, right now,
which believe me, is sort of a quirky mess...

Frederick and I have never met, but he is my
dear older brother, and I know I am his dear
baby sister...


My Thoughts:

I have come to a time in my own life when
many of my formative mentors as a younger
person have either passed away, or are now 
in their 80's and 90's. 

A scary thought, really. But maybe not so. 
Wisdom is not necessarily the most current 
or catchy thinking. It is good to know that
much can still be learned from wise people,
both living or deceased.

Frederick Buechner is one of those mentors
who, happily, is very much alive at 90! His
current writing continues to connect me
to the wisdom of past and present.

This book attempts to capture the essence
of a long, productive, writing, pastoral life,
and I - having read most of his books over
the years - am grateful for the richness this
'anthology' has to offer. I think back to where
I was in my life when I first read this thought
or that one from him.

For those who have not read Buechner, or
have been more sporadic, or too recent, I
believe that this book would be a worthy 
addition to your library.


Because I believe I received an excellent
biblical formation as part of my Lutheran
theological training, I was probably first
drawn to Buechner's word studies. These
were always closely connected to real life
experience - something that my theological
training did not always provide.

I was also drawn to discoveries he offered
me by such insights as "listen to your life" -
which helped me realize that there was so
much to learn by paying attention to the
most mundane and incidental. I realize
today that Buechner helped me to be a
good spiritual journal-writer, and perhaps
even a columnist as well.

He certainly did a lot to challenge me to
grow and refine my writing gifts.

One of the benefits of this book, in addition
to being a helpful anthology, are the
tributes that a number of writers - besides
Anne Lamott - have contributed. Reading
them helped me to realize that Buechner
speaks to different people in different
ways, but he always takes them deeper
in their spiritual quest.

I don't preach sermons in church as often
as I once did (gratefully!) but when I do,
and when people tell me they appreciate
that I help them think more deeply about
this spiritual matter or that, I know that
Frederick Buechner has helped me.

You do not have to be a writer or a preacher
to appreciate Buechner. You can be a good
reader. This book will help you in that,
and you will be rewarded.


Buy the book from



Isabel Gibson,
Ottawa, ON.

"Traditional Iconoclast"
July 31st, 2016

"The Great State"


Marjorie Gibson,
Vancouver, BC

"Marjorie Remembers"
July 28th, 2016



Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
July 24th, 2016

"Plagiarism is Theft"


Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

August 1st, 2016

"The Mormon Moment, and Others"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
August 1st, 2016

"Our Fear of Hell"



Scientist With a Passion for Peace

Globe and Mail Obituary
July 27th, 2016


A Life Lived Close to the Land

New York Times,
August 4th, 2016


Legacy of "Left Behind" Author

RNS Spiritual Politics Blog
July 27th, 2016


An Evangelical Protestant Reflects

Christian Week Online
August 1st, 2016


Implicated in Military Coup but
Family, Friends Say He is Innocent
July 24th, 2016

New York Times
July 21st, 2016

Gulen Statement from Exile in America:

"I Condemn All Threats 
          to Turkey's Democracy"


Significant Recent Growth
of Up to 3 Million Persons

UCA News
August 4th, 2016


Archeological Find in an 
Ancient Galilean Synogogue

Religion News Service
August 2nd, 2016


Sufism is Increasingly Popular

The Washington Post
July 28th, 2016


They Desire Direct Aid

Toronto Sun
August 3rd, 2016


He Follows Up on Commitment  
Made Some Months Ago

Religion News Service
August 2nd, 2016

"Will the Catholic Church 
    Have Women Deacons?"

Religion News Service,
August 4th, 2016



From Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes 
without speaking confess the secrets of the 

- Saint Jerome


I could never myself believe in God, if it 
were not for the cross. The only God I 
believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed 
as 'God on the cross.' In the real world 
of pain, how could one worship a God 
who was immune to it? 

- John Stott


How easily we forget that the church was 
founded by disciples who betrayed their 
master. None was willing to stand by Jesus 
as the religious and political authorities 
condemned him to death. At his moment 
of greatest need, the disciples fled in the 

The boldest of the lot, Peter, was the very 
one who cursed and denied him three times 
before the cock crew. It was for traitors 
that Jesus died. 

- Philip Yancey


Welcoming is not just something that 
happens as people cross the threshold. 
It is an attitude; it is the constant openness 
of the heart; it is saying to people every 
morning and at every moment, “come in”; 
it is giving them space; it is listening to 
them attentively. To welcome means 
listening a great deal to people and then 
discerning the truth with them

- Jean Vanier


How easy it is to denounce structural injustice,
institutionalized violence, social sin! And it is
true, this sin is everywhere, but where are the
roots of this social sin? In the heart of every
human being. Present-day society is a sort of
anonymous world in which no one is willing to
admit guilt, and everyone is responsible. We

are all sinners, and we have all contributed to
this massive crime and violence in our country.
Salvation begins with the human person, with
human dignity, with saving every person from 


- Óscar Romero


The world is full of hundreds of beautiful things 
we can never possibly have time to discover, 
and there is no time to be unkind or envious or 
ungenerous, and no sense in enslaving the mind 
to the trivialities of the moment. For you can be 
equal to the greatness of life only by marching 
with it; not by seeking love but by giving it, nor 
by seeking to be understood, but by learning 
to understand.

- Vivienne de Watteville


Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 
And the selfsame well from which 
your laughter rises was oftentimes 
filled with your tears. And how else 
can it be? The deeper that sorrow 
carves into your being, the more 
joy you can contain.…

When you are joyous, look deep into 
your heart and you shall find it is only 
that which has given you sorrow that 
is giving you joy.

- Kahlil Gibran


Let us go forward quietly, forever making 
for the light, and lifting up our hearts in the 
knowledge that we are as others are (and 
that others are as we are), and that it is right 
to love one another in the best possible way 
– believing all things, hoping for all things, 
and enduring all things.…

And let us not be too troubled by our weaknesses, 
for even he who has none, has one weakness, 
namely that he thinks he has none, and anyone 
who believes himself to be so perfect or wise 
would do well to become foolish all over again.

- Vincent van Gogh


Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies 
or our loved ones are not about pretending that 
things are other than they are. It is not about 
patting one another on the back and turning 
a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation 
exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, 
the truth. It could even sometimes make things 
worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end 
it is worthwhile, because in the end only an 
honest confrontation with reality can bring 
real healing. 

Superficial reconciliation can bring only 
superficial healing. 

- Desmond Tutu


We cling to the present out of wariness
of the past. And why not, after all?

We get confused. We need such escape
as we can find. But there is a deeper need
yet, I think, and that is the need — not all
the time, surely, but from time to time —
to enter that still room within us all where
the past lives on as a part of the present,
where the dead are alive again, where we
are most alive ourselves to turnings and to
where our journeys have brought us.

The name of the room is Remember — the
room where with patience, with charity, 

with quietness of heart, we remember 
consciously to remember the lives we 
have lived.

- Frederick Buechner



From the Archives of the New York Times"

"Charles and Diana Wed in 
  St. Paul's Cathedral, London"

"England Declares War on Germany in WWI"



I am no longer accepting the things 
I cannot change. 

I am changing the things I cannot accept. 



For Those Interested

Beginning Our Program Planning Season -
Autumn 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's 
United Church, 


This series begins in September

Theme: "Rediscovering the Bible for Today"

Book: "Reclaiming the Bible 
             for a Non-Religious World"
             by Bishop John Spong

A ten-week introduction to the entire Bible
with help to engage it meaningfully, today.

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 19th - November 28th, 2016
Excluding Monday of Thanksgiving Weekend

Books and Registration/Hospitality - $60.00
Books only - $20.00

Total book sets made available for sale: 35.
All sale books have now been secured.

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

Course design: TBA in September

Check our complete archives
for all 48 book studies since 2000:



Theme: TBA in September, 2016
Group Decides Theme at First Meeting

Ten sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30 AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 15th - November 24th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)



The Planning Cycle for a 2017 Tour Continues.

The Travel Destination has been researched with 
Rostad Tours of Calgary. 

We have selected South Africa as our location!

We plan a seventeen-day trip that combines a
focus on faith, culture, and nature, and it will
take place in October of next year.

Cost and itinerary will be published this autmn. 
Follow these notices for weekly updates.


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