Friday, April 30, 2010

Colleagues List, May 1st, 2010

Vol. V.  No. 36

*****

Edited by Wayne A. Holst

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Blogsite:

http://colleagueslist.blogspot.com/


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Special Item -

Compassion:
Loving Our Neighbour
in an Age of Globalization

___


Gandhi Weekend at St. David's
Join Us For Three Special Events

___


Colleague Contributions/Honours:

Jim Taylor
Lorna Dueck
Margaret Sommerville

___


Net Notes:

Kingdom Without Borders
Doubt Cast on Noah's Ark Find
Q and A With Stanley Hauwerwas
A Crisis for the Parsi Faithful
Christian Counsellor Loses Court Fight
Emmanuel College Begins Training Muslim Clergy
Update: The Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church
Too Little Balance Reporting on Catholic Crisis
Another Vatican II Moment for the Catholic Church?

___


Global Faith Potpourri:

Seventeen Stories from
Ecumenical News International

___


Quotes of the Week:

bell hooks
E.B. White
Dorothy Day
Rolando Tale-Yax
James H. Cone
Barbara Brown Taylor

___


On This Day (April 25th - April 30th)

April 25, 1945 - Early UN Conference Meets in San Francisco
April 26, 1986 - World's Worst Nuclear Accident at Chernobyl
April 28, 1947 - Expedition sails from Peru on the Kon-Tiki
April 30, 1975 - S. Vietnam capital Saigon falls to Viet Cong

___


Closing Reflection - Thomas Berry

(end)


*****

Dear Friends:

Several weeks ago I read a review of the book "Compassion:
Loving Our Neighbour in an Age of Globalization" and was
struck by the breadth of personal and social meaning it
encompassed.

I decided to locate the book from Orbis and present an
introduction to it for you on Colleagues List.

___


Many guests to our country comment on the compassionate
nature of our people and society.

We in Canada pride ourselves as a compassionate people
and our long history of universal healthcare has often been
tauted as an admirable reflection of that. We also feel good
about our attention to international development.

Modern life has a way of reducing these long-established
cultural values. They were obviously shaped by our Judeo-
Christian heritage. Secularism, multi-culturalism and
religious pluralism have eaten away at them.

It is therefore important to be reminded that a value like
compassion needs constantly to be addressed as we evolve
as persons and a society into the future.

Are we really the compassionate individuals and people
we think we are?

I wish to thank American scholar Dr. Maureen O'Connell of
Fordham University, New York, for what I consider an
excellent contemporary re-visitation of a most important
spiritual precept from our Christian biblical-theological
heritage. Her work is both theoretical and pragmatic as
she suggests contemporary ways of living compassionate
values personally, locally, nationally and globally.

___


Final reminder for those who can attend:

The ACTS Ministry offers a Gandhi Weekend at St. David's,
May 1st through 3rd (Saturday - Monday) and we invite you
to join us for three special events. See details below.

___


Colleague Contributions/Honours:

Jim Taylor - revives the old theme of those who may consider
even Christ an unsuitable candidate for leadership today.

Lorna Dueck -  My father would say "It's an ill wind that
doesn't bring someone some good." Lorna reminds us that
even the Icelandic volcano offered something of value.

Margaret Sommerville - will be presented with an honourary
doctorate May 2nd from Corpus Christi/St. Mark's College
in Vancouver, BC. Congratulations, Margaret!

___


Net Notes:

"Kingdom Without Borders" - A whole new dimension of
global missions is unfolding as two-thirds world Christians
find intriguing ways to witness to the faith.
(Christianity Today)


"Doubt Cast on Noah's Ark Find" - explorers have been
searching for the lost ark of Noah for centuries. Here is the
latest story in a long series. Good luck with the quest!
(Christian Science Monitor)

"Q and A With Stanley Hauwerwas" - always insightful,
now read a brief Publishers Weekly interview with this
well-known and respected scholar. Hauwerwas will publish
his memoirs entitled "Hannah's Child" this May.
(Publishers Weekly Online)

"A Crisis for the Parsi Faithful" - you may not know they
exist, but the Parsis have long been part of Indian culture.
They are decendents of the religion known as Zoroastrianism
which influenced Jewish, and thus Christian,  traditions.
Read of some of the current problems they face.
(Wall Street Journal)

"Christian Counsellor Loses Court Fight" -  the former
archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey got himself into a
row with the courts and the press this week by defending an
evangelical Christian who refused to counsel a gay couple.
(The Guardian, UK)

"Emmanuel College Begins Training Muslim Clergy" -  this news
represents a truly noteable breakthrough in Canadian religious
history. A Christian seminary is offering a Certificate in
Muslim Studies to help prepare Islamic chaplains, counsellors
and imams for service in a Canadian context. Interestingly,
Toronto is home to sixty mosques of various Muslim traditions
and Canada-trained leaders are much needed today.
(Christian.Week Online)

"Update: The Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church" - my series
of articles continues. This week, I have selected them from
The New York Times, The Telegraph UK, New Catholic Times,
Salon.com, Ecumenical News International and The Tablet UK.

"Too Little Balanced Reporting re Catholic Crisis" - John
Longhurst a Canadian Christian journalist has a bone to
pick with journalists in general about the way they have been
presenting the Catholic abuse crisis story to the exclusion of
other news. There is much more to religion these days than
the bad news, he says. (Christianity.ca)

"Another Vatican II Moment for the Catholic Church?" -
in the spirit of the previous article, I conclude with
a piece by John Gehring who envisages a stronger church
emerging from the current Catholic crisis.
(Sojourners Online)


___


Global Faith Potpourri:

Find fourteen short new stories provided this week
from Ecumenical News International, Geneva.


___


Quotes of the Week:

bell hooks, E.B. White, Dorothy Day, Rolando Tale-Yax,
James H. Cone, and Barbara Brown Taylor share their
good words with us.

___


On This Day (April 25th - April 30th)

Read the following articles from the New York Times as
events happened

Early UN Conference Meets in San Francisco (1945)
World's Worst Nuclear Accident - Chernobyl (1986)
Expedition sails from Peru on the Kon-Tiki (1947)
S. Vietnam capital Saigon falls to Viet Cong  (1975)

___


Closing Reflection -

Thomas Berry, now deceased, has inspired me through his books
and personal retreats. I will not forget the hour of personal
discussion I had with him at a centre devoted to faith and
ecological concerns on the Ontario shores of Lake Erie. That
was in 1991, almost twenty years ago.

I share a brief comment on his trademark subject - a needed
paradigm shift to help us understand science and faith as
complements.

___


As May begins, a blessed season of new  ecological life for
many of you my readers in the Northern Hemisphere!


Wayne


******************


SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS

Contact us at: asdm@sduc.ca (or) admin@sduc.ca
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -
http://sduc.ca/services.htm


___


ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE

Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish
http://stdavidscalgary.net

__


ANNOUNCING:

ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY
TOUR OF CELTIC LANDS - 2011

We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.

Tour reservations - $300. Sale opens May 2nd.
Call church office for details: 403-284-2276

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR TRAVEL DEVELOPMENTS!


*****


THE FUTURE OF FAITH by Harvey Cox

Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010

An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.

Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:

THIS PROGRAM IS NOW COMPLETED.
WATCH THIS SITE FOR CONCLUSIONS AND UPDATES.

http://www.1journey.net/stdavids/SD/BookStudy/24/24.htm


___


STUDY ARCHIVES

A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/

This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!

You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.


********************************************************

SPECIAL ITEM - Book notice

COMPASSION
Loving Our Neighbour
in an Age of Globalization
by Maureen H. O'Connell.
Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY
2009. 242 pages. $32.00 US
ISBN #978-1-57075-845-4.

Publisher's Promo:

This book is a theological exploration of the need
for Christian compassion in today's world.

Suffering dehumanizes people and demands that Christians
turn to compassion; that they learn to "suffer with another"
as the mark of their discipleship.

As members of the world's wealthiest nations, we possess
the moral imperative, the human and material resources,
and a luxury of freedom from want necessary to alleviate
the kind of suffering that happens at the hands of others.

The answer to the alleviation of suffering lies in naming
the signs of the times, understanding their causes, and
devising effective responses.

O'Connell presents a historical overview of the concept of
compassion and engages contemporary theologians like
Jon Sobrino, Johann Metz, Martha Nussbaum and Martin Luther
King Jr. to help us understand how compassion can alleviate
massive and unjust suffering and how it offers a road map to
a better human future.

___

Author's Words:

In this work, I present a simple but urgent premise:
dehumanizing suffering in our contemporary reality - both
in distant places around the globe and in more familiar
contexts within our own nations and... local communities -
demands that North American Christians embrace compassion,
or the ability to "suffer with another" as the definitive
characteristic of our discipleship...

We have lost sight of what it means to "suffer with" our
neighbours at a time when compassion has never been more
necessary or more possible.

The central thesis of this book is that privileged
Christians need to reexamine the virtue of compassion
exemplified by the Samaritan traveler on the road to
Jericho in the Lukan parable... we need to rediscover
the central lessons of that story (first told by Jesus)

Samaritanism requires our humility in taking active
responsibility for our contribution to others' misfortunes
and to do so in partnership with them...

We need to know compassion, therefore, that "confronts
ourselves with real things in their reality" that does
not just alleviate suffering, but rather transforms it.

The chapters of my book describe the signs of the times
which (demonstrate) Christians are increasingly responsible
for social inequality. I illuminate philosophical and
theological ethics that can contribute to a more
useful definition of compassion in our day. I try
to see this within a political and developmental frame
of reference and in situations of massively unjust
suffering.

Upheavals and interuptions in the world like hurricane
Katrina (New Orleans) and (the Haitian earthquake) cause
us to stop, open our eyes, and to listen so that we might
have a more accurate and effective vision of what
might be, and some knowledge as to how to move toward
a new destination.

(from the Introduction)

___


My Comments:

Within hours of the devastating earthquake that rocked
Haiti a few months ago, the whole world knew about it.

Within days I was receiving messages from various relief
agencies to lend my support of people in that tragic
situation.

After a period of following the news and listening to
appeals for help Marlene and I decided to act. We made
an on-line donation to World Vision. It was the largest
we have given them. It suggested the pressure and the
moral struggling with which we were engaged in order to
"do something" in a situation that defied doing anything.

The same pressure affects us when - about once a month -
we get a notice from the Inn From the Cold co-ordinator
at church, informing us that "early next Sunday morning
it is our turn to help with the clean-up after 15-20
homeless people spent the night in the basement."

I readily admit that both of these activities are, in
a way, troublesome for me. One supports relief from
devastation far away, while the other deals with a
local concern. By offering a bit of our time and
money we ourselves seek relief from nagging fears
related to poverty. After all, it could happen to us...

I am inclined to "denial" and "getting on with life"
(in other words move past the distress and tension.)

Yet, it is growingly apparent that the tension is
not something to avoid. It is actually a good thing
because it allows me to not simply react, but to stop
and delve more deeply into the true meaning of the
compassionate person I seek to be. In addition, I
would like to live in a more compassionate world.

How do I move this big concern forward so that I am
not merely repeating band-aid work on myself, or with
others?

When we donate money to World Vision, we hope that
it will make a difference. And, even though we do not
see our Inn From The Cold church guests (who have
already departed by the time we arrive to put away
beds and clean floors) we really do want to make
life better for them.

But how can these good intentions bring us a fuller
sense of "feeling with" other people?

Positive guilt, I suppose, is our main motivation.
But ultruism is there too.

___


Maureen O'Connell, who teaches theology at Fordham
University in New York City, suggests in her book
entitled "Compassion" that productive guilt is, in
itself, not a bad thing. Even if it is a kind of "suffering
by proxy."

It is also a good thing to want this world to be a
better place because of our being here.

In many ways, however, what we have been doing is
only the first step in a much more profound process
of personal transformation. That is, truly identifying
and suffering with our neighbour - whether close by
or on the other side of the world. It is a long journey.

O'Connell walks us through the parable of the Good
Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) and poignantly describes
the dynamics of relating to one who was left for dead
by the side of a road after a robbery. The central
focus is about what happened when the victim was
encountered by a truly compassionate person.

This story stands at the very heart of a Christian
approach to compassion, she says, and she reflects
with us on its various dimensions.

(To add some reality to this, think of the report from
New York recently of the benevolent but unfortunate
street person who was attacked, ignored and left to
die as 20 people "passed by on the other side."
See news item below under "Quotes of the Week")

Compassion is complex and difficult. It is personal,
and also political. It is extremely frustrating at
times because it seems to cause more trouble than
what it is worth. Think of the missionaries who were
jailed in Haiti for trying to remove children from human
devastation to "safer ground" in the Dominican Republic.

Christians living in developed lands have much to
answer for in terms of the plight of people living in
under-developed countries.

The author's call for Christians to truly "suffer with"
others in today's world is a hard one. Moving beyond
supporting brand name relief services to embracing
larger Christian responsibility is a big challenge.
To transform social structures that cause injustice
is very difficult. The movement from personal awareness
to global change is a huge undertaking requiring much
time and effort.

O'Connell introduces us to a history of the meaning of
compassion - (which, by the way, is an important value
in all the great religions.) There are psychological,
social, political and developmental dimensions to it
as well as the theological and spiritual.

Compassion, we come to understand as we work through
this book, is at the same time deeply personal and
profoundly public.

___


I honour O'Connell for her effort, which is an attempt
to help transform a compassionate Christian ethic into
an effective universal reality.

I enourage you to read her book because it will help
to transform you from being a well-intentioned person
driven by productive guilt to a more compassionate
individual.

I will continue to support projects like World Vision
and our local Inn From The Cold. But I know I need to
be and do much more than that.

Thanks, Maureen, for helping me to start anew with
the meaning of compassion in my life.

___

Buy the Book:
http://tinyurl.com/2by7sfx


*****

GANDHI WEEKEND AT ST. DAVID'S

Gandhi - the Movie, Saturday at 6:30 PM

Join us and watch the Oscar-winning film
of a generation ago, followed by a Q and A
with  Dr. Shall Sinha, Gandhi specialist.

Gandhi - at Worship, Sunday at 10:00 PM

Dr. Sinha comes from the area of India where
Gandhi first practiced Satyagraha - peaceful
non-violent resistence. Taking on Gandhi's
persona, Shall proclaims the Mahatma's timeless
message at our regular morning service.

Living Gandhi's Way - Monday at 7:00 PM

Pramila Sinha tells stories of her life and
work as a motivational speaker, family person,
Rotarian and member of the Nonviolent Peace
Force in Sri Lanka. She has been awarded,
along with husband Shall for "the advancement
of world understanding, goodwill and peace."

You are welcome to all events, or any that
are of particular interest to you.


*****


COLLEAGUE CONTRIBUTIONS/HONOURS

JIM TAYLOR

April 29th, 2010

"Unsuitable Candidates"

http://edges.canadahomepage.net/2010/04/


*****


LORNA DUECK

Globe and Mail
April 29th, 2010

"Along with the ashes, a blessed silence"

http://tinyurl.com/2dcfnm9


*****


MARGARET SOMMERVILLE

BC Catholic
April 30th, 2010

Doctor Margaret Somerville will receive an
honourary doctorate from Corpus Christi/
St. Mark's College on May 2nd.

http://tinyurl.com/23wvkpf


*****


NET NOTES

Christianity Today
April 27th, 2010

KINGDOM WITHOUT BORDERS
by Miriam Adeney

Stories can help us visualize
the new shape of world Christianity
Review by Soong-Chan Rah

http://tinyurl.com/2fdxrqd


*****


DOUBT CAST ON NOAH'S ARK FIND

Christian Science Monitor
April 29th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/34wya68


*****


Q and A WITH STANLEY HAUWERWAS

Publishers Weekly Online
April 29th, 2010

Stanley Hauerwas: Wonderful Uncertainty

In such books as Resident Aliens (Abingdon, 1989) and Living
Gently  in a Violent World (InterVarsity Press, 2008), Duke
University theologian Stanley Hauerwas has spent his career
challenging the Christian church to be true to its theologically
orthodox, socially radical roots. This May,  Wm. B. Eerdmans
releases a Hauerwas title in a new genre: "Hannah's Child:
A Theologian's Memoir" - read more...

http://tinyurl.com/246ltld


*****

A CRISIS FOR THE PARSI FAITHFUL

Wall Street Journal
April 30th, 2010
Meera Subramanian

Parsi Faith in India Undergoing Change

http://tinyurl.com/28hgf5y


*****


CHRISTIAN COUNSELLOR LOSES COURT FIGHT

The Guardian UK
April 29th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/2cb2yr9


___


Church Call for Religious Judges Rejected

The Independent
April 30th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/37xxfof


*****


EMMANUEL COLLEGE TORONTO
BEGINS TRAINING MUSLIM CLERGY

ChristianWeek.org
April 27th, 2010

http://www.christianweek.org/stories.php?id=926


*****


CATHOLIC CRISIS UPDATE

Future Pope Tried to Get Fuller Inquiriy in Abuse Case

New York Times
April 27th, 2010
by Katrin Bennhold

The man who would become Pope Benedict XVI had a complex
role in the investigation of a sexual abuse case
involving a cardinal in the 1990s.

http://tinyurl.com/23sn52y


*****


An Open Letter to all Catholic Bishops

New Catholic Times
April 26th, 2010
by Hans Kung

Pope Benedict has made worse just about everything that
is wrong with the Roman Catholic Church and is directly
responsible for engineering the global cover-up of child
rape perpetrated by priests, according to this open letter
to all Catholic bishops.

http://tinyurl.com/2e9ws56

___


UK Foreign Office Apologizes for Memo on
Pope's Visit to Britain

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
26 April 2010

Edinburgh (ENI). The publication of a leaked internal
British Foreign Office memorandum mocking Pope Benedict
XVI triggered media speculation that the pontiff might
cancel his planned September visit to Britain, but the
conjecture was quashed by the Vatican. The Vatican
spokesperson, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the
Foreign Office had apologised and that the memo would
have "absolutely" no impact on the Pope's visit in
September, Italy's ANSA news agency reported. The memo
was circulated to the office of the British prime
minister and to three government  departments together
with a covering letter in which recipients were warned
that the contents "should not be shared externally"
because they included "even the most far-fetched of
ideas".

_____


Diplomat disciplined over Pope memo is named

The Telegraph UK
April 27th, 2010

The diplomat who has been disciplined over a Foreign
Office memomocking the Pope was accused last night of
being "clueless" about the Catholic faith.

http://tinyurl.com/28dhxwo

___


Pope may apologize for abuse by priests

Salon.com
April 29th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/26z8cku

___


 Beleaguered Castrill√≥n implicates Pope

The Tablet
April 30th, 2010


CardinalL Dario Castrillón Hoyos has claimed that Pope
Benedict XVI, as cardinal prefect of the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), was involved in a 2001
decision to praise a French bishop for protecting a priest
convicted of raping a boy and sexually assaulting 10 others.
Read more...

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/14646



*****


TOO LITTLE BALANCE SHOWN IN REPORTING ON CATHOLICS

Christianity.ca
April 27th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/35s8h6t


*****


ANOTHER VATICAN II MOMENT FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Sojourners Online
April 29th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/2a8yjrt


*****


Memo from Vatican City

New York Times
April 30th, 2010
by Rahel Donadio

In Abuse Crisis, a Church Is Pitted Against Society
and Itself. The Roman Catholic Church is undergoing
nothing less than an epochal shift as the sexual abuse
crisis continues to unfold.

http://tinyurl.com/3xopap9


*****


GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
26 April 2010


Sudan churches' leader urges acceptance of poll result

Nairobi (ENI). The general secretary of the Sudan Council
of Churches has urged citizens in Africa's biggest country
to accept the outcome of an election that gave victory to
President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged with crimes
against humanity by the International Criminal Court. "Our
perspective is, because voting went on peacefully, we would
also like the parties to accept the outcome of the elections
and move forward," the Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol, a Baptist,
told Ecumenical News International when in Nairobi.

_____


German churches condemn right-wing party
wanting minaret ban

Trier, Germany (ENI). Protestant and Roman Catholic churches
in Germany have condemned a far-right party campaigning for
a ban on minarets in forthcoming elections in the country's
most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. The Pro North
Rhine-Westphalia Party is campaigning on an anti-Islam
platform, and is calling for the banning of all minarets in
Europe. Its symbol is a mosque with a red line crossed through
it. "The positions taken by Pro-NRW are not compatible with
our Christian faith," the Protestant and Catholic churches in
the region said in a joint statement. The party's Web site
states that Islam is "at odds with Western European values".
North Rhine-Westphalia is home to Germany's biggest Muslim
community.

_____


Biblically-inspired traditional cakes spread across Japan

Tokyo (ENI). Traditional Japanese-style steamed manju cakes
marked with biblical words are attracting growing numbers of
customers throughout Japan and abroad. Fumiko Kataoka, a
Christian, produces the delicacies, which she calls
"Hallelujah Manju", at the Tokyo-based confectionery shop
named Eikoudou that she runs with her husband, Yoshio, his
family members and other staff. Eikou means glory in Japanese.
"Despite the fact that our sales have been going down due to
the recent depression, orders from Christians are growing,"
Kataoka told Ecumenical News International in an interview.


*****


27 April 2010

S. African religious leaders offer support,
advice to soccer team

Cape Town (ENI). South African religious leaders have
expressed strong support for the national soccer team 40
days before the kick-off of the World Cup tournament on
11 June with one cleric calling on the players to be role
models for young people. The support came in the form of
remarks by Christian and Jewish leaders published in South
Africa's Sunday Times newspaper on 25 April. Roman Catholic
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said from Durban, "All we ask is
that their presence, behaviour and performance on and off
the field bear the qualities that will make them worthy
role models for our children and youth for generations to
come." Napier said, "May God bless Africa, may he nurture
and protect all who will be guests during the World Cup,
and may he ensure that the best and most sporting team be
the World Champions, and may that team be Bafana Bafana
[the nick-name of the South African team]."


_____



Shell must do more on Niger Delta says church-linked group -
Feature

London (ENI). The oil giant Shell continues to face scrutiny
over its operations in Nigeria, with a British church-based
investor coalition saying the company needs to take longer-
term action to reduce the negative impact of oil exploitation
in the Niger Delta. "After years of unresolved community
tensions, Shell could reap benefits by making accountability
to local people a higher priority," said Miles Litvinoff,
coordinator of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate
Responsibility. It had released a report in February that
said the oil company's operations in the Niger Delta had
a negative social and environmental impact.

_____


Hindu governor praises Christians at
India Presbyterian gathering

Mawngap, India (ENI). The Hindu governor of India's Meghalaya
state has at a mass gathering of Presbyterians hailed the role
of Christian missionaries in spreading a message of "love, trust
and peace in the turbulent tribal societies" of the country's
north-east. The presence of Governor Ranjit S. Mooshahary and
his sermon excited many delegates at the 39th general assembly
of the Presbyterian Church in India. Still, some church leaders
said they were angry because a non-Christian had been allowed
to address a solemn worship service. The Rev. S.S. Majaw, who
heads communication for the Presbyterian Church in India,
however, told Ecumenical News International that, "it should
have been treated as an honour that the head of the government
came to our worship service and addressed us".

_____


Obama meets Billy Graham at evangelist's home

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). U.S. President Barack Obama and ailing
evangelist Billy Graham have exchanged prayers during their first
meeting at Graham's home in western North Carolina. Obama had
travelled to nearby Asheville, North Carolina, and requested the
visit - the first time a sitting president has visited Graham at
his residence, said Graham's longtime spokesperson, A. Larry Ross,
Religion News Service reports. Graham, who is aged 91, issued a
statement saying he was pleased with the 25 April visit and
encouraging "Christians everywhere to pray for our president."


*****


28 April 2010

Clerics plead with US officials to
protect Iraq Christians

New York (ENI). U.S. National Council of Churches'
officials have asked their  national authorities to
take steps to protect Christians in Iraq as well as
members of other threatened minority groups due to
continuing violence and political uncertainty.

Leaders from the biggest ecumenical agency in the
United Sates sent a letter on 26 April to U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to the U.S.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The NCC officials
asked Clinton and Gates to urge Iraqi authorities and
commanders of U.S.-led forces in Iraq to take steps to
minimise violence affecting the beleaguered Iraqi
Christian community and others who continue to face
threats and acts of violence. The letters urged the
United States to work with Iraqi authorities to help
protect Christians and other minority groups; provide
humanitarian assistance to those displaced; and
encourage the preservation of religious and ethnic
diversity in Iraq.

_____


Nepal's Christians hold vigil
for new secular constitution

Kathmandu (ENI). Hundreds of Christians have held
their first public vigil in the Nepalese capital to
pressure the government into implementing a new,
secular constitution within a stipulated deadline.
Their vigil comes during a period of growing anxiety
that the country's political parties may bungle their
task on the basic law of the country and that Nepal
could become a Hindu State again. "This is our vigil
to ensure that the new constitution that is being
written by the people themselves for the first time,
protects secularism," said Pastor Ishwor Chandra Kafle,
a member of the Christian Recommendation Central
Committee. Though the country's parliament declared
Nepal secular in 2006, Christians say they are still
oppressed in what was once the only Hindu kingdom in
the world.

_____


Palestinian professor unhappy about
Bethlehem to Jerusalem run

Jerusalem (ENI). A Bethlehem professor has expressed
distress at a sporting event organized in conjunction
with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, a Vatican pilgrimage
organization andthe Palestinian Ministry of Tourism. The
event saw hundredsof Italian, Israeli and Palestinian
athletes running fromthe Nativity Church in Bethlehem
to the Old City inJerusalem on 25 April. "We were
distressed to find thatthey had coordinated their visit
with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and with the
Israeli Ministry ofTourism," said Bethlehem University
professor andactivist leader Mazin Qumsiyeh.

_____


Brazilian Lutheran leader mourned after unexpected death

Geneva (ENI). The senior vice-president of the Evangelical
Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil, the Rev. Homero
Severo Pinto,  who had been tipped as a future head of his
denomination, has died at the age of 58 after contracting
malaria in Africa."We will miss him for his support, his
friendship and his collegiality. Many people saw him as hope
for the future of our church," said the church's president,
the Rev. Walter Altmann in a 28 April statement issued by
the Gustav-Adolf-Werk, a German-based association that offers
support to Lutheran churches outside Germany. Pinto died on
23 April after contracting malaria while visiting Mozambique
at the end of February. He had been taken into hospital on
his return to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil where the
Lutheran church has its national headquarters.


*****

29 April 2010

Kenya constitutional talks with church
collapse after clergy pull-out

Nairobi (ENI). Church leaders in Kenya have abandoned
constitutional talks with the government, announcing that
they will rally Christians to vote against the draft basic
law for the east African country when it is put to a
referendum. The leaders cited insincerity on the government
part when announcing their withdrawal on 28 April. "We will
instead focus energies on educating the people of Kenya on
the meaning of the cardinal issues and on campaigning for
the rejection of the draft," the Rev. Peter Karanja, the
general secretary of the National Council of Churches of
Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi.

_____


New Vatican figures show Catholic growth is outside Europe

Rome (ENI). The number of baptised Roman Catholics in the world
increased from 1.045 billion in 2000 to 1.166 billion in 2008,
up by 11.55 percent, while the world's population grew by 10.77
percent, new statistics published by the Vatican show. The 2010
edition of the Vatican's statistical yearbook, with figures from
2008, shows that while Catholics in Europe grew by 1.17 percent,
in Africa the figure was 33.02 percent, in Asia, 15.61 percent
and in the Americas, 10.93 percent, in the eight year period
from 2000 to 2008. Catholics in Europe represent 24.31 percent
of all Catholics and 39.97 of the European population, while
Catholics in the Americas account for 49.53 percent of the
world's total, and 63.1 percent of the population there.

_____


Catholic bishops in US slam 'draconian'
Arizona immigration law

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). The U.S. Catholic bishops have
denounced a new immigration law in the state of Arizona as
"draconian" and called on Congress to stop political
"gamesmanship" and pass immigration reform. Bishop John
Wester of Salt Lake City, head of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops' migration committee, said on 27 April
that the Arizona law could lead to ethnic profiling and
adversely effect howimmigrants are treated nationwide,
Religion News Service reports.


*****


30 April 2010

Lutherans see signs of convergence
with Catholics on Eucharist issue

Geneva/Helsinki (ENI). A German Protestant bishop has
urged Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches to draw up
a joint declaration on their shared beliefs about the
Eucharist, one of the issues that has divided them for
hundreds of years since the Reformation.

"Our understandings of the Eucharist or Lord's Supper
are no longer that far apart," said Lutheran Bishop
Friedrich Weber, who deals with relations between the
Catholic Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Germany (VELKD), a grouping of eight German
regional Protestant churches. This follows a separate
initiative of a group set up by Lutheran and Catholic
churches in Sweden and Finland that has been discussing
ways in which the two church traditions might advance
the results of a 1999 joint Lutheran-Catholic
declaration on the doctrine of justification.


_____


Russian Orthodox leader says
church will not interfere in politics

Warsaw (ENI). A leader in the Russian Orthodox Church has
insisted his church has no wish to be an official State
denomination and will never side with any single political
force. "The threat that the church will be used by
government doesn't exist today," said Metropolitan
Hilarion Alfeyev, chairperson of the Moscow Patriarchate's
Department for External Church Relations, Russia's Interfax
news agency has reported. "Far from giving precedence to
any political party or political power, the Russian church
upholds the principle of equidistance. It cannot interfere
in politics, support one party against another or identify
itself with any political power," said Hilarion, speaking
at a Moscow meeting with young Orthodox Christians. However,
the church also counted on the State to reciprocate by not
interfering in church affairs, he stated.

_____


Thai church leaders say justice needed
to bring peace to crisis

Hong Kong (ENI). Two church leaders in Thailand they can see
no obvious way out of current political turmoil gripping the
southeast Asian nation, as they offered prayers for justice
and peace. "We in the Church of Christ in Thailand, along
with many others, are despairing at the situation. There
seems to be no obvious solution," the Rev. Sayam Muangsak,
the denomination's general secretary, said in a 27 April
letter circulated among ecumenical organizations in the
region.

*****


QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Sojourners
April 26th, 2010

"If we want a beloved community, we must stand
for justice, [and] have recognition for difference
without attaching difference to privilege."

- bell hooks, American writer and professor

___


April 27th, 2010

"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.
If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.
But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to
improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or
savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

- E.B. White, interview with The New York Times in 1969


___


April 29th, 2010

We need always to be thinking and writing about [poverty],
for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us.

- Dorothy Day, from her book "Loaves and Fishes"


___


USA Today
April 29th, 2010

"Any animal that is hurt on the street, the city or
anybody walking by goes to rescue it. But in this case,
he saved this woman's life, and where was the conscience
of the people around him? They have to realize that it
could be a member of their family who is the next victim.…

- Rolando Tale-Yax, whose brother Hugo was stabbed while
attempting to rescue a woman from an attacker, and as he
lay dying on the New York City sidewalk, two dozen people
walked by without stopping or calling for help.


___


April 29th, 2010

"Today ecology is in vogue and many people are talking
about our endangered planet. I want to urge us to deepen
our conversation by linking the earth's crisis with the
crisis in the human family. If it is important to save
the habitats of birds and other species, then it is at
least equally important to save black lives in the
ghettoes and prisons of America."

- James H. Cone, from "Whose Earth Is It Anyway?"


___


April 30th, 2010

If I had to name my disability, I would call it an
unwillingness to fall ... This reluctance signals the
mistrust of the central truth of the Christian gospel:
life springs from death, not only at the last but
also in the many little deaths along the way. When
everything you count on for protection has failed, the
Divine presence does not fail. The hands are still there -
not promising to rescue, not promising to intervene -
promising only to hold you no matter how far you fall.

- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her book
"Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith"


*****


ON THIS DAY

On April 25, 1945, the United Nations Conference on
International Organization began in San Francisco.

http://tinyurl.com/2d8pxmq


_____


On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident
occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union.
An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor sent
radioactivity into the atmosphere; at least 31 Soviets
died immediately.

http://tinyurl.com/2elruq8


_____


On April 28, 1947, a six-man expedition sailed from Peru
aboard a balsa wood raft named the Kon-Tiki on a 101-day
journey across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia.

http://tinyurl.com/2d2jjqf


_____


On April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon
fell to Communist forces.

http://tinyurl.com/25kadth



*****


CLOSING REFLECTON - Thomas Berry

"The universe itself is the enduring reality and
the enduring value, even while it finds expression
in a continuing sequence of transformations."

- Through his books and lectures, Berry has urged us
to change nothing less than our cosmology -- for
the sake of the future of the earth (from the book
"Spiritual Leaders Who Changed the World," Rifkin)


(end)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Colleagues List, April 24th, 2010

Vol. V.  No. 35


*****

Edited by Wayne A. Holst

*****

Blogsite:

http://colleagueslist.blogspot.com/


*****

In This Issue - Special Item -

The Emerging Church - Part Two

Book Notice:

The Emerging Church:
A Model for Change
and a Map for Renewal,
by Bruce Sanguin

___


Gandhi Weekend at St. David's
Join Us For Three Special Events

___


Colleague Contributions:

Michael Higgins
Reginald Bibby
Joe Sinasac
Elfrieda Schroeder

___


Net Notes:

Heaven - A Fool's Paradise
Imperfect Birds - Anne Lamott
White Supremacy Killed Lincoln
Thai Leaders in Crisis Call for Prayer
Gang Violence Ruining Peace in East Timor
The Continuing Crisis in the Catholic Church
How the Boston Globe Exposed US Abuse Scandal
Women to Blame for Earthquakes Says Iranian Cleric
Taize Prayers at 1,100th Anniversary of Cluny Founding

_____


Global Faith Potpourri:

Twenty Stories from
Ecumenical News International

___


Quotes of the Week:

Willie Barrow
Wm. Sloan Coffin


___


On This Day (April 17th - April 23rd)

April 17, 1961 - Cuban exiles attempt overthrow of Castro
April 18, 1906 - Major earthquake strikes San Francisco
April 19, 1995 - Bomb explodes in Oklahoma City, killing 168
April 21, 1910 - Samuel Clemens, known as Mark Twain, dies
April 23, 1969 - Sirhan death sentence for assassinating RFK


*****


Closing Reflection - Joseph Campbell


******************


Dear Friends:


This week I donated 1,000 more of my books to the University
of Calgary Library. Added to what I contributed three years ago,
I have now given the school  a 5,000 boost to their collection.

While not every book is a gem, many are a worthy addition.
I am now down to my home office library in terms of books and
related resources - perhaps 1,500 remaining items - which is all
I really need at this stage of my life.

It is a real relief to know that the major part of my lifelong book
collection is in good hands and I will no doubt have better access
to those books than I ever had previously!
___

Special Item - Book Notice

This week I offer you a notice of a title many of you may have
already heard about or read.  This is my second of a two-part focus
on the emerging church phenomenon and is Bruce Sanguin's:
"The Emerging Church: A Model for Change and a Map for Renewal"
 - a Copperhouse imprint published in 2008 by old friends at
Woodlake Books in Kelowna, BC.

The book is valuable for a number of reasons and I try to explain
what I mean by that, below. In addition, the fact that it was written
from within a Canadian context  and contains Canadian examples
should be important to many of you. The American context provides
valuable insight too, but - as we always say in this country -
"the Canadian context is different."

___

We are celebrating a special series of events at St. David's
next weekend. Thanks in large part to colleague Larry Fisk,
we welcome Shall and Pramila Sinha for three events which
focus on the life and teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, father
of the modern movement featuring peaceful non-violent
resistance. His disciples are many. These include Martin
Luther King Jr,  Nelson Mandela,  Daniel Berrigan and
William Sloane Coffin, among other notable influences for
good in our modern world.

We welcome those who can to join us.
___

Colleague Contributions:

Michael Higgins - offers some excellent ideas to help the
Catholic Church move forward from its current challenges.

Reginald Bibby - provides a helpful clarification on how the
modern media skews its poll results - in this case, Canadian
polls regarding the church, sexual abuse and hyperbole.

Joe Sinasac - former editor of the Catholic Register in
Toronto and longtime friend, comments as a Catholic layman.
"The Church is still our spiritual family," he writes. "It is the
place where we go to for strength, forgiveness and healing."

Elfrieda Schroeder - reintroduces CL readers to Rhoda Janzen -
whom she describes as "America's Miriam Toews." I introduced
you my readers to Ms Jensen last November 14th when I shared
with you a New York Times review of her latest best-seller:
"Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" - the story of a woman who
was able to go home again, when she needed to do so.

___


Net Notes:

"Heaven - A Fool's Paradise" - histories of how humans have
viewed heaven and all it represents are not new. Here, then,
is an article with a British perspective by the writer, Johann Hari
(The Guardian, UK)

"Imperfect Birds - Anne Lamott" - is Anne Lamott's latest book
about the corrosive consequences of deception within families
(New York Times)

"White Supremacy Killed Lincoln" - sometimes when I attend to
the harsh political rhetoric I bravely undure  from the USA these
days - I shudder. That is because I know a little about American
history and of Abraham Lincoln -  a great man but a nonetheless
assassinated president (1865.)  It is totally appropriate to make
associations with modern America and its current president.
(The Atlantic)


 "Thai Leaders in Crisis Call for Prayer" -  the political upheaval
in Thailand is not abating and inter-faith leaders there are
worried (United Catholic News Asia)

"Gang Violence Ruining Peace in East Timor" - another SE Asia
trouble spot is East Timor where we had hoped things had
settled. Observers see more danger ahead (The Australian)
 
"The Continuing Crisis in the Catholic Church" - for a month
now I have been sending you a variety of reports on this issue
and these troubles have not ended - even though it is possible
to detect a shift taking place in Rome, hopefully for the better.
(National Catholic Reporter, Cathnews Asia, The Telegraph UK,
Deutsche Welle - Germany,  BBC, The Guardian UK)

"How the Boston Globe Exposed US Abuse Scandal" - it now is
almost ten years since the Catholic crisis began in America.
This article helps us to recall what happened then and how the
media served a very important purpose - which I believe it
continues (on the whole) to do today (The Guardian, UK)

"Women to Blame for Earthquakes Says Iranian Cleric" - this
article is an example of some of the thinking still prevalent
in Islam, unfortunately (The Guardian, UK)

"Taize Prayers at 1,100th Anniversary of Cluny Founding" -
Travelers to the Taize community in Burgundy, France should
not fail to visit Cluny, that ancient monastic centre and one
of the major places of Christian hope during the Dark Ages.
Taize Prayers are scheduled for Cluny, May 2nd (Taize News)
_____


Global Faith Potpourri:

Twenty stories this week from Ecumenical News International

___


Quotes of the Week:

Willie Barrow and William Sloan Coffin provide us with wisdom
courtesy of Sojourners Online.
___


On This Day -

Cuban exiles attempt overthrow of Castro (1961); a major earthquake
struck San Francisco (1906); a bomb exploded in Oklahoma City and
168 people were killed by an American terrorist (1995); Samuel
Clemens, American humourist and writer, better known as Mark
Twain, dies (1910); Sirhan Sirhan, RFK's assassin, is sentenced
to death (sentence later commuted to life in prison, 1969)

*****

Closing Reflection -

Joseph Campbell, a special mentor of mine, concludes our sometimes
dismal thoughts this week, but on a brighter note.

Blessings to all,
Wayne


******************


SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS

Contact us at: asdm@sduc.ca (or) admin@sduc.ca
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca/

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -
http://sduc.ca/services.htm


___


ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE

Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish
http://stdavidscalgary.net/

__


ANNOUNCING:

ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY
TOUR TO CELTIC LANDS - 2011

We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.

Tour reservations - $300. Sale opens May 2nd.
Call church office for details: 403-284-2276

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR TRAVEL DEVELOPMENTS!


*****


THE FUTURE OF FAITH by Harvey Cox

Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010

An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.

Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:

THIS PROGRAM IS NOW COMPLETED.
WATCH THIS SITE FOR CONCLUSIONS AND UPDATES.

http://www.1journey.net/stdavids/SD/BookStudy/24/24.htm


___


STUDY ARCHIVES

A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/

This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!

You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.


********************************************************


SPECIAL ITEM

Appearing This Week:

THE EMERGING CHURCH - PART TWO

Book Notice:

THE EMERGING CHURCH
A Model for Change and
a Map for Renewal,
by Bruce Sanguin.
Copperhouse/Woodlake, 2008
205 pages. $24.95 CAD.
ISBN #978-1-55145-566-2.

Publisher's Promo:

Realizing the importance of creating a practical guide
for both ministers and congregations seeking to shift their
congregational culture towards a progressive form of
Christianity, Bruce Sanguin grounds "The Emerging Church"
in the experience of his own congregation, Canadian Memorial
United Church and Centre for Peace in Vancouver BC. He does
this to provide context and share real-life examples.

At the same time, he peppers this book with insights from
leading edge science, including the science of emergence,
chaos theory, quantum physics, field theory, spiral
dynamics, and evolutionary science.

This book is written in language ordinary people understand.
It provides no-nonsense, realistic advice on the pitfalls and
possibilties of following the vision of the emerging Christian way.

___

Author's Words:

"I want our churches to be fully alive. I want our congregations
to be centres of authenticity, vitality and creativity. I want
to be with others who drink deeply from the well of living
waters and then make a Christ-shaped offering of all the
nourishment they have received. In other words, I want to be
with those who want to make a difference in the world.

There is so much untapped potential in our congregations.

Yet, many congregations are struggling to find the abundant
life that Christ offers. Over the years we have formed some
bad habits that now get in the way of divine abundance.

We have become overly bureaucratic - too many meetings and
not enough ministry happening. We have substituted busyness
for the real business of the church - helping people to come
alive in Christ. Clergy have exhausted themselves being
personal chaplains for far too many families, rather than
being the exemplars of the abundant life.

In the mainline church, we have lost the practice of prayer
and have replaced it with programs that are not necessarily
related to clear mission and vision. We have made being warm
and friendly with newcomers our primary purpose, when in fact
they are looking for the Holy Spirit. We have associated the
Christian life with "being good" forgetting that it is about
"being in God." We have developed cultures of superficiality.

We have learned to be civil and courteous with the person
sitting next to us in church, but we do not take the
opportunity to hold them in their brokenness and dance with
them in their joy.

The good news is that bad habits are possible to break! As
liberator, Christ has set us free!

(Sanguin explains why modern science is so important to know
and understand as part of the renewal he describes.)

The church itself is part of an on-going evolutionary story.
We are meant to evolve, in a Christ-formed way, along with
the rest of the universe, and according to fundamental
principles of nature.

One of the scientific principles that is central to this
work (and the way of nature) is called "creative emergence."
An emerging congregation evolves within a creation-centred,
evolutionary paradigm...

I wrote this book for church leaders, both lay and clergy, who
are ready to act as guides on this journey of congregational
renewal... I believe in the power of these Christ-centred
souls to make a difference in a hurting world.

- from the author's Prologue

___

My Comment

I like two key things about this book.

The first is that the author is not afraid to remind his
readers in mainline churches that there is much in their
spiritual heritage needing to be revisited and returned to
prominence in congregational life. Personal transformation
(we used to say 'conversion') is one. The power of prayer
is another. In our desire to be relevant we have lost touch
with the spiritual wellsprings that made our congregations
meaningful to many in the past.

At the heart of renewal is the basic Christian truth that
people and their communities can change. Our ancestors
understood this and we need to rediscover it too.

The second thing I like is that the author is conversant
in the thought and paradigm understandings of modern
science. This too is something we have been lacking.

Many of us have been educated and live in a world that
is shaped by science, and yet our spiritual awareness is
too-much dependent on outmoded ways of understanding
modern reality. I believe that much of the confusion and
struggle of modern Christians stems from the fact that
there seem to be few guides to help us be scientific and
spiritual at the same time.

Sanguin helps us to be both. He demonstrates, for example,
that it is natural to believe in God and evolution. He does
this authoritatively and refuses to get us lost in technicalities.

In other words, he blends scientific and spiritual profundities
in ways we can understand.

Traditional Christians try to call people back to old paradigms.
This creates significant confusion, even dishonesty, in the
hearts of many who wish to be  faithful yet open to
contemporary groundings and soundings of the Spirit.

Sanguin builds on the theological ground-work of teachers
like Marcus Borg and Matthew Fox as well as Brian Swimme
and Thomas Berry. He offers us helpful consolidation and
integration of thought.

____


We at St. David's, Calgary are currently blessed to have
ministers who are well-grounded in what this book is
all about. I tip my hat to Rev. Peggy McDonagh and
Rev. Janice Aiken who live the spirit of this book as
theological and pastoral exemplars through their
preaching and teaching.  They are indeed a blessing
to us.
___


Hopefully, I have convinced you that this is an important
volume, even though it's now been out there for two years.

Buy it from Woodlake:
http://tinyurl.com/2wpqyy9


*****

GANDHI WEEKEND AT ST. DAVID'S

Gandhi - the Movie, Saturday at 6:30 PM

Join us and watch the Oscar-winning film
of a generation ago, followed by a Q and A
with Dr. Shall Sinha, Gandhi specialist.


Gandhi - at Worship, Sunday at 10:00 PM

Dr. Sinha comes from the area of India where
Gandhi first practiced Satyagraha - peaceful
non-violent resistence. Taking on Gandhi's
persona, Shall proclaims the Mahatma's timeless
message at our regular morning service.


Living Gandhi's Way - Monday at 7:00 PM

Pramila Sinha tells stories of her life and
work as a motivational speaker, family person,
Rotarian and member of the Nonviolent Peace
Force in Sri Lanka. She has been awarded,
along with husband Shall for "the advancement
of world understanding, goodwill and peace."

You are welcome to all events, or any that
are of particular interest to you.


*****

COLLEAGUE CONTRIBUTIONS

MICHAEL HIGGINS

Globe and Mail
April 19th, 2010

Benedict's papacy is in danger of being defined
by the clerical sex abuse crisis in the church

http://tinyurl.com/y4gj29c


*****

REGINALD BIBBY

The Edmonton Journal
April 21st, 2010

Flawed Poll Distorts Scope of Sexual Abuse

http://tinyurl.com/23qosa3


*****

JOE SINASAC
Toronto, ON

Christian Week
April 20th, 2010

Joe Sinasac says renewal can emerge from crisis

http://www.christianweek.org/stories.php?id=913

___


ELFRIEDA SCHROEDER
Winnipeg, MB

Dear Wayne,

Are you aware of or have you read a book by Rhoda Janzen
called Mennonite in a Little Black Dress? It was published
in 2009 (Henry Holt). People have compared it to Miriam
Toews' "A Complicated Kindness." It is a memoir (the byline
says "A Memoir of Going Home"). I haven't finished reading
it yet, but Hardy and I keep reading bits and pieces of it
to each other because it is so funny, and her family is so
us. There was something very familiar in the book, but it
wasn't until we went on Youtube and saw a picture of her
parents that we realized they are former college mates of
Hardy's and her father (Edmund Janzen) is a well known
former Mennonite Brethren conference leader and seminary
president.

We asked ourselves how we would feel if one of our
daughters would write a memoir about our family, revealing
all the warts and wrinkles that only family members know so
intimately, to the whole world!

If you are interested, check out the following links:
Of special interest is probably the Youtube link where
the author speaks about her book.

All the best to you Wayne.

Elfrieda (and Hardy)

___


See following links:

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
by Rhoda Janzen

New York Times Review
November 8th, 2009
by Kate Christensen

A wonderfully intelligent and frank memoir about the
Mennonite upbringing Rhoda Janzen returned to following
an emotional and physical crisis.

Read the review: http://tinyurl.com/yz8ff2p

___


Review by Shirley Hershey Showalter
(plus many comments)
http://tinyurl.com/ydknxd6

___


Youtube Comments by the Author
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoprlAJN3mQ

___


Elfrieda has more links and additional info
on this book and the author.

Contact her at: schroedereh@gmail.com


*****


NET NOTES

HEAVEN, A FOOL'S PARADISE

Independent (UK)
richarddawkins.net
April 21st, 2010

A History of Heaven -
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5474


*****


IMPERFECT BIRDS

Anne Lamott

New York Times Review
April 18th, 2010

A powerful and painfully honest novel about the corrosive
deceptions of a girl's drug addiction.

http://tinyurl.com/34gm4hu


*****

WHITE SUPREMACY KILLED LINCOLN

The Atlantic
April 22nd, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/27rxjct


*****


GANG VIOLENCE RUINING PEACE IN EAST TIMOR

The Australian
April 21st, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/y2gmj2y


*****


THE CONTINUING CATHOLIC CRISIS

The Telegraph (UK)
April 17th, 2010

'Safer' not to defrock pedophile priests,
says Catholic Church official

A senior Catholic Church official has threatened
controversy by saying that it would be safer not
to 'defrock' priests who had been convicted of
sexually abusing children.

http://tinyurl.com/y2yjz5y


_____


Cathnews Asia
April 19th, 2010

Tearful pope meets Maltese abuse victims

On a visit to Malta, Pope Benedict shed tears in a
meeting with abuse as he expressed his "shame and sorrow"
over the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal. Read more...

http://tinyurl.com/y7ukphr


___


Catholic Church Will Confront Abuse Says Pope

The Telegraph (UK)
April 21st, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/22jwwzn

___

Ecumenical News International
April 22nd, 2010

German bishop resigns after allegations he hit children

Trier, Germany (ENI). A German Roman Catholic bishop has
resigned after accusations that he hit children in an
orphanage as a young priest, while another has described
the sexual abuse scandal rocking the church as a "stinking
volcano" and has criticised the Vatican and his fellow
bishops. Bishop Walter Mixa of the Bavarian city of
Augsburg wrote to Pope Benedict XVI on 21 April offering
to resign after weeks of newspaper reports linking him to
child beatings in the 1970s and 1980s in a church-run
children's home when he was still a priest. "I am and was
aware of my own weaknesses," Mixa said in the letter
offering his resignation made public on 22 April. Media
reports said Mixa's offer to step down is likely to be
accepted by the Pope.

___

German Bishop Resigns in disgrace

Deutsche Welle
April 22nd, 2010

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5491508,00.html


*****


HOW THE BOSTON GLOBE EXPOSED 
THE US CHURCH ABUSE SCANDAL

The Guardian
April 21st, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/27rfpqq


*****


THAI FAITH LEADERS IN CRISIS CALL FOR PRAYER

Senior Buddhist, Christian and Muslim leaders have jointly
expressed their concern over the political crisis gripping
Thailand and called for prayers by both individuals and
religious organizations. Read more...

http://tinyurl.com/y4s9yb9


*****


WOMEN ARE TO BLAME FOR EARTHQUAKES 
SAYS IRANIAN CLERIC

The Guardian
April 19th, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/y2tyhmn


*****


TAIZE PRAYERS AT 1,100th ANNIVERSARY 
OF CLUNY FOUNDING

Taize News
April 22nd, 2010

http://www.taize.fr/en_article10115.html


*****


GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
16 April 2010


Christianity is 'still relevant' for most Europeans,
survey finds

Warsaw (ENI). Almost two-thirds of Europeans think
Christian values are still relevant to contemporary
life and are ready to acknowledge the Church's efforts
to promote them, a recent survey carried out for La
Croix daily newspaper has found. "Whether rooted in
Christianity or not, Europeans recognise a privileged
place for this religion in its Catholic, Protestant
or Orthodox forms," France's Roman Catholic-linked
newspaper commented on 1April. "Yet while two-thirds
think Christianity's message is still up-to-date, this
isn't the case for the other third. So, Christianity
remains an element marking the religious culture of
the Old Continent, but no longer claims exclusivity,"
the newspaper noted.

_____


Buddhists, Christians work together
to help China quake victims

Katmandu (ENI). Buddhist monks and Christian organizations
are working with thousands of official rescue workers in
China's north-western Qinghai province to rescue people
missing still after a series of earthquakes that had killed
almost 800 people. Rescuers searched for survivors buried
undercollapsed buildings and nearly 20 Tibetan monks, dressed
in their maroon robes, had joined them next to a razed
marketplace, the State-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Many people remained trapped under rubble as rescuers sought
to provide relief to thousands left homeless following the
magnitude 7.1 earthquake on 14 April. They were lauded by
China's Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu, who is heading disaster
relief, epidemic prevention, seismic monitoring and public
security, as authorities predicted the death toll could
climb to 1000.

_____


US National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, judge rules

Washington (ENI/RNS). A federal district judge in the U.S.
state of Wisconsin has ruled that the 1988 law creating the
annual observance of the National Day of Prayer is
unconstitutional.

"It goes beyond mere `acknowledgement' of religion because its
sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer,
an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function
in this context," U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled on 15
April, Religion News Service reports. "In this instance, the
government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to
individual conscience." The Freedom from Religion Foundation,
based in Madison Wisconsin, which filed suit in 2008 to stop
the prayer day, hailed the decision as a "sweet victory".


*****


19 April 2010

S. African Catholic report hails government
on new AIDS efforts

Cape Town (ENI). South Africa's Roman Catholic bishops have
commended the country's government in its new efforts to stop
the spread of HIV and AIDS and to diminish the effects of the
pandemic after previous policies had faced criticism from
church leaders. "The [health] minister's policy indications
are largely in line with the points raised over a long period
in advocacy by civil society. It is good to see that they are
finally finding resonance in this new effort to tackle the
pandemic responsibly," the Southern African Catholic Bishops'
Conference said in a 15 April briefing for parliamentarians.
South Africa's health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, in presenting
his budget to the parliament on 13 April reaffirmed statements
by President Jacob Zuma on combating HIV and AIDS. [425 words,


_____


Ukrainian Catholics want president to
upheld equal religious rights

Warsaw (ENI). Bishops from Ukraine's Greek Catholic church
have urged the country's newly elected president, Viktor
Yanukovych, to ensure all believers are treated equally
under the constitution, while pledging to respect his
Orthodox beliefs. "Ukrainian legislation envisages that
all churches and religious communities duly registered by
State bodies are provided with equal rights," said the Greek
Catholics. Their church combines eastern rites with loyalty
to Rome, and is larger than Ukraine's Latin-rite Roman
Catholic Church which also has adherents in the country.
"Unlike certain countries of the world, where one religious
organization enjoys privileged status, Ukraine is a multi-
confessional State," the Synod of Bishops of the church's
Kiev-Halych archbishopric said in a message after a meeting
in Lviv in late March.

_____


Asian Christian leaders seek revamp of ecumenical bodies

Kuala Lumpur (ENI). Various Asian Christian leaders have
urged changes in global and regional ecumenical bodies to
help them become less bureaucratic and more effective in
responding to the concerns of the times. "Sometimes I
dream how the World Council of Churches can become a
movement rather than an institutionalised structure," an
Indian Orthodox bishop, Yakob Mar Irenaios, said during
the 14-21 April general assembly of the Christian
Conference of Asia. "So the challenge is how to revamp
the WCC so it becomes a stronger prophetic voice of the
various churches worldwide," noted Irenaios, who belongs
to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India.


*****


20 April 2010

Protestant bishop urges reflection on
'primacy of honour' for Pope

Trier, Germany (ENI). A German bishop, speaking at an event
to mark the 450th anniversary of the death of a close
collaborator of Martin Luther, has re-opened debate on the
papacy, an issue that has divided Roman Catholics and
Protestants for five centuries. Bishop Ulrich Fischer, who
heads the regional Protestant church of Baden in southwest
Germany, was addressing an 18 April service to celebrate the
life of Philipp Melanchthon, in Wittenberg where he and
Luther lived and worked in the 16th century. Melanchthon
"had been ready to acknowledge the papal primacy over the
bishops according to human law if this would serve the
unity of the Church", recalled Fischer at the service
at the Wittenberg Stadtkirche (town church) where Luther
once preached. Fischer described the Melanchthon as the
chief negotiator between the followers of Luther and the
papacy in the 16th century.

_____


H. Kong Christian group berates pastor advising 'blank vote'

Hong Kong (ENI). Christian and social activists in Hong Kong
have protested outside an evangelical church accusing its
pastor of seeking to placate Chinese authorities by asking
his parishioners to cast "blank votes" in an upcoming
election, viewed as a referendum on political reform in
the territory. A group of about 50 theological students
and professors, as well as some young Christians, worshipped
near the Kong Fok Church of the Evangelical Free Church of
China, before they marched to the church and handed in a
letter of complaint about the pastor's actions. The group
accused the Rev. Daniel Ng Chung Man, the Kong Fok Church
pastor, of siding with Chinese authorities to suppress
those supporting greater democracy. They also complained
the pastor was campaigning for voters in an upcoming
special election in May "to cast blank votes".

_____


US church groups agree law on gays'
hospital visits a 'human right'

New York (ENI). The U.S. National Council of Churches and
a Roman Catholic health association both agree that a recent
directive by President Barack Obama granting same-sex
partners the legal right to visit their loved ones in
hospital is an affirmation of people's human rights.
Obama's 15 April directive to Health And Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, requires hospitals receiving
public funds in the form of Medicaid or Medicare health
insurance payments not to deny patient visits "on the
basis of race, colour, national origin, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability". This
is a move that will be "affirmed by most Americans", said
the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, the president of the National
Council of Churches, the largest ecumenical agency in
the United States. "Health care facilities are a
significant part of community life."

_____


Survey finds Africa is most religious part of world

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). Researchers say they've found the
most religious place on Earth - between the southern border
of the Sahara Desert and the tip of South Africa. Religion
is "very important" to more than three-quarters of the
population in 17 of 19 sub-Saharan nations, according to
a new survey, Religion News Service reports. In contrast,
in the United States, the world's most religious
industrialised nation, 57 percent of people say religion
is very important. "On a continent-wide basis, sub-Saharan
Africa comes out as the most religious place on Earth,"
said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life, which released the study on 15 April.


*****


21 April 2010

Scotland's 'high' suicide rate to face scrutiny
at church assembly

Edinburgh (ENI). The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland says
that a growing problem of suicide among young people is to
be discussed at the yearly general assembly of the church
in May. Officials say that suicide is one of the principal
causes of death for young people in industrialised countries,
especially among young men. Statistics that show Scotland is
the part of Britain with the highest incidence of people
taking their own lives has led to the issue being on the
agenda for 20-26 May church assembly. Churches are being
asked to give their support to the Scottish government's
"Choose Life" programme which is a 10-year plan aimed at
reducing suicides in Scotland by 20 percent by 2013.
Television adverts are screened regularly. They tell the
public that they can reach out and help those contemplating
suicide by listening, learning, understanding and talking.

_____


Former Kenyan archbishop says new constitution
is 'lesser evil'

Nairobi (ENI). Retired Kenyan Anglican archbishop David
Gitari has advised church leaders in the country to back
a draft constitution that has provoked controversy and
division among church leaders, describing his suggested
course of action as a "lesser evil". Gitari spoke as
debate on the new measure was seen as developing into a
confrontation between churches, most of which are opposed
to the draft constitution, and Muslim groups that back it
because it supports having Islamic courts in the country's
legal system. "Voting 'yes' is an evil; voting 'no' also
an evil," the former leader of Kenya's Anglican church
told worshippers at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in
Nairobi. The former archbishop's stance contradicts that
of the Roman Catholic Church, the National Council of
Churches of Kenya, the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya
and the Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa.

_____


Tackling climate change is one way to
'love thy neighbour'

Toronto (ENI). Climate change is a moral issue, and
Christians are bound by their faith to help those who
are most affected by catastrophic changes in the
environment, said speakers at a recent conference in
Toronto. "Knowing that climate change will hit the
poor in poor countries the hardest and not doing what
we can to help overcome that plight is like passing on
the other side. It's another version of the Good
Samaritan not acted out," said Dave Toycen, president
of World Vision, Canada, a Christian relief,
development and advocacy organization. He was
speaking during a conference titled "Climate change
and environmental decline as moral issues" that was
attended by both evangelical and more traditional
groups.


*****


22 April 2010

Climate-change denial 'can't be option' for any Christians

Toronto (ENI). Churches have become a force for change in
the environmental movement, but to be more effective they
must bridge a "tragic divide" between evangelical Christians
and thetraditional "mainline" denominations, a conference
in Toronto has heard. "There's kind of a caricature, which
is not entirely inaccurate, that the evangelicals are
concerned with getting 'right' with God, and the mainline
churches are concerned with taking care of the world, and
[addressing] social and environmental issues," said Loren
Wilkinson, a philosophy professor at Regent College, an
evangelical institution in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Both stereotypes narrow the Christian Gospel, he stated.


_____


US Federal court says church bells are constitutional

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). A U.S. federal court has ruled
an ordinance in Phoenix, Arizona, trying to limit the sound
of church bells is an unconstitutional impingement on
religious expression. In 2007, one day after Christ the
King Cathedral moved two miles from its former location
to a space near a fire station, neighbors complained the
church's electronic bells - rung every hour, from 8 a.m.
to 8 p.m. - violated the city's noise ordinance, Religion
News Service reports. The ordinance, which prohibits "any
unusual or disturbing" sound, also allows ice cream trucks
to ring at 70 decibels. The church's bells rang at 67
decibels.


*****

23 April 2010

World churches' head says Israel
should lift new military order

Geneva (ENI). The head of the World Council of Churches has
called for the lifting of a recent Israeli military order
redefining the notion of "infiltrator" in occupied Palestinian
territories. WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit
said in a statement that he is "worried the new measures will
be a severe obstacle toward the process for a just peace".
The Israeli military in 1969 defined an "infiltrator" as a
person who unlawfully entered an occupied area. The recent
amendment expands the definition of an infiltrator to mean,
"a person who entered the area unlawfully following the
effective date, or a person who is present in the area and
does not lawfully hold a permit".

_____


LWF leader 'shocked' at death of
second Polish Lutheran bishop

Geneva (ENI). The general secretary of the Lutheran World
Federation has expressed "deep shock" at the sudden death
of another Polish Lutheran bishop, following the loss of
acting military bishop Adam Pilch, who died in a 10 April
plane crash with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Bishop
Mieczyslaw Cieslar of the Warsaw diocese of the Evangelical
Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland died on 19 April
in a car accident, returning home from attending funeral
services for Kaczynski, the LWF news service, Lutheran
World Information, reported.

_____


Norwegian government accused of overruling church democracy

Oslo (ENI). Leaders of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway have
accused the Norwegian government of flouting church democracy
by stipulating that the new post of permanent presiding bishop
be based in the country's old ecclesiastical capital. The
church's general synod agreed in November 2009 to establish
the new post of presiding bishop and for it to be based in
Oslo. Up to now the position of presiding bishop has been held
by one of the church's diocesan bishops, but the synod agreed
that it had become too onerous to combine the two roles.

_____


Filipino pastors' family soap industry
helps uplift poor parishioners

La Trinidad (ENI). A Filipino couple who are both pastors have
become accidental entrepreneurs after their daughter's search
for body care products for her allergy-sensitive skin led to
the creation of a home-based industry, which the family sees
as its ministry. "With this evolving business, poor
parishioners can earn extra income, which can sustain their
local churches," Pastor Robinson Ayupan told Ecumenical News
International. "With more income, parishioners can give tithes,
support their pastor, and sustain their ministries."


*****


QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Sojourners
April 20th, 2010

If you really want to be powerful, if you really
want to be influential, then just serve.

- Rev. Willie Barrow, civil rights activist who
  earned the nickname "Little Warrior"

___


April 23rd, 2010

While the heavens continue to tell the glory of God,
the firmament today also proclaims sonic nefarious
human handiwork -- smog, acid rain, an immense hole
in the ozone layer.

- William Sloane Coffin, from his sermon "A Passion
   for the Possible: A Message to U.S. Churches"


*****


ON THIS DAY -

On April 17, 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles
launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a
failed attempt to over throw the government of Fidel Castro.

http://tinyurl.com/28jz287

_____


On April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco
and set off raging fires. More than 3,000 people died.

http://tinyurl.com/37op8hc

_____


On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168
people and injuring 500. (Timothy McVeigh was later convicted
of federal murder charges and executed.)

http://tinyurl.com/3ydjq9p


_____


April 21st, 2010

On April 21, 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better
known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn.

http://tinyurl.com/y8x8ttk

_____


April 23st, 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for
assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The sentence
was later reduced to life imprisonment.

http://tinyurl.com/29b3lpp


*****


Closing Reflection:

"Follow your bliss" - is a reminder that happiness results
when we listen to our deepest intuitions and persue our
most passionate interests.

- Joseph Campbell


(end)