Friday, February 28, 2020

Colleagues List, March 1st, 2020

Vol XV. No. 30

Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2019                                                                                    


Wayne A. Holst, Editor

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Dear Friends:

The big news in religion and culture this week has been
the Jean Vanier story. I include a number of related articles
to this theme, but it will take some time for me and many
others to come to terms with this.

I include many other topics in this issue as well.


PS A reminder. If a link, below seems to be dead, cut and
paste it into the address bar at the top of your web page
and it should work.



Book Notice -

A Five-Session Study Guide,
by Donald Schmidt

Wood Lake Publishers,
Kelowna, BC 2019
93 pages. $14.75 CAD paper. 
Kindle $10.00 CAD
ISBN #978-1-77343-297-3

Publishers Promo:

"An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There’s a punishment for it, and it’s usually crucifixion."
– John Steinbeck, East of Eden

The resurrection of Jesus is, of course, the most important event for Christians, yet the events that led up to it are almost as important. According to all the biblical sources and a wide variety of non-biblical texts, Jesus was put to death because the message he brought threatened the powerful of his era. There are many more nuances than that, of course, and lots of ways one can spin the story to make one’s point, but the simplest truth is that the gospel message was too toxic for the imperial stomach to bear.
While exploring the biblical stories about the death of Jesus, it is good to ask the larger question hanging in the background of all this drama: Why did Jesus die?
In his book Speaking Christian, Marcus Borg points out that the idea of substitutionary atonement – the idea that Jesus had to die to “atone” for our sins – is a late development in theological history; its first appearance is in 1097, a thousand years after the writing of the Christian Bible. Borg points out that the meaning of Jesus’ death becomes distorted if one assumes that it was necessary and required.
Contrary to atonement theory, scripture provides stronger responses to the question of why Jesus died. His message was revolutionary and a threat to the religious and political powers of the day. Talk of loving one’s neighbours, of treating people as if they matter, of seeking forgiveness and new ways of being accountable to one another – these values do not encourage faithfulness to empire. Jesus’ message was directly counter to the values that the government promoted. For them, there was no question but that Jesus had to be extinguished…
Similarly, the religious powers found their established order threatened. Jesus’ theme of God’s involvement in the world on behalf of the marginalized (specifically, foreigners, women, tax collectors, children, etc.) was a major challenge to the religious order of the day. It had to be stopped…

Author's Words:

The point of this study is to help you to work in 
small groups to analyse,  celebrate, incarnate, and 
try to live out the powerful story of the events leading 
up to Jesus' death and burial.

Minimal instruction is required of your leadership as
the material exists to stimulate group conversation. 

When you gather, you may wish to spend time compiling 
thoughts,comments and questions that have arisen for 
people during the week. Try to address these matters 
as a group through conversation.

A good facilitator does not have be a biblical scholar, 
just someone who can keep the discussion going and 
the conversation on track.Group leadership can change, 
but it is helpful to have a person in charge of the 

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The 
purpose is for the group members to exchange thoughts, 
feelings and opinions. Try not to denigrate various 
opinions, but to enhance what is brought to the discussion. 
It is OK for people tod isagree, and maintain a healthy 
respect for all views.

Prepare for each class with a good biblical translation and
mark up the study guide with thoughts that come to you. 
Let your questions guide your thinking and reflection.

To read by yourself is OK but it is usually best to study 
as a group.

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event for
all Christians, yet the events leading up to us are the most

Jesus was put to death because the message he proclaimed
threatened the powerful.

The goal of it all is to engage you, the participant, in a
deeper reading and exploration of this amazing story, which
is, in the end, powerful and unique. The world was forever
changed as a result.


Author's Bio:

Donald Schmidt

Whenever he can choose what to do, Donald Schmidt likes to spin wool, knit, and weave. In his spare time, he also works in ministry in a variety of settings. He has served parishes in Quebec, New York, Vermont, Washington, and Hawai‘i. He has also worked as an Associate Conference Minister with the United Church of Christ, and is a retired United Methodist minister. 
Perhaps his favorite ministry has been as an editor and writer of church resources, for worship, education, and church revitalization. He has published 3 books, and has had a few pieces of music appear in various collections around the world. He also loves to travel, finding that visiting anywhere new and different can open us up to learn new things about others and, in the process, ourselves. He is a grandfather of 8, and father of 3.



My Thoughts:

i have been leading bible studies and biblical themes with
groups since I was in high school. When I began theological
studies I started becoming exposed to a critical approach to
the scriptures where doubt was encouraged as a way to
building faith. This forced me to change my leadership style,
but I never stopped working on my skills.

As more and more members of our congregations are
achieving higher education, the days are past when one
person, usually the minister, pastor or priest was the
only teaching authority.

There are many potentially qualified bible study leaders
in our congregations. They only need the proper guidance
to transfer the skills gained in their professions to a study
of religious texts and topics.

That is why books developed by Robert Schmidt and now
published by Wood Lake are so timely and helpful. I much      
appreciate the style of these books and the philosophy
behind them.

Schmidt is a good pastor. He becomes acquainted with the
best available scholarship and presents it in a way that
other good leaders can use.

He employs the classic "Protestant" belief that the Holy
Spirit will enlighten the whole people of God and not
just a few in formal positions.

As our congregations face change on many fronts, we
need guidance and I hope you consider this as an
example of resources that can help us.


Buy the book from Wood Lake:

Buy the book from



Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC 

Web Log,
February 23rd, 202

"Hereditary Chiefs Launch a Landslide"


Mark Whittall,
Ottawa, ON.

Sermons and Blog,
February 22nd, 2020

"Grace for All"


John Stackhouse, Jr,
Moncton, NB

February 28th, 2020

"What Does it Mean to Have Abundant Life?"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX
February 24th, 2020

Personal Web Site,

"Our Congenital Complexity"


NET NOTES - March 1st, 2020

Struggling Community He Founded

Anglican Journal,
February 27th, 2020


"Jean Vanier and the Corrupting Power of Sexual Sin"

"He Tried to Serve the Weakest But Fell Himself"

Religion News Service,
February 26th, 2020


"A Lesson for us all in Vanier's Downfall"

Catholic Register, Toronto,
February 26th, 2020


"I Can't Do It Anymore"

The Christian Century
February 19th, 2020


A Troubled Past Has Prepared Her

The Guardian, UK
February 22nd, 2020


Best Movies of he Year

Spirituality and Practice
February, 2020


Christian Peacemakers are at Work

February 19th, 2020


St. Pierre Church in Geneva

Catholic News Service,
February 17th, 2020



Globe and Mail,
February 26th, 2020

Canada’s first female surgeon dies

Feb. 26, 1981: Medical pioneer Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson 
lived for 103 years; still, the least of her accomplishments. 
Robertson, who died on this day in 1981, studied medicine 
and became a surgeon at a time when that just wasn’t done. 

She was the first woman in Canada to perform major surgery, 
removing a patient’s ovaries on a kitchen table, according 
to a University of Toronto publication. Robertson was born 
on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, studied at the Ontario 
Medical College for Women and then at the University of 
Toronto, graduating in 1909. She found Toronto hospitals 
refused to hire a woman as an intern, so she moved to 
Philadelphia to continue her work, returning to Toronto 
after two years a trained and experienced surgeon. Still, 
she was unable to find a hospital that would hire her, and 
Robertson helped found Women’s College Hospital in 
Toronto, a facility built for women by women. She served 
as the hospital’s associate chief of gynecology until 1942. 

Today, 42 per cent of Canada’s 89,911 physicians are women, 
according to 2018 data from the Canadian Institute for Health 
Information. And 30 per cent of surgeons are women, following 
a path forged by Robertson. – Eric Atkins


WISDOM OF THE WEEK - March 1st, 2020

Provided by Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

Faced with a collective forgetting, we must fight
to remember.

- Reni Eddo-Lodge


No person is your friend who demands your silence,
or denies your right to grow.

- Alice Walker


Going to God means tuning out the constant tumult
crowding our heads in order to tune our heats to
quieter voices revealing God's holy intentions for
this time.

- Reclaiming Jesus elders


Only God can give us a selfless love for others,
as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is
one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from
His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of
selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others
see Christ's love in your life today?

- Billy Graham


[Fasting], is simply a way to make clear that we
sufficiently reverence the amazing opportunity to
ask help from the everlasting God, the Creator
of the universe, to choose to put everything else
aside and concentrate on worshiping, asking for
forgiveness, and making our requests known.

- Edith Schaeffer


It is more difficult to stand up for a worthy cause
when there is no g
eneral enthusiasm and thus no
obligation; when, in short, one risks one’s life on
one’s own. Perhaps genuine heroism lies in
deciding to stubbornly defend the everyday and
the immediate, after having been bombarded
with much oratory about great deeds.

- Inge Scholl


We must demonstrate that a new way exists and
show the world a new reality, the reality of God’s
righteousness and holiness, which is opposed to
the spirit of this world. We must show with our lives
that men and women can live lives of purity, peace,
unity, and love wherever they dedicate their energies
to working for the common good; and not only by
creating spiritual community, but by sharing in
practical ways. Above all, we must witness to
the power of love. Each of us can give our lives
to others in loving service.

- Johann Christoph Arnold


As long as we do not pray for our enemies, we
continue to see only our own point of view – our
own righteousness – and to ignore their perspective.

Prayer breaks down the distinctions between us and
them. To do violence to others, you must make them
enemies. Prayer, on the other hand, makes enemies
into friends. When we have brought our enemies into
our hearts in prayer, it becomes difficult to maintain
the hostility necessary for violence. In bringing them
close to us, prayer even serves to protect our enemies.

Thus prayer undermines the propaganda and policies
designed to make us hate and fear our enemies. By
softening our hearts towards our adversaries, prayer
can even become treasonous. Fervent prayer for our
enemies is a great obstacle to war and the feelings
that lead to war.

- Jim Wallis



Philip Berrigan

I don’t gather that God wants us to pretend our fear 

doesn’t exist, to deny it, or eviscerate it. Fear is a 
reminder that we are creatures –fragile, vulnerable, 
totally dependent on God. But fear shouldn’t dominate 
or control or define us. Rather, it should submit to faith
and love. Otherwise, fear can make us unbelieving, 
slavish, and inhuman. 

I have seen that struggle: containing my fear, rejecting 
its rule, recognizing that it saw only appearances, while 
faith and love saw substance, saw reality, saw God’s 
bailiwick, so to speak: 

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



For those interested:

Current ACTS Ministry Activities at St. David's -

Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, AB

Sunday, March 15th, 2019
11:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Theme: "The Way of St. Francis"

Christ-Centered Ecological Theology
Led by Spiritual Director Susan Campbell

Cost: $30.
(includes registration, lunch and refreshments)

Restful reflections and nature walks, weather permitting...



A Ten Week Series January 13th - March 23rd, 2020
(Family Weekend Session, February 17th, exempted)
Monday Evenings, TM Room 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

"FUTURE FAITH - Ten Challenges Reshaping 
                              Christianity in the 21st Century"

Author: Wesley Granberg-Michaelson

Registration/Hospitality and Book: $60.00.
Book only: $25.00

37 copies of the book were made available for sale.
All are now sold. 

Total on-site registrations: 32
(plus 3 on-line participants). Grand Total: 35 to date.

Book Description -

Study Notes -



Our theme this winter: 

"Jesus' Parables and Miracles" 
  (a total of 10 examples)

As recorded in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark 
and Luke and the Gospel of John

Ten Sessions - January 23rd-March 26th, 2020

Gathering at 9:30 AM in the St. David's TM Room
and meeting 10:00 - 11:00 AM. 


Summary Session: Thursday, April 2nd. 10AM - 4PM 
Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre, Cochrane.

$30.00 charge, includes lunch and refreshments.

Theme of the Day: "Assessing Jesus' Parables and Miracles"

Study resource -

"The DK Complete Bible Handbook"
  Edited by John Bowker


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Colleagues List, May 24th, 2020

Vol XV. No. 42 Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2019                                                                                               ...