Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2016

Friday, 11 May 2018

Colleagues List, May13th, 2018

Vol. XIII No. 45


Wayne A. Holst, Editor
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Dear Friends:

Welcome to the latest edition of Colleagues List!

This week I discuss the re-publication of an old title by mythologist Joseph Campbell The Flight of the Wild Gander which I hope you will enjoy.

As usual, I include lots of new material to help you keep current in the world of religion and culture.




Book Notice -

Explorations in the Mythological Dimension
By Joseph Campbell

New World Library, Novato, CA
Reprinted February, 2018.  Paper.

256 pp. $21.25 CAD $18.95 US.
Kindle $9.99 CAD.
iSBN #978-1-60868--531-8

Publisher's Promo:

In The Flight of the Wild Gander, renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell explores the individual and geographical origins of myth, outlining the full range of mythology from Grimm’s fairy tales to Native American legends. Originally published in 1969, this first collection of Campbell’s essays describes the symbolic content of stories: how they are linked to human experience and how they—along with our experiences—have changed over time.
Throughout, Campbell explores the function of mythology in everyday life and the forms it may take in the future. Included are two of Campbell’s first groundbreaking essays: “Bios and Mythos” and “Primitive Man As Metaphysician,” both of which examine the biological basis and necessity for story and mythology, and establish mythology as a basic function or fact of human nature. Campbell explores how the myth was born, as well as the personal experiences of the visionary medicine man through whose memory the myth was preserved.


Author's Bio:

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles. Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell's theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities.

He is widely credited with bringing mythology to a mass audience. His works, including the four-volume The Masks of God and The Power of Myth (with Bill Moyers)  rank among the
classics in mythology and literature.

Author's Words:

(written for the first edition of this collection in 1969)

The writing of these essays occupied, or rather punctuated, a period of 24 years, during the whole course of which I was circling, and from many quarters, striving, to interpret, the mystery of mythology...

(In earlier books) I have set forth my basic thesis - that myths are a function of nature as well as culture and as necessary to the balanced maturation of the human psyche as is nourishment to the body...

The common tendency today to read the word "myth" as meaning "untruth" is almost certainly a symptom of the incredibility and consequent inefficiency of our own outdated mythic teachings, of both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and the New (Christian Bible); the Fall of Adam and Eve, Tablets of the Law; Fires of Hell; Second Coming of the Saviour, etc. and not only of those archaic Testaments, but also of the various, more modern secular (myths) that are being offered  today in their place... (but) neither a stale and overdue, nor a contrived, plastic mythology will serve (us).

(Here Campbell outlines how the various essays contained in this book help to recover what his understanding of true mythology is about.).

- from the Introduction


My Thoughts:

Over the years I have appreciated receiving first or new editions of Joseph Campbell's collected works  from The New World Library and the Joseph Campbell Foundation - which now number 17 volumes, plus e-books, lecture collections and other presentations  by a most prolific author and speaker. He has been dead for more than thirty years but many of his writings continue to be best-sellers.
It would now appear that most if not all of Campbell's writings have been edited into the Collected Works and it is now possible to begin to think of his work as a complete oeuvre and not merely a disparate   "collection" of amazing erudition.
I have been a student of Campbell for almost thirty years and was drawn to him to help me understand the meaning of Canadian Indigenous People's myths. I continue to learn from members of First Nations members in various parts of the country (e.g. Northern Canada, Northern Ontario, Coastal, and the Stoney, Blackfoot and Cree nations closer to my home on Alberta.)

Discoveries about myth from Canada's Indigenous Peoples have helped me to better understand the mythologies of global cultures, so that when we travel to other continents today, I form a more complete sense of what Campbell was talking about more than fifty years ago. His whole life was spent expanding his mythological horizons and then discovering more about how the earth's peoples are linked through shared stories.

I have used the book The Power of Myth (written and video-extended interview with Bill Moyers) with many of my university classes over the years, and still believe it is one of the best "introductions" to Campbell.

When I read the Bible with classes in church today, Campbell helps me to gain a better understanding of what my own Judeo-Christian myths might mean. Using models from Campbell gives me a clearer, more helpful sense of what my own tradition is telling me. Inter-faith dialogue can be enhanced by having a firm grasp of one's own tradition as well as a mythological apparatus to listen to the stories from other religions and what they might mean.

Campbell's The Flight of the Wild Gander is an example of one of his earlier works that focused on mythology inherent in nature and culture.

If I were to advise you on how to approach Campbell today, I would suggest you start with The Power of Myth, and then move next to The Flight of the Wild Gander.
Review Shorts:
“In this book, as in his other work, Campbell displays his immense learning, drawing evidence to support his case from virtually every branch of human knowledge.”
The New York Times Book Review

“No one in our century — not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Lévi-Strauss — has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.”
— James Hillman

“Campbell has become one of the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.”

“In our generation the mythographer who has had the fullest command of the huge scholarly literature, the analytic ability, the lucid prose, and the needed staying power has been Joseph Campbell.”

Buy the book from

Buy the book from New World Publishers:


Dennis Gruending,
Ottawa, ON.

May 6th, 2018

Dear Wayne:

Thanks for giving considered attention to my new book
"Speeches That Changed Canada"  in your May 6th, 2018
edition of Colleagues List

Thanks also for so being so faithful in collecting so many
interesting and worthwhile articles and stories each week.
That allows those who of us who follow you to find information
of importance in one place, and it is a valuable service to us.

Best wishes




Jim Taylor,
Okanagan. BC

Personal Web Log
May 9th, 2018

"Save Someone's Life Today"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
May 7th, 2018

"Protest, Sanity and a Christian Response"


Mark Whittall,
Ottawa, ON.

Sermons and Blog
May 5th, 2018

"Start Here"



A Tribute by Jim Forest

National Catholic Reporter,
May 8th, 2018


An Assessment of What He Did for Theology

The Christian Century,
April 30th, 2018


TV Preacher Returns After Thirty Years

Kansas City Star, (with video)
May 5th, 2018


His Ecumenical Focus was on the Local Church 

The Christian Post,
May 10th, 2018
Remembering Loren B. Mead
Alban Institute, Duke University
May 8th, 2018
His Last Interview:


Indigenous Healing Movement
Has a Long Canadian History

Winnipeg Free Press,
May 5th, 2018


Isolated, But Able to Live
Quite Well Through Hard Work

La Croix International
May 8th, 2018


Many Not Sure They Ever Want To

Angus Reid Institute Website,
May 7th, 2018


Historic Development for a
Largely White Denomination

Religion News Service,
May 7th, 2018


National Disgrace Finally Being Addressed

Global TV News Calgary
May 8th, 2018


Globe and Mail,
May 9th, 2018

“The unemployment rate in the United States fell
to a paltry 3.9 per cent last month. That’s big news.
To find an American rate lower than today’s, you
have to go back half a century to the late 1960s.

The slight attention paid to the employment numbers
is an illustration of how the country’s image is being
excessively Trump-framed. We in the media are
consumed by his every utterance. No president has
sucked the oxygen out of every room like this one.
He has the news cycle by the throat. Big domestic
stories are lost in the daily anarchy, the shattering
of the norms, the circus never leaving town.”

– Lawrence Martin


From Sojourners and the Bruderhoff online:

How many must die before our voices are heard,
how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved,
maddened ...

When, at what point, will you say no to this war?
- Daniel Berrigan

What so many people today fail to realize is that
forgiveness is a door to peace and happiness.
Forgiving is not ignoring wrongdoing, but overcoming
the evil inside us and in our world with love. To forgive
is not just a command of Christ but the key to reconciling
all that is broken in our lives and relationships. We get
rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity.

- Johann Christoph Arnold

That a good man may have his back to the wall is no
more than we knew already; but that God could have
his back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents forever.
Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt
that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity
alone has felt that God, to be wholly God, must have
been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds,
Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the
Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage
must necessarily mean that the soul passes a
breaking point – and does not break.

- G. K. Chesterton

Is not the truth of the matter really this, that we are just
like a child who would rather be free from being under
his parents’ eyes? Is not this what we want? To be free
from being under the eyes of God? When Christ resolves
to become the Savior of the world, a lament goes through
all humanity. Sighing grievously they ask: Why do you do
this? You will make us all unhappy. Simply because to
become a Christian is the greatest human suffering. Christ,
being an absolute, explodes all the relativity whereby we
humans live. In order to live in the spirit rather than the
flesh, as he requires, one must go through crisis after
crisis, being made thereby, from a human point of view,
as unhappy as it is possible to be.

- Søren Kierkegaard

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything,
and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly
be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it
intact, you must give your heart to no one...Wrap
it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries;
avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the
casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that
casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will
change. It will not be broken; it will become
unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

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

- C. S. Lewis


Globe and Mail,
May 10th, 2018


May 10, 1994: It was the culmination of an
extraordinary journey, from his birth in a remote
Transkei village to his leadership of a liberation
movement that finally ended the apartheid system.

After 27 years in prison and more than four decades
of resistance to apartheid rule,Nelson Mandela was
sworn into office as the first democratically elected
president of South Africa. The glittering ceremony
at the Union Buildings in Pretoria was watched by
an estimated billion viewers around the world.

Three of Mandela’s prison warders were invited
to the ceremony, in a symbol of the reconciliation
policy for which he became famous. Police chiefs
and military officers, who once would have arrested
him, saluted him instead. Jets and helicopters
roared overhead in a noisy tribute. Nobody spoke
of the more intractable challenges, from economic
inequality to corruption, that would lie ahead in
South Africa’s future. This was a day to celebrate
a historic victory over a racist regime
“Never, never and never again shall it be that
this beautiful land will again experience the
oppression of one by another, and suffer the
indignity of being the skunk of the world,”
Mandela said in his inauguration speech.

“Let freedom reign.”

 – Geoffrey York



May 11, 868: The inscription on the five-metre scroll found
in a sealed Chinese cave was specific: It was “made for
universal free distribution by Wang Jie on the 13th of the
4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong [Era].”  No one knows
who Wang Jie was. But that date, May 11, 868, marks his
scroll as the earliest known printed and dated book.

Nearly six centuries before Johannes Gutenberg printed
his Bible, the scroll of The Diamond Sutra demonstrated
the pioneering ability of Chinese craftsmen to print material
from wooden blocks, including an image of Buddha himself.
The Diamond Sutra, among Buddhism’s most sacred texts,
follows a conversation between an elderly disciple and the
Buddha, who says it “should be called The Diamond that
Cuts through Illusion because it has the capacity to cut
through all illusions,” including those that constitute the
material world. “Someone who looks for me in form or
seeks me in sound is on a mistaken path,” the Buddha
says. The scroll, stored in the British Library, is
remarkable both for the clarity of its printed contents,
which were preserved in an arid desert environment,
but also for the achievement it represents in human

– Nathan VanderKlippe


CLOSING THOUGHT - Nelson Mandela

My hunger for the freedom of my own people
became a hunger for the freedom of all people,
white and black.

I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor
must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed.
A [person] who takes away another [person's] freedom
is a prisoner of hatred ... is locked behind bars of prejudice
and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking
away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not
free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed
and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.




  1. In his "Biblical Series" of YouTube lectures, the psychologist, Jordan Peterson proffers a secular teaching of the Genesis stories' meanings.