Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2016

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Colleagues List, August 4th, 2019

Vol XV. No. 5


Wayne A. Holst, Editor
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Dear Friends,

My Special Item this week is a book notice for
"Activist Alphabet" - a study of how activists
become passionate about the causes they assume.

My quotes and article links can help us keep abreast
of what is happening in the world of religion and
culture from a Canadian perspective and I hope you
find them helpful.



Book Notice -

by Donna Sinclair

Wood Lake Publishing,
Kelowna, BC.
2019. 175 pages.
$16.00 CAD (paper)
$10.00 CAD (Kindle)
ISBN # 78177331543

Publisher's Promo:

“How does it happen that a rather shy and not-terribly-brave individual finds herself getting arrested on Parliament Hill? Why does a woman who prefers to commune with pole beans all summer end up laboriously writing speeches to present at City Hall? There is no need for this. I am 74 years old, elderly. It would be more suitable for me to spend my remaining days quietly reading novels than singing protest songs. What happened?”

These are the questions that sometimes plague Donna Sinclair. A widely-travelled, award-winning journalist for more than 27 years, now retired, Sinclair could easily sit back and simply enjoy her garden, her grandkids, and her remaining years with her husband.

Yet that is not what she has chosen to do. Sinclair, like an ever increasing number of her peers, as well as younger people the world over, has chosen the path of activism. But why?

“I am not alone with these questions. Most activists, I am convinced, do not wake up one morning and say to themselves, ‘I think I will spend today, and perhaps the rest of my life, antagonizing large corporate bodies – with untold amounts of money to spend – and even some of my neighbours, so that I don’t get enough sleep and am constantly making anguished trade-offs about how I will spend my time.’

“This book is an effort to figure out why and how environmental activists fall passionately in love with a lake, a river, or a planet and its people. It’s a primer, or an alphabet, on how to stay strong enough to keep putting that love into action, over and over.  


Author's Words:

I prefer working in my garden to saving the world, which often seems to
involve meetings and marching... but I still find myself involved in some
form of environmental activism... I am happily retired... What happened?

I am not alone with these questions. Most activists, I am convinced, do
not wake up one morning and say to themselves, "I think I will spend
today, and perhaps the rest of my life, antagonizing large corporate
bodies, with untold amounts of money to spend... so that I don't get
enough sleep and am constantly making anguished trade-offs bout
how I will spend my time.

This book is my attempt to figure out why and how environmental activists
fall passionately in love with a lake, a river or a planet. It's a primer, or
an alphabet, on how to stay strong enough to keep putting that love into
action, over and over.

I write as a person of faith, with a particular perspective that will show
here and there throughout the text. My aim, however, is not to exclude
anyone. In fact, I hope the opposite will prove true. My personal faith
invites into partnership people of all faiths and of no faith - because love
is what we should be about, even though it makes us terribly vulnerable
to grief and loss; and because good and evil is what we should be about,
even though that causes us to study, and learn and intervene, trying to
protect. Trying to find hope. Trying to see the divine in this chaos.

So this book is a challenge. The earth our home is in trouble. We know
this. Its climate is changing. Whole swaths of it at any one time are
suddenly on fire or underwater. Citizens become, in the blink of an eye,
stateless refugees. Transnational corporations shoulder aside elected
governments, extracting what they want from the earth without penalty.
Sometimes they even receive subsidies to do so.

So here is alphabetical order are words to declare that - against all
logic and good sense - we can resist this damage.

I offer these thoughts - words in fact - for meditation while you pile

sandbags or breath the smell of forest fires, attend a protest or simply
read the morning news. I hope they will help you delight in your
resistance and your love; I hope they help you be a holy activist.

- copied and interpreted from the author's Introduction.


Author's Bio:

A journalist for more than 30 years, Donna Sinclair is an award-winning writer who has traveled widely in Canada, Africa, Central America, Britain, and Eastern Europe. She is the author of The Spirituality of Bread, The Spirituality of Gardening, A Woman's Book of Days, A Woman's Book of Days 2, The Long View and numerous other titles. Donna lives with her husband Jim in North Bay, Ontario.


My Thoughts:

Donna Sinclair has, for many years, been writing books that interpret the
thoughts of academics and other formal thinkers into guidance and support
for ordinary people. She has also written many articles what interpret the
ordinary people of God to each other.

From this rich background, Donna writes here about activism grounded
in faith. As a teaching device, her book is structured around 26 words -
words based on the letters of our alphabet.

These words are as follows: audacity, beauty, courage, discernment,
ecumenical, freedom of speech, grassroots, hope, indigenous, judgement,
kindness, love, methods, no, obedience, prayer, quiet, respect, servant
leadership, trust, ubiquitous capitalism, virtuosity/vision, wisdom,
xerxes, yes, (and) the end (and for some of these she adds extra words).

As a member of the United Church of Canada, Donna brings to this work
a considerable amount of experience - both as a person of faith and a
citizen of the world. She believes it is very important to be both.

Thirty years ago, I become part of a United Church community in
Calgary and have never left it. I feel that what I contributed there,
over these three decades, is overshadowed by what I have received.
An important gift from St. David's to me has been the ability to integrate
faith and action - or "praxis." This book reflects that kind of gift.

I hope that you will consider locating this book and making something
wonderful out of the many years of experience it represents.


Buy the book from:



Mark Whittall,
Ottawa, ON.

Sermons and Blog
August 2nd, 2019

"Rich Fools"


Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
July 31st, 2019

"Five Things I'm Sort of Sure of"


Elfriede Schroeder,
Winnipeg, MB.

In Transit
July 28th, 2019

"Nature's Healing Power"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Website
July 29th, 2019

"Our Grandiosity and Our Wounds"



A U.S. Response to President Trump

Religion News Service
July 29th, 2019


The World is Not Saved
Because of My Piety

Christian Century
July 24th, 2019


Bp. Linda Nicholls of Huron

Anglican Journal,
July 13th, 2019


A Time of Major Re-Assessment

La Croix International,
August 1st, 2019

(you may have to register for this article)


Public Reacts to it's Anti-Gay Stance

Catholic Register, Toronto
July 31st, 2019


Calls on Him to Repent

Christian Post
July 29th, 2019


New African Church Initiative

Christianity Today,
July, 2019


Modern Science and Old Wisdom

Text Explore.
July 29th, 2019


Core Continues to Defend Him
Over Racial Bigotry

Religion News Service,
August 1st, 2019


Affirms Seven Natural Days of Creation, Etc.

The Christian Post,
July 25th, 2019



Provided by Sojourners and the Bruderhof oniine:

Go forth and set the world on fire.

- Jesuit saying


If love doesn’t prevail, who wants to live in this world?

- Li-Young Lee


Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?

- Rumi


Irenaeus [taught] that the glory of God is seen in a living
human being.  Let the light of that glory shine so brightly
that everyone may come to recognize the inestimable
value of all human life. Even the weakest and most
vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor,
are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own
image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the
utmost reverence and respect.

- Pope Francis


Worship grounds me again in the real world of God’s
creation, dislodging me from whatever world I have
imagined for myself.

I have come to believe that when we despair of praise,
when the wonder of creation and our place in it are lost
to us, it’s often because we’ve lost sight of our true role
as creatures – we have tried to do too much, pretending
to be in such control of things that we are indispensable.
It’s a hedge against mortality and, if you’re like me, you
take a kind of comfort in being busy. The danger is that
we will come to feel too useful, so full of purpose and
the necessity of fulfilling obligations that we lose sight
of God’s play with creation, and with ourselves.

- Kathleen Norris


If I cannot find the face of Jesus in the face of those
whom I regard as enemies, if I cannot find him in the
unbeautiful and damaged, if I cannot find him in those
who have the “wrong ideas,” if I cannot find him in the
poor and the defeated, then how will I find him in bread
and wine or in the life after death? If I do not reach out
in this world to those with whom he has identified, why
do I imagine that I will want to be with him, and them,
in heaven?

Why would I want to be for all eternity in the company
of those I avoided every day of my life?

- Jim Forest


Our lives as we live them seem like lives that anticipate
questions that never will be asked. It seems as if we are
getting ourselves ready for the question “How much did
you earn during your lifetime?” or “How many friends did
you make?” or “How much progress did you make in your
career?” or “How much influence did you have on people?”
or “How many conversions did you make?”

Were any of these to be the question Christ will ask when
he comes again in glory, many of us could approach the
judgment day with great confidence. But nobody is going
to hear any of these questions. The question we all are
going to face is the question we are least prepared for.

It is: “What have you done for the least of mine?” As
long as there are strangers; hungry, naked, and sick
people; prisoners, refugees, and slaves; people who
are handicapped physically, mentally, or emotionally;
people without work, a home, or a piece of land, there
will be that haunting question from the throne of judgment:

“What have you done for the least of mine?”

- Henri J. M. Nouwen


CLOSING THOUGHT - Nadia Bolz-Weber

So much of religion and spirituality that is offered to us
is about sanding down our edges. It just so happens
that the jagged edges of our humanity are actually
what connects us to God and each other.



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