Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Sorry: Why Our Church Apologized

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews


Why Our Church Apologized
by Maggie McLeod, Stan McKay,
Bill Phipps & Carolyn Pogue.

Wood Lake Publishing, Kelowna BC
2015. 24 pages. $7.96 CAD
Free download edition
ISBN #978-1-77064-803-6



Review By Wayne A. Holst


My Thoughts:

The government of Canada (before 1867 it
was the government of Her Majesty and the
British Empire) signed treaties with many of
Canada’s indigenous people. One of the
promises these governments made with
the First Nations was to provide their
children with education.

This implied that until then, native people did
not get an education – which was the first mistake.
There were more false assumptions to come.

The schools that were established sought to
make the children be like the (white, European)
settler people that were beginning to fill the
country. This forced the original inhabitants
into smaller and smaller spaces. They were
no longer free and in control of their own

Many of the newcomers had good intentions
and wanted to “help”  the natives, as well as
“rescue” them from eternal damnation.

“Colonize and Christianize” became important
code words.

No one asked the First Nations what might be
best for them. Truth was, many native people
wanted education for their children so that
they might survive the settler incursion on their
lands. As well, they were not usually opposed
to the Christian faith of the euro-Canadians.
Many found Jesus appealing and the Bible

The problem was the attitude of the
newcomers. They considered themselves
naturally superior to their hosts. The result
was that everyone – native and non-native
alike – suffered because of it. The former,
because of the cultures they lost. The latter,
because of great guilt, once the newcomers
began to realize what they had done.

That’s where “apology” “truth” and
“reconciliation” come in. For more than
three decades Canada and its people have
been involved in great struggles around
these core terms.

The ecumenical churches of Canada – Roman
Catholic, United, Anglican, Presbyterian and
Lutheran have been struggling to make up
for what was lost, and to rebuild new and
mutually-supportive relations with the
First Nations. (The Lutherans were not
involved with residential schools due to
ethnic and political differences with
mainstream society at the time, but they
have subsequently become committed to
the healing and reconciliation of Canadian

Actually, many Canadian churches have
invested a lot in healing relations, but
there is still much to be done and our
younger generations (native and non-
native alike) need continuing reminders
of the tragedy that took place. —

This basic, simply-written and profound
booklet has been co-authored by four people.
Two are First Nations; two euro-Canadians
and all are members of the United Church of
Canada. They write to help people understand
some very important things about human
nature and inter-personal relations.

The booklet sells for a modest price and
could serve well as a small-group study
document. But it is also available free-of-
charge for anyone who can read these
words on a computer.

Thanks to several members of Colleagues
List for creating (conceptualising, writing
and publishing) this booklet.

A timely document, it deserves broad


Buy the booklet or
download for free from:
Wood Lake Publishers


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. XI, No. 03,  August 8th, 2015

Christians, through the looking glass

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

By Julienne Isaacs

The Collar: Reading Christian Ministry in Fiction, Television, and Film

By Sue Sorensen
306 pages
Wipf & Stock, 2014
ISBN: 978-1625642486


In the opening pages of The Collar, Sorensen writes, “…the ministry is a profession of vital importance, but it is also delightfully strange, even absurd. We need to look at it from a variety of angles and look at it honestly” (8). The Collar explores a wide swath of fictional narratives about men and women in church leadership. Sorensen’s goal, it seems, is to search out the truest readings of ordained life and reflect on how they cast light on the real tasks facing church leaders today. For this reason, The Collar will appeal especially to clergy, although lovers of fiction will find plenty to admire in Sorensen’s whirlwind tour through literature, television and film.

Sorensen, an associate professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University, has published a novel, A Large Harmonium, and is the editor of West of Eden: Essays on Canadian Prairie Literature. She has also published work on contemporary British literature and detective fiction, as well as her own poetry.

These interests heavily inform The Collar. Chapters are thematic, covering topics such as “The Collared Detective,” “Passion, for Better or for Worse” and “Frustration: the Collar on Screen,” each of which compares and contrasts a variety of texts that portray the clergy with strong emphasis in these particular areas. Chapters are interspersed with short “interludes” in which Sorensen does close readings of significant works, such as George Herbert’s “The Collar,” Iris Murdoch’s The Bell and Clint Eastwood’s film Pale Rider.

The Collar’s tone can only be described as warm, comfortably straddling the scholarly and conversational. Sorensen offers analyses of an astonishing number and variety of works by writers, filmmakers and actors, from George Eliot and George Herbert to Rowan Atkinson and Richard Burton. There is also a gem of a chapter entitled “The Canadian Collar,” in which Sorensen examines portrayals of clergy life in Margaret Laurence, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, Warren Cariou and others—a study that fills a gap in Canadian literary analysis.

Sorensen’s scope is probably too broad: occasionally the buffet of texts under examination forces parenthetical readings when close readings are called for, suggesting that a narrowed focus might have served The Collar better. But this breadth is also its strength; for a scholarly text, The Collar has an unusual and irresistible momentum.

Particularly strong is Sorensen’s splendid commentary on George Eliot’s “humanist religion,” her restrained critique of Jan Karon’s Mitford series and her romp through the subgenre of priest-detectives.

The Collar’s call to realistic expectations for clergy and “de-mystification” of Christian ministry is also much needed in the church. But Sorensen also quotes T.S. Eliot in describing the average Christian as “living and partly living.” Occasionally, she writes, great literature points to priestly ministry as “demonstrating the possibility of going beyond this halfway stage, becoming fully alive in relationship with God.” It’s a high calling, but one Sorensen approaches with generosity, humour and good grace.


Anglican Journal News, July 17, 2015

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews



Reflections at Ninety,
by Jimmy Carter

Simon & Schuster, Toronto
July 7th, 2015. $22.89  CAD.
257 pages. Hardcover.
ISBN #978-1-5011-1563-9.



Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

Over the years, I have reviewed and commented
much on the life and writings of Jimmy Carter.
(see for example, my review of Carter’s book –
“Beyond the White House” an earlier (2007)
account of his post-presidency, and of Frye
Gaillard’s biography “Prophet from Plains”

My most recent Carter book notice here was:
“A Call to Action – Women, Religion, Violence
and Power” April 6th, 2014

We can never assume that Jimmy Carter has
written his “magnum opus” or “summing up”
book – even at age ninety or with a title like
the one currently under consideration.

I think I can understand why. Even though some
experiences of his life had a profound impact,
and he has written much about them over time,
he continues having the need to revisit them in
order to refine his learning and growth.

I have had a similar experience, early this summer,
as I perused 25-30 personal journals which were
written during the 1990’s. My “post-White House
years” – back to which I will probably keep returning
– were those when I struggled to rebuild my career
and family life after what for me were devastating

What were seminal developments I missed?
How has my life evolved in new ways since then?

I do not believe God had a “plan” for my life, but
by reading hundreds of journal entries I can
certainly see God at work in me as we “struggled”
“competed” and “cooperated.”

After reading many journals I have noted some
pivotal events, personalities and new discoveries
by writing a few refined and updated entries!

I suspect that as you grow older and more mature,
you too have your own ways of doing this.

Carter discovers there were important “gaps” in his
life that he neglected to pay attention to previously.
He discovers that greater distance and life perspective
allow him to see things differently, and hopefully more

And, if my experience can at all be transferred to his,
my “revisiting” continues to be part of my healing.

He writes about his family background and his own
continuing relationship with Rosalyn in ways he has
not addressed previously.

He reflects on how long-forgotten or repressed
experiences have now emerged for him. These shed
light on fears and hopes he did not previously realize
had prodded him.

He describes his evolving senior years, and how he
has kept involved and active. No doubt this is one of
the reasons he continues to be productive long after
most have started to coast, or have simply died.

I am obviously a Carter fan. I have read many of his
books and promoted them by means of reviews
and notices because of my adulation for the man.

For those who may share at least some of my feelings,
this is probably his most refined and valuable work
of autobiography yet. It is well worth consideration.

But don’t assume this is his last word on the subject.


Buy the book from


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. XI, No. 01,  July 12th, 2015

A Force for Good: the Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World

Posted on: June 27th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews




The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World
by Daniel Goleman, Random House Canada
(Release date: June 30th, 2015)
Hardcover. $18.50 CAD. 256 pp.
ISBN #978-0-553-39489-4.



Dalai Lama’s Words:

The fifty-six years since I left Tibet as a
refugee for freedom in India have been
hard for Tibetans including myself.

One instruction from our tradition that
has helped sustain us is to transform
even the most adverse circumstances
into opportunities. In my own case, life
as a refugee has broadened my horizons.
If I had remained in Tibet, I would most
likely have been insulated from the
outside world, shut off from the challenges
of different points of view.

As a human being, I acknowledge that my
well-being depends on others and the
caring of others’ well-being is a moral
responsibility I take seriously.

It’s unrealistic to think that the future of
humanity can be achieved on the basis of
prayer or good wishes alone. We also
need is to take action… (which I attempt
to do as best I can…)

I am also a Buddhist monk, and according
to my experience, all religious traditions
have the potential to convey the message
of love and compassion. So my second
commitment is to foster harmony and
friendly relations between them.

Thirdly, I am a Tibetan, and although I
am retired from political responsibility,
I remain committed to do what I can to
help the Tibetan people, and to preserve
our Buddhist culture and the natural
environment of Tibet – both of which are
under threat of destruction…

I am very happy that my old friend Dan
Goleman has written this book describing
how (my) basic commitments have
unfolded over the past several decades…
He has been very helpful to me and is
well-qualified to express these things

We have to (live together and support
one another as humans) but we need to
look at this taking a broad view and a
long-term perspective.

Change takes time.

But if we don’t make the effort, nothing
will happen at all… Real change will
take place (not by governments) but
when individuals transform themselves
guided by the values that lie at the core
of all human ethical systems, scientific
findings,  and common sense… then
each one of us can be a force for good.

– from the Introduction


Wikipedia Dalai Lama Bio:


Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

The Dalai Lama is one of those rare humans
who is steeped in his own ancient traditions
and  in modern global realities. He is grounded
in his own spiritual values, but open to learning
from the spiritual values of others. He is a
person of prayer, but also of action.

People of the religions of Jerusalem – Judaism,
Christianity and Islam – have much to learn
from this representative of an Eastern faith
tradition. We can do this best, I believe, when
we are grounded in our own faiths, but –
like the Dalai Lama himself – are open to
learning from others as well.

The Dalai Lama has always tried hard to help
him find good interpreters of his faith to those
outside it.  In this book, he finds ample support
from a man who is versed in communicating
core values to people within a Western secular
and scientific ethos. That is not to say the Dalai
Lama is unversed in our ways, but that he wants
to communicate with us using the best interpreters
he can find.

In this book, we have a magnificent example of
the convergence of East and West; piety and
politics;  spiritual and secular humanist values.

Reading a volume like this offers good guidance
for the integrating meaning systems in our own
lives, and interpreting them to others.

This is a welcome contribution; written while
the Dalai Lama is still among us as a witness
to universal meaning and truth. He should not
be ignored.

Buy the book from


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 44,  June 28th, 2015

Archbishop Welby praises new book on theology and church growth

Posted on: June 15th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace

[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised a new book on theology and church growth for asserting that Jesus Christ alone is the reason for growing churches.

In a foreword to ‘Towards a Theology of Church Growth’, Archbishop Justin Welby says church growth is not about “survival” but about Christians imitating God by reaching out to others and drawing them into relationship with Christ.

He also suggests the modern church growth movement is moving into a “second phrase” that doesn’t focus primarily on formulae and techniques but on “the nature of God himself”.

Edited by David Goodhew and including contributions from a wide range of theologians, the book explores the theological foundations of church growth.

In his foreword the Archbishop writes: “David Goodhew and those who have contributed to this excellent book have started, correctly, with the understanding that any commitment to church growth must be entirely divorced from questions about the survival of the Church.”

He praises the book’s long-term perspective on church history, which he says “demythologises any aspect of a “golden age” in Christendom.”

“Instead, the reader is drawn back to the face of Christ, who alone is the reason for growing churches. Church growth begins with the fact that God reaches out to us in Jesus Christ. Having found us and captured our horizons, Jesus liberates us into a new world in which we are irresistibly drawn to imitate that reaching out.”

The Archbishop also suggests that we are now in the “second phrase” of the current church growth movement.

“Twenty to thirty years ago when the notion was coined afresh in the modern era, it focused very much on matters of technique. To this day we are too easily tempted to follow some formulae which promise that our church will grow – rather than flying in the passion of love for Christ with every sinew of our being, and noting how the slipstream draws others into relationship with him and with all who belong to him.”

The book demonstrates the importance of this second phase, he adds, which “focuses on the nature of God himself. Learning from its previous weaknesses, it recognises how growth is as fundamental as worship to the health of every tradition of the Church.”


Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Summary, June 10, 2015

Learning to Walk in the Dark

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews


by Barbara Brown Taylor

HarperOne: Toronto, ON  Paperback
March, 2015, 200 pages. $13.50 CAD
ISBN #978-0-06-202434-3


Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

Twenty-five years ago, Toronto-author and
educator Mary Jo Leddy wrote a book which
she entitled “Say to the Darkness – We Beg
to Differ.” That title succinctly implied a
profound defiance of dark and evil forces.

Brief Leddy bio:

“Learning to Walk in the Dark” by Barbara
Brown Taylor takes a more nuanced approach.
It recognizes that evil darkness exists, but it
also sees there is value to be gleaned from
the “shadowlands” and the possibility of
learning from them.

Both books take evil darkness seriously.

Leddy’s volume focused strongly on issues of
justice within her own Catholic church at the

Taylor’s effort is a venture in personal growth
and follows in the classic spiritual tradition of
writing on “the dark night of the soul.”

Twenty-five years ago, many of us were quite
sure we knew what was right and wrong about
the gay issue, assisted suicide, marriage,
abuse in male/female relations, etc.

Today, we are probably not so sure and many
of us have moved 180 degrees from stances
strongly taken in the past. Confusion continues.

I believe that Taylor’s book is especially
helpful for people who are inclined to be
ambivalent, pessimistic, or at least overly
cautious by nature.

If you are inclined to react to our times
with a defensive, rather than an open
spirit, I think Taylor can speak especially
to you. She does not ignore or deny the
evil darkness of the world, but she helps
us to confront it and “live through it.”

In truth, Taylor is not really different
from Leddy a quarter century ago. Both
“beg to differ” with the darkness; but
they “differ differently” – and both have
an important message to convey.

Buy the book from


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 42,  May 31st, 2015

What the Mystics Know

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

Seven Pathways to
Your Deeper Self,

By Richard Rohr

The Crossroad Publishing Company
New York. Released May, 2015
155 pages. $17.25 CAD.
ISBN #978-0824520397


Review By Wayne A. Holst


My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a book that will help you
understand many essentials of the mystical
religious experience – to say nothing of a
summary of much of what Richard Rohr has
written over a long career – I would like to
suggest you get a copy of this book and spend
time with it. “What the Mystics Know” can
introduce and support you in the wisdom
traditions of humanity’s great faiths.

This book is grounded in the Christian
tradition, but – and because of this – it can
reach considerably beyond it to enhance
and expand that faith. Too many spiritual
leaders dabble in mysticism, cafeteria-style.
The result is a potpourri of “this and that.”
It may sound good, but it lacks grounding –
as well as perspective and true breadth.
Because this book is written by an
experienced mystic, you will avoid a lot
of the pitfalls of so much “junk spirituality”
floating around out there.

This is not to say that Rohr is committed
to “follow the Christian party line.” His
reputation as a challenge to official church
teachings should prepare us to read a
man who has had his confrontations with
authority. But that in itself can be viewed
as evidence of his considerable experience.
A true spiritual prophet for our time will
carry the requisite battle scars, and Rohr
carries them well. Like the true Franciscan
he is, Rohr offers us an “alternative orthodoxy”
or “orthopraxy” that can help us grow within,
and extend beyond our various faith traditions.

Here is a list of the seven “pathways” to
which he devotes a chapter in the book:

1. The enlightenment you see already
dwells within you

2. God is found in imperfection

3. From profound suffering come great
wisdom and joy

4. The mystical path is a celebration of

5. Contemplation means practicing
heaven now

6. To discover the truth you must
become the truth

7. When you are transformed, others
will be transformed through you


There are few spiritual guides alive and
available to us today with the substance
of Richard Rohr. That is why it is good he
keeps on writing, expanding, consolidating
and growing in his faith – and he is eager
to have us accompany him on the journey.

A most helpful book, worth securing.



Buy the book from


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 39,  May 10th, 2015

Very Good Lives – The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

The Fringe Benefits of Failure
and the Importance of Imagination


By J.K. Rowling

Little, Brown: New York
Released April 14th 2015. Hardcover.
75 pages. $10. CAD.
ISBN #978-0-3126-36915-2.



Review By Wayne A. Holst


My Thoughts:

I am drawn to this book because it is one that
should appeal to a wide range of humanity –
from all cultures and faith traditions.

At the same time, it speaks to people who
may not enjoy the benefits of a democratic
society – like her British one – that offers
a social-safety network not enjoyed, still
today, by too many people on this planet.

Think, for example, of the millions of disaster
victims and refugees who struggle for life
across the face of the earth.

Similar wisdom could probably be offered by
quite a few who have not experienced her
success in life – and the commensurate income
– that she now commands as an author. Still, in
our world, voices like her voice are respected
and convey considerable heft.

(For me, the fact that Rowling found herself
in a tough place, and one that she may not
have ever considered possible for herself,
speaks clearly to my own life experience.)

(When things were lowest for me, I still
realized I enjoyed certain benefits not
experienced by everyone.)

Her difficulties have taught her character,
perseverance and humility which have
attracted her to many – and not just the
privileged hearers who first attended this
public address at Harvard.

There is a sweet irony to a speech like this.
Our world honours success and public acclaim.
Rowling is certainly a worthy recipient of both.
But the fact is – success might never have come
to her had she not decided to follow a certain
path when things were at their worst for her.

Learning from that path is what earns Rowling
the ability to speak to us in her current book.

For personal growth, inspiration, and as a
thoughtful gift to others, this volume deserves
to be read. It also deserves to be returned
to, and re-thought, at various life stages.


Buy the book from

Rowling’s 2008 Commencement address at
Harvard is the most-viewed item on the
Harvard website.



Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 38,  May 3rd, 2015

The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

How World War I Became
a Religious Crusade
by Philip Jenkins

HarperOne, Toronto.
Paperback Edition, April 28/15
438 pages. $20.00 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-06-210514-1


Author’s Words:

The First World War was a thoroughly religious
event, in the sense that overwhelmingly Christian
nations fought each other in what many viewed as
a holy war, a spiritual conflict. Religion is essential
to understanding the war…

However thoroughly Eurocentric the conflict might
appear, in the long term, it transformed not just
the Christianity of the main combatant nations,
but also other great faiths, especially Judaism and
Islam… The Great War redrew the world’s religious
map as we know it today…

Advancing the nation’s cause and interests is
indistinguishable from promoting God’s cause…
the holy war framework defines attitudes to the
role of the armed forces and the conduct of combat
operations. That nation should broadly accept the
idea that military action has a sanctified character,
equal or superior to any of the other works approved
by that religion… we can confidently speak of a
powerful and consistent strain of holy war ideology
during the Great War years… all the main participant
nations placed Christ himself on the battle lines…
The war began as a clash of messianic visions…
(involving Muslims and Jews as well as Christians.)
For both sides, the Great War was a day and night
conflict against cosmic evil…

The German approach to the war still stands out
for its widespread willingness to identify the
nation’s cause with God’s will… However tempted
we may be to consider such militaristic pastors
to the demagogic fringe, we find near-identical
sentiments from some of Germany’s greatest
thinkers and theologians, and this at a time when
the country could plausibly claim cultural and
spiritual leadership in the Christian world… holy
war views were advocated by some of the most
respected mainline clergy…

In modern times, radical Muslim clergy and
activists have often sighted religious justifications
for violence, to the extent that many Jews and
Christians even doubt that Islam is a religion,
rather than a militaristic doomsday cult. Yet,
Christian leaders in 1914 to 1918 likewise gave
an absolute religious underpinning to warfare
conducted by the states that were seen as
executing the will of God and they used well-known
religious terms to contextualize acts of violence…
both (Christians and Islamists) have shared a
common symbolism of sword and shield… such
ideas gave an overwhelming spiritual dimension
to worldly conflict and aroused expectations of
gigantic cosmic changes lying on the horizon…

(Apocalyptic ideas exercised a special power and
the common people were profoundly influenced
by these end times images. Images of Armageddon
messianic and millenarian developments underlay
the great revolutions that swept the world in the
immediate aftermath of the war to the extent that
often bypassed the mainline churches… for
example, totalitarianisms such as Nazism and
Communism, and this forced the Catholic and
Protestant churches to come to terms with a
new political world as the ancient church-state
alliance was widely replaced by new forms of
separation and independence.)

(This had a widespread impact as European religion
became a global phenomenon. Christianity, Judaism
and Islam had to adapt to a changing world brought
about by developments that emerged in the wake
of the Great War.)

Without appreciating its religious and spiritual
aspects, we cannot understand the First World
War. More important though, modern religious
history makes no sense except in the context of
that terrible conflict.

The war created our reality.

– from the Introduction


Author’s Bio:

Philip Jenkins is in 2013 the Distinguished
Professor of History at Baylor University and
Co-Director for Baylor’s Program on Historical
Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies
of Religion. He is also the Edwin Erle Sparks
Professor of Humanities Emeritus at
Pennsylvania State University. He was
Professor and a Distinguished Professor
of History and Religious studies at the same
institution; and also assistant, associate and
then full professor of Criminal Justice and
American Studies at PSU, 1980–93.

Wikipedia Bio:


Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

During the years 2014-18 many videos, books
and articles are appearing on the First World War
(WWI). These presentations take various themes,
but not many of them deal with the profound
subject of faith associated with that great conflict.

Jenkins’ book “The Great and Holy War” elucidates
the religious and spiritual dimension of WWI in a
special way and is uniquely worthy of our attention
amid all the other available material.

Of considerable import is the way common Christian
and holy war themes were utilized by both sides
in the conflict. Because of significant questions
arising from that development in the early twentieth
century, a growing religious and secular peace
movement began to emerge. This movement
countered religious and secular justification for
war and violence to an extent that has grown,
not abated, into our own times.

The new atheist critique of religious involvement
in war and violence has prompted a serious
re-thinking of how religion engaged politics,
economics, etc. since WWI. Karen Armstrong’s
book “Fields of Blood: Religion and the History
of Violence” – is one response. The current book
by Jenkins is another. From the reading of both
studies, it is not difficult to see how closely religion
and warfare have been integrated and implicated
into our modern experience.

Three of the world’s great religions – Judaism,
Christianity and Islam – were drawn into serious
conflict as a result of that war. That led to larger
abuses in World War Two and the era following.
When Christians are quick to judge the Israelis
in the Palestinian conflict and so-called Muslim
terrorism today, we need not look back that far
into history to see very scary skeletons in our
own closet.

Another important discovery for me has been the
way the great religions have been forced to
rethink their role in the world as a result of what
WWI prompted. Finding a common, constructive
religious response to the past evils we supported, 
is a redemptive way to engage the future.

Lessons learned from WWI and its interpreters
like Philip Jenkins can set faith-based people
from many traditions and around the world
on a new and constructive course in the service
of humanity.


Buy the book from


Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 37,  April 26th, 2015

How to read the Bible: An interview with legendary theologian Harvey Cox

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews


How to read the Bible: An interview with legendary theologian Harvey Cox (link is external)


Religion News Service: While there is no single right way to read the Scripture, some ways are better than others, says the iconic theologian in an interview about his new book, “How to Read the Bible.” _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, April 15, 2015