Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths

Posted on: October 5th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews


JERUSALEM: One City, Three Faiths
by Karen Armstrong (1997)


By Wayne A. Holst


My Thoughts:


“The Holy Land in general and Jerusalem in particular have become essential to the spiritual geography of Jews, Christians and Muslims,” writes Karen Armstrong in her book – Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths.


Begins at approximately 2000 BCE (Before the Common Era) or 4,000 years ago when Abraham left Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley to the east and sojourned westward to Canaan “the Promised Land.” Here he fathered Isaac and Ishmael, the patriarchal founders of both the Jewish and Muslim faiths. The Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE and most Jews were forced to leave their land until November, 1947 when the United Nations partitioned Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. This marked the beginning of the modern state of Israel.


Jesus arrived on the scene in the ancient regions of Judah and Israel in 33 CE (The Common Era). He became a well-known preacher and healer, observing the Jewish festivals like Passover in Jerusalem. He is arrested and crucified by the Romans, but his disciples were convinced he rose from the dead. They persuaded others to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and in the Resurrection (the central Christian tenets separating it from the Jewish faith, and giving birth to a new religion). Over the centuries, some Palestinian Arabs became Christians, but their numbers have been in decline due to Jewish and Islamic persecution. There are a dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land.


In 705 CE a small Muslim prayer house was built close to the site of the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Eventually, Muslims built The Dome of the Rock (not a mosque, but a holy site, displacing most of the ancient remains on Temple Mount.) Christian sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Jesus body was to have been laid after he died on the cross) were built over the centuries.

Crusaders from Europe made a number attempts to reclaim sacred places that had been taken over by Muslims, but this era ended after 1,300 CE. The region continued as a locus of religious controversy.


Most of modern Palestinian Territory and Sinai were taken over by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. In March of 1979 at Camp David, Maryland Jimmy Carter worked out a treaty between Israel and Egypt to establish diplomatic relations and the withdrawal of Israel from Sinai. In July, 2000 the Palestinian and Israeli leaders met with US President Bill Clinton to create an agreement for Palestinian self-government in Gaza and parts of the West Bank. This was confirmed in 1993 with the so-called Oslo Accords. These hopeful efforts failed to accomplish the mutual goal of freedom for the Palestinians and recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security among its Arab neighbors. Just recently, the Palestinians have declared that they are no longer bound by the Oslo agreements.

So today, in spite of much effort and good will on all sides, a continuing state of unrest – even terrorism – exists with regular flare-ups.

At the same time, the Holy Land remains an important spiritual centre for people of all three faith traditions.


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. 09,  October  4th, 2015

Phyllis Tickle: Essential Spiritual Writings

Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

Essential Spiritual Writings

Introduction, Jon M. Sweeney

Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY
2015. 162 pages. $28.50 CAD
ISBN #978-1-62698-137-9.



Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

I am pleased that a book reflecting the
sweep of colleague Phyllis Tickle’s lifelong
writing is now just published by Orbis.

This is very timely, given the RNS report
which appears at the end of this notice.

Quite apparently, I am one of those readers
who have connected mainly with her during the
last stages of her life, and do not yet appreciate
the larger scope of her work.

In November of 2010 I heard Phyllis speak
at Christ Church, Elbow Park in Calgary.
Her presentation focused on “emergence” –
the theme that dominated the final part
of her career.

As usual, I interviewed her, and made copious
notes of her dramatic presentations. It was
quite apparent that she was both “Anglican”
and “Southern American” and I found the
combination winsome.

This comes through in her writing as well,
and the book brings that out effectively.

For those interested in reading my summary
notice for Tickle’s “Emergence Christianity”
and “The Great Emergence” please click:

For those who want a thumb-nail statement,

here is her summary for how her two major
books on the theme describe what she means
when she writes about – Emergence:

“… Of the general characteristics that the
Great Emergence and Emergence Christianity
hold in common, these of deinstitutionalisation;
non-hierarchical organization; a comfortable
and informed interface with physical science;
dialogical and contextual habits of thought;
almost universal technological savvy; triple
citizenship with its triple loyalties and
obligations; a deeply embedded commitment
to social justice with an accompanying, though
largely unpremeditated, assumption of all
forms of human diversity as the norm; and
a vocation toward greenness – these are
undoubtedly among the most characterizing.”
(page 137.)

Probably unbeknownst to those who first
decided to include Tickle in the now 50 plus
series of the Orbis “Modern Spiritual Masters
Series” edited by colleague Robert Ellsberg –
Phyllis had contracted cancer. Here is an
official notice:

Religion News Service, May 22nd, 2015

“Author Phyllis Tickle Faces Death Just as
She Enjoyed Life – My Dying is my Next Career”

Even at this stage of her life, Phyllis remains as
vital and connected to what is going on as she is

Here is what her automated response to each
issue of Colleagues List informs me:

From: “Phyllis Tickle” <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Sent: Friday, 28 August, 2015
Subject: out of office
Re: Colleagues List, August 30th, 2015


“Because of declining health, I am not able to

interface with my mail as fully as I would like.
Please understand, though, that each message
is being read and appreciated. Gratefully,”

Phyllis Tickle

My response:


Many of your friends in Canada are keeping you

in our thoughts and prayers.

I’ve read you for years. I met you personally at
Christ Church, Calgary a few years ago and you
agreed to receive my Colleagues List mailings.

May God be with you at this time.

Wayne Holst, Calgary, Canada


Buy the book from

Orbis Books 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. XI, No. 07,  September 20th, 2015

Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life

Posted on: September 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews


By Harold S. Kushner
Knopf Canada, Sept. 1st, 2015
$19.40 CAD. 171 pages. Hardcopy.
ISBN #978-0-385-35409-7



Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

I always find it intriguing and worthwhile
to attend to the mature spoken or written
words of persons – male and female – of
various spiritual traditions. This is also true
for those claiming no religious tradition.
I may not always agree with them, but
all can offer insights that guide my life.

Here, without specific comment, are
‘nine essential things’  that Kushner has
learned about life:

1. In the twenty-first century, the
religious agenda will be set not by
the tradition’s answers but by
congregants’ questions.

2. God is not a man who lives in the sky.

3. God does not send the problem; God
sends us the strength to deal with
the problem.

4. Forgiveness is a favor you do yourself.

5. Some things are just wrong: knowing
that makes us human.

6. Religion is what you do, not what
you believe.

7. Leave room for doubt and anger in
your religious outlook.

8. To feel better about yourself, find
someone to help.

9. Give God the benefit of the doubt.


Reading a book like this reminds me
that human problems and opportunities
are common to everyone.  Wisdom gained
from both positive and negative experience
is applicable to all of us.

Thanks, Rabbi Kushner, for sharing
so generously of yourself.


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. 06,  September 13th, 2015

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