Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2016

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Colleagues List, December 3rd, 2017

Vol. XIII No. 22


Wayne A. Holst, Editor
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Dear Friends:

Advent has again arrived! May a blessed and especially meaningful preparation for Christmas be yours!

My Special Item this week is an introduction to the latest book by friend and colleague Reginald Bibby of Lethbridge, Alberta. I am always happy to promote his new endeavours. This time he offers us "Resilient Gods," - an enhancement of his previous work "Beyond the Gods and Back."  (2011)

I have included some special Advent notes and reflections this week. They appear in the "Colleague Contributions" section of this blog.

Please enjoy all the other specially selected pieces as well. 




Book Notice

Being Pro-Religious, Low Religious,
or No Religious in Canada,
by Reginald Bibby

UBC Press, Vancouver, BC
October, 2017. 218 pages, $27.00 CAD
ISBN #978-0-7748-9006-9

Publisher's Promo:

Are Canadians becoming less religious? After playing a central role in our lives for nearly a century, religion did seem to be losing its salience. But there is more to the story. Resilient Gods takes an in-depth look at the religious landscape today. The picture that emerges is not one of religious decline but rather of polarization, with the numbers of “pro-” “no,” and “low” religious in flux. Using the most current information available, Bibby explores the implications of religious choices for personal and social well-being, spirituality, and attitudes towards death. The questions he asks are compelling and the answers thought-provoking whether one embraces the gods or not.


Author's Words:

I have written Resilient Gods for two primary reasons. The first is the opportunity and need to draw on invaluable national and global data. The second is my strong belief that the polarization framework that I unveiled in Beyond the Gods and Back is enormously helpful in making sense of religious developments in Canada and around the world. This framework therefore needs to be more extensively delineated, documented and disseminated...

(To restate what I mean by clarification and polarization) Canada is characterized by a religious situation in which a significant number of people continue to embrace religion, a growing number of people reject it, and a large number lie somewhere in the middle (This, by the way characterizes many other countries and situations as well. Everywhere the inclination to adopt religion coexists with the inclination to reject it, with many people typically falling between the two poles. All this makes for an interesting sociological study.)

"So what?" you might ask... on an individual level, do such choices make any difference when it comes to personal well-being? Are the devout happier than others? Are those who reject religion more compassionate than others?... How do people with different outlooks deal with death?... (It is these pressing issues of values and beliefs, and others, that I would like to deal with in this book). 
- edited from the Introduction


My Thoughts:
In the February 16th (2011) issue of Colleagues List I first introduced colleagues Reginald Bibby's book "Beyond the Gods and Back: Religion's Demise and Rise and Why It Matters."

You will have to scroll through some material in that issue to locate the book notice, but hopefully I have improved my blog layout since those earlier editions!

Back then I shared some promotional material for that book which stated that "it provides an update on the religious situation in Canada and examines some of the possible consequences of the growing  religious polarization in the country with respect to personal and social well-being, spirituality, and responses to death. The findings for Canada are put into global perspective, making use of unprecedented global survey findings that are now available."

The article said that Canadians were being more significantly influenced by global sources of beliefs and behaviour than had been true in the past. This assessment of the situation in our country led to some large attitudinal changes as a result. In other words, we can now understand the nature of faith or unfaith in ways not previously possible.

In that book, Bibby sized up the situation this way - "People may say goodbye to many forms of organized religion but few will say goodbye to the gods."

In his new book "Resilient Gods" Bibby builds on the basic framework he created for his earlier work to bring us to an understanding of the current situation, six years later. The first two chapters of his new book provide the informing backbone, "but not much else remains the same."

The book now under consideration benefits from the availability of considerable new data both global and Canadian in scope, Bibby says in his preface. He uses the enhanced resourcing of the Pew Research Center based in Washington DC and the Angus Reid Institute in Canada. (Colleagues List frequently accesses these organizations too, and the author uses many other sources as well.)

Bibby adds "this book further clarifies big ideas such as polarization and secularization (frequently used but not always clearly understood), deletes anything extraneous and introduces fresh and helpful material."

The result is not only an improved book but a substantially improved one. "I have no illusions that this book says it all," Bibby concludes, "but I think it says a lot.

I take this to mean that while many of the more recent developments in Canadian religion are not really new but continue what was already emerging in the recent past, the author is becoming more familiar with them and is better able to explain their meaning.

Major transformation in public faith and spirituality occurs over many years and is much more complex than we may think. 

Bibby believes that many Canadians continue to think and act as if they were in a religious bubble, and take European authorities as their mentors, while the global situation is changing dynamically. "These days a global religious tsunami is taking place. Christianity, Islam and many other major and minor religions are experiencing explosive growth." We need to be open to global developments affecting us, and not be confined to the narrower perspectives we previously held. We also need to find ways to help people of various faiths or no faith to live creatively and productively together.


The 'resilience of religion' is always a theme of Bibby's books. I identify with him on that because I am convinced we are spiritual beings at heart and most of us will continue to worship God or other gods. Nothing really has changed in that regard. Only the context and the nature of our worship changes over time.

As always, I continue to be a strong supporter for the work Bibby does, and eagerly engage this next installment. I want to dig deeper into the discoveries and implications of this work, and hope that you too will eagerly respond to the opportunity to invest in this one too.


Buy the book form



Richard Rohr,
Albuquerque, NM
National Catholic Reporter,
December 2nd, 2017
"Life is Headed Somewhere Good This Advent"


Mark Whittall,
Ottawa, ON.

Sermons and Blog
December 1st, 2017



Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log,
November 29th, 2017

"What You Say vs. How You Say It"

November 26th, 2017

"Robert Mugabe - How the Mighty are Fallen"


John Stackhouse Jr.
Moncton, NB

Personal Web Log
November 28th, 2017

"Why It's Not Just Nominal Evangelicals
  Supporting Donald Trump"


Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

November 27th, 2017

"Did the Anabaptist Reformers "Win"?


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
November 27th, 2017

"Playing Loose With the Truth"


Prepare for Christmas by
Honouring Advent
La Croix International
December 2nd 2017


New Gravesite Evidence
Discovered in Jerusalem

National Geographic,
December, 2017


Addressing the Historical Record

La Croix International
November 25th, 2017


Latest Victims of ISIS Terror in Egypt

The Atlantic,
November 27tkh, 2017


He Handles Both Roles Unusually Well

Religion News Service
November 30th, 2017


We Should Ask - How Do Other Societies Understand the Term?

The Christian Post
November 27th, 2017


Ulrich Zwingli More Influential According to this Writer

Religion News Service,
November 22nd, 2017


A New Step in Ecumenical Progress

Anglican Journal
December 1st, 2017


Authentic Emotion in at a Time of Toxic Masculinity

Globe and Mail,
December 1st, 2017

For Trudeau, it works

"There are many things that set Mr. Trudeau apart from his predecessors, and one is his open displays of emotion. Tears fall easily for him. By my count, there have been at least seven times since coming to office when he has openly wept, or had his eyes well up, overcome briefly by the moment. … I think Mr. Trudeau's tears suit him well. At a time when the subject of toxic masculinity is part of our everyday discussion, our feminist Prime Minister is in touch with his feelings and not ashamed to display them. His is a different type of masculinity that seems a perfect antidote to our times." – Gary Mason



The Holy Land is everywhere.

- Black Elk


People always say that I didn't give up my seat because
I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically ...

No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

- Rosa Parks


Although we sing, “All glory to God on High and on the earth be peace,” there seems to be today neither glory to God nor peace on earth. As long as it remains a hunger still unsatisfied, as long as Christ is not yet born, we have to look forward to him. When real peace is established, we will not need demonstrations, but it will be echoed in our life, not only in individual life, but in corporate life. Then we shall say Christ is born.…

Then we will not think of a particular day in the year as that of the birth of the Christ, but as an ever-recurring event which can be enacted in every life

- Mahatma Gandhi .


Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it – because he is out of place in it, and yet must be in it – his place is with those others who do not belong, who are rejected because they are regarded as weak; and with those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, and are tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst.

- Thomas Merton


I could work as much and eat as much as a man –
when I could get it – and bear the lash as well!

And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children,
and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when
I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus
heard me! And ain't I a woman?

- Sojourner Truth


We humans contribute to the world’s gloom, like dark shadows on a dark landscape.…But now this man from Nazareth comes to us and invites us to mirror God’s image, and shows us how. He says: you too can become light, as God is light. What is all around you is not hell, but rather a world waiting to be filled with hope and faith. This world is your home as surely as the God created and wrought it is love. You may not believe it, but you can love this world. It is a place of God. It has a purpose. Its beauty is not a delusion. You can lead a meaningful life in it.

- Jörg Zink  

The password of the early Christians was joy, so let us
still serve the Lord with joy. Joy is love, joy is prayer, joy
is strength. God loves a person who gives joyfully, and if
you give joyfully you always give more. A joyful heart is the
result of a heart burning with love. Works of love are always
works of joy. We don’t need to look for happiness: if we have
love for others we’ll be given it. It is the gift of God.

- Mother Teresa


When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the southern cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches, the southern cross begins to bend; the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of time upon the dial of the universe, and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the lookout knows that the midnight is passing and that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people everywhere take heart of hope, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.

- Eugene V. Debs



The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution that has to start with each one of us.



For Those Interested -
A Ten Week Series September 18th - November 27th, 2017
Monday Evenings, TM Room 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
"CONVICTIONS - How I Learned What Matters Most"
Author: Marcus Borg
Registration/Hospitality and Book: $60.00.
Book only: $20.00
40 copies of the book have been sold.
35 persons have registered for the course.
Classes are going well with strong, enthusiastic attendances.
Read my background information on the study book:
Check our entire archives for all 49 books studied since 2000:
During the 2016-2017 two session-term -
Total class registrations: 70
Total books sold: 75
Our best year ever, since 1998!
Ten Sessions September 21st - December 7th, 2017

Biblical book(s) to be studied this autumn were determined by
the class at the first session of the term, Thursday, Sept. 21st.
A Study of Similarities and Differences
Ten sessions 10-11 AM

Gathering at 9:30 AM in the St. David's TM Room.
No charge
Study resource -
"The DK Complete Bible Handbook"
  Edited by John Bowker
South Africa was our destination! We planned a nineteen-
day tour that combined a focus on spirituality, social
justice, culture, and nature, and it ran October 21st
thru November 8th.
A beautiful brochure with trip cost, itinerary, and
many helpful travel hints was published.
Twenty-five persons registered and paid in full to
take the trip. This was our tour group. 
All together, thirty-two persons made deposits
but some had to withdraw for health or other
We have activated a South Africa Spiritual Travelers
discussion list group to and used it to build community
amongst the participants, and to share news and
We will report our experiences to St. David's congregation
as part of the worship service Sunday, January 14th, 2018.
For information click Rostad Tours:
Follow these notices for weekly updates.

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