For a background and explanation of the phrase "Holy Manners". Book Discussions and Archives
St. David's United Church in Calgary, Canada

St. David's Forum. We are about 90 persons using Yahoo Groups for the Discussions. The discussions are eclectic and wider than these particular studies. Study updates are posted on the Forum. The Forum is open to all including visitors on the internet and folks who can't make it out to the evening sessions. It is for when you have other obligations and cannot come. It is because you have something to share. It is because you have a question. Click the YahooGroups logo left to visit the open discussion present and past. Click HERE, to request joining the group. You may then participate and also be emailed the postings.
Click the Left Book Cover Images to visit the Pages for these studies. The latest is at the top.
HM38  How Jesus Became God
by Bart Ehrman

“The idea that Jesus is God is not an invention of modern times, of course. As I will show in my discussion, it was the view of the very earliest Christians soon after Jesus’s death. One of our driving questions throughout this study will always be what these Christians meant by saying “Jesus is God.” As we will see, different Christians meant different things by it. Moreover, to understand this claim in any sense at all will require us to know what people in the ancient world generally meant when they thought that a particular human was a god— or that a god had become a human.”
HM37  Reclaiming the Bible for the Non-Religious - by Bishop John Shelby Spong

“I have sought, therefore, to introduce people to the themes and messages of the various books of the Bible by examining the sweep of history in which these books were originally written. What was the situation that compelled this or that particular writing? What was the message the author sought to convey, and what part of that message still has universal applications? I wanted to help my readers understand why these particular books, written between two and three thousand years ago, came to be regarded as authoritative and thus worthy of being preserved as sacred.”
HM36b  Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
by Walter Brueggemann

“People of faith can read the Bible so that almost any perspective on a current issue will find some support in the Bible. That rich and multivoiced offering in the Bible is what makes appeals to it so tempting and yet so tricky and hazardous, because much of our reading of the Bible turns out to be an echo of what we thought anyway.”
HM36b  Islam - A Short History
by Karen Armstrong

“The spectre of Islamic fundamentalism sends a shiver through Western society, which seems not nearly so threatened by the equally prevalent and violent fundamentalism of other faiths. This has certainly affected the attitude of Western people towards the Muslims living in their own countries.”
HM35b  Between the Dark and the Daylight - Embracing the Contradictions of Life
by Joan Chittister

"'There is a light in us that only darkness itself can illuminate. It is the glowing calm that comes over us when we finally surrender to the ultimate truth of creation: that there is a God and we are not it. Whatever we had assumed to be an immutable dimension of the human enterprise is not. In fact, it is gone and there is nothing we can do to bring it back. Then the clarity of it all is startling. Life is not about us; we are about the project of finding Life. At that moment, spiritual vision illuminates all the rest of life. And it is that light that shines in darkness.” p393
HM35a  Learning to Walk in the Dark
by Barbara Brown Taylor

"The reasons that I had been given for staying out of the dark were becoming less and less convincing as I had more and more occasions to walk in it—caring for aging parents, going to the funerals of people I loved, coping with economic crisis, seeing ice caps melt, and watching churches close—all the while weighing a bag of Christian certainties that had less in it all the time. The energy required to keep darkness at bay was fast becoming more than I could manage. Perhaps there was another way? ... So here at the end, I think this may be a book about living with loss, which is tough enough in any place or time but is especially difficult in a culture that works so hard to look the other way.” p393
HM34  Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence
by Karen Armstrong

"'To claim that it has a single, unchanging, and inherently violent essence is not accurate. Identical religious beliefs and practices have inspired diametrically opposed courses of action . ... The problem lies not in the multifaceted activity that we call “religion” but in the violence embedded in our human nature and the nature ofThe problem lies not in the multifaceted activity that we call “religion” but in the violence embedded in our human nature and the nature of the state, which from the start required the forcible subjugation of at least 90 percent of the population. p393"
HM33a  Medicine Walk
by Richard Wagamese

"'I ain't sure how to feel,' the kid said. 'Sometimes when things get taken away from you it feels like there's a hole at your centre where you can feel the wind blow through, that's sure,' the old man said. 'Whattaya do about that?' 'Me, I always went to where the wind blows.' The old man put a hand on the kid's shoulder and turned him to face him square on. "Don't know as I ever got an answer but it always felt better being' out there.' The kid nodded. They looked at each other. The horse neighed softly in the barn and the old man pulled the kid to him and clasped his arms around him and rocked side to side. The kid ... closed his eyes and pulled it all into him." p244
HM33b  A Fair Country
by John Ralston Saul

""We are a metis civilization. What we are today has been inspired as much by four centuries of life with the indigenous civilizations as by four centuries of immigration. Perhaps more. Today we are the outcome of that experience. As have Metis people, Canadians in general have been heavily influenced and shaped by the First Nations. We still are. We increasingly are. This influencing, this shaping is deep within us. (p16)  ... At the core of the Canadian civilization there do exist ideas used and shaped over four centuries. Our idea of citizenship as a circle that welcomes and adapts. Our conviction that fairness and inclusion are the keys to how we function. These also are simple ideas. But all successful civilizations are built upon simple realizations, usually dragged out of difficult circumstances. Our ideas are particular to our experience."  p715
HM32b  Eternal Life: A New Vision
by John Spong

Work in Progress
HM32a  The Light Beyond
by Raymond Moody

Work in Progress
HM31  Immortal Diamond
by Fr. Richard Rohr
Work in Progress
HM30  Radical Gratitude
by Mary Jo Leddy

"This book is about ordinary grace, which is here for the asking. For free. ... It is about authentic liberation in a culture ... that is chronically dissatisfied. "  p 5      "In a culture of money, that which can neither be bought nor sold is Holy. ... the goodness of beginnings is Holy. ... that which pulls us to the point of our being is Holy. ... those who are grateful are Holy."  p173
HM29  Revelations - Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation
by Elaine Pagels

"The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible - and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visions - dreams and nightmares. ... Exploring how this book has fascinated readers for two thousand years tells us much about ourselves and about how religion evokes such powerful responses - for better and for worse - to this day.." p 1
HM28  The Other Face of God - when the stranger calls us home
by Mary Jo Leddy

"We become who we truly are as we respond to the summons of the other: we come to know Jesus as we follow himIt is in responding to the annunciations and visitations of the strangers that our lives become weighty, consequential, significant. ... We respond to the call of another not because we are good but because the command of the other activates the goodness between us." p 48
HM27b  Godless Morality - keeping religion out of ethics
by Richard Holloway

"The difficulty lies in the fact that history has taught us that many claims made on behalf of God have been subsequently rejected for moral reasons, so the fact that an injunction comes with a divine label attached is no guarantee of divine origin." p8
HM27a  Between the Monster and the Saint - reflections on the human condition
by Richard Holloway

"It is a world that can make us bitter, hateful, rabid, destroyers of joy. It is a world that can draw forth tenderness from us, as we lean towards one another over broken gates. It is a world of monsters and saints, a mutilated world, but it is the only one we have been given. We should let it shock us not into hatred or anxiety, but into unconditional love." ... p170 
HM26a  An Altar in the World - A Geography of Faith
by Barbara Brown Taylor

"I trust that these practices, like the central practices of all the worl'd great faiths, are meant to teach people what it means to be more fully human. ... So welcome to your own priesthood, practiced at the altar of your own life. The good news is that you have everything you need to begin." ... pxix
HM26b  I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey
by J. Philip Newell

"The Quran taught me that we must endure suffering patiently and to forgive those who create the man-made injustices that cause human suffering. ... I hope my story will help open your mind, your heart and your eyes to the human condition in Gaza, and hlep you avoid making sweeping false judgments." ... p191
HM25  Listening for the Heartbeat of God - A Celtic Spirituality
by J. Philip Newell

"God's gift of grace is regarded not as planting something totally new in bad soil, but as releasing or bring out the goodness which is present in the soil of human life but obstructed by evil. Grace is seen as enabling our nature to flourish, as cooperating with the light that is within every person." p 50
HM24  The Future of Faith
by Harvey Cox

"... a newly global Christianity, enlivened by a multiplicity of cultures and yearning for the realization of God's reign of shalom, is finding its soul again. All the signs suggest we are poised to enter a new Age of the Spirit and that the future will be a future of faith. " p 224
HM23a  The Dalai Lama - Essential Writings
editor Thomas A. forsthoefel

"Love and kindness are the very basis of society. If we lose these feelings, society will face remendous difficulties; the survival of humanity will be endangered. Together with material development, we need spiritual development, so that inner peace and social harmony can be experienced. Without inner peace, without inner calm, it is difficult to have lasting peace. In this field of inner development, religion can make important contributions." ... p156
HM23b  Jean Vanier - Essential Writings
editor Carolyn Whitney-Brown

"Follow your conscience. Let your spirits and hearts speak. Do not restrain, or sadden the Spirit. With courage, break through the structures of the past, open your hearts wide to the Spirit of God which is the spirit of welcome and giving, and know that God loves and helps those who follow his Spirit and who live for the unfortunate and who assume real and permanent responsibilities on their behalf. ... Your work, often obscure and unrewarding, is the seed tht will bring forth the new society of brotherhood, justice, and peace." ... p74
HM22 How Jesus Became Christian
by Barrie Wilson

"What Christianity achieved in the post-Constantine fourth-century era represented the marketing victory of all times. It is especially ironic that a movement that started off as a radical challenge to the Pax Romana succeeded in becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. ... But the victory came at a tremendous price. Simply put, the teachings of Jesus himself were smothered by the religion of Paul." ... p255
HM21 With or Without God - why the way we live is more important than what we believe
by Gretta Vosper

"Whether non-theistic religious gatherings can thrive and survive is anyone's guess. We are in the midst of a great experiement. I fervently believe that we need to see that experiment through to the end, giving our all to the creation of communities of "faith" that celebrate the communal nature of life and challenge us to engage in right relationship with self, others, and the planet." ... p356
HM20 The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins

"It is often said that there is a God-shaped gap in the brain which needs to be filled: we have a psychological need for God - imaginary friend, father, big brother, confessor, confidant - and the need has to be satisfied whether God really exists or not. But could it be that God clutters up a gap that we'd be better off filling with something else?"
HM19 Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
by Diana Butler Bass

"Consider this an invitation. I invite you on my pilgrimage to some very different kinds of churches, old Protestant churches that have found new life in the face of change. They reminded me that Christianity is a sacred pathway to someplace better, a journey of transforming our selves, our faith communities, and our world." ... from the Introduction.
HM18a.Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa
The 2005 Massey Lectures - CBC, Anansi, U of Toronto,
by Stephen Lewis

"I've been emotionally torn asunder by the onslaught of AIDS ...What I have attempted to do in these lectures is ... [renew the] ... development and humanitarian ethos.
HM18b. Seeking the Sacred: Leading a Spiritual Life in a Secular World
by Romeo Dallaire, Stephen Lewis, Thomas Moore, Marion Woodman, Martin Rutte,

"...when we understand the joys and sufferings of life, and still operate out of hope and light, the world has the opportunity to create Heaven on Earth.".
HM17. The Emerging Christian Way: Thoughts, Stories & Wisdom for a Faith of Transformation
by 14 current voices, from Copper House - Wood Lake, ed Michael Schwartzentruber

"These are exciting times for those who call mainline Christianity "home". It is also an exciting time for those who have "left home" - perhaps because of frustration, or boredom, or doubt - are wondering if they might yet find a reason to return." ... from the Conclusion.
Clicking on the book cover on subsequent pages will return you to this index. HM16.What's So Amazing About Grace
by Phillip Yancey
"The many uses of the word in English convince me that grace is indeed amazing - truly our last best word. It contains the essence of the gospel as a droop of water can contain the image of the sun. The world thirsts for grace in ways it does not even recognize: little wonder the hymn "Amazing Grace" edged its way onto the Top Ten charts two hundred years after composition. For a society that seems adrift, without moorings, I know of no better place to drop an anchor of faith.." ... from the Introduction
HM15.The Gospel of Thomas - An introduction

"113. His disciples said to him, "When will the Father's imperial rule come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or "Look, there!' Rather, the Father's imperial rule is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it.."
HM14a. Thomas Merton - Essential Writings
ed. Christine M. Bochen

"Writing to a student who had asked him how to study, Merton advised the young man to study "to find the truth and to awaken deeper levels of life in yourself." May we who read and study Merton do just that." from the preface
HM14b. Oscar Romero - Reflections on His Life and Writings
eds. Marie Dennis, Renny Golden, Scott Wright

"The church must save the people and be with them in their search for justice. Also, it must not let them follow ways of hatred, vengeance, or unjust violence. In this sense, we accompany the people, a people that suffers greatly. Of course those that trample the people must be in conflict with the church."
HM13.The Battle for God - A History of Fundamentalism
by Karen Armstrong

"One of the most startling developments of the late twentieth century has been the emergence within every major religious tradition of a militant piety popularly known as "fundamentalism." ... Fundamentalists have no time for democracy, pluralism, religious toleration, peacekeeping, free speech, or the separation of church and state. ... Fundamentalists feel that they are battling against forces that threaten their most sacred values. " from the introduction.
HM12. The Jesus I Never Knew
by Philip Yancey

"...what I found portrayed in the gospels ... Other people affected Jesus deeply: obstinacy frustrated him, self-righteousness infuriated him, simple faith threilled him. Indeed, he seemed more emotional and spontaneous than the average person, not less. More passionate, not less. The more I studied Jesus, the more difficult it became to pigeon-hole him." p 23
HM11. The Purpose Driven Life - What on Earth am I Here For?
by Rick Warren

"If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose."
HM10a. Restless Gods: The Renaissance of Religion in Canada
by Reginald Bibby

"... there appears to be a stirring among the country's established churches - those same groups that Canadians have been so reluctant to abandon. There is also a stirring among large numbers of people outside the churches, who are pursuing answers about life and death and spiritual needs with more openness than at perhaps any time in our nation's history."
HM10b. Restless Churchs: How Canada's Churches Can Contribute to the Emerging Religious Renaissance
by Reginald Bibby

""There is much that any church can do, directly and indirectly. I suspect that the God who seems to be shaking up Canadians and churches is not impressed with people who use church size and church resources to claim an exemption from responding to needs. Virtually any church anywhere can share in effective ministry ..."
HM9. The Heart of Christianity - Rediscovering a Life of Faith
by Marcus Borg

"I describe two quite different answers ... the first is an earlier vision of Christianity; the second, an emerging vision. Both are present in the churches of North America today, deeply dividing Christians. We live in a time of conflict and change in the church."
HM8. Soul Survivor - How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church
by Phillip Yancey.

"Christians are not perfect, by any means, but they can be people made fully alive. This is what they look like."
HM7. The Holy Longing - a search for a Christian Spirituality
by Fr. Ron Rolheiser

"For Henri Nouwen, 1932-1996, our generation's Kierkegaard. By sharing his own struggles, he mentored us all, helping us to pray while not knowing how to pray, to rest while feeling restless, to be at peace while tempted, to feel safe while still anxious, to be surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, and to love while still in doubt."      ... the dedication of the book
*HM6. A New Christianity for a New World - Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born
by John Shelby Spong

"The primary question I seek to raise in this book is this: Can a person claim with integrity to be a Christian and at the same time dismiss, as I have done, so much of what has traditionally defined the content of the Christian faith?"
A one hour conference call with Jack and Christine Spong (Session 10). This was transcribed. Well worth reading, it puts a more pastoral perspective on Bishop Spong's strong opinions. There are considerable internet resources for your reference also.
*HM5a. The Essence of Julian - Ralph Milton
The Julian of Norwich Study is based on a unique new work of Dr. Ralph Milton. In The Essence of Julian he has created an historical novel based on the times and has created a most convincing characterization and a well constructed story. In Julian's Cell he has freely translated the remarkable vision of this 14th century mystic from its medieval english (Julian was born the same year Chaucer was). The two books belong together.
HM5b Julian's Cell - Julian of Norwich - tr Ralph Milton

"And so I saw that God is delighted to be our father, and God is delighted to be ur mother, and God is delighted to be our true spouse. Christ is delighted to be our brother, and Jesus is delighted to be our Saviour."
HM4. Spiritual Innovators - 75 Extraordinary People Who Changed the World in the Past Century

Who were the most innovative spiritual people of the past century? Here is a celebration of the human spirit, selected from martyrs and mystics, intellectuals and charismatics from East and West. It is a guide to the most creative spiritual ideas and actions of the past century - a challenge for us today. ... Black Elk, H. H. the Dalai Lama, Mary Baker Eddy, Abraham Joshua Heschel, J. Krishnamurti,C S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Elijah Muhammad, Meher Baba, Joseph Campbell, Simone Weil,Pope John XXIII, Shuoryu Suzuki, Aimee Semple McPherson, Billy Graham, Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Jr. … these are just some of the 75 spiritual innovators who have changed our world and who are profiled in this book. Our study focuses on 24..
HM3. Building Vital and Faithful Worship - A Ten Week Course in Two Parts.
"Beyond the Worship Wars", Part One.
"Eager for Worship", Part Two.

Why? We wish to come together to discuss and share ways of continuing to build vital and faithful worship at St.David's.
HM2. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously, but not Literally
by Marcus Borg
HM1.The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions
by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright