Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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27

Jan

2016

The difficulty of overcoming inertia

Author: Jim Taylor
My cat’s brain runs on a very early version of Windows. I can almost see the sensory inputs working their way through his mental programming:
“Oh look, a door is opening. I might like to go out. 
“I don’t want to seem too eager. I’ll take my time. 
“The door is still open. Oh oh! It’s starting to close. 
“Perhaps I should hurry!
“Ow, that hurt! Who shut the door on me?”
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: inertia

24

Jan

2016

Missionary fervour bites back

Author: Jim Taylor
It didn’t make many headlines, but the conservative wing of the worldwide Anglican church flexed its muscles about a week ago. It gagged the Episcopalian Church U.S.A. A gathering of 38 primates – the leaders of 44 national churches – in Canterbury, England, effectively excommunicated their American kin. For the next three years, the U.S. church may not represent the Anglican church on ecumenical or interfaith bodies, may not participate in any international Anglican committees, and may not vote “on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity…” I’m tempted to invoke an analogy to biblical eunuchs. On the surface, the issue is homosexuality. African bishops were incensed by the U.S. church’s election of a gay priest, Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The U.S. church then heaped insult on top of injury, last summer, by approving a rite for same-sex marriages.
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20

Jan

2016

Suddenly the light goes on

Author: Jim Taylor
If I had to choose my favourite Christian festival, it would probably be Epiphany.
“Eppy what?” you ask.
Epiphany. It comes from an ancient Greek word that means, loosely, to show forth, to reveal.
Unlike Christmas, Easter, and All Hallows’ Eve, Epiphany hasn’t been taken over by commercial interests yet. Perhaps because there’s no agreement on the proper date to celebrate it.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: light, epiphany

17

Jan

2016

Mental mindsets of political positions

Author: Jim Taylor
I watch the U.S. political scene from north of the border, and wonder who writes the script. Lewis Carroll, with Donald Trump playing the Queen of Hearts who wants to cut off everyone’s head? Franz Kafka, with a bewildered everyman trying to penetrate a nightmare labyrinth of misinformation, contradictions, and downright lies? J.K. Rowling, creating a parallel world that mere muggles can never comprehend? Even they would be hard-pressed, I think, to imagine a situation where a presidential candidate deliberately alienates the ethnic and religious nations he’d have to negotiate with if elected. Where a handful of armed rebels dare the feds to re-enact Waco. Where a gunman kills three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic and gets praised for saving lives. The logic escapes me.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: politics, mindsets

13

Jan

2016

Spontaneous collaboration at work

Author: Jim Taylor
In another column, I wrote about five years of effort by the Rotary Club of Lake Country to provide the Lake Country Food Bank with a permanent new home. The ceremony for turning over the keys to the new building took place just one week ago.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: collaboration, work

13

Jan

2016

How does it feel to feel like God?

Author: Jim Taylor
I’m going to borrow some thoughts from Fr. Ron Rolheiser for today’s column. I knew Fr. Rolheiser briefly, while he was Roman Catholic bishop of Saskatoon, mainly through the enthusiasm he inspired among his staff. Fr. Rolheiser is now president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Like me, he sends out two columns every week. This one apparently came out first in 1996. 
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: feel, God

10

Jan

2016

Spontaneous collaboration at work

Author: Jim Taylor
In an earlier column, I wrote about five years of effort by the Rotary Club of Lake Country to provide the Lake Country Food Bank with a permanent new home. The ceremony for turning over the keys to the new building took place on Wednesday. Like many things, the planning started so simply. The ceremony was originally scheduled for December 23, as a Christmas present for Food Bank founder, Phyllis MacPherson. That plan got abruptly postponed when Phyllis died four nights before. 
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6

Jan

2016

Lessons from a few snowflakes

Author: Jim Taylor
Snow fell heavily Saturday night. By Sunday morning, 25 cm (for metric deniers, that’s 10 inches) covered the ground.
I shouldn’t say that snow fell heavily. Snow can’t fall heavily. Each snowflake weighs next to nothing. Snow is, in fact, frozen air. What we call humidity, the invisible water vapour in the air, freezes. And sifts down. Sometimes gently. Sometimes viciously, as tiny needles of ice in a blizzard.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: snowflakes

3

Jan

2016

From improbable beginnings, big results

Author: Jim Taylor
You never know what you may be starting. Sometime in the late 1970s -- no one now remembers exactly when -- a tiny but indomitable woman named Phyllis McPherson began supplying food to struggling individuals in Lake Country. The Lake Country Food Assistance Society must have operated informally for some time before it achieved charitable registration October 25, 1988. Her food bank was a temporary effort. The economy was slumping. People needed help. So Phyllis offered it. In the beginning, she and a few friends worked out of her house. Then out of a rented house. Then out of a series of short-term facilities. But the need never ended. 
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