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

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

30

Nov

2016

The persuasive power of stories

Author: Jim Taylor

She looks happy. A smile wreathes her face, which is smudged with charcoal. So is her frilly pink dress. She’s on her hands and knees inside the fireplace, one small hand raised in greeting. 

            Our daughter Sharon was eight months old when we moved into our dream home in North Vancouver. The rest of us were busy carrying boxes. Sharon was too young to carry anything, so we parked her inside and carried on carrying. How much trouble can a still-crawling child get into in an empty house?

            Then my wife asked, “Where’s Sharon?”

            No one had seen her. We scattered through the rooms, searching frantically. Panic rising in our throats, we gathered in the living room. 

            That’s when we heard the happy gurgle coming from the fireplace.

 

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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: stories, Bible

27

Nov

2016

Ottawa fiddles while victims die

Author: Jim Taylor

 Why do we blandly tolerate government foot-dragging on the 700 drug overdose deaths that will happen in B.C. before the end of this year? As of October, the province had 622 deaths. Two more months will push the toll over 700. And not one of those deaths resulted from drugs administered at a safe injection site. Not one.

 

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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: Fentanyl, Drugs

23

Nov

2016

Looking ahead, looking back

Author: Jim Taylor
The death of Leonard Cohen, two weeks ago, prompted me to revisit a column I had drafted several months earlier. My friend John McTavish had sent me his daughter Sandra’s poem, “Valedictory Address”. I found it moving, and I reprint most of it here (these columns do have length limits!) with their permission.
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20

Nov

2016

Mass protests do not equal democracy

Author: Jim Taylor

In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, everyone seems to agree that democracy is broken and needs to be fixed.

            The system is broken, yes. But what I see people doing to fix it isn’t fixing it.

            Democracy does not consist of removing unpopular politicians by mass protests. Nor is democracy a succession of referenda, on everything from declaring war to naming a ship.

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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: democracy

16

Nov

2016

Not what you do, but why you do it

Author: Jim Taylor
This story has floated around for a long time. Perhaps the pastor wore the wrong robes. Or forgot to use the Lord’s Prayer. Or even told a slightly off-colour joke. 
Anyway, an irate parishioner accosted the pastor at the door, fuming: “That was disgraceful! If Jesus was still alive, he’d be turning over in his grave!”
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13

Nov

2016

Remembering a gentle hero of the Burma battles

Author: Jim Taylor
I am not going to write about Tuesday’s election in the Polarized States of America. No, I am not! The other significant event this week was Remembrance Day. Veterans' Day in the U.S. Armistice Day in some other countries. I have no personal stories of service in war. I was too young for the Korean War; after that, I didn’t want to serve in any war. So I'll tell you instead about my uncle, Andrew Copeland Taylor, who never intended to be a soldier at all. He wanted to be a missionary doctor.
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9

Nov

2016

Put More Bubbles in your Life

Author: Jim Taylor
There was a time, wasn’t there, when the World series took place in September? Before the NHL started up? When baseball was a game of summer, football of fall, and hockey of winter? Now they’re all on at once. No wonder I’m confused about the seasons.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: bubbles, life

6

Nov

2016

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Author: Jim Taylor
Two days from now, the United States will elect a new government. The U.S. may still be the world’s most powerful nation. In budget, weaponry, and personnel, America has roughly the military power of all the rest of the world combined. But I doubt if it is still the most influential nation. The recent electoral campaign has knocked it off that lofty pedestal, perhaps forever. But there's no doubt that the coming change in government will have profound implications for all other nations. As the voting date draws closer -- somehow, the saying about the light at the end of the tunnel being an onrushing freight train comes to mind -- political pundits seem to agree that the nation is deeply divided. They also seem agreed that, no matter who wins the White House, the country will remain deeply divided.
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2

Nov

2016

The marvelous mysteries of our minds

Author: Jim Taylor
While giving a talk, a while ago. I became aware of how many levels of thought can be going on at once in my mind.
At one level, of course, I’m thinking about the words I’m saying at that moment. But I’m also thinking ahead to the words I’m going to say, the way these words will lead into the next point.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: mysteries, minds

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