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

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24

Mar

2023

We make coincidences happen

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday February 23, 2023

Just a year ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. The date sticks in my mind because, by some coincidence, on the same day I had to have my dog Pippin euthanized.
In hindsight, she was acting too much like Vladimir Putin. Increasingly aggressive, and increasingly irrational about the objects of her aggression.
Coincidences like that help us remember things. If we can remember one half of the equation, it helps us remember the other half.
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24

Mar

2023

Who benefits from hospital visits?

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday February 9, 2023

Some people do hospital visiting as easily as eggs roll off counters. I don’t -- the same way I don’t do windows. Or go door-knocking in political campaigns. I can, but I avoid it.
My dislike of hospital visiting might derive from having made most of my hospital visits to dying people -- my mother, my father, my son, my wife…
During the year I served a Toronto congregation as a “pastoral associate” – a fancy description for a lay person filling a clergy role – one of my duties was hospital visiting. I had to force myself to do it.
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24

Mar

2023

Nothing to say

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday February 19, 2023

I didn’t send out a Sharp Edges column this weekend. This is the explanation why.
I had planned to write about 68-year-old Toronto Mayor John Tory’s affair with a 31-year-old female staff member. And I discovered I had nothing to say.
Except, perhaps, that Tory’s embarrassment proves – as if proof were needed – that for someone in the public eye, there’s no such thing as safe sex.
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24

Mar

2023

Have a heart! Donate blood or plasma!

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday February 5, 2023

I give blood at the Canadian Blood Services clinic here in Kelowna every two weeks. Correction – I give plasma every two weeks. If I gave whole blood -- as I did for many years, until Canada’s tainted blood scandal forced rule changes that made anyone who had ever had malaria ineligible – my donations would have to be 56 days apart, to give my body time to replenish those donated blood cells.
But when I give plasma, they give me back my blood cells. All I need to replenish is fluids.
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24

Mar

2023

Discovering ourselves in our God-moments

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday February 9, 2023

My congregation starts Sunday morning worship services with something we call “God-moments.”
A former minister, Jim Hannah, started God-moments. Although he has gone, the concept has carried on.
Our current minister introduces God-moments as “moments when you have felt the presence of God especially close to you. It might have been this week, or perhaps some rime earlier in your life…”
They are, for me, the most worshipful times of the whole service.
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24

Mar

2023

Why groundhogs might feel grumpy

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday February 2, 2023

Once or twice a week, a phone call wakes me at 5:30 a.m. I struggle out of deep slumber, and hear a recorded greeting: “Hi, this is Daniel from Amazon Prime. We have detected some suspicious activity on your Amazon Prime account…”
I don’t have an Amazon Prime account. I have never had an Amazon Prime account. And thanks to Daniel, I have resolved never to have one.
I expect that groundhogs all over North America have similar feelings every Thursday, February 2, Groundhog Day.
If I were a groundhog, I would be hibernating peacefully in my underground, earth-insulated den, when an arm reaches in, grabs me by the scruff of my neck, and hauls me out into the freezing cold of a winter’s day.
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24

Mar

2023

The paradox of reducing racial prejudice

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday February 5, 2023

You can’t have missed the fact that February is Black History Month. .A friend from New England asks, “Black American History month? Why? Isn't Black American History, American history?”
I know him well enough to know that he’s not prejudiced against either Black people or Black history. He’s wondering why we – “we” meaning generic white society – feel a need to segregate Black History from history in general.
“Think of Black History Month as ‘affirmative action’,” I wrote back to my friend.
That is, it’s an attempt to correct a historic inequity in American awareness.
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24

Mar

2023

The addictions we don’t know we have

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday January 29, 2023

A group of young people filled the restaurant booth next to mine. The first thing they all did was to pull out their cell phones.
Anne Wilson Shaef would define their behaviour as addictive. Sheaf wrote two influential books 40 years ago: When Society Becomes an Addict (1988), and The Addictive Organization (1989).
Like Marshall McLuhan’s musings on media, Shaef identified a social trend before it became too obvious to notice.
One of Shaef’s contributions was to point out that social or behavioural addictions are just as pervasive as substance addictions.
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24

Mar

2023

Christian unity calls for more than words

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday January 26, 2023

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity started Wednesday January 25. I’m not sold on it. But I’m not sure I should say so. I mean, Christian unity is a good thing, isn’t it?
I have very little in common with the gun-totin' far-right evangelical fringe in the U.S. that’s now being called “Christian nationalism.” Just as they have little in common with the Christian minority in India being squeezed out by the strongly pro-Hindu policies of Narendra Modi. And as they in turn have little in common with the robed guardians of priceless art treasures in the Vatican.
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24

Mar

2023

When Prince Harry chooses a surname

Author: Jim Taylor
Thursday January 19, 2023

No, I haven't read Prince Harry’s autobiography, Spare, yet. But I see that the book’s cover doesn't give the author a last name.
He is just “Prince Harry.”
It turns out, Harry doesn't have a last name. His birth certificate names him Henry Charles Allen David. No surname.
I haven’t been able to find out how U.S. Immigration processed an entry application from a man who left “Surname” blank. Although I imagine that Bob Newhart could create a hilarious monologue about it.
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