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

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

 

12

Aug

2022

It’s time to quit pretending

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday August 11, 2022

 

I made a momentous decision a few months ago. I decided to quit playing minister.

            A few people may be surprised that I’m NOT a minister. Because I often write about religious topics. I also write about evolution, life, economics, politics, and occasionally even mathematics. Somehow, no one suggests that makes me an economist, biologist, or mathematician.

            Perhaps they assume that no one could possibly be interested in theology unless they were being paid to do so.


Comments (0) Number of views (2)

29

Jul

2022

Twenty-nine years and still counting

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 28, 2022

 

Last weekend marked a significant anniversary. Twenty-nine years ago, on July 23, 1993, Joan and I moved into our new home here in the Okanagan Valley.

            It’s the longest I have ever lived in one place. 

            The previous longest was 25 years in Toronto – equivalent, I sometimes joke, to a life sentence without parole. Then we moved west. Back west, actually, since I had grown up in Vancouver, and Joan in the Kootenays. 

            So we watched our worldly possessions disappear into a moving company’s container, locked up our now-empty home, and set out across the country in a Honda Accord packed full of suitcases, house plants, and two panicky cats. 

            The cats yowled for 100 miles, and then became – dare I put it this way? – catatonic. They shut down. They didn’t eat, drink, pee or poo for five days.


Comments (0) Number of views (39)

29

Jul

2022

Birds and trees want to be appreciated

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 21, 2022

 

One morning this last spring, I went out for my morning walk. Unexpectedly, bird song surrounded me. 

            “Where did all these birds come from?” I wondered. 

            Then I realized they had been there all along. I just hadn’t been able to hear them. Because I had new hearing aids that let me hear the higher frequencies of bird songs. 

            As time has passed, I’ve learned to recognize some characteristic songs. The American Robin’s cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up. The goldfinch’s ti-dee-dee-dee. The doves, always in pairs, making cooing sounds at each other. And, of course, the magpies, which are capable of imitating every other bird, but prefer to sound like nails on a blackboard. 

            They were all there before. I just couldn’t hear them.


Comments (0) Number of views (29)

15

Jul

2022

Pronouns display our language proficiency

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 14, 2022

 

The other day, I heard a CBC announcer intone, “between you and me.”

            I was shocked. He got it right!

            Pronouns, it seems, have become the litmus test of language competency.

            Back when Joan I and I were buying our first house, the real estate representative told me, oozing sincerity, “I would like for you and I to be friends.”

            I considered any such friendship unlikely. Him and I were not grammatically compatible.

            Back in high school, English teacher Jean Skelton made our entire class chant, over and over, “between you and me… between you and me… between you and me…”


Comments (0) Number of views (44)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Language, pronouns

9

Jul

2022

Making sense of meaningless words

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 7, 2022

 

        Every storyteller runs into difficulties. A retired Ontario minister told me his favourite children’s story disaster. He started, like me, with a question: “What is furry and runs up and down trees?”

            No answer.

            He tried again: “What hides nuts for winter?”

            Still no answer.

            Somewhat desperately: “What has a big bushy tail and beady eyes?”

            Finally one girl held up her hand. “I know the answer is always supposed to be Jesus,” she said. “But it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”


Comments (0) Number of views (61)

9

Jul

2022

On having power, or not

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 30, 2022

 

Two scenes. Or maybe two sides of the same scene.

            My street has been torn up for several weeks. The municipality is installing a new water main. I don’t know why -- the water pressure coming into my house already exceeds municipal standards.

            Installing the new pipes involves ripping up several blocks worth of paving. Digging a ditch. And filling the ditch in again. All of which involves a lot of heavy equipment. And because it affects traffic, the construction company requires flaggers.

            Flaggers do not have an enviable job. Aside from low pay, they either stand around feeling useless most of the day. Or they get abuse from impatient drivers, angry at being delayed for no apparent reason.


Comments (0) Number of views (42)

24

Jun

2022

Who I am, and how I got there

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday, June 23, 2022

 

I started writing a journal in December 1964. Ironically, I didn’t set out to chronicle my life. I intended to write a magazine article. For fame, or glory, or something.  

            That autumn, I had taken a night-school course taught by author and ghost-writer Raymond Hull, co-author with Lawrence J. Peter of the best-selling book, The Peter Principle. I never completed that course, because I got a new job in Prince Rupert, far up the northern B.C. coast. 

            During my first weeks in that rain-soaked, rock-hewn, isolated city on an island in the Pacific, I compiled my impressions into a magazine article, following the conventions Hull had taught me. I sent it to his class. 

            I never heard anything more about it. But that article established a habit of writing down my impressions. And so I continued. 


Comments (0) Number of views (60)

17

Jun

2022

A difference that makes a difference

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 16, 2022

 

It was not a typical breakfast conversation: But then, we weren’t a typical breakfast group. 

            For around 25 years, a group of guys -- who all worked for, with, or in Canadian churches -- have met at least once a year to talk. About almost anything. 

            We haven’t solved any of the world’s problems. But we’ve had a good time not solving them.

            And so, on this particular morning, we found ourselves wondering about the difference between guilt and shame.


Comments (0) Number of views (73)

17

Jun

2022

Playing a duet with the great ones

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 9, 2022

 

Piano recitals are back. 

            My church has a wonderful grand piano. Piano teachers love to bring their children to play on it, to the applause of their admiring parents and adoring grandparents.

            Until Covid-19 came along, we used to have up to a dozen piano recitals a year. During the pandemic, some teachers abandoned recitals altogether. Others did virtual recitals.

            But as the pandemic restrictions eased, the recitals have come back. 

            I’m the sound man. I get to attend, without having to play anything.


Comments (0) Number of views (56)

17

Jun

2022

Saying a proper goodbye, just in case

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 2, 2022

 

As far as I know, none of my friends are in imminent danger of dying – thanks to pills, pacemakers, and physiotherapists.

            But we have all had warnings of our mortality. The future is not infinite anymore.

            The editor of my elementary school’s newsletter mused about her shrinking mailing list. “When I don't know what's happened to classmates,” she wrote, “it makes me sad. Sort of like I haven't said a proper goodbye.”

            Goodbye. 

            We don’t like goodbyes. As Rabbi Kami Knapp wrote, “People feel uncomfortable with the feelings associated with goodbyes, or we become too busy to take the time to properly say goodbye.” 

            Many of our words for parting deny the possibility of permanent separation, whether by death or circumstance. 


Comments (0) Number of views (51)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: death, goodbye, partings

RSS
12345678910Last

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo .C. Taylor 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 215 3G 70 years 9/11 A A God That Could Be Real abduction aboriginal abortion Abrams abuse achievement Adam addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix Advent advertising affirmative action Afghanistan aging agnostics Ahriman Ahura Mazda airlines airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations allies Almighty Almighty God alone ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Gorman Amanda Todd Amazon American empire Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andes Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anger animals anniversaries Anniversary Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac apologetics Apologies apology apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong army Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes Asian assisted death astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits Aunt Jemima Australia authorities authorities. Bible autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bagnell Bahai Baldi Bali Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas Barbados barbed wire barbers barriers Bashar al Assad Batman baton BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs bells belonging benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex bicycle Biden Bill C-6 billboards billionaire BioScience Bird songs birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings Blockade blockades blood blood donations blood donors Bloomberg Blue Christmas boar boarding school body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women BOMBHEAD bombing bombings bombs books border patrol borrowing both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brain development brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken Bruce McLeod bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying burials bus driver bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras campfire Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer cannibalism Canute Capitol Capp caregivers Caribbean Caribbean Conference of Churches caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash castes cats cave caveats CBC CD Cecil the lion. Zanda cell phones Celsius CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesterton Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking childbirth children Chile Chile. Allende China chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christiaanity Christian Christianity Christians Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas Eve Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas tree Christmas trees Christopher Plummer church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clearwater Clichés cliffhanger climate change climate crisis clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee coincidence cold collaboration collapse collective work colonial colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort comic strips commercials communication Communion community compassion competition complexity composers composting computer processes Computers conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confession confessions confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party conspiracies conspiracy constitution construction contraception contrasts Conversations Conversion conversion therapy Convoy cooperation COP26 copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus coronavirus corporate defence corporations corruption Corrymeela Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents couple courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 Coyotes CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche credit credit cards creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing Crows crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cuba Missile Crisis Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damien Damocles Dan Rather dancing Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Scott David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death death survival deaths debt decision decisions decorations deficit Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy Democratic denial Denny's departure Depression Derek Chauvin Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs discontinuities discussion Dishwashing dissent distancing diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Don Cherry Donald Trump donkey Donna Sinclair donor doorways Doug Ford Doug Martindale Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks duets Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day earthquake Earworms Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola echo chambers e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky ego Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergency emergent emotions Empire encryption Englehart English Entropy
Copyright 2022 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada