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

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

 

28

Dec

2021

Christmas -- how God does things

Author: Jim Taylor

 

Thursday December 23, 2021

 

What I like most about Christmas, I think, is that it forces me to sharpen my beliefs.

            I call myself a Christian (though I’m sure some would consider me a humanist at best, an atheist at worst). Certainly, I come from a Christian tradition. And Christian tradition has asserted, for centuries, that God was born as a human baby. We call him Jesus. Other cultures call him Jesu, or Yeshua, or some name that I don’t know. 

            Think about the sheer audacity of that claim. God became human! God didn’t just pretend to become human. God didn’t put on a human mask and go around in disguise. God became a human. A very specific historical human.

            The Incarnation makes my faith much simpler. If I want to know what God is like, I need only look at Jesus. 


Comments (0) Number of views (37)

12

Feb

2021

Language doesn’t need words

Author: Jim Taylor

            At the start of winter, I filled my bird feeder with sunflower seeds. For several days, not one bird came to dinner. Then a single junco arrived, pecked, and flew away. The day after that, a handful of scrappy little finches showed up. 

            The third day, a single quail appeared.

            Now, quail are ground birds. They’d rather run than fly, little legs blurring beneath them like the cartoon Roadrunner’s. And they are not loners. They travel in flocks, so many that sometimes the earth itself seems to be moving. 

            But for some reason, this one flew up to check. Alone.

            And the next day, dozens of quail swarmed over the feeder, climbing over each other, double-deckering on each other’s backs, to get at the treasure trove of sunflower seeds.

            They had to have had a way of passing the good news around. 

            Their own social media? 


Comments (0) Number of views (457)

10

Oct

2020

An Alternative Alphabet

Author: Jim Taylor

A is for Apple. That’s how Alphabet books usually start -- not with A for Alphabet. Because Apples are red and round, and make a striking image on the page.

            And A is for Autumn. The time when apples ripen and when we set aside summer dreams, summer romances, summer indolence, and settle into the labour of daily living.

            A is for Adam, too –although I think “Adam-and-Eve” should be a single hyphenated unity. Whatever they did, they did it together. They had no choice – there was no one else to do anything with, or to. 

            Also because of that Apple, says the second story of creation, Adam-and-Eve were expelled from their summer garden and condemned to hard labour for the Autumn of their lives.

            Although I think they got a bum deal. After all, God put them there in the garden. Naked. Young people, naked? What did God expect? 

 

Comments (0) Number of views (331)

25

Jul

2020

Here, there, and everywhere

Author: Jim Taylor

He got cancer. A rare kind of cancer, his doctor told him. He knew he was looking death in the eye. 

            He remembered an old saying: “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  When bullets zip past your head, you don’t turn to philosophical theories for comfort.

            And he realized that no matter how sincere his convictions about a God who was inside, outside, and everywhere, a God embodied  in the world and in him, at that moment what he wanted was a God who could do something about his cancer.  A God who was more than an abstract understanding. 

            He realized he still yearned for that God “out there.”


Comments (0) Number of views (277)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: God, fear, cancer

29

May

2019

The oneness of life and love

Author: Jim Taylor

God is love, I hear, over and over. God is love.

            I wonder what the speaker's definitions are.

            About God. Do they mean the traditional God, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God who knows everything, created everything, and still controls everything? Including playoff games…?

            That's a comfortable notion, I suppose, if it lets you blame God from everything that goes wrong, from avalanches that wipe out holiday resorts to tsunamis that flood a nuclear power plant and poison the entire Pacific Ocean.

            To say nothing of demented people who run down holidaying crowds with a truck, or open fire in a movie theatre, or abuse small children.

            "God moves in mysterious ways," they will say. "I guess we'll never understand God's will...."

            Such a belief may offer comfort, but it's not a God of love.


Comments (0) Number of views (582)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: life, God, love

27

Feb

2019

Beyond human perceptions

Author: Jim Taylor

I’ve never heard a snowflake fall. It must make a sound, even if, as an Asian parable says, a snowflake weighs “Nothing, or less than nothing.” And yet there must be a point of contact, and with it, a sound, however slight. 

            Even if human ears are not sensitive enough to hear it. 

            I can’t hear a worm, burrowing through moist soil towards a dew-dappled lawn. But a robin can. 

            A dog can hear a whistle way above my frequency range; at the other end of the frequency scale, elephants use a sub-audible rumble to communicate with other elephants out of sight over the horizon. 

           In her book, A God That Could Be Real,author Nancy Ellen Abrams explores some implications of our human limitations. We can only comprehend things that fall within a certain size range, she asserts, relative to our own size. 


Comments (0) Number of views (517)

27

Sep

2017

What does God worry about?

Author: Jim Taylor

Does God lie awake at night, worrying about things?

            Yes, I know -- that image immediately pictures God as a person. A person who sleeps, in a rumpled bed, tossing and turning. In other words, someone just like one of us, only more so. Psychologists call it “anthropomorphization”-- seeing others in our own image.

            It’s the kind of misplaced identity that led Marc Gellman to title one of his books, “Does God Have a Big Toe?”

            But basic question is not whether God lies awake at night, but whether God -- whatever God may or may not be -- worries.


Comments (0) Number of views (955)

9

Aug

2017

A different kind of God

Author: Jim Taylor

           I cannot deal with a world in which there is no God at all. As I wrote last week, I need something that I can call God. 

            That’s why I write about God. Writing about God is how I sort out my thoughts. Often, I don’t know what I think until I try to put my vague intuitions into words. 

            But those words convince me that I am not just an atheist, an unbeliever. Yes, there is a God. I am obsessed by God. I don’t know how to understand that presence. But I keep trying.


Comments (0) Number of views (833)

2

Aug

2017

Why I keep writing about God

Author: Jim Taylor

“Why do you keep writing about God?” a reader asked.

            Good question. The only answer I can think of is that I have to write about God.  I need something that I can call God.

            I use the term “something” loosely. It doesn’t have to be a thing. Or a person. Or a being, supernatural or otherwise. It doesn’t even have to be an idea. It just has to be more than me.

            And it has to have some kind of volition. It has to be something more than blind chance, more than a probability field in quantum physics. Whatever it is, I want it to have an ethical sense – to want, even to desire, a better outcome for all.


Comments (0) Number of views (762)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: God

31

May

2017

Help wanted: divine intervention

Author: Jim Taylor

Okay, God, I apologize. In the past, I have occasionally argued that you don’t intervene in worldly events. I have even suggested that you cannot intervene to fix things down here.

            I was wrong. I must have been. Because Dan Rather writes in his Facebook blog, “I end each of my days with a silent prayer for my country… I hope against hope as I slip off to sleep that our rapid descent into governmental chaos has hit a nadir -- only to awaken to a new set of incoherent tweets or explosive headlines. I pray again that our Constitutional government, the great gift of our Founding Fathers, will provide a safety net to catch us before everything we hold dear is no more…”

            If a famous news anchor like Dan Rather believes you can do something about the state of the world, who am I to disagree?


Comments (0) Number of views (905)
RSS
12

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 215 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction aboriginal abortion Abrams abuse achievement Adam addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix Advent 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 Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac Apologies apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes Asian assisted death astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits Aunt Jemima authorities authorities. Bible autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas Barbados barbed wire barbers barriers Bashar al Assad 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 Biden Bill C-6 billboards billionaire BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings 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 CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Chesterton Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking 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 Clichés cliffhanger climate change climate crisis clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee coincidence cold collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort comic strips communication Communion community compassion complexity composers composting computer processes Computers conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confessions confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party conspiracies conspiracy constitution contraception contrasts Conversations Conversion conversion therapy COP26 copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus coronavirus corporations corruption Corrymeela Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents couple courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 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 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 Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day earthquake 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 emergent emotions Empire encryption Englehart English Entropy environment epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy eunuchs evacuation evacuation orders Evangelical Fellowship Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution exemptions Exodus expectations experience experiment exploring explosions extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism
Copyright 2022 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada