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

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24

Dec

2022

The way God does things

Author: Jim Taylor

Christmas Eve, 2022

 


Christmas and Easter sometimes remind me of the Bobbsey twins. They’re inextricably bound together, Can’t get along without each other. And yet they’re constantly competing with each other. 

           Briefly put, the Incarnation argues that God – whoever or whatever God is – became a human being in Jesus, the baby born in Bethlehem. The Resurrection claims that that same baby, some 30 years later, triumphed over death and will never die again. 

            Both focus on the uniqueness of the event. This only happened once, we declare. The rule –we commonly assume – is that God is “out there” somewhere. Or perhaps “up there”. But certainly different from us. Not mortal flesh-and-blood. 


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20

Apr

2019

Waiting for a resurrection

Author: Jim Taylor

Today is, officially, Holy Saturday – the empty space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It might better be called Holey Saturday. It is a hole, a hiatus, an abyss between the two strongest days of the Christian calendar. 

           Unlike Christmas – which has very little biblical evidence to support a date of December 25 – the date of Jesus’ crucifixion can be quite precisely identified. It happened at the Jewish Passover, which came about according to a 1000-year-old formula based on the spring equinox and the full moon.

            The crucifixion is also one of the few facts in the Bible that cannot be challenged. Every gospel, every letter, agrees that Jesus was crucified. No other world religion claims a leader who was executed as a criminal. 

            And the traditions agree that on the “third day” – counting Friday as Day One, because the counters didn’t have zero, yet – on Sunday morning, he was no longer in his tomb. 

           But Saturday is the day between. When nothing happens. 

            Because nothing could happen. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. The laws of Moses made it a day of rest. Jews were commanded to emulate God, who – according to Genesis – created the universe in six days, then rested on the seventh day. That’s why the women had to wait until Sunday morning to come to the tomb, 


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12

Apr

2017

The man who didn’t die

Author: Jim Taylor

As Easter nears, I think about two men – one who died, and one who didn’t. Jesus died; Barabbas didn’t. Or maybe it’s the other way around, in the long term.

            By a cruel irony, when governor Pontius Pilate offers to free Jesus as a goodwill gesture for the Jewish Passover, an angry crowd demands that he release, instead, a thief and murderer named “Barabbas.” Barabbas -- “the son of the father”.

            And so the man who said “The Father and I are one” was executed on a trumped-up charge of claiming to be King of the Jews, while the man named “Son of the Father” was set free.

            The coincidence is so keen, it almost demands further exploration.


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27

Mar

2016

Re-thinking the Resurrection

Author: Jim Taylor
This is not one of my usual columns. The newspaper which gets “first publication” rights is not publishing today, Easter Sunday. That leaves me free to muse about Easter, in general. Easter, as seen by the secular world, is about bunnies and eggs. And chocolate. And spring in the northern hemisphere. And did I mention chocolate? But in the Christian church, it’s about The Resurrection (with capital letters). When I was much younger, the Rev. Jim Campbell invited his congregation to submit topics they wanted him to preach about. My note said, “Resurrection -- I’d love to see how you handle it!” I knew that Jim was too honest a minister to simply repeat conventional platitudes. He didn’t disappoint me.
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