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

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

 

29

Dec

2019

Falling forward into the unknown

Author: Jim Taylor

When the streets get icy in winter, I walk more carefully. Especially after the snowplow has gone by, and polished the fresh snow into a surface as slick as anything created by a Zamboni. I can’t take the risk of stepping forward and having my heel skid. 

            The more slippery the surface, the shorter the steps I take. 

            And when I’m going down a slope, I employ something like a curler’s slither. I don’t lift my feet at all. 

            The length of my stride is directly related to my confidence in myself. 

            “Walking,” Paul Salopek explained in National Geographic, “is falling forward.”


Comments (0) Number of views (210)

26

Dec

2019

When Christmas isn’t over yet

Author: Jim Taylor

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all over the floor

lay the littered remains of the day just before…

            That’s a cynical view of Christmas. No presents left under the tree, just bags of tattered Christmas wrapping to go into recycling. The carcass of leftover turkey lurks in the refrigerator. The music channel has put Christmas albums away for another year and gone back to golden oldies.

            There’s not much left of Christmas.

            Or is there?

            I rather like the idea that the walls of an opera house might somehow still resonate to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s soaring soprano. That a sports stadium might remember Roger Banister’s Miracle Mile. That a street in Jerusalem might remember Jesus’ sandaled feet.

            Because that means something isn’t over, just because it’s over.


Comments (0) Number of views (377)

22

Dec

2019

The fundamental need for belonging

Author: Jim Taylor

Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. I can confidently predict that every Christian congregation -- and possibly those of other religions too -- will hear a sermon about the birth of Jesus.

            I can also predict some of the themes of those sermons.

            Some will use Mary’s status to urge people to do something about poverty. Or about justice. Or perhaps about historic discrimination against women. The Christmas story becomes a means of getting at a social issue.

            Others will use a series of carefully selected Bible verses to prove, beyond any doubt, that God Almighty became a helpless crying baby. And/or that biblical prophets knew all the details of an obscure birth that would take place 500 years later.

            And therefore, by extension, that every other word in the Holy Book must also be 100% accurate.

            A friend and retired preacher calls all of this “head stuff.” It’s wonderful material to argue about. But it makes no difference at all to how you drive on the highway. Or how you treat the cashier at the grocery store.

 


Comments (0) Number of views (211)

20

Dec

2019

Does anyone own Christmas?

Author: Jim Taylor

Sam Steele still makes headlines. Steele is, of  course, the legendary hero of the RCMP who brought law and order to the Canadian West.

            Although the RCMP -- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- didn’t exist yet. And the “West” wasn’t fully Canada yet.

            But Steele was certainly a real person. As a staff-sergeant in the North West Mounted Police, which later became the RCMP, he ended the Riel Rebellion in the last formal battle fought on Canadian soil.

            Steele established  the first NWMP fort west of the Rockies at Galbraith’s Ferry -- since renamed Fort Steele in his honour.

            And he went on from there to the Yukon Territory, where the discovery of gold launched the famous Klondike Gold Rush. Thousands of gold-hungry gun-totin’ Americans flooded north. Steele made his own laws. By requiring every person entering the Yukon to bring along a ton of supplies, he prevented the Yukon from turning into the OK Corral North.

             But he’s back. By a circuitous chain of ironies.


Comments (0) Number of views (205)

15

Dec

2019

Decoding nativity scenes

Author: Jim Taylor

 don’t see many Christmas cards these days. Between Facebook and email, religious cards with traditional nativity scenes have become less popular. 

            But the scenes themselves haven’t changed much. A mother and child. Sometimes with a father, sometimes not. Sometimes with animals and a stable, sometimes not. Sometimes with shepherds; sometimes with visiting Magi. 

            And the child is always holy. 

            But how does an artist paint holiness?

            It’s easy to draw a baby. It’s not as easy to show that baby as God embodied. 

            The Christian church has historically claimed that God – also known as Father, Almighty, Creator, all-knowing, immortal, unchanging – became a human infant. Who is none of those things. At least, not yet. 


Comments (0) Number of views (202)

12

Dec

2019

Let your light shine…

Author: Jim Taylor

           A small ceramic Christmas tree sits on a table in our front hall. It’s not much of a tree – about 12 inches high, dark green, with whitish snow flaked on the ends of its branches. A light bulb inside shines out through coloured plastic plugs stuck into holes in the branches.

            Over the years, we’ve lost about a dozen of the plastic plugs. The light inside now shines directly out through several holes.

            It never was particularly pretty, I suppose. But it’s special. Because it was given to me with love.

            It came from Lorraine Wicklow almost 40 years ago. The next summer, Lorraine died of a massive brain hemorrhage.

            As far as I know, she had no family, no relatives. Perhaps I was her family. She used to drop in at my office, back in the days when I worked at the United Church’s national offices in Toronto. She always arrived at the very end of the day, just as I was loading up my briefcase to go home.


Comments (0) Number of views (339)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Christmas tree

5

Dec

2019

Mixed feelings about what Hope means

Author: Jim Taylor

Here we are, into the first week in December, the first week of what the Christian Church has traditionally termed the beginning of a new year.

            In the northern hemisphere, we have three different “years.” The calendar year starts January 1. The school year starts in September. And the Christian year starts with the four Sundays before Christmas -- collectively called Advent. The first Sunday is usually about Hope.

            Of course, it’s about hope for the coming of a Saviour, a Messiah, a holy person who will show the world how to live.

            But is that really hope, 20 centuries later? We already know that child was born, and grew up, and set us an example…. 


Comments (0) Number of views (358)

1

Dec

2019

The day there were no heroes

Author: Jim Taylor

This coming Friday, December 6, marks the 30th anniversary of the deadliest mass murder in Canadian history. That is, if you don’t count attacks on indigenous peoples. They were, after all, just Indians.

            Marc Lepine would probably say the same about his rampage at L´Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. They were, after all, just women. Feminists, studying engineering so that they could steal men’s jobs.

            Fourteen women died. Fourteen more victims -- ten women and four men -- were injured by his bullets. The 15thdeath was Lepine, when he shot himself.

            And there’s no question about his intentions. He left a three-page suicide note, plus letters to two friends, explaining his hostility towards women in general, towards women who wanted to be engineers in particular.

            I won’t attempt to analyze his motives. I do want to trace his actions, and some people’s responses.


Comments (0) Number of views (234)
RSS

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse achievement Adam addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging agnostics Ahriman Ahura Mazda airlines airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amazon Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anger anniversaries Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac Apologies apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits 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 barbed wire barbers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs belonging benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex Biden billionaire BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings blockades blood blood donors Bloomberg boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol 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 bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer Canute Capp caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash cats cave CBC 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 Christian Christianity Christians Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas tree Christmas trees Christopher Plummer church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty comfort communication Communion community compassion complexity composers composting computer processes conception conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues confessions confidence Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception contrasts Conversations conversion therapy copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus corporations corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche credit cards creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death death survival deaths decision decisions Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy Democratic denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs discussion dissent distancing diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Don Cherry Donald Trump donkey Donna Sinclair doorways Doug Ford Doug Martindale Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions Empire encryption English Entropy 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 Exodus expectations experience experiment explosions extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith falling leaves False Creek Farmworkers fascist fate fear Fearless Fosdick Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Ferrier Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball fireflies fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow chart flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects fog Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign fracking franchises free free speech free will freedom freedom of speech frequency friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism funerals future Gaia games Gandhi Garbage Garden of Eden Garrison Keillor gas tanks Geese genes Genghis Khan
Copyright 2020 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada