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

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





If a stranger happened by

Author: Jim Taylor

Canada will be 150 years old this Saturday. I was asked by the organizers of the Canada Day celebrations to put together a historical presentation about the churches of Lake Country. Eleven, by my count, for a community of 14,000.

            So, last Tuesday morning, I drove around to all the current churches, to take pictures. I already had pictures of the earlier churches, thanks to the Lake Country Museum’s archives.

           On Tuesday mornings, I discovered, Lake Country is a religious dead zone. Locked doors. Empty parking lots. Closed gates. Silence…

Comments (0) Number of views (483)




Retaliation ignores the Golden Rule

Author: Jim Taylor

If you want to invest in a growth industry, consider hate crimes. London police report a five-fold increase in attacks on Muslims – particularly Muslim women – since the terrorist attacks on London Bridge, the Westminster parliament, and the Manchester concert.

            But the increase is not limited to Britain, where the reaction might be understandable. Here in Canada, Statistics Canada indicates that attacks on Muslims more than tripled over three years, from 45 in 2012 to 159 in 2015. During 2015 alone, according to a CBC report, hate crimes against Muslims soared by 60 per cent.

           No doubt attacks on Muslims are a form of retaliation for acts attributed to Islamic extremists. But if so, why single out women? Not one of those acts was committed by a woman.

            Or are women simply easier to identify by their head scarves?


Comments (0) Number of views (504)




Rules can never create fluency

Author: Jim Taylor

For a few years, I taught writing and editing courses for businesses. Some workshops flew; others foundered on the simplest points.

            Pharmaceutical companies, in particular, often hired Asian immigrants. I’ve no doubt they were well qualified, highly trained, even brilliant. They had studied English. But they came from languages that didn’t use little things like prepositions. Or articles. Or even commas.

            “Why you need ‘the’ before noun?” someone might ask. 

            Or perhaps, “Why sometimes ‘agree with,’ sometimes ‘agree to,’ sometimes ‘agree on’?”

            I offered examples. They would ask, “Where we find book that teach us these rules?”

            There isn’t one. Or more accurately, there are hundreds. 

Comments (0) Number of views (462)




The most meaningless of crimes

Author: Jim Taylor

t’s infuriating. It’s offensive. You go to a public park, a main street, and you see artwork damaged. Seats smashed. Trees chopped down. Graffiti splattered on walls. Not even hate graffiti, which at least has some motivation -- even if I reject it -- but just graffiti for the sake of defacing a virgin wall.

            Vandalism. It’s mindless. Purposeless. Meaningless.

            In the village of Telkwa, on Highway 16 through northern British Columbia, people woke up one morning to find that during the night someone – or more likely, a small group of someones -- had trashed a garden display in Eddy Park, where the Bulkley and Telkwa rivers meet.

             Sometime during the night, vandals smashed flower pots, trampled plants, scattered debris throughout the town.

Comments (0) Number of views (488)




Learning lessons from evolution

Author: Jim Taylor

Let’s quit calling evolution a “theory.” When Darwin first proposed the concept, evolution was a theory. It’s not any more – it’s a reality.


Gravity was a theory too, when Newton first advanced it. But no one today would step off a cliff because he believes gravity is an unproven theory. 

            Evolution is not open for debate or denial. No more than, say, the mathematical concept that one plus one equals two. Or the value of pi. 

            Darwin did not invent evolution. He recognized what had been there all along.

            Since then, not one scientific discovery has disproven evolution. 

Comments (0) Number of views (497)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Evolution, Darwin




Extremes come in opposite pairs -- both wrong

Author: Jim Taylor

You’d think that Londoners should be inured to terror. They lived through the WWII blitz. Through IRA bombings in the 1990s. Through coordinated attacks on subways and buses in 2005. And during the Brexit campaign, the murder of MP Jo Cox.

            But it took three attacks in three months – on parliament at Westminster in March, at the Manchester concert in May, and now on London Bridge in June – to provoke Prime Minister Teresa May into declaring that there was “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the United Kingdom.

            The mass media immediately construed her words as a slap at Islamic extremism. The Independenttrumpeted that all recent attacks were “bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamic extremism.”

             Elsewhere in her comments, Teresa May did identify radical Islamists. But her reference to “too much tolerance” was more general.

Comments (0) Number of views (461)




Road building for dummies

Author: Jim Taylor

Road re-construction seems to me to bear distinct parallels to the way churches, political parties, and community organizations operate. 

            Most social reconstruction follows the “pave it over” model. The old road – the old beliefs, the old ways of doing things, the tried-and-true constitutions and policies of the past – continue to exist under the fresh new face. Or policy.

            In churches, the kind of organizations I know best, this means that a 2000-year-old pre-scientific-age text continues to underlie all major decisions. Creeds almost as old remain untouchable. 

            Similarly, political parties elect new leaders, lay out new platforms. But old prejudices and ideologies still lurk just below the surface.

            Occasionally, though, some groups try to start from zero, like building a new highway. But they first have to clear away any broken components of the former road. They have to dig deep to establish root principles. They have to expand that foundation with layers of interpretation.

Comments (0) Number of views (629)




If I had intervened, would I be dead?

Author: Jim Taylor

What would I have done? The question haunts me.

            Last week, three men were stabbed after they intervened on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, to stop a white supremacist from harassing two young women, one of them wearing a head covering.

            It seems the women were not doing anything objectionable, other than riding a public train. But the stabber started yelling racial insults and profanities at them. The three men tried to stop him.

            Now two of them are dead, and one still recovering in hospital.

            And so I wonder, what would I do? I like to think I would do the noble thing, the honorable thing. I like to think I would have stood up for common decency.

            If so, would I be dead now?

Comments (0) Number of views (585)


"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1954 1972 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging Ahriman Ahura Mazda airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amazon Amherst analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anniversaries antidote Ants aphrodisiac apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern armistice Armstrong Art artifacts astronomy atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits authorities 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 benefits Bernardo berries Bible biblical sex birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Blackmore blood blood donors boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken 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 Canute caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas trees church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty communication Communion community complexity composers conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues Confirmation confusion Congo Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception Conversations conversion therapy coral Cornwallis corporations corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Coventry Cathedral CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes creation creche crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling 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 deaths decision Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs dissent diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Donald Trump Donna Sinclair doorways Doug Martindale Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions encryption English Entropy epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy evacuation evacuation orders Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution expectations experiment extinctions extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith False Creek fascist fate fear Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball 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 friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism future Gaia games Gandhi Garbage Garrison Keillor Geese genes genocide Gerald Stanley Gerard Manley Hopkins Ghomeshi girls glaciers global economy global warming go north God gods Golden Golden Rule Goldilocks good Good Friday good intentions goodness Google Google Play government Governor General grammar gravity Great Barrier Reef greatest story green Green Eggs Green Party Gretta Vosper grief Grinch Grounded Group of seven groups growth Guiado guilt guns Habits hackers Haidt haircuts Haiti Hal Niedzviecki handshake Harari harassment Harjit Sajjan harmony Haskins hate Hawaii health health plans hearing hearts heat heaven Heisenberg Hell helping herd instinct heroes heroin Higher Porpoise highway hijacking Hillary Clinton Hinduism history Homulka Honduras honesty Hong Kong hope Horgan Horton hospitality houseflies houses Huawei human rights Humboldt hummingbirds humour Hunsberger hurricane ICBMs ice dance Icefields Parkway identity IMF
Copyright 2019 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada