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

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31

Jul

2016

Letters about plagiarism

Author: Jim Taylor
I’ve been away for my week in the woods -- a campsite in remote pass where a patch of crown land separates Banff and Kootenay National Parks. I had a wonderful time. But I was completely isolated from modern technology. No Internet. No cell phones. No hourly newscasts. Not so much as one word about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Glorious! So I couldn’t write, let alone post, a Sharp Edges column for today. But I did get quite a lot of mail about last week’s column, accusing Melania Trump of plagiarizing some sentences in her speech to the Republican National Convention. Here are a few of those letters.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: plagiarism

27

Jul

2016

The freeze-frame entry to eternity

Author: Jim Taylor
Do you remember Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid charging out into a hail of bullets? It was, I’m told, the most memorable use of a “freeze frame” to end a movie. The camera caught the two outlaws, racing forward into certain death -- vibrantly alive, but already gone.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: eternity

24

Jul

2016

Plagiarism is theft, no matter who does it

Author: Jim Taylor
Ah, yes, I remember writing university essays. The process assumed that a mere student could never have an original thought. Anything that deserved thinking had been thought before. Therefore every assertion had to be referenced. I spent hours in the library, frantically thumbing through texts that I was sure I had read but now seemed utterly unfamiliar, looking for a page on which I was sure I had seen a particular sentence that I didn’t realize would be important at the time I read it, so that I could properly footnote it. Of course, in those days we assembled our data on 3x5 file cards. We didn’t have Google. Or Wikipedia. Or TurnItIn.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: plagiarism

20

Jul

2016

A handful of theologies

Author: Jim Taylor
In another column, I challenged academic theologians to explain the differences between theism, pantheism, and panentheism in terms that a teenager could understand.
No one took the challenge. But a reader asked, “Why don’t you do it?”
Okay, I’ll try.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: theologies

17

Jul

2016

Livestreamed video vs viral venom: pros and cons

Author: Jim Taylor
The Internet is a blessing. The Internet is a curse. When Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed black driver Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop, Diamond Reynolds was sitting in the passenger’s seat. She had her smart phone out. She livestreamed the incident to the Internet. Unlike conventional broadcasting, which includes a short delay so that unacceptable words or images can be bleeped out, livestreaming goes to the world instantly. Even if the Minnesota police seized Reynolds’ camera, her livestreamed video can’t be censored or recalled. I see that as a blessing. Cops may see it as a curse.
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13

Jul

2016

The silent ministry of knitting

Author: Jim Taylor
A few years ago, my wife Joan took up her ministry. She knits prayer shawls.
With the onset of chronic leukemia, Joan didn’t have the energy to continue some of her previous volunteer activities. She hadn’t done much knitting for years. But shortly after her diagnosis, her friend Bev Milton knitted Joan a blue prayer shawl.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: ministry, knitting

10

Jul

2016

CRA continues Harper’s witch hunt

Author: Jim Taylor
Stephen Harper may be gone as prime minister, but his body odour still stinks in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). A CBC report one week ago revealed that the CRA is still auditing charitable organizations suspected of political activity. The audits all started under Harper’s paranoia about anyone or anything that challenged his priorities. The most flagrant instance of that paranoia was the arbitrary cancelling of $7 million in funding for Kairos, a multi-church coalition focussing on social and economic justice projects with local partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: CRA, audits

6

Jul

2016

The hard choice of forgiving

Author: Jim Taylor
In early May, I wrote about the wail of sheer agony, utter despair, uttered by Amanda Lindhout during her captivity in Somalia. To refresh your memory, Lindhout was the freelance journalist kidnapped in August 2008, held for ransom, finally released in 15 months later in November 2009.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: choice, forgiving

3

Jul

2016

Where sleep becomes a commodity

Author: Jim Taylor
Now and then odd little stories intrigue me. One such story appeared in the Delhi Journal of the New York Times. Writers Ellen Barry and Ravi Mishra described the free market that simultaneously serves and exploits Delhi’s homeless. So what, you may respond. We have homeless of our own to worry about. I admit a bias. I was born in India. I spent my first ten years in that country. Whether I love India or loathe it -- sometimes both at once -- I cannot ignore the connection to the country of my birth, just as others feel indissolubly linked to the prairies, the Rockies, or the seacoast.
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