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

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

 

1

Aug

2018

The parables of Dr. Seuss

Author: Jim Taylor

Every Christian church I know reads a text from the Bible, every Sunday. Yes, even the radically and sometimes profanely feminist/LGBT Church of the Apostles in Seattle -- and then rips the Bible’s patriarchy apart.

            But maybe we should be looking at other sources of wisdom. Like Dr. Seuss, for example.

            Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, never claimed any divine inspiration for his writing. But The Grinch offers more inspiration about Christmas than many sermons. Horton Hears a Who takes the side of overlooked people. Green Eggs and Ham illustrates conversion, a change of heart.

            Most of Seuss’s books, in fact, are parables. They tell a story, but inside that story is a greater story, and inside that -- if you’re willing to dig for it -- a profound message.


Comments (0) Number of views (721)

29

Jul

2018

‘There is no magic bullet’

Author: Jim Taylor

At the end of a press conference, right after the shootings on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, a reporter tossed a final question at Police Chief Mark Saunders. Saunders was already heading off-camera. I didn’t catch the question, but I’m fairly sure I heard Saunders say, “There is no magic bullet.” 

            And if he didn’t say it, he should have.

            Because although it was a singularly inappropriate cliché – after all, 15 people had just been shot with bullets – it was also exactly the right answer. 

            Because a magic bullet is what everyone wants. 


Comments (0) Number of views (1761)

26

Jul

2018

Forest fire

Author: Jim Taylor

Water bombers roar low above the treetops.

Smoke billows black against the sky.

Flames flicker up trees.

Sirens wail.

Pack up --

Right now.

Fifteen minutes.

Don’t talk,

just do it.

Find suitcases.

How many days’ underwear will I need?

 

Comments (0) Number of views (1690)

25

Jul

2018

How colonizers gain control

Author: Jim Taylor

Some arrived by sea, some by land. Wherever they arrived, they established footholds among the local population. They settled in. They built networks.

            As time passed, they began to impose the values and standards of their culture on the existing population. Eventually, they became the dominant group. Their values, their standards, became the law of the land.

            Like a giant vacuum cleaner, they sucked up other religions, other faiths, and other cultures, and homogenized them in their own image.

            You thought I was describing the European settlement of the Americas, didn’t you?

            Nope. I was talking about the colonization of the Mediterranean basin by the followers of Jesus.


Comments (0) Number of views (738)

22

Jul

2018

Mobs don’t distinguish fact from falsehood

Author: Jim Taylor

Fake news didn’t start with Donald Trump. He merely raised it to an unprecedented level. Dare I say to an un-presidented level? And that’s the last time I shall refer to him in today’s column.

               Because on July 19, 1692, 326 years ago this last week, the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts had their first mass execution. They hanged seven women and one man.

               One woman, Bridget Bishop, had been hanged a month earlier.

               Wikipedia lists 110 people executed as witches, mostly in Europe. By the 1600s, the hysteria had started to fade in Europe. But not in the Puritan colonies on this side of the Atlantic.

               Salem had a reputation as a fractious town, divided by local feuds. Town meetings tended to turn into physical fights. Most histories now portray the witchcraft trials as an extension of those feuds.


Comments (0) Number of views (1764)

21

Jul

2018

The intensity of good intentions

Author: Jim Taylor

At a guess, the little girl would be about eight years old, her first year as a piano student. When she squirmed up onto the piano bench, her red patent leather shoes hung high above the floor. There was no way she could reach the pedals. 

            She poised one finger to hit the first note. 

            She followed that note with a second, and a third. And she stopped. Something wasn’t right. 

            She tried again. One note, another, a third. And stopped again. She didn’t know how to go on. 

            She froze. Afraid to make another mistake. Afraid to risk another try. 

            Utter silence filled the room. No one breathed. The audience – parents, grandparents, siblings, fellow students – leaned forward as one. Wishing her on, willing her unwilling fingers to continue. 

            The intensity was physical. The old cliché says “You could cut it with a knife.” Well, perhaps not that palpable. But there was certainly something there in that room, a presence that filled the space, a spirit that moved in waves to support the little pianist. 


Comments (0) Number of views (626)

17

Jul

2018

Heat

Author: Jim Taylor

In this summer of 2018, as a heat wave covered North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, my thoughts turned to those who do not have air-conditioning. 

 

Heat is not an adjective.

It is a thing, a physical being, an octopus

that wraps its tentacles around my neck, my shoulders.....


Comments (0) Number of views (1567)
Read more

Categories: Poetry

Tags: heat, stifling

15

Jul

2018

Thai cave rescue a study in ethics

Author: Jim Taylor

Like the rest of the world, I rejoiced when that boys’ soccer team and their coach were rescued from the cave in Thailand after being entombed for 16 days.

            I have a phobia about caves in general. I can feel panic rising even thinking about having to strap on an unfamiliar scuba mask, wade into murky water, dive way down into a hole in the rock in total darkness and then turn and feel my way towards a narrow cranny I have to wriggle through, rock walls scraping my skin…

            So I am in absolute awe of the courage and compassion of the divers who risked their own lives to get those boys and their coach out of the cave alive. 

            I suspect the Thai cave rescue will become a text-book case study for students of ethics in the not-too-distant future. 


Comments (0) Number of views (618)

11

Jul

2018

Email from beyond the grave

Author: Jim Taylor

I got an email from my friend Doug Hodgkinson the other day. Which was odd. Because Doug died seven years ago.

            I wondered where he was writing from. And if they have wi-fi connections there, wherever “there” is. They don’t have gmail addresses, anyway. Doug had a gmail address before his death, but this message came from Hestbript@ibh1mnhk6k.rereprsente.us, which reads like the proverbial roomful of monkeys whacking typewriter keys at random.

            Just in case there’s any doubt, I don’t think the message came from either heaven or hell – unless it’s the kind of hell that exploiters of human weakness and gullibility create.  I gave up believing in hell long ago; I gave up on heaven a little later. 

            The two go together, because they both assume a God who hands out rewards and punishments.


Comments (0) Number of views (651)
Read more

Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: life, Hell, heaven, death, email

9

Jul

2018

Out of silence

Author: Jim Taylor

Dedicated to the notion that all life-changing experiences emerge from The Great Silence. 

 

A tentative note sings in a silence.

It evokes a second note, in harmony with the first.

Their chord invites more notes -- 

a rush, a torrent, that dances like raindrops,

a bouquet, a cascade,

 


 

Comments (0) Number of views (1584)
Read more

Categories: Poetry

Tags: music, silence, harmony, word, thought

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 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 allies Almighty Almighty God alone ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Gorman Amanda Todd Amazon American empire Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis 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 barbed wire barbers barriers 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 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 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 bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras campfire Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer Canute Capitol Capp caregivers Caribbean caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash cats cave 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 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 clocks close votes clouds Coastal GasLink coastal tribes coffee coincidence 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 conspiracies conspiracy constitution contraception contrasts Conversations conversion therapy 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 Damocles Dan Rather dancing Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David 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 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 ego Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions Empire encryption 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 Exodus expectations experience experiment exploring explosions extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook fairness faith falling leaves False Creek Farmworkers fascist fate Father Knows Best fatherless Fathers Father's Day Fathers'Day fear Fearless Fosdick feathers Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Ferrier Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball
Copyright 2021 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada