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

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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.


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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. 


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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?

 

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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.


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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.


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