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

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20

Apr

2019

Waiting for a resurrection

Author: Jim Taylor

Today is, officially, Holy Saturday – the empty space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It might better be called Holey Saturday. It is a hole, a hiatus, an abyss between the two strongest days of the Christian calendar. 

           Unlike Christmas – which has very little biblical evidence to support a date of December 25 – the date of Jesus’ crucifixion can be quite precisely identified. It happened at the Jewish Passover, which came about according to a 1000-year-old formula based on the spring equinox and the full moon.

            The crucifixion is also one of the few facts in the Bible that cannot be challenged. Every gospel, every letter, agrees that Jesus was crucified. No other world religion claims a leader who was executed as a criminal. 

            And the traditions agree that on the “third day” – counting Friday as Day One, because the counters didn’t have zero, yet – on Sunday morning, he was no longer in his tomb. 

           But Saturday is the day between. When nothing happens. 

            Because nothing could happen. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. The laws of Moses made it a day of rest. Jews were commanded to emulate God, who – according to Genesis – created the universe in six days, then rested on the seventh day. That’s why the women had to wait until Sunday morning to come to the tomb, 


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16

Apr

2017

Turning shame into celebration

Author: Jim Taylor

Some evangelical churches used to practice “shunning”. (I don’t think it’s as common as it used to be.) If a member was judged to have violated the moral standards of the community, that member was shunned. Shut out, essentially. Cut off from contact with other members of the community, sometimes even from members of their own family. 

            The purpose of shunning was not to make the person feel guilty. Rightly or wrongly, that had already been determined. The purpose was to make victims feel ashamed. 

            Shaming was also, I submit, the purpose of crucifixion. Crucifixion was more than a means of executing someone. A spear in the gut, a club on the head, a knife to the neck, killed much more quickly, more efficiently. 

            Crucifixion was designed to cause shame. 


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12

Apr

2017

The man who didn’t die

Author: Jim Taylor

As Easter nears, I think about two men – one who died, and one who didn’t. Jesus died; Barabbas didn’t. Or maybe it’s the other way around, in the long term.

            By a cruel irony, when governor Pontius Pilate offers to free Jesus as a goodwill gesture for the Jewish Passover, an angry crowd demands that he release, instead, a thief and murderer named “Barabbas.” Barabbas -- “the son of the father”.

            And so the man who said “The Father and I are one” was executed on a trumped-up charge of claiming to be King of the Jews, while the man named “Son of the Father” was set free.

            The coincidence is so keen, it almost demands further exploration.


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