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

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13

Apr

2016

Revisiting the Ten Commandments

Author: Jim Taylor
A correspondent suggested that I should re-read The Ten Commandments, to get my faith straightened out. So I did.
The Ten Commandments are terse, imperative, and unconditional. They offer no wiggle room, no exceptions, no loopholes for special situations.
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6

Apr

2016

The mind is a many-layered thing

Author: Jim Taylor
I sit here at my computer, thinking about the words that my fingers will type into the next line of text. At the same time, part of my mind stands outside, watching me as I work, noting the way my shoulders tense when I’m searching for a word. And behind that, still another layer observes how my mind is able to observe itself. And behind that, perhaps, still another layer….
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: mind

30

Mar

2016

Irreverence won’t hurt God

Author: Jim Taylor
A few years ago, I wrote a satirical ditty to the familiar sea shanty whose chorus goes, “Way, hey and up she rises.” Only I connected it to Easter: “Way, hey, and up He rises… early Easter morning.”
The first verse asked, “What shall we do with a risen saviour…?” The rest of the verses were, umm, a shade more irreverent:
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: irreverence

23

Mar

2016

Games that shape our later lives

Author: Jim Taylor
Today is halfway between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. It’s also Spring Break for my grandchildren -- five extra days off school, plus the Easter weekend.
Most of the year, parents have their children’s after-school free time fully organized. Soccer practice, perhaps. Or swimming. Music lessons. Boys and girls club. Gym classes. Ballet. Whatever it is, it keeps the kids occupied, with some kind of adult supervision, until the parents get home from work.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: games

16

Mar

2016

Epitaph for a song writer

Author: Jim Taylor
The world’s Joy Quotient declined a little on Sunday March 6, when Ian Macdonald died. 
        Ian was one of those rare people who never let his inner child get buried under the overburden of grown-up concerns. He took an almost wicked delight in wit. The prospect of trying something new and different -- whether a children’s tale for adults, or Bible study through improv drama --brought out a crooked grin, a glint in his eye. 
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9

Mar

2016

Three little hens go north

Author: Jim Taylor
Every now and then a good news story comes along that I have to share.
This one starts at a resort community somewhere in the Okanagan Valley. Like all resort communities, people come and go; some stay longer than others.
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2

Mar

2016

Whole body listening

Author: Jim Taylor
He was talking, but I couldn’t hear him for the light. 
That’s right -- for the light. A big window behind him turned him into a silhouette, a black cardboard cut-out. I could hear his voice, but I couldn’t see his mouth, his eyes, his face. And so I missed a lot of what he was saying.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: body, listening

24

Feb

2016

Talking to a toad about talking

Author: Jim Taylor
I talk to the dog. I talk to the cat. Sometimes, when I’m out for a walk, I talk to a crow or a magpie. 
I’ve never talked to a toad. But apparently Mary Oliver does. She wrote a short reflection, a kind of prose poem, about her conversation with a toad: “He was just sitting there. It was full morning, so the heat was heavy on is sand-coloured head and his webbed feet. I squatted beside him… He didn’t move. I began to talk…”
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: toad, talking

17

Feb

2016

Either/or thinking, or both/and thinking

Author: Jim Taylor
You’ve heard the old question: “If a tree falls in a forest, and there’s no one there to hear it fall, does it make a sound?”
It’s a kind of koan -- a question designed to make the hearer think.
Yet most of us persist in offering our own versions of an answer.
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10

Feb

2016

Breathe in, breathe out

Author: Jim Taylor
My telephone was the victim of a hit-and-run accident about a week ago. A pair of moving trucks came down the lane that runs beside our house. I happened to be looking out the window, just in time to see an upper corner of the leading truck hook the electrical lines that run between a pole and our house.
The lines snapped.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: breathe

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