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

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14

Feb

2016

Random chance matters in real life

Author: Jim Taylor
In the closing days of January, five snowmobilers died when an avalanche roared down the slopes of Mt. Renshaw, east of Prince George. Ordinarily, when I hear of these accidents, I tend to rant about human stupidity. About overgrown boys with too much horsepower and too little common sense, testing the limits of their machines’ performance on unstable slopes, failing to take reasonable precautions… Not in this case, apparently. Although some early reports called the avalanche “human caused,” later reports didn’t repeat that allegation. Later reports also described the snowmobilers – 17 people, in four separate groups – as well prepared and experienced back country sledders. Indeed, their safety equipment saved most of them. Two GPS tracking devices indicated their location instantly when the slide hit. Search and Rescue teams already in the area were able to reach the disaster site in minutes. A helicopter was on its way soon after. The survivors were already digging out their buried friends. Even so, they were too late for five people.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: chance, real life

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

7

Feb

2016

Confessions of a CBC addict

Author: Jim Taylor
My name is Jim, and I listen to the CBC. It didn’t start that way. When I was young, my parents listened to the CBC, so of course I didn’t. Because I grew up in Vancouver, I listened to Red Robinson. I coveted Jack Cullen’s enormous personal library of 78-rpm records. My first full-time job was in private radio. The CBC was our publicly-funded enemy. That all changed when I got a job as program producer for a tiny CBC station in Prince Rupert, on B.C.’s north coast. With only 250 watts of power, its signal barely reached beyond the city limits. But it was the only radio station for 100 miles. There was nothing else to listen to. And I began to discover two things – the wealth of thought that went into CBC programs, and the motivation that drove them.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: CBC

3

Feb

2016

Reclaiming the goodness of darkness

Author: Jim Taylor
A while ago, my wife Joan had to get up early for a hospital appointment. Very early -- her alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., when the world outside was still as dark as, well, my thoughts about getting up that early.
Joan tried to make as little noise as possible, which of course made every noise more intrusive – the click of a light switch, the rush of the shower, the buzz of the electric toothbrush….
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: goodness, darkness

27

Jan

2016

The difficulty of overcoming inertia

Author: Jim Taylor
My cat’s brain runs on a very early version of Windows. I can almost see the sensory inputs working their way through his mental programming:
“Oh look, a door is opening. I might like to go out. 
“I don’t want to seem too eager. I’ll take my time. 
“The door is still open. Oh oh! It’s starting to close. 
“Perhaps I should hurry!
“Ow, that hurt! Who shut the door on me?”
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: inertia

24

Jan

2016

Missionary fervour bites back

Author: Jim Taylor
It didn’t make many headlines, but the conservative wing of the worldwide Anglican church flexed its muscles about a week ago. It gagged the Episcopalian Church U.S.A. A gathering of 38 primates – the leaders of 44 national churches – in Canterbury, England, effectively excommunicated their American kin. For the next three years, the U.S. church may not represent the Anglican church on ecumenical or interfaith bodies, may not participate in any international Anglican committees, and may not vote “on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity…” I’m tempted to invoke an analogy to biblical eunuchs. On the surface, the issue is homosexuality. African bishops were incensed by the U.S. church’s election of a gay priest, Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The U.S. church then heaped insult on top of injury, last summer, by approving a rite for same-sex marriages.
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20

Jan

2016

Suddenly the light goes on

Author: Jim Taylor
If I had to choose my favourite Christian festival, it would probably be Epiphany.
“Eppy what?” you ask.
Epiphany. It comes from an ancient Greek word that means, loosely, to show forth, to reveal.
Unlike Christmas, Easter, and All Hallows’ Eve, Epiphany hasn’t been taken over by commercial interests yet. Perhaps because there’s no agreement on the proper date to celebrate it.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: light, epiphany

17

Jan

2016

Mental mindsets of political positions

Author: Jim Taylor
I watch the U.S. political scene from north of the border, and wonder who writes the script. Lewis Carroll, with Donald Trump playing the Queen of Hearts who wants to cut off everyone’s head? Franz Kafka, with a bewildered everyman trying to penetrate a nightmare labyrinth of misinformation, contradictions, and downright lies? J.K. Rowling, creating a parallel world that mere muggles can never comprehend? Even they would be hard-pressed, I think, to imagine a situation where a presidential candidate deliberately alienates the ethnic and religious nations he’d have to negotiate with if elected. Where a handful of armed rebels dare the feds to re-enact Waco. Where a gunman kills three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic and gets praised for saving lives. The logic escapes me.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: politics, mindsets

13

Jan

2016

Spontaneous collaboration at work

Author: Jim Taylor
In another column, I wrote about five years of effort by the Rotary Club of Lake Country to provide the Lake Country Food Bank with a permanent new home. The ceremony for turning over the keys to the new building took place just one week ago.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: collaboration, work

13

Jan

2016

How does it feel to feel like God?

Author: Jim Taylor
I’m going to borrow some thoughts from Fr. Ron Rolheiser for today’s column. I knew Fr. Rolheiser briefly, while he was Roman Catholic bishop of Saskatoon, mainly through the enthusiasm he inspired among his staff. Fr. Rolheiser is now president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Like me, he sends out two columns every week. This one apparently came out first in 1996. 
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: feel, God

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