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

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

 

9

Jan

2021

Where all are welcome

Author: Jim Taylor

Christmas will be different this year, for most of us. No travel, no family gatherings. I don’t expect to have anybody at all in my house over the holiday period. 

            But I’ve put up some Christmas decorations anyway. Then I got to the creche, the traditional manger scene. Ours is eclectic, to say the least.

            The core of the creche, of course, is the Holy Family – Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. We bought those three figures long ago from the wood carvers in Oberammergau, the village in the Bavarian alps that puts on a world-famed Passion Play every ten years. 

            The three camels came from a shop in Jerusalem. We were assured they were carved of olive wood from the trees in the Garden of Gethsemane under which Jesus prayed the night of his arrest and trial. 

            But we didn’t have any Magi to ride in from the East on those camels. So I carved a set of three visitors myself. As a solid mass, blending into each other – as they do in the biblical text, too.

            There are some carved wooden sheep – they’re traditional. Also a donkey made by one of our grandchildren out of a toilet paper roll wrapped with string. 

            Plus a variety of less conventional animals. A hippo, from Africa. A cow, or maybe a water buffalo, from India. An elephant from Thailand. A giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands. A ceramic penguin from Chile (I think). And an Irish Setter, in loving memory of our first dog.


Comments (0) Number of views (133)

9

Jan

2021

The salmon are coming back!

Author: Jim Taylor

The salmon are coming back! The salmon are coming back! 

            Where’s Paul Revere when we need him? 

            Last year, a fish ladder, left inoperable after the Penticton dam at the foot of Okanagan Lake was built in the 1950s, was restored by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. For the first time in 60 years, sockeye salmon ascended from the Columbia River into Okanagan Lake. 

            At the same time, kokanee socks are rebounding. 

            Kokanee are land-locked salmon. Unlike their sockeye cousins, they don’t go down to the sea. They spend their lives in lakes. Some spawn along the shorelines; some return to the lakes’ tributary streams, just like the ocean-going salmon. 

            A small item in the regional newspaper reported that an estimated 388,000 kokanee had spawned this year, either in streams or along the shoreline. That’s more than double last year’s 185,000. Better yet, it’s more than double the ten-year average.


Comments (0) Number of views (109)

9

Jan

2021

Mary and my hitchhiker

Author: Jim Taylor

Every year, as the Christmas season rolls around again, I feel impelled to dig into my archives, to see what might deserve saying a second time. 

            This column goes back to 2005. 

            I was driving from Kamloops back to Kelowna, normally less than a two-hour drive. A storm had coated the highway with ice. It took me over an hour just to get to the turnoff that led south towards Kelowna. 

            Just before the turnoff, the road tilted left. I could feel my car slipping sideways on the ice as I crept around yet another accident. Even the cop directing traffic couldn’t keep his feet under him. 

            Then, as I was about to accelerate gently ahead, I heard a tap at my passenger window. A pale, waiflike face peered in at me, bundled in a woolen scarf. 

            “Could you give me a ride?” she asked. “It’s real cold out here.”

            I don’t usually pick up hitchhikers, but these seemed to be exceptional circumstances. “Hop in,” I said. 


Comments (0) Number of views (117)

9

Jan

2021

Conversion therapy is criminal coercion

Author: Jim Taylor

This coming Thursday, December 10, 2020, the world honours the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

           The UN Declaration states, “Everyone is entitled to [these] rights and freedoms … without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

            And, in another article, that no one shall be subjected to coercion: “torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

            It offers no exemptions for religious beliefs.

            Yet it is precisely certain religious beliefs, which violate the principles of the UN Declaration, that generated federal Bill C-6 about conversion therapy.


Comments (0) Number of views (119)

9

Jan

2021

Even when there’s no one there

Author: Jim Taylor

I changed the décor in our church the other day. I took down the Thanksgiving theme, and put up an Advent/Christmas theme. 

            It was a wasted effort, I suppose, because no one will see it. Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has ruled that indoor in-person events such as worship services must be cancelled to control the spread of Covid-19. 

            I’m not sure on what basis she – and the government – determine that selling cosmetics and houseplants is an essential service, and worship is not. 

 


Comments (0) Number of views (173)

9

Jan

2021

Masks reveal our belief systems

Author: Jim Taylor

Most people seem to be complying with the provincial order to wear masks indoors. I see people parking their cars, heading barefaced for their preferred store, and then going back to get a mask to wear. Unwillingly, perhaps, but they’re doing it. 

            A few people blunder in without a mask, and are given one by a clerk. They may grumble, but they wear it. 

            And a few refuse. Utterly and totally. 

            If the authorities can’t make up their minds, the skeptics might say, if their recommendations keep changing day to day, why should we believe them?

            I use the word “believe” deliberately. Because at its roots, this is an argument about belief systems, an argument that goes back several hundred years to what historians call “The Enlightenment.” 


Comments (0) Number of views (89)

9

Jan

2021

Even alone, you are loved

Even alone, you are loved

Author: Jim Taylor

Here it is. The night before Christmas. 

            Technically, Christmas is a Christian celebration. About the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. Christian worship services – conducted mostly online this Christmas – will tell and re-tell, in story and song, of shepherds and angels and wise men from the east.

            But outside of church, those songs and stories blur into a kind of emotional fog, about good wishes and gifts, a fog that envelops Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, Hindus, everyone.

            It’s going to be a different Christmas this year. Thanks to the second wave of Covid-19 infections, multi-generations will not gather around a fireplace. Or a burdened table. 

            There will be few Norman Rockwell Christmases this year. 


Comments (0) Number of views (69)

9

Jan

2021

When in doubt, check it out

Author: Jim Taylor

I think my dog is paranoid. If she thinks she hears something that might be a doorbell – such as, say, clinking pots together as I prepare a meal – she launches into a paroxysm of growls and howls, races to the front door, and barks furiously at nothing at all. 

\            Her behaviour makes me suspect she’s been watching too much social media. 

            Most social media postings are, in my opinion, basically Pablum for adults. Bland meaningless chat. But there’s a subgroup of users who can see conspiracies under every news report.

            As a journalist, I subscribe to several non-mainstream news sources. Sometimes merely following a link, to check the authenticity of a story, is enough to put me onto someone’s mailing list for a steady stream of fear, anger, and venom. 


Comments (0) Number of views (70)

9

Jan

2021

Getting off the beaten track

Author: Jim Taylor

We humans love to follow beaten paths. Both figuratively and literally.

            But what if you don’t want to go along a beaten path? When I’m out on the local trails, walking my dog, I occasionally take side trips. To explore a rock face, perhaps. To circumnavigate a small lake. To find an alternate viewpoint. 

            But I’ve noticed that if I take that diversion more than once or twice, my feet leave enough imprint that other people start taking the same route. And before long there’s a whole new beaten path, that wasn’t there before.

            Figuratively, too, we also like to follow beaten paths. In politics, in theology, in economics, we are much more comfortable endorsing and supporting ideas that someone else has expressed already. 


Comments (0) Number of views (63)

9

Jan

2021

Two decisions that sneaked by

Author: Jim Taylor

n all the hoopla about the U.S. election last week, a couple of significant events sneaked by. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that corporations are not persons. And the U.S. media acknowledged that they have ethical responsibilities.

            First, the media. Friday night after the U.S. election, still-president Donald Trump ranted for 16 minutes of outright falsehoods and accusations without evidence, that he had won the election. At least six American networks cut him off in mid-sentence. 

            For the networks to pull the plug on a sitting president is an unprecedented act.

          In the second piece of overlooked news, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that, in certain situations, corporations are not persons. 


Comments (0) Number of views (67)
RSS
First234567891011Last

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