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

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

 

1

Mar

2020

Why do heroes have to be perfect?

Author: Jim Taylor

This week, I learn that his own creation, L’Arche International, the organization that operates 154 homes for mentally and physically disabled people in 38 countries around the world, released a report that he had had sexual relations with six women.

            None of them, I’m relieved to hear, were among the disabled persons served by L’Arche homes.

            But all six had Vanier as their spiritual director. Which means they were in an unequal relationship with him. Which he exploited.

            The relationships, said the report, were “emotionally abusive and characterised by significant imbalances of power, whereby the alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions.”

            The charges are not mere rumours. L’Arche might be expected to defend its founder’s reputation.


Comments (0) Number of views (3093)

28

Feb

2020

Wisdom from the mountains

Author: Jim Taylor

How could I resist a book sub-titled, A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures?

            I’ve been a fan of mountain climbing ever since my early years in the foothills of India’s Himalayas. Until you’ve done it, it’s hard to imagine the sheer awe of cresting a ridge and seeing a range of 25,000-foot mountains rising across the sky. 

            But “Non-Euclidian” mountaineering?

            It’s  because author Rene Daumal’s mountain, Mount Analogue, is imaginary. It gives him the opportunity to use mountaineering wisdom to illuminate ordinary life. 


Comments (0) Number of views (201)

23

Feb

2020

Hereditary chiefs launch a landslide

Author: Jim Taylor

For a writer, it’s almost freeing to know that anything I say about the Wet’suwet’en affair will be denounced by someone as wrong, misguided, misleading, and/or prejudiced. 

            After all, this single issue combines aboriginal rights, colonial injustice, social stereotyping, racial discrimination, capitalism, fossil fuels, the law, the economy, global warming, global trade, and the rights of nature. How could it help being divisive?

            And yet at the heart of it stand just nine men -- the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en people in northern B.C.

            A natural gas pipeline running from Dawson Creek to Kitimat on the B.C. coast would have to pass through Wet’suwet’en territory. 


Comments (0) Number of views (280)

22

Feb

2020

Black history is more than words

Author: Jim Taylor

My granddaughter is black – adopted, from Ethiopia. She lives in a mostly white community and school system. 

            Her school, I gather, has largely ignored February as Black History Month. 

            Granted, Black History would not teach her much about Ethiopia. Or even about Africa. Black History, from what I’ve seen, deals mainly with American slavery. 

            Slavery is not limited to American experience, of course. For centuries, all over the world,  slaves were property. The mighty could measure their wealth by the number of slaves. 

            Until recently, the stories of American slavery were not transcribed  into words. They were handed down orally. Just as Indigenous stories were. Just as biblical stories were.


Comments (0) Number of views (185)

16

Feb

2020

Billionaires battle for the presidency

Author: Jim Taylor

My wife and I watch Jeopardy, most evenings, for three reasons. Its host is Alex Trebek, a Canadian. It involves knowledge and intelligence. And it has no guns.

            But Jeopardy is not on any Canadian channel in our area. We have to watch it on Seattle’s KOMO. Which means that we’re suddenly seeing several advertisements every hour for Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to become U.S. president.

            Apparently Bloomberg has already spent $350 million U.S. on advertising. That’s about ten times more than Bernie Sanders has spent, so far.

            And there’s still most of a year to go.

 


Comments (0) Number of views (220)

15

Feb

2020

My best New Year’s Resolution ever

Author: Jim Taylor

Back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution, but I haven’t written about it, just in case it turned out to be like so many other resolutions that last only until someone puts chocolates on the table.

            Fortunately, my resolution wasn’t about chocolates. It was about superlatives.

            To put all of this in a grammatical context, we have, generally speaking, three levels of comparison -- good, better, and best.

            One: this is good. No comparison involved. 

            Two: the comparative -- this is better. 

            Three, the superlative: this is best. Or worst, in some cases. Ideally, again, of a number of known choices. The highest score among a specific group of competitors. The fastest time in a particular high school’s track meet. The lowest temperature this winter.

            But that’s not Donald Trump’s style. He chronically uses what I think of as absolute superlatives. Asserting, for example, that he was “the greatest president ever.” Or that something was the “worst trade deal ever made.” Or that Islamic terrorism is “the greatest threat the U.S. has ever faced.”


Comments (0) Number of views (351)

9

Feb

2020

For China, even compassion is politics

Author: Jim Taylor

The first airlift of Canadians trapped in the quarantined Chinese city of Wuhan took place on Thursday. A second flight is currently scheduled for next Tuesday, February 10. 

            In the meantime, at least 12 other countries have been able to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. News reports identify the U.S., Australia, Japan, South Korea, France, Morocco, Germany, Kazakhstan, the U.K., Russia, Netherlands, and Myanmar.

            How come they could do it, and Canada took so long?

            Health Minister Patty Hajdu conceded that the federal government was initially caught off guard and had "a slow start in terms of organizing" the evacuation plane.

            Kazakhstan was better prepared for a health crisis than Canada was? Give me a break!

            Although nobody is saying it out loud, there seems to me a connection between the delays encountered in getting Canadian citizens out of China and the highly publicized court case in Vancouver, B.C. deliberating the fate of Meng Wanzhou.


Comments (0) Number of views (225)

6

Feb

2020

The rise of the un-religious

Author: Jim Taylor

Bad news for religious institutions – churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and gurdwaras – the agnostics are winning. 

            The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, a conservative Christian organization, recently completed a poll of Canadians over the age of 18. In summary, they found that “half of Canadians are either agnostic, atheist or unreligious. And only a tenth attend religious services weekly.”

            Like all polls, it’s a sampling of opinions and experiences. It put its questions to 5,000 Canadians, regardless of their brand of religion. So it’s not just about evangelicals. 

             The single biggest finding is that 50% of Canadians no longer claim any religious affiliation. They consider themselves agnostics, atheists, or “spiritual but not religious” (abbreviated to AASN).

            Those who still consider themselves Christian – Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, whatever – make up only 43% of the Canadian population.


Comments (0) Number of views (199)

2

Feb

2020

The “laws” we invent

Author: Jim Taylor

In high school, we were taught that there were two immutable laws in nature -- the Law of Conservation of Matter, and the Law of Conservation of Energy.

            Then the atomic bomb blew both laws into anywhere. They had to be combined: the total of matter and energy remains constant -- even if bits of each could be swapped. (Although I don’t think anyone has yet attempted to turn energy back into matter. )

            That got me thinking about a variety of other so-called Laws.

            For example, the Peter Principle, devised by author Lawrence J. Peter with Raymond Hull. It said, in essence, that institutions promote people to their level of incompetence.


Comments (0) Number of views (258)

30

Jan

2020

Questions of life and death

Author: Jim Taylor

’m not sure what I believe about life after death. I’m quite sure that I don’t believe in life before life.

            When I was about ten, my mother told me that my father had proposed to another woman, before he met my mother.

            He had finished his Master’s degree. He had signed up to go to India as a missionary with  the United Church of Canada. He invited this other woman to go with him.

            She said no.

            By a fortunate coincidence for me, my mother went to India about the same time, as a Presbyterian missionary from Northern Ireland. My parents met at language school. Six years later they had me.

            Even at the age of ten, it occurred to me that if that other woman had said “Yes,” I wouldn’t  be who I was. I would be someone else. Maybe even –horrors – a girl!


Comments (0) Number of views (246)
RSS
First234567891011Last

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1950s 1954 1972 1984 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 Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amazon Amerika Amherst amnesia analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anger anniversaries Anthropocene antidote Ants aphrodisiac Apologies apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern Aristotle armistice Armstrong Army and Navy stores Art artifacts artists ashes astronomy atheists atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits 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 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 billionaire BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Black history Blackmore blessings blockades blood blood donors Bloomberg boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol 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 bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats cancer Canute Capp caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cash cats cave CBC 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 China chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christians Christina Rossetti Christine Blasey Ford Christmas 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 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 contraception contrasts Conversations conversion therapy copyright coral Cornwallis corona virus corporations corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Covenant Coventry Cathedral COVID-19 CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes Crawford Bay creation creche credit cards creeds cremation crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion Cruelty crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cutbacks cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death death survival deaths decision decisions Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy Democratic denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes Desiderata despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs 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 Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions Empire encryption English Entropy 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 explosions extinction extinctions extradition extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith falling leaves False Creek Farmworkers fascist fate fear Fearless Fosdick Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Ferrier Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball fireflies fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow chart flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects fog Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign fracking franchises free free speech free will freedom freedom of speech frequency friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism funerals future Gaia games Gandhi Garbage Garden of Eden Garrison Keillor gas tanks Geese genes Genghis Khan genocide
Copyright 2020 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada