21 January 2018

The Child who was Never Born ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I going to walk through a mine field in hopes of creating some better understanding for my own faith and following.  This is one of those discussions I do not often have with others because it almost always leads to arguments, strife, and dissension.  First let me lay down some ground rules and a reminder of two.

First the ground rules:
  • I do not ever intend to nor will I participate in condemning someone for what has already been done.  It is in the past and, therefore, prologue to what matters.  There are consequences for our past choices and lessons to be learned.  For me to condemn anyone for his or her past is to neglect my own failures and the ripples of consequence that echo into this moment and onward.
  • Remarks that are anything but reasonable discussion will not be tolerated and will be deleted.
  • Personal attacks are heinous and will be deleted.
  • You do not have to agree with me but you must be reasonable and civil.
Reminders:
  • This blog is my space to work through the things I ponder about following Christ.
  • It is never me telling anyone else how to live.
  • I welcome opposing views.
  • I love you even if you hate me.

With those covered I will stop being cryptic.   My spirit is very burdened over the issue of abortion/choice/reproductive rights in our nation.  I am going to think through this to make sure that I know what I think and why.  I am going to weigh in on some things and I am going to analyze some data.  I am going to say some things as a conservative (not the type that one thinks) Christ follower that may anger other conservatives (specifically the type that one thinks).  That is not my wish but must be acknowledged as a possibility.

I want to thank my beloved friend Lyric for the moment that made it clear to me that I had to address this.  She posted an article that I will reference later in an attempt to give accurate apologia for my position.

I am going to journey through this on several fronts.  I need your company as I am determined to do so without attacking anyone.  If I say things that you do not like please take a beat before assuming that I hate anyone.  I do not.  Please journey with me Dear Reader.  If this is too much for you I understand.  I promise to respond with kindness to every comment.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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20 January 2018

Anti-Social Media ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I read through my differing media sources I consider the volume of hatred that is spewed across it.  It is difficult to find honest news sources.  If you think any of the mainstream ones are not biased you might wish to look a little deeper.

It is not wrong for us to discuss the issues of the day in our social media.  It is not the place to spill our vitriol and hatred.  It takes so very much energy to hate.  It also solves nothing.  I have friends that I love dearly whom I see screaming their hatred for this or that person or issue.  It saddens me to see their precious energy spent on this instead of the great good they can and often do in the world.

The true application for me is to never hate anyone for any reason.  It is not my place to judge, condemn, or revile anyone.  I will disagree politely when I think differently.  I will not engage in anger and hatred.  Disagreement does not equal hatred, prejudice, or a phobia.  Holding the position that it does is neither honest nor tolerant.

Whether you consider your position to be right or left it is never tolerant to hate.  It is never a signal that I am correct when I choose anger or hatred over love and compassion.  Christ reserved his anger for those who believed they had the high ground and used it to look down on others. 

Only through loving humility can I hope to reflect what is true.  I will speak what I believe to be true but I will strive to do so with love and compassion.  I will hope always to assure that as I examine my own life that I can weed out anything that is not a reflection of the love of Christ.  Next up will be an issue that I have addressed briefly in the past.  I feel the need to fight off anger in it.  I hope you join me Dear Reader. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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19 January 2018

Anti-Social Media ~ No Dissenting Views

Greetings Dear Reader,

No one agrees with me concerning every issue.  In some areas I have close friends with whom I disagree fundamentally on many things.  We are still friends.  We do not argue over things that we know will not be changed by arguing.

I am not saying that I tolerate everything.  I believe that some things are inherently wrong.  I am not, however, convinced that rejecting someone because he or she disagrees with you is sound theology.  In truth, it is directly opposed to the idea of loving my enemies. 

The people with whom I disagree know that I disagree with them.  They also know that I am required not to judge, reject, or hate them.  In Social Media we often see people beaten down by those with dissenting views.  It seems that the more one disagrees the less one is tolerant of disagreement.  Instead of polite intellectual discussion there is a sea of vitriol and charter attack. 

We cannot have justice and freedom in a nation that shames you for disagreeing.  When we refuse to hear what others have to say we are violating the very spirit of true tolerance.  No matter what color you paint your political animal or what religious symbol you venerate, you cannot be honest and refuse to hear others.  One cannot have much faith in his or her position if one cannot withstand hearing the ideas of others. 

We must express our ideas with kind intelligence.  I must listen with love and patience.  I must value the person speaking no matter how wrong I may think him or her to be.  If I do not I cannot earn the right to be heard.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

18 January 2018

Anti-Social Media ~ Popular Pejoratives

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the discussion thus far, we have talked about anonymity and integrity.  One of the elements one must consider is that of launching pejoratives without considering the impact to your target.  Or even if you feel that the target deserves the impact perhaps one should consider if it is right to launch such things.

It is easy to get a laugh or drip some venom at the expense of others.  It is a great way to gain popularity in the tribe.  It is even legal as long as one avoids slander or defamation.  I am seeking a higher plane of thinking.

Whether we like it or not, we are required to love our enemies.  We are obligated to love and pray for our political leaders (yes even him [whomever “him” is to you]).   I dislike the words and work of most of our politicians.  I know that there is corruption and scandal.  There is in almost every endeavor. 

None of this allows me to launch insults, accusations, and hatred at anyone.  Nothing permits me to speculate publicly about someone’s character.  Nothing allows me to reject someone based on hearsay.  It saddens me when others I love and respect participate in the popular hatred of someone. 

I understand that we will not always agree.  What I cannot understand is where our decency and respect have gone.  We need to respect our leaders even when we disagree with them.  We can demand that they act properly and fire them if they do not.  All we accomplish with running pejoratives is to foster division and hatred. 

I must love everyone. I must not launch insults at anyone no matter how heinous I find their actions.  My obligation is to love, pray, and work for what I believe is correct in that spirit.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 January 2018

Second Thoughts ~ Snow, Milk, and Bread

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

It could not have been a snowflake. 
That is not free-range,
 whole-grain
, cruelty-free,
 non-gluten bread.
Since it is snowing in the south I will take a moment to defend my Southern heritage.  I grew up in Atlanta.  I now live in Wisconsin.  My tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek.  Two inches of snow is nothing here so we do not understand what that means to the average southerner. 

The usual response to the milk and bread pejoratives is to cry that they are not used to it.  The fact is there are salient reasons why the South is more impacted by infrequent snow.  Had they some whit of letters left about them when faced with this crisis their responses might be thus:

Arboreal:  The overabundant Douglas Firs cannot bear the weight of the snow and cold as well as their Northern cousins thus causing the breaking of branches and downing of power lines. 

Meteorological:  The precipitation visited upon us is rarely true snow. It is often a mix of snow, freezing rain, and sleet which covers our roads in dark sheets of ice making travel almost impossible and always treacherous.

Industrial:  Given that the need to clear our roads of frozen precipitation only occurs once or twice every other year or so the investment has not been made in sand, salt, and snow plows to clear even our major roads.

Experiential:  Referencing the aforementioned infrequency of snow/ice events it is clear that those who live in the South have little if any experience driving in or preparing for the implications of sudden roads, walks, and houses covered in beautiful white death.

Provisional:  You create memes of our pilgrimages to the store for bread and milk without understanding that our larders are filled with non-perishables and we understand the need to have essentials when unable to travel for up to a week (it has actually happened).

Parental:  The announcements of school closings due to the danger of travel visit a dilemma upon us in that places of work do not as readily concede that travel is ill-advised thus requiring parents to scramble for appropriate childcare.

Comparative: During the late spring, summer, and early Autumn we endure humidity levels constant over which the north whines incessantly when they have a few days of it.  We will remember this as should you.

So to my Northern friends I offer this; we have good reason to feel anxious concerning the snow.  Let us know when it gets too humid for you.  We will find you a Wal-Mart to hang out in.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anti-Social Media ~ Light-speed Lies

Greetings Dear Reader,

We have all seen it.  The story of a celebrity death pops up on our social feed.  We express our sorrow at the loss.  Then we find out it is a hoax.  I have been fooled by this.

In the news of late we have found that some professional journalists have abandoned their integrity.  They have coloured, flavored, or in some cases fabricated “reports” to influence political or social positions.  Stories of the negative spread so quickly in our feeds and we believe them without verification.

Terms like “alternative facts” and “somewhat verified” are used to excuse poor journalism and outright lies.  It used to be that journalists and news people were taught to have evidence and verification of their stories.  This grew out of the abuses of print media in the eighteenth century.

Now we can post a lie and it can travel the world at light-speed.  We can turn a spark of rumor into a raging fire of anger and accusation just by typing a few lines and clicking “post”.  Lies become the truth because they scroll through your feed unfettered and unverified.  People repeat and re-post the lie until we all think it is true.

I must verify.  I must not think that something is true just because I read it on my social feed.  The tools are available to me to do the research and learn the truth.  It is my obligation to have integrity in all that I read and write.  It is my duty to put forth only the truth.  I cannot follow Christ properly without filtering out the lies, even when they are told by my allies.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 January 2018

Anti-Social Media ~ Anonymous Assaults

Greetings Dear Reader,

There is something fundamentally wrong about hurling insults at someone from the cover of anonymity.  I will occasionally receive anonymous comments on this blog that attack my faith, writing, or me.  I read them and consider whether there is truth in them.  I do not, however, allow vitriol or attacks on my page.

It is too easy to snipe from hiding on social media.  It never does anything but harm.  It is one of the great ills that comes of the ease of communication.  We can create a persona that is hidden and free to spread any rancor it wishes.  One can say horrid things without accountability or fear of reprisal.

Even when we think we are correct in our view we must not be unkind and harsh.   The venom of such attacks does no good and can do a great deal of harm.  One of the reasons that I do not allow negative posts on this page is that I do not want to be a part of spreading the negativity.

Since I am required to love everyone, tolerating this behaviour is an untenable position.  If I need to disagree with someone publicly then I must do so with kindness and respect. I must never resort to insults or attacks.  All that I say must be filtered through grace and love. 

This then allows few occasions for me to say anything other than the things that are good.  If I have good things to say then I can do so with openness and integrity.  I realize that this begs the question of my use of a nom-de-plume.  I choose this because I do not seek fame.  It is simple enough to work out who I am (that is not a challenge).  It is not anonymity but an attempt to live in humility.

Still, Dear Reader, we must never resort to insults and attacks to make our point.  It is futile and useless.  Let me know if I fail in my resolve to never do this.  I promise not to attack you if you do so.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 January 2018

Second Thoughts ~ Division in the Dream

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you, Dear Reader.

As I consider Martin Luther King Day for 2017, I wonder what Dr. King would think of the state of his dream.  We talk about the fact that he gave his life for freedom.  My concern is that we have forgotten that he did not intend to die.  His intent was to establish love, respect, and the quality among all people in our nation. 

I would not dare to speak to nor could I begin to understand how it feels two be respected or mistreated simply because of the color of my skin.  What I do recognize is a lack of love, kindness, and justice when I see it.  We live a in world where we hang onto anger, disrespect each other, and put our issues ahead of love and peace.  There can be no peace when any class of people is treated unjustly.  There can be no harm any when we’re all shouting about our own agenda.  It seems that every side of every issue is bent on shouting down the other side without really listening.

I think that if we want to honor Dr. King’s dream, we must again by returning to the fundamental principles of love and respect for all human beings.  If we cannot do this we cannot build the content of character it teaches us to ignore the color of one’s skin.  

Jesus made it very clear that every human matters. We cannot get to the dream if we do not learn to truly love and respect each other.  We do not have to agree on everything but the fundamentals of love, kindness, and respect our vital to producing good society.  I think that Dr. King would be saddened by the division that haunts our whole country.  I think he would look at us with that strong soulful look require that we lay aside our differences and learn to live together in peace.

I am required to love my enemies, my neighbors, and anyone that disagrees with me.  I cannot profess to follow Christ if I do not love you no matter what you think of me.  I think we should spend more time listening to everything Dr. King had to say and less time thinking about his death.  

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anti-Social Media ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

First, a little data to get us started on this section of the path.   It often helps to know the terrain before one traverses it.  The data comes from Hootsuite
  • 2.8 billion people were using social media by the end of 2016, up 21 percent from 2015.
  • Social media use on mobile increased by 30 percent year-over-year in 2016, surpassing 2.5 billion users globally (91 percent of all social media users).
  • 83 percent of Americans have a social media account.
  • In the U.K., 77 percent of people have a social media account.
  • In the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), social media growth rates increased by over 50 percent year-on-year in 2016.
  • More than 1.5 billion people across APAC now use social media on a monthly basis, 95 percent of whom access social via mobile—the highest ratio in the world.
  • Social media use in Europe grew by five percent to pass 400 million users across the continent, 85 percent of whom access social on mobile platforms each month.

This sounds like a great many people because it is.  We are given very much because of the ease of access and plentitude of information via social media.  Too often what is posted is unkind or untrue.  At best we often get only part of the story.  At worst we get complete fabrications intended to manipulate our thinking.

I admit that social media has value.  I use it daily for communication and work.  I must, however, be vigilant to be accurate, honest, and careful.  I must not get caught up in things that are not reflective of who Christ is.  I must be accountable and responsible for what I take in and what I send out. 

For a few days I will examine some of the ills that are there to be avoided along the way.  I will review the framework that guides my thinking and writing in this arena.  It is simple to join the cacophony of voices shouting in print and photo about this or that issue.  It is easy to catch the virulent voices vilifying this or that person.  The challenge is to remain a voice set apart for love and truth; for kindness and acceptance.

Journey with me Dear Reader.  I need your company and counsel.  I also highly value your presence.   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

14 January 2018

A Million Dreams ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We have dreams whether we nourish them or not.  We fall into dreamless lives of subsistence that sap our strength and steal our time.  Time and most humans will not care about our dreams.  We are the only ones who can frame and build them.

It will take time and hard work to build anything worth building.  It will require sacrifice of other things.  Dreams do not become real of their own accord.  Their reality comes from our faith and work.

We must believe.  We must see the vision of what can be and create it with the gifts given us.  I must fight against the things that would distract and detract.  I must do something every day to make it real so that some day it is. 

I have lost some of my dreams to wrong choices and misused time.  I have tried to build dreams with others but that has not yet worked out.  I must keep my priorities in line and not let distractions keep me from my dreams.

If I follow in faith and do what is right I can get there.  Even from the dark valley of a deep wilderness the light of my dreams can help me follow more faithfully.  If I continue to believe that the Father would not have given me dreams had he not had a purpose for them then the wilderness makes it part of the plan. 

My real belief is that this life is meant to make us hunger for and dream about something better.  I am designed to be something unique.  I am determined to use my gifts to better life for others.  On to the next step Dear Reader.  Your company is precious.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)