31 August 2012

Why I Believe – Unique Direction Part 3


Greetings Dear Reader,

I spoke of how the Father loves us.  I think that this is one of the greatest ways in which to express trust is to love.  When we allow ourselves to love someone we become vulnerable and that is inherently a trusting act.

The essence of the Old Testament law and of Christ’s teaching is that we must trust the Father by becoming vulnerable to loving others and loving him.  It is not in our strength and riches that security is found.  It is in the vulnerability of trusting that all will be well if we love God and love each other.  It is the security that God will supply all our need and he will do it out of his abundance. 

The power of love the drives God to journey to me to draw me to him is one of the deepest reasons I believe.  I realize that this is irrational and subjective but in that I find it even more irrational not to believe. I am not perfect.  I am fallen.  I am in need of redemption.

The God of the Bible journeys to me to buy me back from my own brokenness.  No matter how many times his followers mask this by their bad behavior it is still true.  Focusing on this ignites a love in me that I cannot explain.  It draws me to God and to know him more deeply.

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."

Blue Moon


Greetings Dear Reader,

Today there is a blue moon.  If you do not know it, a blue moon means that there are two full moons in the same month.  This happens rarely enough that people notice it and make a big deal of it.  The moon is not actually blue but rare events are referred to as “Once in a blue moon.”  A blue moon is said to have special arcane meaning.  People fall in love under a blue moon.  Some calendars are formed around blue moons.

There is also a song by the name Blue Moon.  I have always like this song since I heard Nat King Cole croon it when I was a boy.  Sometimes I can carry a tune and I sing this song to myself at times.  I used to help care for an elderly lady who when she became agitated could be calmed by my singing this song.

I have written before about how music connects to who I am in many ways.  This song played a part in a very important part of my life.  The first time I held my first Grandson, Orion, I found a new love that was different than anything I have ever felt.  This song leapt into my mind and I have sung it to him often to help him fall asleep.  Now that he is talking he and I sing it together.  We even sing it to his baby brother

You see great and wonderful Grandsons come along only once in a blue moon.

Blue Moon
Blue Moon
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue Moon
You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only face my heart will ever love
Someone whispered please adore me
Then Moon it turned to gold

Blue Moon
Now I'm no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own


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."

30 August 2012

Why I Believe – Unique Direction Part 2


Greetings Dear Reader,

Before I paused to respond to comments from others I was headed in a direction.  I stumbled by trying to show unclearly the Father heart of God in an analogy.  My point is that God loves us.  Behind all the trappings of the Old Testament law is a love for us that is deep and abiding.

When we reject God in any way he feels as a father feels when his children disobey.  A loving father feels hurt, anger, and sadness.  God measures out these things but the undercurrent is always love that moves him to grace, mercy, and reconciliation. 

The point is that we spend so much time seeing God in terms of theology and apologetics that we do not embrace the father’s love he holds for us.  I believe because the Father makes it clear that his feelings for us are familial. He wishes for us to know him in-depth in this way.

I have two Sons who I love deeply.  I have failed them in many ways but my love for them has never wavered.  My father never once told me he loved me.  He never held me by his side and expressed his confidence or belief in me.  I think they have no idea the potential they possess.

In that is the heart matter of my faith and belief.  God represents himself as a father to the fatherless.  He expresses over and over his desire to show us his plans for us if we will only accept his love for us.

This is not pabulum to placate the weak minded.  This is the core of the force that is unstoppable in my faith.  This is the focus that moved Jesus to the cross.  This is what we are to be recognized by.  This is to be our prime mover in showing our faith to others.

I believe that what I believe does not matter if I do not show love to others.


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."

An Aside - An Awaited Moment in Time


Greetings Dear Reader,

As a lifelong teacher I have harbored a dream that teachers harbor.   That is the dream of one day having one of my students become a teacher that works with you.   Teachers and I mean real teachers long to find their own kind and nurture them into the profession.  We understand the value of learning.  We get how the right investment of knowledge and confidence into a student can change a life.   We realize that very few people get the actual value of what we do.  When we see someone with that potential who loves our area of teaching we want to invest ourselves in them.

The whole reason I accepted a leadership role in academics is because I love mentoring other teachers.  I love helping them become better at their craft.  I love drawing the greatness out of them.  I also stand guardian over the quality of education.  I stand sentinel over the trust bond that must exist between student, teacher, and material.  I only want quality teachers entrusted to my students.

So I pass on a sacred legacy.  An academic leader entrusted a classroom to me once.  He allowed me to teach a class during my graduate program as part of my course requirements.  He guided me in becoming a good teacher.  He taught the arcane mysteries that have nothing to do with text books and lesson plans.  Now I get to pass this on to another.

Yesterday I began the process of hiring a student who graduated from my program as a teacher.  The Dean and Campus Director heartily approved.  All my colleagues were impressed with the young man.  This coming quarter I will get to birth a new teacher.  The fall quarter crisp with chilling air and new potential will arrive with a new man teaching new students how to become great.  This is why I do the work I do.

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."

29 August 2012

Why I Believe – A Pause to Respond to Comments 4


Greetings Dear Reader,

I want to address one more comment before I continue my thoughts.  I will return to comments a little further down the path.  Before that I would also like to encourage my readers to encourage Patrick Sharp.  After his last comment I found his Blog.  I would like to encourage him to write more. I believe the stated purpose of his Blog may be the noblest there is. He is intelligent and articulate.  I would read his writing with joy. 

The comment I would like to respond to is one from Anonymous.  It is a though I share and that I find beautiful in its innocence.  Anonymous writes, “I must admit that though my faith is young I've never analyzed it like this before, in the first beginnings of my faith one thing was made very clear and that was: do I want a God that I could comprehend or a God that was bigger than me and in all ways is beyond us yet there for us. I took that proposed question and chose that I wanted a uncomprehendable God that was almighty and that I could know and rely on in all ways.”

I think this goes to the essence of faith.  I think it is also elemental to belief in God.  The quandary that we all face is the question of whether we believe that there is intelligence that is greater than ours.  No matter how shallow or deep one goes with this question, everyone answers it in some way.  Everyone chooses whether man is the ultimate there is or not. 

This leads me to thoughts on why we dismiss the idea of God.  I think the problem with us is us.  In so many ways we demonstrate that left to ourselves we are arrogant and self-absorbed.  I am not judging anyone because I am guilty of this as well.  If we do not accept that there is more to the universe than us and that there is power beyond ours we are in danger. 

I would posit that we want a God that is beyond our comprehension on one hand and we want a God we can shape to our own wants on the other.  We place requirements on God.  In the words of Michael Card “we’ve made you in our image so our faith is idolatry.” 

I think that those who do not believe in God do the same.  They fashion a straw god and then dismiss him.  They do this with questions that seem to make the straw god unjust or unloving.  I think that one of the hinges on which faith must swing to be reasonable is a humble acceptance that we are not the top.  We are great and amazing as humans but we are also fallen and flawed. 

The acceptance that I need something greater than me leads me to seeking in truth what that something is.  I think I will again refer to the words of Patrick Sharp, “I'm trying to fight for something. I believe that something is unashamed, relentless, barrier crushing love. It strikes me that Jesus of Nazareth understood what that is and teaches us how to be loving like that. I say fighting for that is the hardest and best thing anyone can do.

This thought in different words has been a guiding principle for me of late.  Thank you Anonymous and Patrick for helping me crystalize my thinking.  I am a failure in many ways and others have paid the price of that failure.  I can only try to do better today and hope that the pursuit of love can outweigh and heal past pain.

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."

28 August 2012

Why I Believe – A Pause to Respond to Comments 3


Greetings Dear Reader,

It was asked in one of the comments why the God of the Bible is seen as the only God by Christ followers.  I want to answer this very carefully because it is an honest question and deserves a respectful and loving answer.  Too often those who follow Christ are arrogant and dismissive when this question is posed.  That is definitely not in the spirit of things that Christ taught us.  Even Paul, a Pharisee insists that we “dedicate our lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.”

It is difficult to approach this answer externally.  It goes to the problem of being inside or outside of this faith.  The internal and easy answer is that Yahweh insists over and over that he is the only true God.  This is not unique but if I accept the Bible as authoritative then I must accept this.  Christ also verified this. 

To answer this from inside then one must first then assert that the Bible is authoritative.  I will not attempt to do that here because there are excellent volumes that one could read that do it much better than I can.  Here are two of the best.


Inerrancy by edited by Norman Geisler

When in college I had the privilege of being Norman Geisler’s student aid whilst he was on campus for a week long seminar.  His specialty is Christian Apologetics.  I found him to be both humble and honest in his pursuit of reasonable answers to why we believe.

The hard part is that just claiming to believe this sounds arrogant and I do not know how to get around that.  Answering this from outside is a whole other matter.  Since I am endeavoring to be honest in my answers and not give any cliché or pat answers, I must first say I cannot prove anything beyond the need for faith to accept it.

So to get to the heart of the question concerning other belief systems I will first say I could not personally accept anything where God or the gods are not something far beyond me.  But even in the Bible God promises that all who seek him will find him.  If that is true then whether I know the answer of not he will extend himself to those who honestly seek him whether they know the right words or not. 

If I am honest then I cannot say how he does this.  Too often we dismiss this honest question with a call to missionary work or evangelism.  Jesus told us we were to teach all men to do according to his example.  I am familiar with many other faiths and I know that in each of them are adherents who are just as earnest as I am to mine.  As a man of faith I believe that God knows what he is doing with this dilemma. 

Paul makes it clear that those who do not know the Law (the Law of Moses) are not judged under the law. If I am to hold that God is just, merciful, and loving then I must balance that with that he is also unwilling that any should perish.   This means that for me that I see the richness of following Christ and wish for others to have it.

Some will condemn me for not taking a harder line here but to me that would be counter to the way in which Christ approached things.  Jesus condemned most harshly those who made the law more burdensome than it was intended.  He accepted everyone and invited them to see the Father through his eyes. 

If I am to follow in that spirit I cannot condemn anyone who disagrees with me.  I must be honest and stand by the truth that my singular God will reveal himself to anyone who diligently seeks him.  To claim that I know all the ramifications to that would be a lie.  If I am secure in faith that would seem to be enough. 

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."

27 August 2012

Why I Believe – A Pause to Respond to Comments 2


Greetings Dear Reader,

I wanted to pick up on the second round of comments made by Patrick Sharp about God and his nature.  I think that Paul Copan address the seeming problems with God’s nature in his book Is God A Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God far better than I could.  What I will respond to is that God does speak of love as the prime mover in his approach to us. 

I think that this also leads us back to the question of sovereignty.  Most systematic theologies make it clear that God is sovereign and perfect in his attributes.  I realize that it is impossible to “prove” that God is any of these things.  Again I think it is one of the required quandaries of faith. 

If we approach this conversation from inside faith then it is easy to see the logic of it.   If we approach it from outside then it makes little sense to us.  Since God requires faith to approach him it is much simpler to reason our way away from him than towards him.  C.S. Lewis comments on this clearly when he explains that we see things differently from the inside that we do from the outside. 

I think that in trying to harmonize the Old and New Testaments we have to look carefully at Patrick’s note with and addendum.  Patrick writes:

“The only truly great example that exists in The Bible is the story of Jesus. He flies in the face of the eye for an eye ideology that exists throughout the Hebrew Bible. Jesus begs those that will listen to neglect vengeance and embrace mercy. He strives with religious leaders to denounce their holiness and accept that all men are equal in the eyes of God. He teaches that the end of days will bring about justice, peace, and that compassion should and will rule all. “

Jesus makes it clear that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.  I would differ that Jesus is the “only” good example of this but I would say he is the best example of it.  I think that Job is clearly favored by God for his faith and following.  Jesus affirmed the Old Testament and used it to show us he was God’s next step in completing our redemption. 

When we study the life of Christ we see someone who embraced the law and sought to show the imbalance that had become part of the abuse of the law.  When Christ challenges the Pharisees he points out that they must not neglect the weightier matters of the law.  In simple language the requirements of being a Christ follower have little spiritual voice if the follower does not embrace the social voice as well.

Even in the Old Testament it was clear that those in need were to be cared for by those without apparent need.  The stranger in the land was to be treated with care and kindness.  I think that part of the reason for Jesus commenting so heavily on the social aspect of the law was because the religious leaders had strayed so far from it.  I think that this so closely parallels the political division in America.  No matter how much religious truth one has they have no voice if they do not embrace the social aspects of the Gospel with equal fervor. 

Faith in God is only reasonable when both things are in balance.  Following Christ involves both.  Embrace the law without the social gospel and God loses his compassion in the eyes of those in need.  This leads to a very dangerous and God hating world.  Embrace the social gospel without the law of a just and holy God and one cannot help but lose the morality that a society needs to remain healthy.  Jesus very clearly embraced both and asked us to follow him is the same manner.

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."

25 August 2012

Why I Believe – A Pause to Respond to Comments



Greetings Dear Reader,

I have had some very interesting comments and questions since I started discussing this topic.  I am going to respond to a few them.  I do not intend to be argumentative as my purpose here is not to persuade others but rather to examine my inner reasons for why I am who I am.

Patrick Sharp has made some valid observations worthy of response.  I will attempt to be brief and clear.  I can often do one or the other but rarely both.  I will agree whole heartedly that it is difficulty to have faith without a “degree of irrationality.”   I wonder if something has to be rational to be reasonable.  I think not.  I think because the metaphor is “a leap of faith” that we must concede to the irrationality.

Mr. Sharp also points out that there is clear mathematical evidence for life outside of this world in the universe.  I concede this without hesitation and would go on to say that I hope it is true.  Just seeing the creativity of this world makes me wonder what other worlds a creative God would design.  As to the proof of evolution I would say that one can draw other conclusions without denying the validity of the things we observe.  I have always had difficulty with the notion that what I can observe is the measure of what is true. Perhaps attempting to quantify faith or make it rational is an exercise in folly.

I would also like to address a question from one of my Anonymous readers.  Anonymous asks “Is it possible to have a relationship with God and not read the bible completely or to study him?” 

I would whole heartedly say yes.  I think there are several places in the Bible where God obligates himself to reveal himself to those who seek him.  My more conservative friends are going to chafe at this and I ask their indulgence.  These are my thoughts and I am willing to be wrong if I am wrong but I must be honest in my error. 

In Jeremiah God makes is clear that those who wholeheartedly seek him will find him.  I cannot speak for God in this matter as my knowledge; having been literate and read the Bible over and over find no limitation on the possibility of God revealing himself.  Since we are required to approach God in faith, I would think that he would always respond to the faith based act of seeking him.

I cannot say exactly what God wants from those who are not exposed to the things I have been privileged to learn.  I can say that he will go to great lengths to honor those who seek him.  Perhaps there is a harmony here between the two individuals to whom I respond.  After all the primary focus of God is a relationship.  Science and vocabulary mean little when we factor in the desire to know someone and develop a loving relationship with that individual.

I want to thank everyone who interacts with me here.  I am will continue responding for a bit and continue writing about my thoughts in this area.  I will not argue or attack anyone.  That would not be in the spirit of the faith I attempt to follow.

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."

23 August 2012

A Very Public Apology and Reassurance

Greetings Dear Reader,

First' I would like to publically apologize for the impact this morning's post had on at least one of my Sons.  I was not refering to my children when I spoke of the interaction between Father's and Sons.  I hope my children will forgive this lack of clarity on my part.

My children have stood by me even when it was difficult for them to do so; even when I was wrong.  Again they are not the allusion I was attempting to draw and I am sorrowful that they felt this way even for a time.

Second, someone asked if I am pondering walking away from my faith.  No I am not.  I am attempting to walk through what I believe looking for answers to some things that plague me.  I will not forsake following Christ if I do not get those answers.  So often Christ followers act like everything is OK when it is not.  I am merely trying to be both open and genuine. 

I am not sure why this morning's post was so unclear but I will offer this:  I am in a place where many things hurt and where I am not always clear.  Please continue to interact with me when I am not clear.  Again I apologize if I have alarmed anyone.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Why I Believe – Unique Direction Part 2


Greetings Dear Reader,

At this juncture I come to a crossroads.  What do I do about this God that I believe exists and believe is higher than me.  I try not to “Bible thump” in my thoughts and questions but I would also state clearly that I accept the Bible as authoritative.   The crossroad that I must address is one leaving my own thinking and looking at outside sources.  I am getting ahead of myself.

The whole reason I bring this up that one must ponder how God would reveal himself to us.  This is the idea of direction that I wish to explain in my journey toward God.  Either there is something greater than me or there is not.  It is a binary choice.  I choose to believe that there is.  To think there is not seems prideful or arrogant. 

Again if I am totally honest I feel that I am trying to dance on ping pong balls here.  Since most who dismiss my views also dismiss the Bible it is difficult to explain my views without one of God’s keys sources of revelation.  Here I come to a ponderous place that causes me great discomfort.  I wonder how many people have really read the Bible as opposed to studying it.  There is a vast difference.   

When I first considered following Christ genuinely I read the Bible.  I looked for the story not the theology or the dogma.  I looked to see what God wanted me to know about God.  What I saw was a God with very little gray.  He seemed very all or nothing in regards to his desire for us to follow him.  Even in his commands though there was a thread of love.

In this then I began to see that there was a difference between me and God.  Mapping that difference comes down to asking what God and I expect from each other.  If God is going to hold a position of authority as the Bible claims he does, then what gives him the right to do so?

The thing that first go my attention was that God wished to journey to me so that I could journey to him.  It makes no sense to me that we say we have studied the Bible but that we have not truly read the story.  I will get to the bits that are necessary for a divine being to relate to mortals but first I would offer this:  Would someone dare boil down the relationship he has to his spouse to “I have studied her and find her suitable.”?  Should a woman evaluate her husband based on studying things about him when the relationship is to be based on love that is bidirectional? 

In kind, when our children do not understand what we do how do we feel about them treating us badly?  How do we measure their love of us when they reject our ways?  We love them anyway.  We grieve for their lack of understanding.  We show them patience, grace, and kindness in hopes that they will see that we are not as misguided and simple as they think we are.

I came to the place where I saw that God had to be higher than me and that he did truly love me.  He is more than a parent but wants me to see his Father aspect through Christ.  He is more than a bridegroom but wishes me to see him as a loving a faithful husband.  He is more than good but wishes me to see him in my goodness to others.  I cannot merely study God and hope to relate to him.  The journey is one of relationship. 

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."

22 August 2012

Why I Believe – Unique Direction Part 1


Greetings Dear Reader,

In my journey toward belief I conceded that there was something beyond me.  There is an inherent arrogance in the faith I profess.  As someone dear to me pointed out the God I follow is very clear that he is jealous and will not tolerate rivals.  He has dealt with people violently and ruthlessly.  If I am to be honest in my profession I must admit that on the surface these seem contradictory to the humble Christ who came to fulfill the law.

The first thing that I wrestled with after accepting that God existed was how one could reconcile his love and mercy with his violent justice.  It took some deep and honest thinking on my part to see how God could be both.  I think that to keep from being over long in any one post I will address this in two or three parts. 

If I choose to believe in a God then I must choose if he has character, intellect, morals, and values.  It would seem that just the creativity involved in the world would rule out a god without personality.  The question then is what is this God in relation to me?  Not to put too fine a point on it, this God would be sovereign, in control, and free to do as he wills.

It makes sense that a sovereign God would then either be good or bad.  It makes sense that he would have a will and want that will to permeate his world.  I struggled with all of this deeply because I could not reconcile a good God to the violence and rigidity I saw in the Old Testament.  To be transparent I must say that I still struggle with this at times. 

I think part of the answer lies in that struggle.  Because I am not perfect and not wholly good it is hard for me to conceive of a being who is.  This being who is beyond me truly holds all the cards.  He is GOD.  This is a true hinge on which belief must swing.  I must accept God as sovereign if I am to make any progress in reconciling what remains.  He must be good if I am to reconcile any of it.  So how do I find it reasonable that there is a sovereign good God?  We will get to this part of my journey after we review some other aspects.

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."


21 August 2012

Why I Believe – The Mind of God


Greetings Dear Reader,

Before I dare say anything on this topic I must put forth a caveat.  I do not profess to have any sure knowledge of the mind of God.  I am sure that his mind is so much vaster than mine that I cannot begin to conceive it.  What I intend in addressing this topic is to show that like God’s existence is reasonable his intellect shows us that we can reasonably accept that he would wish to communicate with us.

Nothing in this commentary is new.  I am simply reviewing the journey that took me to the faith I hold. From the outset in Genesis God makes it clear that he wishes to know us and more importantly that he wishes for us to know him.  The creation account is obvious in its personal approach to the relationship.  The first thing declared not good is being alone. 

I have struggled with loneliness all my life.  God’s desire for us to have communion with him and to know him well sings to that empty place inside of me.  Nothing about this is unique to me but rather I feel it so very deeply because it is me.  We are designed by God to be fueled by our proximity to him.  This is not a physical proximity but rather the closeness in which we follow Christ.

I see the lives of those who have left this following and there is a gauntness there that I cannot plumb.  I can measure my ability to handle the dark places by my tether to Christ.  The mind of God is one that wishes us to know him.  In that knowing is where we find our way. 

His desire is for us to be in harmony with who he is.  That never changes.  He promises that we will eventually know him as completely as he knows us.  It is intellectually reasonable that if the universe has a designer that this designer wishes to be known by his design.  That we have a free and independent intellect allows us to reason that the desire to know means that there is something to be known.   

Simply put the mind of God is one that wishes to be known.  He wants us to seek him and wishes for it to be both cognitive and emotive.  He wishes to reason with us and to move our hearts.  He wants our faith to be reasonable and passionate all at once.  He wants our spirit to hunger for him but wants that spirit to be subject to reason as well.  As with all things he seeks the fulfillment of all our being.

I believe because it is reasonable to seek that mind which is greater than mine. 

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."

20 August 2012

Why I Believe – Reasonable Faith


Greetings Dear Reader,

As I approach this discussion I wish to be sure to define my purpose.  I am not attempting to rehash things that people already know but rather to review the things that led me to the reasonable faith I hold.

It does seem that anything that requires a leap of faith immediately becomes less than reasonable.  This, however, is not true in practice.  We reason our way to acts of faith often.  The face of faith in our daily lives is trust.  I trust that chairs will hold me even if I have never used them.  I trust that a door will open when I pull or push as the sign says. 

Even though I have encountered locked doors and been the victim of weak chairs it has not shaken my faith in doors and chairs.  We do, however, treat God this way.  We see failures in others and use that as an excuse to blame God and weaken our faith in him.

The idea of God requires faith no matter where you land on the line of belief or unbelief.  Someone who says they do not believe in God is actually saying I believe there is no God.  It is still an act of belief or faith.  This then leads to the question of what is reasonable in matters of God.

If there is no God and no design to our existence then I must ask if the accidental occurrence of man is truly reasonable.  An honest mathematician would concede that the mathematical possibility of man’s ascent through evolution is very improbable.  Even if one can reason his way to this point one comes to a precipice that requires a leap of faith.  So I then must ask which BELIEF is more reasonable?  Did we emerge from some primordial ooze due to billions of mathematically improbable perfecting mutations over billions of years? Or did an intelligent architect design and build a world for us that was to his liking?

I would not presume to tell you what to think but for me ruling out the existence of a designer seems much more a leap of faith than accepting one.  One might argue that it is unscientific to accept as real that which we cannot observe.  That too is a faith based requirement.  It is impossible to prove that the only things that are real are those things we can observe.  This is a belief not a proven fact.  Further true and accurate science draws conclusions often from the effect of an event that cannot be observed. 

At best an honest person must say that it takes a measure of belief to accept or reject the existence of God.  An honest person must also concede that we indulge in faith based actions on a daily basis.  Given a choice between the two the existence of God is the simpler of the two explanations.  I, therefore, believe that God exists.  If this premise is true, then it is reasonable that he would have an intellect.  I will ponder the mind of God tomorrow.

I welcome your thoughts.

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."

19 August 2012

Why I Believe – Introduction


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am hoping to open a dialogue here.  I tire of my monologs with little interaction.  Over the next few days I am going to attempt to present and apologia for my faith.   This is an exercise for me in reaffirming what I believe and why.  I think that failure to examine these things regularly can lead to either dead orthodoxy or weak faith.  Neither of these is acceptable to me. 

In this exercise I will review the reasonableness of what I believe.  I also hope to honestly review the things that are not truly representative of being a follower of Jesus Christ.  I spent too many years focused on things that are not central to following Christ.  I, therefore, contributed to the misinformation about what it means to follow Christ. 

The first thing I will note is this; I believe because I have worked to seek truth.  I spent much time examining my options before I embraced Christ.  I spent too little time evaluating the trappings that others attach to faith before I embraced them.  In my first years as a Christ follower I was so concerned about pleasing the group of followers with whom I traveled that I did not consider that they journeyed far afield of Christ’s intent.

Further down the path I realized that when Christ talked about the road being narrow he was not talking about conservative or liberality.  I think he was excluding extremes in favor of the very narrow tenets he did put forth.  I will delve more deeply into these at the end of this part of our journey together. 

We are all on a journey toward God whether we embrace that truth or not.  Fortunately we have a God who comes to us so that we my journey toward him, follow him, and walk with him all at once.  This too will be key to our discussion.  Please, walk with me for a bit and as always I value your interaction.


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."

18 August 2012

The Secret Language of Snails


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am a doting Grandfather.  My Grandsons are brilliant, beautiful, and brightness in my life.  I try not to write about them too often in this forum because not everyone relates to children.  Yesterday, however, Orion did something that will remind me often of the value of being led by children.

I was visiting with my Son and his family yesterday and Orion was playing with a stuffed frog and snail crafted for him by his very talented Mamaw (for those who do not know “Mamaw” is the southern term for one’s maternal Grandmother).  The frog is green (pronounced “geeen” by Orion) and the snail is red and yellow. 

Whenever Orion and I talk about snails or he is impatient I sing a song for him.  It is
Herbert the Snail’s Patience Song.  You can listen to it HERE.  It is from the children’s musical Music Machine.

Orion runs up to me with the frog and snail and says, “Sing it Ganpa (Orion speak for Grandpa).   So first I sing a song about a frog for him.  Then he says, “Snail song Ganpa.”  So I sing the Patience song.

Then to change the pace I ask Orion, “What does the frog say?”

He answers, “Ribbit Ribbit” there is a pause and then he continues, “Snail says ‘have patience.’”

What a lovely lesson in how we influence children without realizing it.  It brought to mind how patient his father, my Son is in dealing with his children.  It often inspires me to be more patient with others.  My Son was not home when Orion first did this early in the day.  At dinner last night he showed me that the association had stuck by having him say it for me.  Although I have no idea what snails really say, I have no intention of correcting this.  Who knows, perhaps Orion is tuned in to the secret language of snails.

Patience

There was a snail called Herbert who was so very slow
He caused a lot of traffic jams wherever he would go
The ants were always getting mad and the beetles, they would fume
But Herb would always poke along and sing this little tune

Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember that God is patient, too
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you

When Herbert was much younger, he often got in trouble
Forgetting that he was a snail, he did things on the double
He'd crash through every spider web and with crickets he'd collide
'Til one day Herbert's father took his speeding son aside

Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember that God is patient, too
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you

As you can well imagine, there's a moral to this tale
Some of you may find yourselves behind a creeping snail
So if you get impatient and you're easily disturbed
Think about this little song and take a tip from Herb

Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember that God is patient, too
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you - Frank Hernandez & Sherry Saunders Powell

“And a little child shall lead them…”

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."

17 August 2012

Not Optional


Greetings Dear Reader,

I wonder how often I consider how many things in my life are a choice?  I choose to do the things I do.  No one conscripts me.  The obligations I have are ones that I have chosen to take on as obligations.  When I ponder it and am honest almost everything about my life is a choice or the result of other choices I have made.

I know that I have so many options throughout my day.  When I stop at the Servo for coffee there are eight choices.  For that matter I pass dozens of other Servos before I stop at the one I do.  I have a list of diners that I frequent.  There are eleven movies showing at my favorite cinema. 

So many things in my life are optional.  It should not surprise me that people view God as optional.  I do not wish to indicate that he does not give us free will in accepting him and following his design for the world.  We are free to choose which in itself is a point in his favor.  As with the other choices we have though there are consequences.

As I said previously we are designed by God to run on God.  Petrol is not optional for my car.  God is not optional for my existence.  He is necessary.  When we try to run without God we are unsuccessful.   I may get through a day with acknowledging God’s place in it but I cannot go long without him.

Perhaps people who use trials and pains to wander away from God think they will find something better.  Perhaps I should try to get my car to run on bleach as it is still .99 cents a gallon.  What I am trying to say is that we view God as optional when he is sovereign over everything.  He gives freedom to choose how we will deal with him but not the freedom to dismiss his necessity and be in the right.

God is a necessity and we will ultimately find this to be true.

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."