30 April 2013

Anger: The foolish and the bold – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Anger used to be a real issue for me.  I still feel anger but it has much less control over me than in the past.  I know that anger has a place in Christ followers but I must reason out what that place is.

Paul counsels the Ephesians to “be angry and sin not.”  There are things that I must give my anger but without violating my obedience to Christ.  As I think through this a list of things pops into my head and easily half of them are just my pride and selfishness trying to gain a foothold.

When I allow anger to be real within me it must never control me.  There seem to be some clear rules regarding anger.  There are just as many vagaries.  I know what makes me angry but I need to reason out which of those things are valid and which is my own willfulness. 

I think this will be a painful walk but a necessary one.  I invite your company and thoughts as I journey through this.

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Concluding Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Luke takes us through the first decade of the church by following the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ throughout Asia Minor.  He leaves us at the end of Acts with Paul in prison and the Gospel spreading.

Most people agree that the history in Acts is not a springboard for teaching theology.  I would, however, submit that it is a very clear blueprint for how we are to give hands and feet to our theology.  It tells me what my priorities are.

  • I am to be subject to the teachings of Jesus.
  • I am to be aware of and do something about the needs of anyone around me whether they believe as I do or not.
  • I am to put the welfare of others above my own wants and needs.
  • I am to respect the government even when I disagree with it.
  • I should expect to be both loved and hated for doing these things.
  • I am to go where the Gospel takes me.


As I look at all of this and compare it to the modern church I am not surprised that so many have abandoned their faith.  I am not judge anyone but I do see a vast disparity between what we are commanded to be and what I see churches doing. 

What really matters though is what I do.  I can do all things I listed if I choose to do so.  I can be an example of what we are called to be as Christ followers.  I will never be perfect and neither will any individual church.  I do not need to criticize anyone else.  I do not need to complain about any particular church or denomination.

I do need to work for unity and peace.  I do need to insist that the body of believers in which I am involved give themselves to the Gospel and the community equally.  I need to assure that I do the same. 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Opposition

Greetings Dear Reader,

There will always be opposition to the Gospel.  It is a simple thing that we must conduct ourselves well under fire.  Even in the face of false accusations or false imprisonment we are to be good to those around us.  We are to be polite.  We are to work within the law.  We are to show respect.

For me that means that no matter where I stand on an issue I must speak the truth lovingly.  Even when threatened I must hold to my faith and peace.  Even when I am insulted I must show love.  We have seen examples of how powerful this is when employed.

As the one who wishes others to know the love and redemption there is in Christ, I cannot be violent and harsh.  I must be peaceful, loving, and kind in every situation.

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – We Will Leave

Greetings Dear Reader,

When Paul left Ephesus he made it clear that he believed he would never see them again.  He reminded them of all he had taught them and that there would be detractors about those teachings.

We must remember that the Gospel and ministry do not belong to us.  We all have a shelf life.  We must prepare those we will leave behind to be Christ followers who only follow Christ.  We are not what others should follow.  It is not me that matters it is Christ.

Jesus’ cousin said of him, “He must increase and I must decrease.”  This must also be true of me.  It really is that simple.

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."

26 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – No Crimes

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that it must seem obvious that those who follow Christ must not be guilty of being criminals in the sense of murder, theft, or violence.  If we look at what goes on in Ephesus whilst Paul is there we see something altogether different. 

The merchants in Ephesus who sold statues of the goddess Artemis were fearful of their income being hurt by the growing faith in Christ.   Of secondary concern was that the temple would no longer be respected.  They tried to raise a rabble against the men who were teaching about Jesus.

The men were known in the city and city officials made it clear that the men were not criminals.  On this alone these Christ followers were set free.  It was their good reputation as lawful men that protected them.  Of note is the statement that they had “said noting against Artemis.”

When I think of how often Christians rail against other faiths it saddens me.  I am sure that my energy is to be directed toward showing and speaking the love of Christ.  God can defend himself.  When others have a faith that is not mine it is not my place to demean or insult them or their beliefs.

If I show love and generosity my words will carry weight when I speak of the love and generosity of Christ.  If I argue and insult then I blemish the validity of my words when I speak of Christ’s love.  Christians are too guilty of attacking others for what they believe instead of loving them where they are and living out the Gospel.

We must live within the law and be men and women of good repute.  Then we earn the right to be heard.  There is no force greater than love for Christ.  It is enough if I let it 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."

25 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Be Clear

Greetings Dear Reader,

It intrigues me how much time Luke spends telling us that those explaining the Gospel had to make it clear for those hearing it.  This is truly one of the things I think those who follow Christ have lost. 

The Gospel is to be clear.  When I add burdens to it by including things that are not part of the Gospel I am not better than the Pharisees who opposed Christ.  Discussions about things that do not pertain to the Gospel are acceptable as long as I do not allow them to distract of detract from the clear message of redemption through Christ.

It is socially irresponsible for me to refuse to show love and kindness to those who disagree with me.  That is not a clear message.  If I do not put the social aspect of the Gospel first then there are no hands and feet on the hidden Christ.  I cannot be clear in presenting the love of Christ if I do not live the whole of the Gospel without respect to the political, social, or personal position of others.

I do not have to accept something or agree with something to clearly and simply love others.  Were that a requirement Christ could never reach any of us.

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."

24 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Be Reasonable

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am always impressed with a friend of mine who is able to speak reasonably about almost any subject.  He has spent many years reasoning his way to a very strong faith.  The thing that astounds me is his ability to be reasonable no matter how unreasonable others are.

I have a responsibility to embrace the grace and persistence of the Gospel by not allowing the unbelief of others to cause me to unreasonable.  People I dearly love have never accepted or have rejected faith in Christ.  Others do not live the faith they profess to have.  This impacts me emotionally but that is not where I must stand.  I must live my belief that God knows what he has planned for them.

I must live out my belief that loving those people as deeply and as humbly as possible will give them space to see the call of God in their lives.  Further I must reason with people in humility and not anger or self-righteousness.  When I follow Christ I accept that people will reject him.  I should not be surprised when this happens within the circle of people I love.

What I must do is live out the Gospel and when asked give the reasons of the hope within me.  I was discussing this with my brother yesterday and we agreed that the emotional side of this is that we do not want God to have to do anything drastic to get the attention of those who need to follow Christ.  We must be vigilant in prayer for them.  One cannot reasonably demand that another come to terms with Christ until that person is ready to do so. 

“Preach the Gospel always.  When necessary use words.” – Saint Francis

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – There are no Sidelines


Greetings Dear Reader,

One must read chapter sixteen of acts carefully to realize what happens here.  Luke, the writer shifts from third person to include himself.  Most of the commentary on this agrees that at this point Luke joins Paul on his journey.  He moves from chronicler to fellow traveler.

As a writer this is quite personal for me.  I cannot sit on the sidelines and pundit about faith and following.  That is not my nature.  My social responsibility is to be there for those in my path who need to see what Christ has to offer.  I need to renew daily my commitment to follow.

Luke already knows how much Paul has suffered because of his faith.  He knows the danger and cost.  He still chooses to join them.  It is one of the reasons that I admire this writer so much.  What good is faith if it does not translate into action?

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – No Extra Baggage

Greetings Dear Reader,

As soon as there is truth there are those trying to bend that truth to their will.  People wish to maintain control through the use of rules that are not part of the Gospel.  The Gospel is simple.  Faith is required.  Baptism, circumcision, and keeping the law are not. 

When we attach anything other than faith to the Gospel we hinder its acceptance.  When I do not make it clear that the relationship with Christ is based on faith and his love for us I do a disservice to all that I believe. 

I must not let those who need Christ be hindered by the words of those who would add to the simplicity of the Gospel.  I must not live as if my following some code makes me better in the eyes of God.  The Gospel is not free.  Christ paid for it with his blood.  He then makes a gift of it freely to us all.  To mar this message in any way is to dishonor the sacrifice and the gift.

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Those Who Stone Us

Greetings Dear Reader,

What do you do if someone starts throwing rocks at you?  We all hope we would handle the situation well.  We all hope we would do as Christ would have us do.  We see here that Paul is stoned and they think he is dead.  What is the reaction of those following Christ?

They do not retaliate.  They do not speak evil of those doing the violence.  They return to the city, gather their things, and move on to the next place that needs Christ.  I am not free to retaliate against anyone.  I am not free to hate them or even fail to forgive them.

Those who stone us need to see the love that God holds for all of us.  They cannot see it if we do not live it even in the face of abuse, torture, and death.  When the world does not accept us we first need to assure that the rejection is not justified by our actions.  After that we need accept the rejection and continue to love. 

I cannot hope for others to see Christ in me if I do not meet them where they are with that love as my motivation.  It is easy to think these things and demand it of others.  It is key we demand it of ourselves first.  One cannot say “you need to do this” and not have already done it themselves. 

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 April 2013

Second Thoughts - A Feast of Thrones


Greetings Dear Reader,

For those of you who do not read the George R. R. Martin books or seen the series Game of Thrones only the meat of this article may be of interest.  My children enjoy the series greatly and each Sunday evening have a throng at my eldest Son’s home to enjoy the week’s episode.  The end of March marked the beginning of the new season. 

My eldest Son received the cookbook A Feast of Ice and Fire for Christmas.  It does an excellent job of bringing to life the foods in Martin’s books.  We decided to prepare a feast based on the cookbook for the season premiere.   My Son mixed his own batch of Strong Powder and tested it on some foods as a run up to the date.  He ordered wild boar from a specialty shop for the actual feast. 

I was tasked with creating the apple tarts according to the books centuries old standards.  My Son rationed me some of his precious strong powder and I acquired fresh apples and fresh yeast for the baking.   Whilst on my journey to prepare for this I came across a new business and product that I thought would fit nicely with our venture.

I discovered BOS Meadery.   They are a local Meadery.  They use local and regional ingredients, great skill, and amazing insight to craft the best meads I have tasted.  I chose their Wildflower Mead to go with our feast.  I tried it at home first and was amazed at the robust taste and superior quality.  I procured another bottle to take to my Son’s.

We enjoy a fine feast.  The boar was lean and moist.  It was hearty and satisfying.  The greens were fresh and lively.  The apple tarts turned out nicely and the apple filling would lend itself to many other uses.  The BOS Mead was a perfect complement to the evening.  It was dry enough to pair with the main course and sweet enough to enjoy with the desert.

Mostly it was a joy to try new food around a new theme with people I love.  Thank you Son for the richness you brought to all of us.

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."

My Social Responsibility – No Borders or Lines

Greetings Dear Reader,

Once again we see something so simple that is so important.  The church universal is to be borderless.  No church in the United States has a corner on the Gospel.  America is not God’s favorite because God does not play favorites.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone.  It is not to be forced upon them or beaten into them.  It is to be spoken in love and service by men and women of good character.

Why then is not the church the leader in world relief efforts.  Why can we not set aside our practice differences and insist that we channel our overwhelming resources to causes that would show our love for the world?  Why do we squander the opportunity to show Christ to the world?

The early church teaches me that I must go where needs are and carry the Gospel with me.  I must not think of any one place as more deserving of Christ of better in God’s eyes.  Everyone needs love and redemption.  If I act like it matters to me perhaps others will too.

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – You Will Die

Greetings Dear Reader,

Jesus made it clear that in order to follow him one must take up the cross.  Whenever the people of Jerusalem saw someone carrying a cross they knew that someone was going to die.  It took very little time for the opposition to the Gospel to become bloody.  Paul witnessed the stoning of Stephen.  James was beheaded by Herod.

The history of those killed because of faith is long and vast.  I cannot address this without being accountable for those of my faith who have done the same and worse.  Anyone who has killed in the name of Christ has abandoned what Christ commanded.  That said we should not expect the same from the enemies of Christ.

Jesus made it clear that we need to lay down our lives.  History is filled with the deaths of those who abandoned all for the sake of a clear gospel.  We need to not only be willing to die physically but we need to die to everything that hinders the Gospel.  Anything that is material or temporal does not matter when viewed in light of Christ’s command for us to follow him.

The men and women of the early church saw that nothing they owned mattered.  They saw possessions as a means to meeting needs.  Resources were tools or reclamation.  Needs of others were the opportunity to show the love of Christ.  Why then do we cling to lives that are un-fulfilling and empty of the love that we are commanded to give away?

I must not value anything over showing the love of Christ to everyone in my path.  This is not accomplished through Bible thumping or loud proclamations.  This is only accomplished through constant death to self.  It is only through death to my desires, possessions, and security that I am free to give to others on a level that lives out the Gospel.  It is an intriguing paradox that I am to abandon my mortal desires so that I may meet the mortal needs of others in order to be able to meet their spiritual needs.  It is not logical but it is 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."

18 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – No Internal Division

Greetings Dear Reader,

Throughout the centuries the church has faced issues that divide.  It is no different today.  We face issues that are tearing us apart and weakening our ability to represent Christ to the world.  If we look at how the Apostles handled their first real social dilemma perhaps we can gain some insight.

The Apostles were faced with how to move past an ancient law.  The law was that they had special instructions for dealing with those outside of their race.  When gentiles began to flock to the faith a dilemma arose.  At first Peter was opposed to the change but it was made clear to him that he was to accept everyone.

What he did next was vital to the ensuing changes and growth of the church.  The Apostles discussed the issues openly.  They made an accepting and inclusive decision.  Then they did what was most important.  They acted.  They sent a trusted emissary.  They sent a man whose name meant encouragement.  Barnabas had a mission.  It was to welcome everyone into the church.

The early Apostles made it very clear that everyone was welcome.  I wonder if we can get to that place again as a body of believers.  What I do know is that as long as we have internal division we cannot.  As long as we are not willing to be inclusive within how can we be inclusive externally?

For me that means that I cannot exclude anyone who follows Christ based on cultural or social differences.  As much as I think some things are wrong that does not mean that I create division based on those things.  It means that I obey the commands to see reconciliation and peace with all men.

If I sit and think of the worst person I know who is also a Christ follower I must think of that person in loving and accepting terms.  If I know someone has something against me then I am to reach out to them seeking forgiveness and reconciliation.  Everything about following Christ is locked in this pattern.  Redemption, reconciliation, and restoration are keys to being a Christ follower.  All of my great errors are locked into failures in this area. 

Until I see everyone as someone to whom I owe my love and acceptance I have work to do.  Christ did not come just for me.  He came for everyone.  It is shameful for me to allow division based on tradition or preferences.

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 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Everyone is Welcome…Full Stop

Greetings Dear Reader,

I recently read an article re-posted by a dear friend.  The title was, “I am Christen Unless you are Gay.”  Whilst I cannot agree with everything the writer said I think that he lays a charge at the feet of Christ followers that we must address.  I am not going to weigh in on what is sin and what is not here.  It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment.  I have to worry about my own sin too much to try and take God’s job away from him.

What I will address is the failure of the church both universal and local to love people whom they believe are “sinners.”  That the world can charge us with hating people whom we believe are “sinners” is shameful.  We are supposed to be so loving that it is the first thing people say about us.  One could pick any sin that is common among Christ followers and place it into the rhetoric that we use for the “really bad” sins and we would see the absurdity of the position we posit. 

Let us take for example pride.  At some point all of us struggle with this not so silent but oh to prevalent sin.  So let us do a little pride bashing.  Why do we not carry signs that say “God hates the proud” or “Prideful People Burn in Hell” or “The Proud Deserve to be Destroyed”?  We should deny prideful people health care and insurance.  We need to hold rallies demonstrating against anything that allows the prideful to feel loved and accepted by God.

I see much more said in the Bible about pride than I do homosexuality.  If we could justify treating anyone badly it would surely be the proud.  Those who lack humility are told clearly that they are at odd with God.

Pro 16:18 Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.

Jas 4:6 But God shows us even more kindness. Scripture says, "God opposes arrogant people, but he is kind to humble people."

1Pe 5:5 Young people, in a similar way, place yourselves under the authority of spiritual leaders. Furthermore, all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble.

The growing church in Acts is faced with accepting people outside of the Jewish faith as being equal in the sight of God.  Peter is told clearly to accept everyone who wishes to follow Christ.  How can we ever hope to be seen as loving if we do not stop treating people as lower than us because of the flavor or their particular sin?  Again I am not laying a charge to any individual here.  What I am saying is that I cannot afford to risk tarnishing what is to be my benchmark, love, by judging others.

I do believe some things are clearly wrong.  I do believe it is worse on the human level to kill someone than it
is to lie to them.  I do not, however, think that on the Divine level there is very much difference.  My opinion is not what matters.  It is my place to love every single person that breathes no matter what the personal cost to me.  Any Christ follower who argues with this is not hearing what Christ commands. 

Again I would have you imagine with me the impact of a church free of prejudice and judgment.  I would have you consider the power of a people who were so humbled by Christ’s love for us that it overflowed into every community without consideration for that individual’s particular race, social place, or sin.  Who would not wish to follow Christ were his current followers to act in this way?  I only hope that I can tear away my own pride enough to love everyone to the degree that Christ loves 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."

16 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Help my Enemies




Greetings Dear Reader,

I have written often about the need to love our enemies.  Jesus commanded it and that should be enough.  It is what God has done for us.  We were his enemies and he sacrificed his Son to make peace with us.

It was up to the early church to accept Paul.  The Apostles had reason to fear him but it was their duty to accept him.  If God insists that we accept someone bent on killing us then we must love everyone. 

We measure out acceptance based on our values instead of those of Christ.  The only way to reach a world is for us to love it into acceptance.  The moment one declares me an enemy it is vital that I love him more.  The power of this force is immeasurable and unstoppable.  I must love everyone.  I can only show that love by being good to those who are in need even if they consider me an enemy.

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."

15 April 2013


My Social Responsibility – God is not For Sale

Greetings Dear Reader,

The story of our redemption has the highest cost attached to it ever paid for anything.  It was God’s blood that bought my redemption.  I achieve access to this redemption through faith alone.  The problem is then the many ways in which we sell the gospel to others.

Salvation is a free gift from God that compels us to share that gift with others.  When we force those who
would follow Christ into a system laws and traditions designed by men we pollute the purity of that gift.  I imagine again the impact it would have on the world we are supposed to reach if we gave in love all the good things God offers to his followers.

It is too easy to place the gospel into a commercial system and treat it like a business.  The bottom line matters much more it seems than our passion for those who need both the social and spiritual aspect of the Gospel.  I am to attach no cost to the Gospel other than faith.  I will give no further burden than that of following.  I must not dishonor my own free gift by adding anything to it for others.


Waking up to a very different world
We got mud on our flag before it’s even been unfurled
Our heroes have fallen and a leader is heard to find
The clock is running out and we’re casting our pearls before swine

There’s a whole lot more than preaching to the choir
Kneeling at the alter and paying our tithe
We've been treating God like he’s happiness for hire
We've been playing marbles with diamonds

Isn't it a sin how his name how his name gets thrown around
We pat God on the back like a buddy from out of town
We thank “the man upstairs” for the things people praise us for
We give God the glory but we’re happy to take the award

There’s a whole lot more than raising lots of money
Building our churches and spreading our faith
If faith is just the dice you roll to get lucky
We've been playing marbles with diamonds

There are precious things of God
And we must guard them with our lives
Like an unborn baby’s dreams
Like a husband love his wife

May the hope of his returning
May it glorify our faith
As we hold onto his holy word
May the chaff be blown away

Can we ever live up to the things we say we believe
Because the world is watching looking for some honesty
Are we riding down a freeway instead of narrow road
We turned the passion for the lost into the business of saving souls

There’s a whole lot more than preaching to the choir
Kneeling at the alter and paying our tithe
We've been treating God like he’s happiness for hire
We've been playing marbles with diamonds

There’s a whole lot more than raising lots of money
Building our churches and spread
If faith is just the dice you roll to get lucky
We've been playing marbles with diamonds

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."

14 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – The Church is Not Always Right

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I move through the gospels and the book of Acts I wonder more and more if the church was ever meant to be a collection of buildings and rituals.  I am not saying that either of those things is inherently wrong.  I do, however, think that they contribute to the ineffectiveness. 

When one takes a living thing like the Gospel and wraps it in processes one puts things in place that can hinder the Gospel.  The cares of maintaining a business can supersede the mission of the church if that local church is not vigilant.  Things are not the only problem though.

If we are not careful we get more involved in our traditions than we do in the Gospel.  We put God into a container and insist that people get into that container if they wish to know him.  Local Churches and denominations become entrenched in traditions and practices instead of in the Gospel and in following Christ. 

This results in a dead orthodoxy that is both unattractive and ineffective.  Unfortunately history teaches us that the orthodoxy becomes the god and that there is little room for God.  It becomes about politics, money, and power instead of the living Word and pursuing a living faith.  I should not expect the entrenched religious leadership to accept needed course correction in the church.  It never has.  This does not mean abandon the church. It means fight from within until they throw me out or kill me.


Echo of history
A light so many strain to see
The One we talk so much about
But rarely ever live it out

Could You tell me why
Was it for this You came and died
A once a week observance
When we coldly mouth Your words

Lord I long to see Your presence in reality
But I don't know how.  Let me know You in the now

We should confess
We lose You in our busyness
We've made You in our image
So our faith's idolatry

Lord, deliver me
Break my heart so I can see
All the ways You dwell in us
That You're alive in me

Lord I long to see Your presence in reality
But I don't know how.  Let me know You in the now

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."

13 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Attention to Every Need

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that I think damages the church the most is the inattention it pays to the homeless and the hungry.  Again there is a form of power here that could silence so many of our detractors.  Jesus had the same accusation for the religious leaders of his time. 

Luke 20:45-47 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes! They like to walk around in long robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces, to have the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at dinners. They rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make themselves look good. The scribes will receive the most severe punishment."

It is very clear throughout the Gospels that the place of religious leadership is caring for those in need.  When confronted with a time constraint the Apostles saw to it that these needs did not go unmet.  Those ministering the gospel assured that people were doing the tasks of taking care of the hungry and those in need.  They too were performing miracles.

I begin to believe more and more that the reason we do not see the supernatural daily in Christ followers is due to the abandonment of this heart level compassion for widows, orphans, the sick, the homeless, and the socially destitute.  One cannot claim to follow Christ and ignore these things.

I cannot say that I am living the gospel and ignore the needs of people.  I cannot speak words of love and salvation of the soul if I do not practice deeds that minister to the whole person.  I cannot expect my words to be heard if my love for the person is not seen.  I think the church cannot hope to keep its relevancy if it does not radically embrace the need to address these issues.  I think that Christ followers cannot hope to be heard if they do not take individual responsibility for the needs of others.  I cannot ignore these truths and hope to be who Christ wishes me to be as his follower.

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."

12 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – To the Truth and my Opposition

Greetings Dear Reader,

Two things spring out as I continue to move through Luke’s account of the early church.  The first is that the church was very deeply committed to honesty in all things.  When people lied about what they were doing for God it was very severe.  Dishonest was not tolerated even internally. 

It seems that we are to only represent the truth of what we do to further the cause of Christ.  We are free to give as much or little as we choose but we must not misrepresent it in any way.  I then must ponder everything I represent so that I am relating fact and never pretense. 

I must also ponder who I interact with those who oppose the Gospel.  I must acknowledge when their accusations have merit.  The church is not doing all it can to be socially responsible to the world.  I must assure that I am.  Those who hate me for where I stand must be the people I show love to.  The Apostles did not argue. They cared for the needs of those around them and spoke the truth of the Gospel. 

Do the work.  Report the facts.  Speak the truth.  What if every Christ follower did this?  What if every church abandoned all the political and internal rhetoric and simply clung to meeting the needs of others and speaking the truth in love?  What if all that we did traced back to these two things?   I am trying to reorder my life to just these.  I want to be this man who can stand before anyone and show Christ in his compassion and redemption 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."

11 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – What is Mine

Greetings Dear Reader,

In view of the fourth chapter of Acts and the mention earlier in chapter two I must seriously consider the level of my attachment to things.  It seems that the church at large is mostly guilty of caring for things of the needs of others.  I need to examine this very carefully.  The Apostles were being very successful.  They were exhibiting power to a level that the priests were worried and commanding them to be silent about Jesus.

The number of Christ followers was growing daily.  Sickness was being dealt with miraculously.  Those arriving had other needs and the way they were being met was also a sign of the devotion to Christ that we need.

Acts 4:32 - 37 The whole group of believers lived in harmony. No one called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything. With great power the apostles continued to testify that the Lord Jesus had come back to life. God's abundant good will was with all of them. None of them needed anything. From time to time, people sold land or houses and brought the money to the apostles. Then the money was distributed to anyone who needed it. Joseph, a descendant of Levi, had been born on the island of Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas, which means "a person who encourages."  He had some land. He sold it and turned the money over to the apostles.

People were selling land and giving the money to the cause.  The money was not used to build buildings or create a ministry.  The money was immediately disbursed to anyone who needed.  They did not consider possessions as possessed by an individual. 

You see what this says is that the first Christian society practiced a Christ centered form of socialism.  Christ made it clear that our possessions did not matter.  Imagine the impact the church could have if as one it adopted this attitude now.  More important for me, what do I really own.  Everything about who I am should be focused on following Christ.  Everything I have is given to me by God.  To treat things as mine and hold onto them over caring for others is terrible.

The ability of the church to impact the needs of others is not gone.  It is sleeping in the clutching hands of those who value things over humans.  Why are we not known this way worldwide?  The name Christian should be synonymous with generosity and selflessness.  I must find a way to release my hold on things so that I can release more resources to the gospel. Clinging to anything above showing Christ to others is sending the message that those things are more important.  This must not be true in anyone who claims to follow Christ.

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."

10 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Healthcare

Greetings Dear Reader,

Years ago when I used to do a great deal of table top gaming with my friends I created a team of holy knights called Paladins.  The aim was to create a small army of beings whose only purpose was to use the great power available from God for right and good.  One of them, Caramund was a Medician.  His passion was the healing of others.  His existence to my young mind was to put forth my belief that the power of Christ to heal others is encased in the choices of those who follow him.

No matter if is Peter telling a beggar to stand up and walk or he and the others disciples are healing the sick they got the idea that people’s health is connected to their willingness to hear the Gospel.  How many times does Jesus spend his energy healing the sick?  How often do the Gospel writers point out that he was concerned about the well-being of others?

Whether one believes God still uses instant healing or not one cannot deny that Christ was very concerned about the physical health of people.  I think it shames the Church that we are not more involved in every congregation in the health and well-being of those around us.  The politics do not matter.  The care of the sick and infirmed is not something we get to relegate to the government. 

Jesus cared for the sick.  He made it clear that caring for the sick was one of the ways in which he recognized his followers.  “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me.”  This statement makes our responsibility so clear.  If I hope to think that I am following Christ then I must care about the things he cares about.

No matter where you fall in the political debate it is the responsibility of Christ followers to work toward the provision of needed health care for everyone.  If I we are not willing to have the faith the heal them then perhaps would should work all the more to provide necessary medical services no matter the ability to pay.

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."

09 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – Communication, Clarity, and Community

Greetings Dear Reader,

My pastor once told a tale of a woman who approached him after service claiming that the information concerning our church was deceptive.  She went on to explain that the denomination claims to be “Evangelical Free”.   In our culture most things followed by “free” mean that they do not contain that thing.  Our church is part of the Evangelical Free Church of America.  It is filled with free Evangelicals.  This dates back to our history in Europe and clearly does not communicate to everyone as it once did.

Sometimes I think that we place so much emphasis on what happens miraculously in the second chapter of Acts that we miss the very practical things that are happening there.  The first of those is communication.  As Christ followers it is vital that we communicate in a way that can be understood.  People need to hear us more that we need to use terms with which we are comfortable. 

If God is willing to make his followers able to speak languages they do not know then he can surely make us understood through language that is common to those around us.  I must be willing to use terms and language that communicates to those I am attempting to reach.

The second thing that is vital to my social responsibility is that I stay on message.  Many things that matter to me about theology, faith, and practice are not necessary to a seminal understanding of the Gospel.  When Peter speaks he is very clear that Jesus is the Messiah.  He is clear that Christ died and rose from the dead.  He is clear that this is the path to salvation. 

The apostles were very certain of what they had to say.  They communicated a single message.  I must not major on the minors.  It does not matter what I think about most theological issues if I cannot communicate a clear message of faith for salvation. 

At the end of this chapter the state of their living is almost like an obvious afterthought.  They were a community that was concerned about the social wellbeing of everyone and had a single passion.  They did not think wealth and possessions were paramount.  They focused on meeting the needs of the community.  Imagine the impact on the world if Christ followers did this.  We will visit this again in depth in chapter four. 

What I wish to make clear is that the early Christ followers who witnessed the miraculous were driven to live in a state of social equality so that no one lacked anything he needed.

I must do all three.  Any elements that are missing defeat my purpose.  Christ’s message without clear communication and real community seems contradictory and empty.  Social activism without Christ at its center is not sustainable.  All three are vital to the social success of the Gospel

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."

08 April 2013

Second Thoughts - Baptism

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.

Last night I had the great joy of attending the baptism of my dear friend Laura.  Since I am digging deep into the book of acts I found it very apropos that this coincided with my inner journey.  I love Laura dearly and I was overcome to hear how her journey with Christ unfolded.  She gets it right in not being attached to things over the journey. 

What danced around in my mind so much was the idea of Baptism for Christ followers.  In the final words of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says some very specific things about what we are supposed to do as his followers.  I do not hesitate to say that we are to be symbolically immersed in water to proclaim to all our choice to follow Christ for life.  This is a public proclamation that we are on a journey and it belongs to God.

I would, however, like to posit that Christ is very capable of using double meanings in what he says.  Let us examine what he says in the last few verses of Matthew very closely. 

Mat 28:18-20 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time." (GW)

The Greek word here for “Baptize” is Βαπτίζω – or baptizō
1.    To dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2.    To cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
3.    To overwhelm
(Thayer)

I would posit that Christ is using his authority to say that the outward sign of baptism is to be an inward sign that one is being totally immersed in following Christ and his teachings.  I have been pondering this for two days now.  What is the physical baptism if not the outward expression of the choice to be totally immersed in following the teachings of Christ and in teaching those things to others?  Another rendering of this passage may make my point clearer.

“The freedom to do as I please in both the earth and above the earth has been granted me.  Because of this you must pursue the journey to disciple the entire human family to follow Christ and immerse them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Discourse with others so that you are teaching them to attend carefully to all things I have enjoined you to do.” (ATT)

My friend Laura has abandoned the false security of career and home to follow Christ in this command.  Seeing her baptized last night filled me with joy for her potential in this.  It also made me more determined to reach that same potential.  I am to be immersed in the mission. I am to become one with the vast ocean that is Christ and follow him fully.

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."

My Social Responsibility – Do Something

Greetings Dear Reader,

When Luke begins his continuation of the gospel story he recounts briefly the experience of the apostles with Jesus.  He points out that they are waiting.  This is how he ended his gospel and where he picks up the story.  What they are waiting for is clear in both writings. 

Luke makes it clear that even whilst they are waiting they “had a single purpose.”   They were praying.  They were seeking guidance from God whilst they waited for the promised power.  Over one-hundred and twenty of them gathered knowing that they were to do something.  They did not yet know what.

We know from Jesus that they were to continue the work Jesus had done.  Jesus had set an example for them of how to do this.  He had promised that they would receive the power to do it.  They were instructed to wait for the arrival of that power.  It arrived.

It is clear that as a follower of Christ I am empowered to be active.  Following implies action.  One cannot follow if one does not do something.  Jesus based this command on his own power.  “The freedom to do as I please in both the earth and above the earth has been granted me.  Because of this you must pursue the journey to disciple the entire human family to follow Christ and immerse them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (ATT)

This is not just a command to covert others to following Christ because he goes on to say so.  I am to “Discourse with others so that you are teaching them to attend carefully to all things I have enjoined you to do.” (ATT)

The gospel as lived out in my life must be socially active if I have any hope of following this final command of Christ.  Christ held discourse on these things after he had worked to change things so he could be heard.  He worked within the religious structure to show them that the purpose of the structure was to actively love others by both meeting their needs and redeeming their souls.  I cannot hope to follow in this if I am content to use only words.  I must make a social difference if I hope to make a spiritual one.

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."

07 April 2013

My Social Responsibility – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some years ago I was at a retreat with a colleague.  We were discussing late into the night the current applications from the second book of the New Testament written by Luke the physician.  He follows the development of the body of Christ for some years and in that following shows some very clear ways in which the church is socially responsible.  I recently came across my notes from that conversation.

In rereading the Book of Acts I am doing so from the perspective of my social responsibility as a Christ follower.  I will venture into social commentary about what I think the church, but more specifically I should be doing as someone who wishes to follow Christ and live his example.  My Son, Bezel and I were discussing this at lunch and it cemented the need for me to explore it.

In a world where vast social needs are being debated to the extent that the debate is overshadowing the meeting of the needs I see severe issues.  We should not be surprised that the world views irrelevant something that does not meet its needs.  I want to be sure that I clearly understand the needs that I am to meet as a Christ follower.  I invite you to journey with me for a bit as I explore this area of who I am in Christ. 

I do not claim to have any answers here but I hope to find some. 

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."

06 April 2013

A Perfect Peanut Butter Sandwich

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I have as long as I can remember.  A perfect one is as follows:

Fresh Sunbeam® bread
Smooth Jiff® Peanut Butter
Smucker’s® Strawberry Preserves

One must make two sandwiches as one is not enough.  The peanut butter must be spread thickly, about a quarter of an inch to the entire edges of the bread.  Thank you, Maxim for teaching me to use the back of a spoon for this instead of a knife.  It is much better suited to the task.

The jelly must be spooned on the other piece of bread at about an eighth inch thickness.  One must always
leave about a quarter inch of space on the edge of the jelly side so that the peanut butter can seal the sandwich.

The sandwich must always be fresh.  If one is to take them for lunch one should pack the makings separately and create the sandwiches at the moment.   Soggy PBJ is never a good thing.

Everything I have just written is absolutely the truth…for me.  There are some things that are essential to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  They are bread, peanut butter, and jelly.  Anything beyond that is preference and taste.  Some people choose to eat crunchy peanut butter.  Some people like grape jelly.  I have made PBJ using left over pancakes as bread (this is quite good).  The point is that what is necessary to have a PJB and what we see as a perfect PBJ can be vastly different.

Following Christ is the same way.  There are things that are essential for me.  They are simple and direct.  I must insist that I believe and do those things.  I cannot say that beyond those simple things that anything is absolute truth.  How one worships God or how one feels about social issues are not my concern if those individuals are motivated by love for Christ.  I see it as insane that people like chunky peanut butter.  In my mind the existence of chunks violates the definition of butter.  That does not mean they are wrong. 

I must shed the filters of preference if I am to be wholly set apart to Christ.  I must end the division by promoting Christ, him crucified for my sins, and him risen for my redemption.  I can prefer many things within that freedom.  I can make choices about how to follow that are mine to live.  I must not demand that others do it the way I do it.  If I do I am violating the diversity that makes creation so beautiful. 

A perfect peanut butter sandwich is one that you savor and that fulfills your joy in eating it.  A perfect way to follow Christ is one that fulfills who he is and who he created you to be in him. 

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."

05 April 2013

Bill’s Broken Watch

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have a friend, Bill who has a watch that does not work.  He wears it often.  I asked him the time one day and he commented that the watch does not work.  He then went on to tell me that it was a gift from his Bride and that it did not matter that it did not work. 

He does not know how much this impacted me.  As I attempt to cement my identity in Christ his small statement really speaks to me about who I am.  Is that now what Christ does with me.  I am busted stuff but he still claims me with pride and sees great value in me.  He is filled with joy that I am his.

I think too often I miss the delight that God finds in me and instead I see the failure, fears, and brokenness.  My Grandfather used to say that even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I spend so much time tell other broken people that they can become something.  I spend my energy showing them their value and potential.  I suppose I need to also remember that my busted stuff can be used for good.


The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain (in the pain), is there healing In your name (in your name) I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin')
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be OK

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain(In the pain) there is healing In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm barely holdin' on to you

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."

04 April 2013

A Pinch of Salt

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some years ago a friend told me that her husband was having trouble with the acid in coffee but he loved drinking coffee.  I remembered from my cooking days that in order to make coffee more mellow the head chef had used a pinch of salt in the urn.  I recommended this to my friend and her husband was again able to enjoy his coffee.

Often when my students are not working well during lab time I remind them that I have a three hour lecture on salt that I will be glad to deliver should they not return to their tasks.  I love salt in proper proportions.  I very rarely put in my food.  I feel it detracts from the taste and too much salt is unhealthy.

I read the other day a comment which said, “I see the world is the same but where is the salt and light?”  It seems that one of the things that Christians embrace in being salt is that they are allowed to rail on the sins of those who are outside of the faith.  I think that the proper use of salt would be to remove the acid not enhance it.

I am to be salt of the earth. Actually according to Jesus I already am.  If I am more salt than I am other things I will be unpleasant and unhealthy.  If my salt cuts the acid in the world and enhances the natural goodness then I am doing what I should.  I rarely weigh in on social issues but I know that anything less than love for those who are outside of Christ is not healthy for anyone.

If I am to be salt then I must assure that I am balanced in my approach to things.  I must seek to neutralize the acid and enhance the flavor.  I must preserve and season.  As with all things I must walk that narrow path between humility and boldness that reflects Christ and him alone.

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."

03 April 2013

The Missing Piece

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am a longtime lover of the work of the late Shell Silverstein.  If one can read The Giving Tree without shedding a tear one needs his emotional well refilled.  Another of his books, The Missing Piece is a fable about trying to find that which fulfills us.

Whilst I love the story and the writing I must disagree with the conclusion that one can find the missing piece
and be fulfilled.  I am learning that the only time I am complete is when I allow the space that only Christ can fill to be filled by him.

It is when I try to replace the “God shaped vacuum” in my heart with anything else that I feel the most alone and incomplete.  All of the temporary satisfactions that I attempt leave me unfulfilled.  However, when I allow Christ to guide me in my steps and be my fulfillment I feel joy.  I feel whole and capable. 

I have been rereading a book given me by a dear friend as a graduation gift.  Even though the words were penned in 1633 they are eternally true.  When brokenheartedness assails me or I feel the shadows of loneliness and discontent vying for my energy I must refocus on that which fulfills me.

In Christ alone there is completeness.  In following is the only way that I do not put my wants/needs ahead of others and being loving to them.  There is no thing I have found that bring this level of peace.  I just wish I could always remember that in the moment.  In finding the missing piece is Christ is where I find my peace.

Jesu – The Temple – George Herbert

Jesu is in my heart, his sacred name
Is deeply carved there: but th’other week
A great affliction broke the little frame,
Ev’n all to pieces: which I went to seek:
And first I found the corner, where was J,
After, where ES, and next where U was graved,
When I had got these parcels, instantly
I sat me down to spell them, and perceived
That to my broken heart he was I ease you,
                                And to the whole is J E S U.

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."

02 April 2013

Blaming God

Greetings Dear Reader,

Too often when I encounter people who have walked away from faith they relate a story of a Christian or a church that has wronged them in some way.  Others speak of the irrelevance of the church to their generation.   Whilst I would agree that wrongs done by others and lack of true mission in some churches are valid complaints I would say that these issues have answers that can be addressed.

I have been harmed by others who claim to follow Christ.  My obligation is to forgive them and not to blame God.  I have seen churches that do not live out the mission Christ gave us.  They too have harmed me.  It is my obligation to work within the church to help correct the course of the journey.

If I blame God, disavow him, or sacrifice my belief in him I am also doing wrong.  If I choose to indulge my anger and pain over forgiveness and grace then I should not be surprised if I begin to doubt.  Failure to walk in grace yields doubt.  The inner pressure of anger and bitterness fuels disbelief. 

I must assure that no matter how dissatisfied I am with those around me and the way they treat the gospel that I do not blame God for their wrongs.  In choosing to give us free will God allows for followers that do not live up to his desire for us.  If he tolerates this then so must I.  I cannot allow their failures to cause me to forget my own.  I cannot allow a lack of grace in the church to overshadow the depth of grace I need.

I cannot demand that others be perfect until I am.  I cannot blame God for allowing them to fail until I cease failing him.

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."