30 April 2014

Kintsugi – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

My dear friend Lori posted a picture of a piece of Kintsugi yesterday.  This is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer infused with precious metals.  From the philosophical perspective this refers to the practice of embracing the flaws in things.

It is seeing the flaws as part of the history of an item.  Instead of hiding that the pottery was broken it is transformed into something new.  In many ways it makes the object more beautiful and more precious. 

In so many ways we see our flaws, cracks, and brokenness as something to hide.  In truth, however, I am who I am because of both my good and bad things.  My flaws contribute to who I am just as much as my positive traits.  Anything I learn about being humble and thoughtful stems from seeing my pride and thoughtlessness in light of what is right.

Everything about following Christ begins with understanding what stems from our flaws.  It is our sin that moves God to mend us through Christ.  It is our responsibility to see and embrace those flaws so that we can how we are mended through them.

My first thought when Lori posted this…Our souls, God’s blood.

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 2014

On Communism – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I honestly think that what God intends for his followers is much closer to communism than the western church is comfortable admitting.  Communism without God does not work.  Part of the mission of the church, however, is to develop community.

The common welfare is part of our commission from Christ.  We have a common mission to work as a community to meet the needs of our community.  If we are not working for a common unity then we are not following Christ.

At the core of what is a large departure from the church is our failure in this.  The church is divided within and we do not reach the community around us.  In many cases our failure is directly connected to a failure to develop internal community.

If I am not serving the community around me then I am not following Christ.  I must assure that my sense of community is grounded in the things Christ said his followers must do for the community.

Even if I were a hard core capitalist I would need to see that prosperity is only assured if I follow the commands of 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."

28 April 2014

On Communism – The Obvious Bad

Greetings Dear Reader,

Whenever we take it upon ourselves to regulate the common welfare through government we seem to mess it up.  When we care for others out of a spirit of love and compassion we do so very well.

When we leave God out of the attempt to socialize for the common good the corrupt nature of men with power leads to excess.  When we kill in the name of the common good there is no common good.  When we take from the many and give excess to the few that in not the common good.

Any nation that has to forbid its citizens to leave must question its values.  The obvious bad about communism is that it has not worked to ensure the life, liberty, and safety of its people.

This does not mean that the ideas are bad.  They are not.  They do not, however, function in a system void of morals necessary to assure that people are treated well.  This is true for any system of government. 

As a Christ follower I must be able to avoid keeping possession when others are in need.  I must also assure that any government attempt to force redistribution is guided by morality and not a false view of fairness.

Christ followers should be so given to the needs of others that the discussion becomes unnecessary.

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 2014

On Communism – The Obvious Good

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the second chapter of the book of Acts there is much focus on the first part of the chapter; the day of Pentecost.  We do not focus on what the infusion of God’s power drives them to do.

Act 2:44 - 46 All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it. The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other's homes and shared their food.

The natural inclination of those influenced by the Holy Spirit is a sense of community.  The first note we have on what the church does is that is cares for the needs of others.  The things the church has done over the centuries to cause division is astounding.  In truth the followers of Christ are to embrace and Christ centered communism.  They are to share all things. 

Jesus told us that if anyone asks us for anything we should give it to them.  We are to embrace the common good and the common welfare.  I am supposed to be more concerned about the needs of others than about personal possessions.  The purist form of communism is exactly what Christ wishes for us.


The Basin and the Towel – Michael Card

And the call is to community…

In an upstairs room, a parable
Is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best,
With a painful glance, He'll silently rise.

Their Savior Servant must show them how
Through the will of the water
And the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
That day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

In any ordinary place,
On any ordinary day,
The parable can live again
When one will kneel and one will yield.

Our Savior Servant must show us how
Through the will of the water
And the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes
Is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow
We take up the basin and the towel.

And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
That day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

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 2014

On Communism – Frist Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday I read an article on the growth of Christianity in China.  The article said that this nation that is communist is on track to become the largest Christian nation.  The country is officially atheist.  The article reported that by 2025 there may be more churchgoers in China than in the United States.

As I was growing up our society did an excellent job of vilifying an entire nation.  China was the giant communist threat that wanted to destroy us.  The thing is that China is populated by people that God loves just as much as he loves us.  In truth we fail as Christ followers if we do not deeply love those who we view as lost, oppressed, or wrong.

I think that I need to think through communism.  I am not a communist.  I am not a capitalist either.   I do think that we need to honestly look at it from a perspective that puts Christ in the center rather than any system of government. 

If the church there is growing at the same time that people who once held a solid faith are walking away from it here, I must seek to understand why.  I must look at anything that will unfold information that can inform my faith.  Feel free to walk with me as I examine this.  Ask any questions that you like.

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 2014

An All or Nothing Muscle

Greetings Dear Reader,

This morning my legs ache a bit.  I did more this morning than I usually do when I first get up and my calves are tired.  The ache in my legs as I sit to face the blank page reminds me of an article I read on Gizmodo about the heart.

The short of it is that the heart is an all or nothing muscle.  It works or it does not.  When it works we live and when it does not we die.  To do this it must constantly renew its cells and sinew.  It must be ever cleaning and clearing the arteries.  It primary task, to pump blood, is supported by hundreds of sub-tasks involved in seeing that life giving blood courses throughout the body.

The heart is an all or nothing organ.  I either commit it to Christ or let it deceive me into false following.  It is no wonder that this is the organ we credit with the passions of the soul.  We may speak of gray areas and odd situations but in truth my heart either belongs to God or it does not.  My heart is obedient or it is not. 

My desire is to have a heart that is fully committed to all that Christ requires of me.  In truth the heart is deceitful and wicked.  It is only through constant discipline of my own desires that I can govern the passions I feel.  Those passions would lead me to betray the faith I have and make me a poor example. 

I have and do fail.  I allow my heart to be a nothing muscle instead of an all muscle.  When I do that same heart also breaks.  It is that heart that also loves Christ and wishes only to follow him.  When it is an all muscle it beats a thunderous song that is my passion for Christ and his kingdom.  This is how I wish my heart to beat until it is no longer needed to seal me to 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."

24 April 2014

War and Remembrance

Greetings Dear Reader,

In a few hours in Australia and New Zealand it will be ANZAC Day.   In the early dawn there will be remembrance services.  A month from now we will celebrate Memorial.  Both of these observances are dedicated to the men and women who have given their lives in defense of their respective nations.

I have friends and family that have been in the service.  My beloved Daughter-in-law still serves in the Air Force.  I do not have much to say except to point out that no matter how you feel about the military, you have the freedom to express that feeling because of the military.

I think that sometimes we need to focus on just saying thank you…lest we forget.

Freedom Never Cries – Five for Fighting

I took a flag to a pawn shop
For a broken guitar
I took a flag to a pawn shop
How much is that guitar?

I took a flag to a pawn shop
I got me that guitar
What's a flag in a pawn shop
To me?

I saw a man on the TV
In a mask with a gun
A man on the TV
He had a ten-year old son

I saw a man on the TV
His son had a gun
And he says, that he's coming
For me

I never loved the soldier
Until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'Til my baby hit the floor

I only talk to God
When somebody's about to die
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries

I wrote a song for a dead man
To settle my soul
A song for a dead man
And now I'll never grow old

I wrote a song for a dead man
Now I'm out in the cold
What's a song to a dead man
To me?

I never loved the soldier
Until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'Til my baby hit the floor

I only talk to God
When somebody's about to die
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries

You can cry for her, die for her
Lay down your life for her
Kiss and wave goodbye to her
Anything at all

You can cry for her, die for her
Make up your mind to her
Anything at all, oh, oh

There's a baby on the doorstep
Wailin' away
There's a baby on the doorstep
Longin' for the day

There's a baby on the doorstep
Who'd give his life to take
A flag to a pawn shop
A flag to a pawn shop

May he forget
Why he is cryin' some day

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 2014

Clocks in Movies

Greetings Dear Reader,

Those who know me well know that I enjoy movies greatly.  There is something about stories well told on a large screen that draws me into the tale in a unique way.  A good movie serves as both an escape and an experience that energizes my creativity.

There is not a singular genre that I prefer.  I can get lost in an adventure or imagine the fantastic.  I can laugh or cry as necessary.  What matters to me is that the story is told well. 

I have seen my share of bad movies.  I have seen productions that had potential but were badly cast, filmed, or edited.  I have seen movies that were too predictable or so disjointed that the story was hard to follow.  I have only left a bad movie once.  There are times I wish I had left but held onto hope for too long.

Even though movies bring me great joy there is something that drives me crazy.  You see, every movie has a guy or gal who is responsible for continuity in each scene.  They are supposed to make sure that coffee cups are in the same place from cut to cut.  This person assures that the stunt double stands and looks like the actor.  This is the person who makes sure that there is not the distraction of a toothbrush jumping between the right and left hand just because they had a cut.

The thing I notice the most in these is when the clocks are not right.  So often an actor is delivering lines with a clock in the background.  The shot will shift to the individual being addressed and then back.  The clock in the background will have jumped ahead an hour during a single sentence.  Sometimes it will move backwards in time.  This is one of those things that is completely preventable and too often ignored.  It can ruin the entire movie for me at times.

But then again the problem is me.  It is my fault if I let that single fault detract from a great story or adventure.  It is my fault if I focus on the error and not the artistry of the entire film.  I do this in life as well.

Too often I allow small things that do not matter to derail my joy in life.  It is completely my responsibility to look past the small things to the things that truly matter.  If I derail my joy by majoring in minors then I am harming myself and others.  I need to see the beauty of the adventure that is life and let the clocks sort out as they will.  The journey is too short to be lost in the details.

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 2014

Collective Nouns Again

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some years ago I wrote about the venery of animal groups, or collective nouns for them.  I revisited the topic again later that same year but except for the research for a book on the subject I have not spoken of it in some time.

This weekend my three year old Grandson, Orion rekindled my interest in the subject of collective nouns.  It is one of those things that when I think about it I want to know all the answers.  Orion is very interested in what things are called and he insists that things have a proper moniker. 

He informed me at dinner this weekend that there is a collective noun for puffer fish.  I have a puffer fish as one of the swimming fish on my phone background.  Things that have spines or thorns are “pokey” to him.  He, therefore, declared that a group of puffer fish is a poke of puffer fish.

I found this much better than the actual collective noun for them which is a wunch.   What I found so beautiful though is the creativity that God has placed into this young boy.  He seems to have the rare quality of creativity and intelligence combined that can lead to greatness.

I hope that I can be faithful in contributing to who he is designed to be.  More so I want to remain faithful so that I can be a good example of how to treat others.  He is to beautiful a soul to not have his intellect and spirit fanned into something beautiful.  Then again, is that not what I am supposed to do for everyone?

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – So What’s Next

Greetings Dear Reader,

It used to be that the Christian world continued the celebration of the Resurrection into today and in some places the entire week.  In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is Bright Week.  In many places the idea of Easter Monday is to carry the celebration and blessing of the Resurrection home.  The intention has devolved over the years.

Once water was used to bless the house
Like the impact of the risen Christ this Holy Day has become more a day for added time off work.  The focus is on sporting events, family feasting, and discounted chocolate.  Lest you think I have gone mad Dear Reader, I assure you that I see nothing wrong with sports, good food, and inexpensive chocolate. 

I do, however, feel that we have lost our way in what is to be central to us.  The Resurrection of Christ needs to be central to all that I am.  It needs to inform every day not just a Sunday in springtime. 

As I consider my days and weeks I must include the risen Jesus in every consideration.  How this event impacts my faith and following is vital to all that I do.  If my life is bound to Christ then it must be bound to the Resurrection.  My following must be a constant harmony with the God-man who died for my sin and rose to show that the payment was accepted and complete.

If nothing else moves me along the path then this should 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."

20 April 2014

Heaven is for Real – Movie Review – Spoilers

Greetings Dear Reader,

So a part of my Resurrection Sunday was spent watching the film “Heaven is for Real”.  This is my third Christian based films in as many weeks and this one was my favorite.  It recounts the story of a family who’s four year old boy has a near death experience and a visit to heaven.

I cannot say that I agree with some of the over-simplification that permeated the script.  It did not ruin the story but it did leave room to question the veracity of the story telling.  I realize that some amalgamation is necessary to tell a tale.  I think that the best part of the movie for me was that it showed a pastor and his wife as real people facing genuine problems.

They were a couple who had challenges, struggles, and doubts.  The thing they did that was extraordinary was that they worked together to solve the problems.  It should not be uncommon in Christian households but it is.

The child was quite believable in his role.  Having lost a sister and a daughter I wanted to hear his story and believe his message.  I do believe like the movie says over and over again that “everything will be alright.”  I also want all the answer now.  I realize that the latter is not the way God wants to unfold things.  Most of the time I am OK with that.

As I celebrate the resurrection of Christ I am drawn to a story that allows me to believe a four year old over having to have faith in the risen Christ alone.  For me that is not a good thing.  I do not seek signs but here I am embracing what seems to be one.  I will step back and embrace Christ instead.

If Christ is not risen then my faith is in vain.  If faith in him is not enough then no other stories will be enough either.  The movie was still good and I am happy for the community it blessed.  If others find faith through this then that is good as well. 

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."


Holy Week 2014 – One Day…

Greetings Dear Reader,

Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed.

I am not sure why I woke up at two in the morning today.  I am sure my first thought was of the Resurrection.  I will wait in the darkness for sunrise.  I have always been one to stand watch and it suits me.

What unfolds always amazes me.  The sun will rise.  The soldiers will faint.  The Son will rise. The Son of God will appear to Mary.  He will visit his disciples and allay their fears.

The Pharisees will lie, but he is risen indeed.

The soldiers, risking death will say they fell asleep on watch but he is risen indeed.

Thomas will doubt, but Christ is risen indeed.

The disciples will attempt to return to fishing then they will change the world because Christ is risen indeed.

I believe it all.  I think about the risen Christ all year round.  For me it is the hinge on which swung the door of faith.  With Paul I echo the words, “If Christ is not risen from the dead then our faith is in vain.”

He is risen indeed.  Do I live like he is?

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Two Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

So we wait.  The darkness of yesterday passed.  Judas is dead.  The darkness of that will linger for millennia.  The darkness of that will dampen the light until Christ makes all things new. 

The cool darkness in the tomb is so solitary.  A few feet away the soldiers stand guard.  If tomorrow is not the tomorrow we hope for then how long will there be a guard at the tomb?  They stand watch whilst the disciples hide in fear.

Everything about today is waiting.  It is how we wait that matters.  It is how I wait that counts.  Christ told his followers to wait and that he would rise in three days.  He told us to wait and he would come back for us.  He went to prepare things. 

Do I wait in faith?  Do I believe that Christ will return?  Do I believe that I serve a living God?  I want the answers to always be yes but sometimes my actions do not reflect this.  I wait in faith but a question plagues me.

Why was not anyone there at the tomb awaiting his resurrection?  How I wait matters.

The Passage – Dan Fogelberg

There's a ring around the moon tonight
And a chill in the air
And a fire in the stars that hang
So near, so near

There's a sound in the wind that blows
Through the wild mountain holds
Like the sighs of a thousand crying
Souls, crying souls

There's a time when the traveler is fated to find
That insight has turned his gaze behind, behind
And the steps taken yesterday will beckon again
And lead to his weary journey's end, his journey's end

In the passage from the cradle to the grave
We are born, madly dancing
Rushing headlong through the crashing of the days
We run on and on without a backwards glance
We run on and on without a backwards glance

But I cast my fate with the wife of lot
I turned my gaze around
Knowing neither what I sought
Nor what was to be found

Heeding weakness, feeding strength
Our life at length is frail
I seek again the river's source
Through time's dark shadowed veil

In the fast fading century
As we spin through the years
I pray that our failing vision
Clears, our vision clears

And in the passage from the cradle to the grave
We are born, madly dancing
Rushing headlong through the crashing of the days
We run on and on without a backwards glance
We run on and on without a backwards glance

The places dash and the faces dart
Like fishes in a dream
Hiding 'neath the murky banks
Of long forgotten streams

The lines of life are never long
When seen from end to end
'Cause the future's never coming
And the past has never been

There's a ring around the moon tonight
And a chill in the air
And a fire in the stars that hang
So near, so near

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Three Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?”

I am writing this in darkness on purpose.  The foul deeds done to Jesus began in darkness.  Jesus has been up all night.  His only comfort comes from grieving enraged angels who will obey the command to stand by whilst their King suffers.

Peter chooses the wrong action in defense of Jesus.
Instead of fighting back, after the men have fallen to his name, Jesus heals one of the men who will lead him to his death.



He can destroy us all with a thought. 
Instead He takes a beating and is mocked. 

They blindfold him, punch him, and tell him to use his power to reveal who hit him. 
Instead he remains silent still questing for their souls.

The puppet King, Herod wishes to see a miracle.
I would have reformed and resurrected John the Baptist just to terrify the despot.
Instead the King of Kings remains silent before the man who killed his cousin.

When asked “what is truth” He could reveal all truth to Pilate in an instant.
Instead he suffers a flogging that adds to his exhaustion and pain.

The priests who have vowed to serve God and the coming Messiah vow allegiance to Caesar.
He could have she the purple robe and crown of thorns and risen up as King of the Universe to remind them of their vows.
Instead he silently suffers as those who cheered for him on Monday call for his death and crucifixion.

He could use his power to show everyone on the path to Golgotha exactly who he is.
Instead he remains human while we spit at him and mock him.

He could wipe out all of creation and start over.
Instead he allows the iron and wood he created to be the instruments of his death.



He could give the word and legions of angels would come to his defense.
Instead he thirsts, gives hope to a thief, and accepts the death we all deserve.

He could force us all to see who he is.
Instead he asks that we believe and follow in faith.

Darkness descends on the world for three hours.  The temple veil splits.  The earth trembles.  Before the sun can set Jesus is put into a tomb, the stone is placed, and the Roman seal is fixed.  The Light of the World is shrouded in darkness.

We must wait…

Why – Michael Card

Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That's not what a kiss is for
Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain

And why did there have to be thorny
Crown pressed upon His head
It should have been the royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead
It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love
A thorn is all the world has to give

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bare
And why did they nail His feet and hands
His love would have held Him there
It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away
Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Four Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

So many images allow me to place myself in the upper room.  God has given me the gift of imagination and vivid understanding.  I have been in a room where I knew those around me were betraying my trust.  I have been handed over.

The difference is that I was at least partially guilty.  Even in the garden Christ seeks to avoid what is to come.  He feels the grief, pain, and weight of what he is undertaking.  He asks his friends to remain awake and pray with him.  They will not even do this.

The night is a progression of increasing solitude.  The time slips through the glass and becomes full.  Everything will change for all eternity.  In the darkness of that garden is the chance for there to be a new dawn.

My sin causes all of this; not mine alone but still mine.  My failures to do right bring this event.  My rejection of who Christ is and what he should mean to me in every moment bring this moment.  The first blood spilled is from pain and grief as the eternal Son begins the temporary separation from the Father he loves. 

Fathers and Sons fail each other and rifts, fissures, and separations occur because of sin.  This Father and this Son have ever been in harmony of thought and action.  They have never been separated.  They will, however, for the sake of all other Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Daughters; for the sake of me and my Sons and Daughters endure separation on the grandest possible scale.

It is not lost on me that the sin which started in another garden in another place and time is being redressed in this garden.  It begins here in this garden.  It is for me.  It is for my children.  It is for every parent and every child that this great pain is allowed.  How can I give anything less than all that I am in response?

The Garden – Michael Card

Trembling with fear, alone in the garden
Battle before the final war
Blood became tears, there in the garden
To fall upon the silent stone
There in the darkness the Light
And the darkness stood still
Two choices, one tortured will
And there once the choice had been made
All the world could be saved by the One in the garden

The light of the dawn, was seen in the garden
By gentle eyes so sadly wise
The angels appear, they come to the garden
Clothed with sighs, they realize
The One they adored from the start
Will be broken apart
By the ones He had come to save
So they're here simply now to be near
He's no longer alone; they sit by him and moan

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Five Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

An aspect of the acts of Judas that we seldom consider is that he thinks he is acting in secret.  His covert meeting with the leadership of the priests is to set up the arrest of Jesus away from the hoard of followers that might object.

I want to ponder the errors in the reasoning here.  As I have stated before I do not think that Judas wanted to kill Jesus.  I think he wanted to force Jesus into acting like God.  Even that act stems from a lack of understanding of who God is.

Judas gets things wrong on several accounts:

  • He assumes that he can do anything without Christ knowing it.  He has seen Jesus show that he knows the minds of others.  Judas has seen him tell people what they are thinking. 
  •  Judas presumes that he knows better than Jesus how things should unfold.  He knows that Jesus has made it clear how things must be.  He thinks that he can force the hand of God in the direction he wishes.
  •  Judas thinks that Christ will not die.  A Zealot thinks in terms of peace through force.  He has seen Jesus’ power and wishes him to use it.  He has not learned the lessons of peace and humility taught by Christ.


As I work my way though who Christ is during Holy Week I must consider the degree to which I have failed to know who Christ is.  The things that I have done to betray my faith and following are no less in God’s eyes.  At times I forget with whom I am dealing and I try to bargain with God.  I try to hide things that are wrong and do things in secret.  I forget that the man I follow is the God who knows and is all.

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Six Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is today so many years ago that Jesus prepares for the Passover.  He knows he will die.  He knows that his friend Judas will take money to hand him over to those who will kill him.  He knows that his closest friends will deny and abandon him.

Still he prepares to celebrate the Passover.  Still he does what the law requires.  He continues to give his life to others as he prepares to give it for others.  Everything about Christ is seen in this complete obedience. 

In this part of the drama, as it unfolds I ponder my role.  I am the disciple who will run and deny.  I am the money changer from the temple who remembers yesterday and hates Jesus because of my sin.  I am a misguided and disobedient Judas sneaking away to talk to the Pharisees.

My failures as a follower of Christ are what cause the preparation.  This drama was stage before the sun burned bright.  The cast was chosen and blocking set before there was sin at all.  God knew long before the world was formed that I would sin, deny, and fail.  Still he chose to take on human form and be killed for me.

The place of a Christ follower today is to see the preparation that is built into my redemption.  I must see the care taken for my reclamation and not waste a moment in following with all of my heart.

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Seven Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

A day after Jesus enters Jerusalem for Passover the Pharisees question his authority.  The questions do not come from a place of sincere desire for knowledge.  The obvious intent is to discredit him.

Later in that day he drives the money changers out of the temple.  In doing this he asserts his authority.  He also questions the authority of the Pharisees in allowing the merchandising that goes on in the temple court.

The ones who question Christ’s authority have abused the authority that God gave them to care for the spiritual well-being of his people.  It is always wise to see to your own situation before challenging the situation of others.

Many of my failures begin with questioning God.  God’s authority over my life does not stem from my allowance of it.  He gives me free will to obey or disobey.  That he created and owns my very life is never in question even when I dare to question it. 

Questions asked in faith are both proper and pleasing to God.  When I question Christ’s authority over my life I am not following.  I must follow.  I must ask the questions that lead to deeper following.  I must not turn my doubts into disobedience.  The God about to die for my sin has made the distinction clear.  To question his place or authority only adds to that sin.

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 2014

Holy Week 2014 – Eight Days

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I ponder Holy Week this year I am focused on the actual events and not traditions or practices.  Each day there are activities that are significant to the week and I want to learn from them so that I may be more faithful.

We celebrate today as Palm Sunday.  Jesus rides into Jerusalem celebrated as the Messiah.  Do I we really see Christ in this light?  Christ is the King.  The crowd that celebrated him was right. 

The sadness in the joy is that the thousands who celebrate him will turn on him.  Not all will abandon the belief that he is King.  Enough will to allow the crowd to call for his death in a just a few days.

I celebrate the King in my heart today.  I am also aware that I too fail to remember that Jesus is King.  At times I too forget who it is I follow.  The King of the universe rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.  He makes the entrance of a King knowing he will die between thieves.  He does it so that I can be given the chance to follow him.

There is no greater love than this.  There is nothing more compelling to me.  This is enough for me to give my all.  Still I fall and fail but it is this King who helps me rise and continue to follow.

Ride on to Die – Michael Card

Seems the sorrow untold, as you look down the road
At the clamoring crowd drawing near
Feel the heat of the day, as you look down the way
Hear the shouts of Hosanna the King

Oh, daughter of Zion your time's drawing near
Don't forsake Him, oh don't pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

Come now little foal, though you’re not very old
Come and bear your first burden bravely
Walk so softly upon all the coats and the palms
Bare the One on your back oh so gently
Midst the shouting so loud and the joy of the crowd
There is One who is riding in silence
For He knows the ones here will be fleeing in fear
When their shepherd is taken away

Oh, daughter of Zion your time's drawing near
Don't forsake Him, oh don't pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

Soon the thorn cursed ground will bring forth a crown
And this Jesus will seem to be beaten
But He'll conquer alone both the shroud and the stone
And the prophesies will be completed

Oh, daughter of Zion your time's drawing near
Don't forsake Him, oh don't pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you He rides on to die

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 2014

How Do You Do It? – Giving and Possessions

Greetings Dear Reader,

Mat 5:40-42 “If someone wants to sue you in order to take your shirt, let him have your coat too. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him.  Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don't turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you.”

I have much more to say about this entire stream of thought.  After today, however, I am going to pause for Holy Week.  I may revisit it afterward if the muse allows or the Spirit leads.  At this moment I look to Christ’s words concerning possessions.

We are to be known for our generosity and hospitality.  The former I struggle with but with the latter I have little difficulty.  I love it when I can share my home with others.  I do not mind giving either but I know that I cling to too many things.

I am not rich but I have more than most.  Someone recently accused me of not giving to someone else in need.  My accuser had made assumptions based on false information and had concluded that I was wealthy and should use that wealth in a certain way.  In truth had I the resources I would have already acted on the issue.

It is madness to think I can cling to any possession or money.   So I work at being generous.  I work and not giving the minimum when I serve others.  I still fail.  I still need to open my heart and hand further.

After all, if I truly believe that my provision comes from God then I will not lack anything I need and can revel in what I do have as gifts entrusted to my use.  There is no better way to live.

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 2014

Second Thoughts – Observations from a Three Year Old

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.

We have the joy of having my Grandsons, Bastion and Orion over for the night.  They are two and three years old respectively.   Finding nutritious food that they will enjoy is sometimes a challenge.  I decided to take them to Pizza Ranch for dinner.  This is a family themed pizza place where little kids eat free. 

When I first mentioned the idea Orion observed that we should stay here with the toys and movies.  I countered with idea that we could get him plain pizza.  In Orion-speak a plain pizza is a cheese pizza.  He said we should stay here and have oatmeal pies and Moon Pies® for dinner.

I then mentioned that the Pizza Ranch had free ice cream.  The deal was then sealed.  We went to Pizza Ranch and made sure Orion got a plain pizza.  Bastion feasted on peperoni pizza, fish fingers, and waffle fries.  Orion insisted on having some Tickly Water which is caffeine-free diet coke. He explained, “We have to have Tickly Water to wash down the salt in the pizza and make room for the ice cream.”

When he had finished his pizza I acquired the promised ice cream.  He sat carefully spooning it in as fast as possible.  Bastion was also eating ice cream at a pace that would give most of us a deep case of brain freeze.  Orion observed, “Grandpa you take us to the best places.  Free ice cream is my favorite.”

When the ice cream was gone I asked Orion if he was finished.  He said, “We should go back to your house Grandpa and play with the toys.”

I asked if he wanted more ice cream first.  His response: “No Grandpa.  You have oat meal pies and lime yogurt at your house.   I know you will share that with me.”

At this point my Grandsons are winding down.  They are watching Toy Story and Orion is playing Pokémon with my Daughter Christmas.  I love how Orion already knows that I will share good things with him and he counts on that.

I reminded that Christ wants me to be confident that he will share good things with me.  He will take me to the best places and provide what I need and what I like to the extent that it is good for me.

All this brings to mind the most significant thing he has said in the last week.  Christmas had not seen him in a couple of weeks due to her work and travel schedule.  She asked him, “Orion what have you be up to.”

Without dropping a beat he responded, “Greatness.”

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."


How Do You Do It? – Cheek Turning

Greetings Dear Reader,

Mat 5:38 - 39 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well. “

One of the things I strive for is to be humble in my responses to things that hurt me.  I used to respond to hurts with anger and demands.  As I master my need to fight back I must go beyond being passive to being actively submissive.  It does not mean that I am walked on by others.  Instead it means that I acknowledge where the true power is.

If Jesus commands me not to oppose an evil person then he is taking responsibility for assuring that things unfold as they should.  I cannot answer why that unfolding includes some of the horrible things it does, but my obligation is faith and following.

Job said “Although he kills me yet will I serve him.”  I cannot love my enemy if I fight him.  I cannot show my faith in God’s control if I do not trust him with my safety.  I want to live this in every circumstance but I fail sometimes.  Fear and anger sometimes move me to resistance instead of faith.

How I do it is by not fighting back against the little things.  There are ongoing injustices that impact me.  I must not fight the people involved.  I must use my faith to follow Christ and show those same people 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."

10 April 2014

How Do You Do It? – Yes and No

Greetings Dear Reader,

Mat 5:33 - 37 "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'Never break your oath, but give to the Lord what you swore in an oath to give him.' But I tell you don't swear an oath at all. Don't swear an oath by heaven, which is God's throne, or by the earth, which is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, which is the city of the great King.  And don't swear an oath by your head. After all, you cannot make one hair black or white.  Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one.”

I do not know how often I heard my Grandfather say that “a man’s word is his bond.”   I have not always lived this.  It is one of the things that we must embrace if we are to follow Christ.  If I say I am going to do something then I need to do it.

So many of the great ills in our culture can be traced back to not doing what we say we will do.  I cannot count how many times a student makes an appointment with me and simply does not show.

I do not think we consider how invested others become in what we say we will do.  We offer our time or assistance to them.  They anticipate it.  We let them down.  This is a simple thing.  We do it on a larger scale as well.  All divorce is two people failing to let a yes be yes. 

We live in a complex world of passwords, contracts, and credit scores because we do not let our yes be yes and our now be no.  I do not always follow through.  I do, however, work hard to do so.  If I say yes I must follow through with all my heart.  If I make a promise I am bound by it.  Anything else is a failure 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."

09 April 2014

How Do You Do It? – Murder and Anger

Greetings Dear Reader,

Mat 5:21- 22 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'Never murder. Whoever murders will answer for it in court.'  But I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hell-fire.

Anger lends itself to so many tragedies.  So many ills in life begin with anger and then that anger leads to death and destruction.  Christ understands this connection and makes it clear that the anger must be dealt with properly. 

This does not mean that we never become angry.  It does mean that we are not allowed to keep that anger.  When we hold anger inside us we are on an outward path to destruction of ourselves and others.  Anger grows, breeds, and festers inside us.  It becomes malignant and controlling.

How I do it is that I deal with anger every day.  I recognize the things and people that are causing anger.  I use grace and love to work through that anger.  I make sure that I forgive quickly.  I manage my expectations of others.  I realize that this seems like a great deal but after time it becomes habitual.

The most important thing I do is that I keep in mind just how much forgiveness I need.  How can I retain anger and resentment toward someone else when I am need in others to forgive the anger I cause in them?  I must always remember that I am imperfect and have a long way to go in my journey toward Christ.

I get angry.  I work very hard and avoiding sin in my anger.  I do not let it remain.  I put it away as quickly as possible.  I do not mean that I suppress it.  I fail.  That, however, is why it is so important for me to deal with it.  I fail.  The only possible way to move forward is to love and forgive.

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 2014

How Do You Do It? – Measuring Obedience

Greetings Dear Reader,

Mat 5:20 I can guarantee that unless you live a life that has God's approval and do it more faithfully than the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

After Jesus speaks the part of this discourse that we know so well he sets up a clear comparison.  The religious leaders of his time are shown for the most part to be prideful and self-serving.  They had corrupted the law and burdened people with a form of dead orthodoxy that neglects the love of God.

St. Vincent de Paul chapel, St. Louis
The people of Christ’s time viewed their religious leaders as having attained a height of holiness.  Christ showed how their additions to the law burdened the people and detracted from the truth.  He challenged people to live true holiness and so be better than that Pharisees.

My faithfulness in the journey must come from a moment by moment realization that it is not the trappings of religion that make my faith work.  It is, instead, a constant effort to bring every thought into captivity so that it belongs to Christ and his mission for me.  It is not doing what someone else tells me to do to appear holy.  It is doing what is right by knowing God as intimately as possible. 

There is no point of arrival in this life.  There is no time when I have completed my transition from a fallen man to a righteous one.  Sometimes I am so weary of struggling with sin that I wish to give up.  Feeling that way is not wrong as long as my next step is to continue the journey in the grace and mercy of Christ.

How do I do it?  I do not compare my righteousness to any other man.  I look to Christ and my desire to be like him.  I strive every moment to embrace the love and grace he offers me to get me through that moment.  I fall and get up. I fail and ask forgiveness.  I do my best to live what I believe in public and in private.

Realizing that this is a life-long endeavor is a great starting place.  I am no earning God’s favor.  I am following him home.  In his love and grace he provides joy in the journey when we really 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."

07 April 2014

How Do You Do It? – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Let me first put it out there that I love when you comment on my thoughts Dear Reader.  I love it most when my attempts to work out my own journey help others along the way.  When you share this with me I am very encouraged.  Others respond to my thoughts with their own both informative and challenging.  I am also grateful for these as they push me to know why I think and do a thing.

There are others who seek to manipulate me.  They know me personally but post comments anonymously hoping I will do as they wish.  These I will always ignore as they are an improper way to communicate with someone.

In my last writings I have been honored to receive questions regarding how I practically work out the things I am to be as a Christ follower.  This puts me in a quandary as part of the requirement is to do things without calling attention to them.  What I will attempt to do is give my thoughts on how I hope to practically live out things that Christ commands.  I will not name specifics as I feel that violates Christ’s command to do things in secret.

I will focus on Christ’s words to his followers at the Mount of Olives.  I have written about the first part in the past and need rather to deal with the portion that later discusses how we should treat others.  As I embark on this I invite your thoughts and questions.

Mat 6:1-8 "Be careful not to do your good works in public in order to attract attention. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. So when you give to the poor, don't announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. When you give to the poor, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. When you pray, don't be like hypocrites. They like to stand in synagogues and on street corners to pray so that everyone can see them. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. When you pray, don't ramble like heathens who think they'll be heard if they talk a lot. Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask 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."

06 April 2014

Movie Review – God’s Not Dead – No Spoilers

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday I saw the movie God’s Not Dead.  It is set on a college campus where a freshman is to defend the existence of God in a philosophy class.   The professor requires all of his students to write that “God is Dead” and sign it.  This one student refuses.

The movie is well made and the characters have more depth than I have seen in most Christian films.  The writing avoids clichés and too much “Christian” language.  The arguments used by the student are valid but need further development.  I think that the casting is excellent.

I would not recommend this as a tool for convincing atheists that God exists.  It does serve to encourage believers.  It is also an excellent conversation starter.  The conversation after the film could be very rich if one is honest.  It is worth seeing but the Christian film industry seems to still be in its adolescence. 

Of note should be the attempt to tell a story that intersects on many levels without the connections being unbelievable.  There are a few moments that cross the line of  the believable but a Christian watching can see the sense of most of them.  For those who do not believe and choose to see this film, I would value a conversation about it.

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."