28 February 2015

Second Thoughts – My Beloved Brother

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.  My Brother has been and always shall be my friend.

Today my Brother posted the following.  He captured a vast part of the essence of my heart and the lessons of Star Trek so well in homage to Leonard Nimoy.  What follows are my Brother's words:

By the time I had reached the age of 5, my brother Michael was already a huge Star Trek fan. When he would sometimes watch me in the evenings, he would show me episodes of his favorite television program and reassure me that the dangers were only theatrical and the aliens on the program were costumed people. As a result of this, along with my family's diverse pool of friends, physical differences were a non-sequiter in my mind. People were people.

As I grew to know and love my brother over the years, his love of this long running series of shows and it's many spin-offs made more sense to me. We were, after all, growing up in the "post"-Jim Crowe South during the Cuban missle crisis, the Cold War and the Space Race. This program was set in a world post-recovery-from-nuclear-apocalypse, in a culture that celebrated it's attainment of global peace, and took place on a ship with Russian and Asian helmsman, an African female communications officer, a Scottish engineer and aliens aboard played by a cast perhaps more diverse than the fictitious crew itself- including one "pointy-eared, cold-blooded" Vulcan, of course.

My brother was and is a person of principle and, not only because of a love for the idea of space travel, but because this cast and director were coming strongly against so many unjust cultural norms and social dogmas, it made perfect sense for him to be drawn to it. Leonard Nimoy was a huge part of this. A Jewish-born actor, working with the first African American actress to attain such a key role on any television program at that time in history- a fact that later inspired Whoopie Goldberg to request a role on Star Trek The Next Generation- Nimoy infused the program with his own values and offered many ideas to the director. As a result, it was years ahead of its time, both thematically and literally; a rallying point for change in the segment of the culture that embraced it. Several NASA scientists even site Star Trek as one of their key sources of inspiration leading to the pursuit of a career in space aeronautics and it's related scientific fields.

The loss of Leonard Nimoy today was not an emotional event for me as it was for my brother, but I understand the loss it represents to the generation and culture that existed when we were younger, and to the global realities we still must overcome in the realms of racism in any form, sexual slavery- primarily of young females- globally, genocide, war and persecution as they exist today. I think it fitting that today is not only now the anniversary of Leonard Nimoy's passing, but was also- through the End It campaign- an international day of remembrance for those who are trafficked globally as slaves.

It was Nimoy's character Spock who once said, "The good of the many outweighs the good of the one.", and although his friend Kirk (William Shatner) argued rightly that "the good of the one sometimes outweighs the good of the many", I think the point our generation took from the values these men's characters espoused and brought to their craft was that there is a better way to live in community together here on earth. Nimoy had much to do with those values being poured into his generation and I hope we can each find ways to do the same in our own. RIP Leonard Nimoy

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is so easy to forget that our lives are not our own.  We owe God a death.  We will end.  I have been keenly reminded of that lately.  Life is a gift from God.  The things we are good at are a gift from God.  The entire universe is a gift from God.

When we proceed from this truth we must admit that we owe a debt.  When I write well I owe a debt of gratitude to God.  When I dine out well with my children it is because of God’s provision.  When I enjoy good music it is because God has ordered the mathematics of the universe in such a way music is possible. 

We get so mired in what we think we are that we do not really remember from whence we come.  I realize that some of you Dear Reader don’t believe any of this.  That is one of the minor reasons why this is a hard truth.  It is a harder truth for those of us who believe.

If I believe then I not only owe the debt to God but I am aware of it.  I am accountable for that debt.  I am moment by moment incurring more debt for the rich life I have.  In each act that I follow Christ I pay a portion of that debt.  In each moment that I follow he gives grace and mercy on that debt.

There is no other source.  I realize that you may not agree with me.  The hard truth is that we do not determine the truth.  My belief or another’s unbelief will not change what is true.  Someday the bill will come due.  Someday the God of the Universe will ask me what I have done with what he has given me.  He will open that clearing at the end of the path and evaluate my journey.

The other side of this truth is that I know all will be well as long as I have followed his Son.  His demand is that I pay in love and faith.  He currency is grace and mercy.  The exchange rate is how I forgive versus the forgiveness I seek.  I cannot pay all I owe.  Proceeding from that truth makes God’s offer of redemption so very real.

The Dance – Kemper Crabb

All creation moves in a cosmic dance
Before the Lord her King
The rhythms, the reason, the rhyme of the dance
Poses within everything

And the universe wheels and whirls like a dervish
In perfect seven step time
The Lord made the dance, he taught us the steps
He causes the stars to shine

We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must yield our steps unto the King
We must dance, dance, dance
Dance in God’s honor
Let his praises ring throughout the earth

Adam and Eve danced in Eden’s environs
Early in earth’s morning air
They named all the animals musical names
Glorious potentiality shared

But Lucifer sang out a serpentine song
And offered death’s dance as his token
In pause to listen Adam missed his step
Earth’s harmony in the dance broken

We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must yield our steps unto the King
We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
Let his praises ring throughout the earth

Jesus danced into the world
Singing his heavenly song
And he taught his dance to those who would listen
And learn and he moved along

But steps of his dance they led to a cross
Where he died while the haters mocked on
But he dance through death’s arms and over hell’s gates
And in three danced forth from his tomb

We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must yield our steps unto our King
We must dance, dance, dance
Dance in God’s honor
Let his praises ring throughout the earth

We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor
We must dance, dance, dance,
Dance in God’s honor

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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27 February 2015

We Paid for the Party with our Dearest Blood

Greetings Dear Reader,

I remember the twenty fifth anniversary of Star Trek.  All around the country they show the then existing movies at a “Sit Long and Prosper Event.”  I remember the woman in front of me sobbing loudly as Spock died at the end of the Wrath of Khan.  I remember a Star Trek premier where my eldest Son got to meet Leonard Nimoy.  I recall as a young boy thinking how hard it must be to keep all your feelings bottled up and always be logical.

At age seven I practiced and manipulated my fingers until I could give a Vulcan salute effortlessly.  I watched one of my heroes go through a court martial, pon farr, and a range of insults.  In the movie I watched him die and be resurrected.  I saw him lose his home world and still find a way to reconcile it with his pursuit of peace.

My Son, the same one I took to meet Leonard Nimoy some twenty eight years ago made a point of calling me today when he heard the actor had passed away.  He wanted to assure that I did not hear it some other way.  He called me, told me, and comforted me.  He is not surprised how hard it hit even though I am.

I immediately thought of my friend Don and his pain.  I also contacted my other children to assure that they knew of this great loss.  Death has touched my family from many angels this month.  In the same month that my Son arranged for me to meet William Shatner he had to tell me of the loss of Leonard Nimoy.  I have not yet found a way to process this loss.

Kirk, not knowing he would see his friend again said this, “We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most....human.”

Every man’s death diminishes me; some more than others.  This loss lessens the world for all of us.  A man who created a key part of a subculture is gone.  It was a key part of his life’s work.  As I discussed with Avalon the other day, I do not believe in the no win scenario but I must admit that at this moment a feel that I have lost.  I will not dishonor either Leonard Nimoy or Spock of Vulcan by giving in to that loss.

I will honor the man and his work but embracing the Vulcan philosophy that he said was so important to his own life philosophy.  It is vital to mine as well.  I will honor this man by living the truth of IDIC; infinite diversity in infinite combinations.  I will treasure every life for its uniqueness.  I will see the value in every human.  I will keenly miss the one name Leonard Nimoy. 

My life is better for this man’s life.  My life is less for his death.  I will not allow the loss to win.  I send him on his way with love and respect.  Though he did not know it, I have been and ever shall be his friend.  Mr. Nimoy, the word is given; Warp Speed my friend.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Greetings Dear Reader,

When one is trying to be honest in ones thought it is necessary that to be sure that we compare our reasoning to valid standards.  We tend instead to draw parallels that are not honest.  We compare our failures to things that make us feel better about who we are instead of comparing them to valid standards.

We adopt standards that are lower than God’s and compare them to standards that are lower than ours.  We put the failures of others as worse than ours and diminish our own accountability in doing it.  We judge others instead of holding our lives our as needing grace and redemption.  We find God wanting, dismiss him, and say we have no sin.

It is easy for me to talk myself into thinking I am in the right by comparing my situation to one worse than mine.  What I must always do is compare myself to the standards God sets for me.  I have no time to judge others.  I need to be concerned about where I am in relation to Christ.

Jesus never commands us to condemn others.  We are supposed to encourage and restore.  We are supposed to worry about the two by four in our eye before we try to take the speck out of someone else’s.  We are supposed to be following Christ.  Everything I do must be compared to who Christ is.

I cannot compare my sin to anyone else and gain any ground.  I cannot judge, reject, or condemn anyone else and hope to show them the love that Christ commands me to show them.  I cannot draw dishonest parallels and get anywhere.

I fail and I sin.  I deny the hard truth that my sin is my responsibility.  I have nowhere to go with this except to Christ.  I cannot compare anything to Christ honestly and find it better.  I cannot follow anything but Christ and find my way.  When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” he excluded any other way, truth, or life. 

It is hard to hear this but inside it there is a sense to it.  Why would I not see someone who commands me to love above all else as exclusive?  Why would I draw any other parallel when that parallel cannot be an honest one?  There is not honest parallel to Christ.


In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.


Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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26 February 2015

On Truth – Any Other Name

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all know that there is power in a name.  When someone says your name it automatically garners your attention.  We hope our name is called in some situations and hope not to hear it in others.  Our name is the sound that identifies us.  It is the writing that confirms and commits us. 

The name Jesus almost always gets a response.  It garners anger, joy, love, and hate.  It is used as a plea for deliverance and as an epithet.  People use it so bless and curse.  People try to limit its use.  People try to force it into conversations.

Due to the poor examples some have set over the centuries Jesus is equated with hatred and cruelty.  Some who claim to follow Christ use the name of Jesus for their own purposes.  This is the heart of the command not to take the name of God in vain. 

The name of Jesus is not a tool to serve my own purposes.  It is the common name of the living God incarnate.  I realize that sounds strong but it is also a truth that I have worked hard to acknowledge.  Harder still Luke tells us that we can only be redeemed by the power of the name of Jesus.  I realize that he means the person and work. 

It is a hard truth and it sounds arrogant that we claim that Jesus alone is the path to reclamation.  We do such a poor job of honoring the name of Jesus that to some it seems ridiculous.  The hard truth has elements that are true not by our acknowledgment but because they exist at truth.

I cannot force anyone to accept these things.  I can only hope to live a life that reflects them.  I believe.  I have faith.  I try to treat others well and give them the love and respect that Jesus has for them.

There are things that the name of Jesus commands:
He is truth.
He is God.
His is the only name that leads to redemption.
At his name at some point in time every knee will bow.

Neither belief nor unbelief can impact this truth.  The name Jesus has its own power.  He chooses to allow us a choice.  He is not going to force his truth on us.  He does want us to find him.  He constantly searches for us so that we will.

Jesus – Pat Terry

Jesus, my world is turning around you
It took quite a while but I found you
Or is it that you found me?

Master, telling my friends isn’t easy
Do you really think they’ll believe me
They’re bound to philosophy

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the whole world knew
No had to say a single word
Wouldn’t it be easy if the job were done and over

Jesus, there’s something inside that keep aching
I’m watching the whole world faking
They’re living hypocrisy
Master, I know they don’t know what they’re missing
Do you really think they’ll be listening
They’re facing fatality

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the whole world knew
No had to say a single word
Wouldn’t it be easy if the job were done and over

I think that my heart is breaking
I wish everyone would see
That you’ll find them like you found me

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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25 February 2015

On Truth – First Duty

Greetings Dear Reader,


Our first duty is to the truth.  I think that so many of us believe this and have difficulty living it.  Integrity, honesty, and trust remain vital to our ability to function well as a society.  Yet it erodes around us continually. 

We seek the truth even when we believe there is no absolute truth.  It is not lost on me that saying there are no absolute truths is a contradiction.  There is truth.  There are vital and absolute truths. 

Since I proceed from the point that truth is a duty then my foundation is much more stable than when I call truth a convenience.  Some truth is very inconvenient.  Avoiding those inconvenient truths leads to great destruction.

If I do not pursue truth then I do not have anything to offer others that is of value.  It means that I must embrace the darkest parts of who I am in honest light.  It means that I must eradicate self-deception and denial of that which can free me. 

When I worship it must be in truth.  When I counsel or seek counsel I must do so in truth.  When the truth does not fit my preconceptions or designs then I must embrace the truth at any cost.  Pride will battle for me to deny. 

Jesus said that his is the truth.  If I hope to follow him then I must do so in truth.  The inconvenience will pass and the truth will remain.      

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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24 February 2015

On Truth – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last evening I had a wonderful conversation about some intense spiritual issues.  I was reminded that there are things about which I do not think that perhaps I should.  There are things I acknowledge but also avoid.  If I am to be true to who Christ is and who he calls me to be then I must ponder these truths.  I must do so no matter how uncomfortable or difficult they may be.

I am going to walk through some of the harder truths of my faith and following.  I do not pretend to understand them all.  I do not pretend that I can defend them all.  I proceed from the supposition that there are many more things I need to learn.  I proceed from the position that there are truths that are absolute.

As I walk through this part of the journey please feel free to disagree with me.  Feel free to challenge me.  Please refrain from being inflammatory or pejorative. I promise to attempt to answer any honest questions but remember that this exercise is so that I can think through what I believe honestly and openly.

I proceed from this premise:  All truth is God’s truth.  If something is absolutely true then in originates with God. I am not going to discuss the reality or God in this part of the journey.  If you dismiss me because you do not believe in God that is your choice.  I do not mean that in a harsh way, it is just that I do believe.  I proceed to deal with the hard truths of that belief honestly.

Were we physically walking together I would pose these thoughts out loud and welcome your views.  I would pass you my canteen when you were thirsty. I would love you no matter whether you agreed with me or not.  Join me if you wish Dear Reader.  If nothing else it may prove  interesting.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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23 February 2015

Every Diner – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have probably left some very obvious metaphors out of the discussion.  I want to be clear that I still see value in the Church and even in the local church.  I also see that there needs to be vast change in the way we approach the social aspects of the Gospel.

People rarely continue to eat at a diner with bad food.  Some do because there is some other need that gets met there.  People tend to go where they get their needs met.  People tend to stay where they feel welcome.

I have recently seen local churches act very badly regarding the needs of others.  Perhaps they have forgotten just how closely they area watched by those outside the faith and those just outside the doors.  Even if you see the church as merely a business that just uses God I think you might agree they do not always act in a way that attracts customers.

We the Church need to see this reality and demand that the local church become an every diner to those in need.  The social gospel must never overtake the Gospel but it must remain a central part of it.  Things must change or the right to be heard will be lost along with our effectiveness. 

More importantly that change must begin with me.  I must assure that I am living all the things that are required of me as a Christ follower.  I cannot ignore the needs of others when I have the ability to help.  I cannot refuse to be good to others as a way of life.  I cannot travel the journey with a blind eye toward the needs of my fellow travelers. 

This is a discipline that gets easier as it is practiced.  The examples from Christ are sufficient to figure out what to do to obey.  The opportunities are endless.  I just need to remain aware and prepared.  He is in those moments where we do what is right no matter what the cost to us.  After all, if Jesus said we would find him among “the least of these.”  If we want to find Jesus should we not look for him where he says he is?

Distressing Disguise – Michael Card

He is in the pain, He is in the need
He is in the poor, we are told to feed
Though He was rich, for us He became poor
How could He give so much, what was it for?

In His distressing disguise
He waits for us to surmise
That we rob our brothers by all that we own
And that's not the way He has shown

Every time a faithful servant serves
A brother that's in need
What happens at that moment is a miracle indeed
As they look to one another in an instant it is clear
Only Jesus is visible for they've both disappeared

He is in the hand that reaches out to give
He is in the touch that causes men to live
So speak with your life now as well as your tongue
Shelter the homeless, take care of the young

In His distressing disguise
He hopes that we'll realize
That when we take care of the poorest of them
We've really done it to 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.”

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22 February 2015

Every Diner – Earning the Right to be Heard

Greetings Dear Reader,

I remember the first time I ate at my current favorite diner.  My past favorite diner had closed and I had been vetting diners for over a year.  I sat down at the counter and the server poured me a cup of coffee.  She said her name was Marianna (the middle “a” is an “ah” sound).  When I repeated it correctly she looked me in the eye and said, “You can stay.”

Ten years down the road Marianna stops what she is doing and gives me a big hug when I get to the diner.  She asks me to pray for her and her family.  I am a regular and get to talk about the things the other regulars talk about as they eat their eggs and nurse their coffee.

Yesterday my dear friend Tom asked a very salient question.  I am going to give an honest answer here.  Tom asked, “If you were eating with someone, say right after church, and they ‘tipped’ by writing a bible passage or leaving a note about being saved rather than an actual monetary tip, what would you say to that person? The reason I ask is because it is generally accepted as true that the post-church Sunday crowd tend to be the worst tippers, and the most likely to leave evangelical materials in lieu of tips.”

Here is my answer directly but I wish to develop it further. I agree that in some cases your observation is true. I feel that it is a horrid thing and have been to meals with someone who picked up the check and thought this way. I called him on it trying to explain what a poor example it set of the truth of the Gospel. When he stood on his position I covered the tip. I have heard a pastor address this with a congregation explaining how wrong it is. It is unfortunate that Christ followers like so many other groups get judged by the worst of their kind.

It is true that the majority of Christ followers are not like this.  The ones that do neglect the needs of others and instead force the Gospel on others in insulting ways make it harder for the rest of us.  That said, those of us who wish to truly follow Christ realize that we must earn the right to be heard.

Simply said, my life must communicate Christ long before I say anything.  Jesus reaches into the lives of people and meets them where they are.  He wants to use his followers to do that.  This means that I must be vigilant in assuring that my interactions with everyone reflect my desire to earn the right to be heard.

It also means that I must at times make up for the failures of my fellow followers.  One waitress stiffed by a church goer is too many.  One moment of graceless unkindness is too long.  It is vital that those who believe live that belief before everyone.  We fail.  I fail and retard my progress in earning the right to be heard.

Every moment is an opportunity to show the guy asking for help with his Jumble© that he matters.  Every meal is a chance treat people with respect and love.  It is an opportunity to set a humble example of how those who embrace Christ should behave toward others.

Sad Café – The Eagles

Out in the shiny night, the rain was softly falling
The tracks that ran down the boulevard had all been washed away

Out of the silver light, the past came softly calling
And I remember the times we spent inside the Sad Cafe

Oh, it seemed like a holy place, protected by amazing grace
And we would sing right out loud, the things we could not say
We thought we could change this world with words like "love" and "freedom"
We were part of the lonely crowd Inside the Sad Cafe

Oh, expecting to fly,
We would meet on that shore in the
Sweet by and by

Some of their dreams came true, some just passed away
And some of the stayed behind inside the Sad Cafe.

The clouds rolled in and hid that shore
Now that Glory Train, it don't stop here no more
Now I look at the years gone by, and wonder at the powers that be.
I don't know why fortune smiles on some and let's the rest go free

Maybe the time has drawn the faces I recall
But things in this life change very slowly, if they ever change at all
There's no use in asking why, it just turned out that way
So meet me at midnight baby inside the Sad Cafe.
Why don't you meet me at midnight baby,
Inside the Sad Cafe

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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21 February 2015

Every Diner – Tipping

Greetings Dear Reader,

I find that when I see someone else tipping badly it irritates me.  I am keenly aware of how hard people in the service industry work.  At my favorite diner the servers work long days on their feet all day. 

This past week I saw a man leave a twenty-five cent tip for an eight dollar meal.  I do not know the man and do not wish to judge him.  It seems that if one can afford the meal one can afford the tip.  If not, perhaps one should order something less expensive because tipping is implied and right.

I know the level of service at this diner and the quality of the food.  The latter by the way should never impact how one treats the server including the tip.  It is vital that one keep this distinction.  The person carrying your bacon and eggs from the pass to your table is worthy of kindness and respect.

This translates to the larger world for Christ followers.  We must be generous.  I am not going to equate this to giving to the church.  That is something that each individual must ponder on his or her own.  What I do want to focus on is that Christ followers are to be known for their generosity.

I also feel that someone needs to make up the difference for those who tip too little.  When I tip honestly and generously I can make a difference.  I can improve the day and perhaps over time the life of a server just by being a little more thoughtful.  The essence of the Gospel is seeing that everyone matters to God. 

If I do not purposefully see that server in this light I am in danger of not seeing her at all.  I am in danger ignoring that she keeps my coffee cup full.  I am in danger of taking for granted that she knows what I want for breakfast most mornings without me saying a word.  I run the risk of her feeling that a regular customer does not care about her or her life.

I am not allowed to move through life without noticing, caring for, and acting on that care for others.  Every server in every diner is worthy of kindness and respect.  Leaving behind a few dollars to show the respect can be a sublime act of worship.   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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20 February 2015

Every Diner – Artisan Coffee

Greetings Dear Reader,

A good cup of coffee is a beautiful piece of creation.  My favorite diner serves excellent simple coffee that is hot and ever-flowing.  It is just coffee.  It is freshly brewed.  It is neither too strong nor too weak. 

Artist - Mike Breach
It amazes me how large a roll coffee plays in our lives.  When the church I attend moved into its new building the pastor poured coffee onto the platform to remind us that the “church” is not the building.  We make coffee our morning goal.  We make it the excuse for our weariness.  We become dependent on it. 

As we have evolved our coffee from hot water filtered through ground beans we have made coffee more prominent than it should be in our lives.  There is nothing wrong with good coffee.  There is nothing wrong with making taste like an Italian desert or a doughnut. 

What matters is that it and everything else that is a trapping of life retains it proper place.  What matters is that we keep our proper perspective.  A good cup of coffee has its place in the diner and at church.  It must never be the star.  That position is for Jesus.

It is too easy to put other things before Christ is working out our faith.  It is easy to get distracted and forget why we are part of the Church.  We have a journey to complete.  A good cup of coffee or any other comfort may be a part of the journey.  It is never, however, the goal.  It is never to be the priority.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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19 February 2015

Every Diner – Losses and Gains

Greetings Dear Reader,

In every diner there are good days and bad days.  Sometimes the cook is on his game sometimes he is not.  There are good meals and bad ones at even my favorite diner.  Very little of what happens is under my control or authority.  It is how I respond to the good and the bad that matters.  How do I treat my server?  How do I interact with the owner or manager when he asks if everything is satisfactory?

Photo by Echo Michelle 02/2015
Whilst I write this it is -10 degrees outside my Wisconsin window with a wind chill of -35.  In my home state of Georgia ice has sheathed the world in crystalline beauty that is both amazing and dangerous.  We endure the weather.  We do not control it.

My friend Will has reached the clearing at the end of the path.  I am not sad for him but I am for his family and friends.  He is a good man who from our limited perspective is gone too soon.  He no longer needs his strong and vibrant faith.  I wish I could pass it on to those who so desperately do need it.

There will be gains and losses.  The journey will have good moments and bad ones.  The days will be long and short.  It is up to us to find the beauty in all of it.  It is up to me to look for Christ in the moment.  It is my responsibility to follow no matter where the path leads.  It is not a blind following but a following of faith. 

In that following I must treat others well no matter the pain or disappointment of the moment.  My pain does not give me leave to be unkind to others.  My frustration does not allow me to treat others with impatience or harshness.  If I do this I will be able to find the beauty in all of it.  It is how we actualize the community that is the diner, the church, and all of life.

The Basin and The Towel – Michael Card
Photo by Echo Michelle 02/2015

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 Saviour 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.”

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18 February 2015

Every Diner – The Business We are Doing

Greetings Dear Reader,

Earlier I said that the Church is not a business.  Some have taken issue with that.  I feel that a clarification needs to be put forth.  The Church universal is not a business.  It is a collective of those following Christ that should be known by its love, generosity, and unity. 

Because we fail at this so often it is hard to see.  Individual churches may act more like a business than is healthy for the work of the Gospel.  We are supposed to be and do certain things to avoid appearing just like another business.  We are supposed to care for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned. 

We delegate the charges of the Gospel to government and are surprised when we are ineffective.  Everything about following Christ involves creating a community that can reach others with the Gospel.

Imagine if a diner did not have food, or for some and more importantly coffee.  The purpose of a diner is good food at an acceptable price in a comfortable environment.  If the diner does have food we are not going to go there to eat.

If the church is not living the requirements of the Gospel then it will not nourish our souls.  If the world does not see that they can get nourishment in an accepting environment we should not be surprised if we are put out of business. 

We are to have a passion for the needs of the world.  That is what earns us the right to be heard.  We need to realize that if we do not live the Gospel at every opportunity then we are not following Christ.  Christ set the menu for us.  It is up to us to deliver what is on it.


Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don't you care, don't you care
Are you gonna let them drown

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done

"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it's all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear

But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can't you see it's such a sin?

Cause He brings people to you door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You've left him out on the streets

Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay

God's calling and you're the one
But like Jonah you run
He's told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can't you see it's such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight
Cause it's asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you've been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can't even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done

Don't close your eyes
Don't pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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17 February 2015

Every Diner – People are all Unique

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that just yesterday I said we are all the same and I stand by that.  In the infinite paradox, we are all different as well.  We are all snowflake unique.  We are the personification of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. 

Only man manufactures the identical.  Even in the things we create that we wish to be identical there are tolerances for variance.  At the molecular level everything has variance.  Some see these as flaws and others as uniqueness. 

This premise is at the heart of my belief that every person matters.  There will never be another Tom or Laura or Val.  I am privileged to know people who are one of a kind.  I get to see them become what they will become.  I get to love them and respect them.  I get to encourage and support their dreams. 

Some of these one of a kind individuals hate me.  Some of them do not even know me and they choose to hate me.  I get to love them too.  I get to respond to the negative with positive.  I get to see that they are unique and hope to show them that they are worthy of love.

I am honored to move through the world seeing the value of each person.  I get to experience the gifts and challenges of others and sometimes I get to help or honor another soul.  I get to be good to others.  I get to be a part of the unique journeys of others.

It is the heart of the Gospel that we do this.  It is the essence of creation that we are unique, loved, and valued.  It is the benchmark of Christ followers that we treat others this way.  It is the requirement of the one I follow that I live this way.  We are all the same but we are all uniquely different.

This is why the server, the cook, and the guy at the table behind me matter.  It is why I must remember to be nice to the guy at the servo when I fill up or buy a Coke.  It is the reason for taking the time to help people that cannot help me.  It is why I do almost everything the way I do it.  It is why I keep looking for ways to do it better. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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16 February 2015

Every Diner – People are All the Same

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that on surface that sounds false but in many ways people are all the same.  They have common needs.  They have desires.  They move through the world trying get somewhere or find something. 

If we start with the basics we all need food, clothing, and shelter.  We all need love whether we admit it or not.  We need to feel a sense of belonging.  We need a tribe.  We desire to be part of something bigger than our solitary existence.

We are all born.  We feel pain and joy.  We experience gain and loss.  Whether you believe in creation, evolution, or alien seeding we all descend from the same beginning.  We are all crooked sticks.  Whether we give it the label or not we all sin.

My faith informs me that I cannot see myself as better than anyone else.  The most vile human being on the planet (YES that person whose name you just supplied) is only worse that me in my eyes.  The God I follow loves him or her as much as He loves me.  That same God requires me to love that person if I hope to follow honestly.

Everything about following Christ is centered on connecting.  I must connect with God and obey his command to love others.  I must realize that everyone I encounter has needs.  I must do what I can to be compassionate and giving surrounding those needs.  My following must include my attempts at unity.  I must realize that we are all the same. 

I must constantly keep in mind that everyone is headed down the path that I am.  We are all born, live, and will die.  I am responsible to live out my beliefs as we interact along the path.  Every encounter must be one where I leave others better than I found them. 

One Tribe – Black Eyed Peas

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Woah-oh-oh-oh-ooooh!
Oh-woah-oh!

One Tri...
One Tri...
One Tribe, one time, one planet, one race
It's all one blood, don't care about your face
The color of your eye or the tone of your skin
Don't care where ya are
Don't care where ya been
Cause where we gonna go
Is where we wanna be
The place where the little language is unity
And the continent is called Pangaea
And the main ideas are connected like a spear
No propaganda, They tried to upper hand us
Cause man I'm loving this peace
Man, man, I'm loving this peace
Man, man, I'm loving this peace
I don't need no leader
That's gonna force feed a
Concept that make me think I need to
Fear my brother and fear my sister
And shoot my neighbor or my big missile
If I had an enemy to {enemy}
If I had an enemy to {enemy}
If I had an enemy, then my enemy is gonna try to come and kill me
Cause I'm his enemy
There's one tribe ya'll

One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
We are one people
Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya
Remember that we're one people
We are one people
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}

One tribe, one tribe
One tribe, one time, one planet, one {race}
Race, one love, one people, one {and}
Too many things that's causing one {to}
To forget about the main cause
Connecting, uniting
But the evil is seen and alive in us
So our hopes are colliding
And our peace is sinking like Poseidon
But, we know that the one {one}
The evil one is threatened by the sum {sum}
So he'll come and try and separate the sum
But he dumb, he didn't know we had a way to overcome
Rejuvenated by the beating of the drum
Come together by the cycle of the hum
Freedom when all become one {one}
Forever

One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
We are one people
Let's cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil {evil}
Forget about all that evil {evil}
That evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil {evil}
That evil, that they feed ya {feed ya}
Remember that we're one people
We are one people
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}

One love, one blood, one people
One heart, one beat, we equal
Connected like the internet
United that's how we do
Let's break walls, so we see through
Let love and peace lead you
We could overcome the complication cause we need to
Help each other, make these changes
Brother, sister, rearrange this
The way I'm thinking that we can change this bad condition
Wait, use you mind and not your greed
Let's connect and then proceed
This is something I believe
We are one, we're all just people

One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
One tribe ya'll
We are one people
Let's cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia
Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil, that they feed ya
We're one tribe ya'll
We people, we people
One tribe ya'll
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}
One people, one people {One People}

Let's, let's cast amnesia
Lord help me out
Trying to figure out what it's all about {what it's all about}
Cause we're one in the same {one in the same}
Same joy, same pain
And I hope that you're there when I need ya
Cause maybe we need amnesia
And I don't wanna sound like a preacher
But we need to be one

One world, one love, one passion
One tribe, one understanding
Cause you and me can become 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.”

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15 February 2015

Every Diner – Churches and Diners

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love diners.  You go in. They greet you, welcome you, and see to your needs within the scope of their purpose.  I was at a local diner with my Son Maxim recently and the server was particularly vibrant.  I was inwardly distracted by some thoughts with which I was wrestling. 

She went out of her way to be kind.  Between that and good conversation with my Son my spirits were much improved.  I made a point of thanking the young lady for her kindness and pointed out that it had benefited me.  She gave me a quick hug and I could see that it had improved her day as well.

We go to diners to meet a need.  It is not just the food.  I always have eggs, bread, bacon, and potatoes in the house.  It is the atmosphere that brings me back to diners.  It is the welcome and attention.  This is what the church should offer.

The spiritual hunger is just as vital if not more so.  People go where they get their needs met.  People return to places that make them feel welcome and valued.  In many aspects churches should be diners.  Church should be a places that welcomes, meets real needs, and provides sustenance for those who come.

It is unique in that those in attendance can be both the server and the served.  We can meet the needs of others whilst getting our needs met as well.  When we fail on either end we damage the “business” we are trying to conduct.   

The vital difference being that it is not a business is primary.  It is life and death.  It is time and eternity.  It should be the one place where people know you and accept you.  It should be the place we are drawn to when we are hungry for God.  It should be the place that fills our cup and nourishes to go into the world.  It should be the place where we are known for who we are and safe to be that person.


Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those night when you've got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by its tail;
And your third fiancé didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead;
The morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,
People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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14 February 2015

Second Thoughts – Another Cyber Stalking

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.

Please do not be alarmed.   I am not talking about identity theft or someone being inappropriate or creepy.  I have discovered another form of cyber staling that is both intriguing and annoying. 

I noticed it was more pronounced after I made a certain online purchase during January.    Today the vendor from whom I purchased the product showed up in adds on no less than six pages what had border or banner adds.  It is like the company is stalking me.

A company from which I purchased some Christmas presents began sending me eight to twelve emails a day.  I have blocked the email and will not purchase from them again.  In contrast with my permission another vendor sends me one email per week explaining what is on sale and offering tips for better use of the product I purchased.

As I journey onward I will eradicate the commerce stalkers from my custom.  One vendor from whom I ordered suspenders insists  on filling my side panels with women in garters because they are considered a form of suspender.  There seems to be no filter in their filter. 

It all puts me in mind that I am ultimately responsible for filtering out the things that I do not want or need in my life.  I am the one who must open and close the gate of perception.  It is my place to decide what gets purchase in my thinking.  I am to bring into captivity every thought. 

All of those unwanted and relentless ads remind me that I am responsible for what I know.  I am the guardian of my thoughts.  I do, however, dislike be stalked by a tea kettle.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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Every Diner – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of you know I have a favorite diner.  I eat breakfast there almost every Friday.  Occasionally a friend will join me in the early hours of the morning.  Most of the time my company is the rest of the regulars who seem to live there every morning. 

Most of know places like this.  The entire TV series Cheers was based on a place where everybody know your name.  We want to feel like there are places where people really care.  We want to know that if we are having hardship and we talk about it someone will listen.

Instead being good to each other we tend to pass by not seeing that every individual is a soul on the journey back to God.  The contrast that is always set up in my mind is that between what the church is supposed to be for others and what I experience in other places.  I do not think the church in America has become irrelevant but I fear it is headed that way.

I do not adhere to most things represented by a social gospel but I firmly believe that the Gospel must be enacted socially before it can be effective.  If I do not show you that I care then how will you see that Jesus cares?  This contrast taxes me often. 

Recently I have seen my own church fail miserably to be what it claims to be for its people.   I know that the leadership there is true to the things they believe.  I think that they would horrified to think that they have perpetuated a perception that they are other than faithfully living out the Gospel socially.  Were I not a believer I would have serious doubts based on things I have experienced over the last year.

I am not going to air my complaints publically but I need to spend some time reminding myself who I am supposed to be as a part of the Church that is commissioned to reach the world.  Feel free to discuss this with me as we walk.  Your input is always of great value Dear Reader.

Johnny’s Café – John Fischer

Wasting the day down at Johnny’s Café,
All kinds of people there with plenty to say,
If you got nothing to say to folks at Johnny’s Café,
You got nothing to say at all.

Walk in any day and you’ll find a slice of life at your table;
One man leaving his wife another wishing he was able,
An old man trying to forget a young one looking for a label,
And the stories they tell you can’t tell if they’re true of they’re fable.

And the lady pouring coffee she knows the regulars by name.
If she doesn't know you she calls you “honey” just the same.
And we all love to hear it,
Even if she has to fake it,
‘Cause it’s nice to think that someone really cares;
Someone cares.

Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Café,
All kinds of people there with plenty to say,
If you got nothing to say to folks at Johnny’s Café,
You got nothing to say at all.

Half a mile down the road you’ll find a church with a steeple.
And on Sundays the pews are full of well-dressed beautiful people.
There’s a leading politician whose wife is musician in the choir.
A corporation head who is trying to get a little bit higher.

And the preacher pouring sermons he knows the regulars by name.
If he doesn’t know you he’ll shake your hand just the same.
And we all love to hear it,
Even if we have to fake it,
But it would be nice if someone really cared;
Someone cared.

Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Café,
All kinds of people there with plenty to say,
Now if Jesus were here I think we’d find him today down at Johnny’s café.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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