30 June 2015

Figuring Out God – Judgement

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are things which God reserves for himself.  One of them is judgement of others.  I have to discern between right and wrong.  I have to assess what is in front of me to make wise choices.  I am not allowed to judge others or condemn them. 

There is nothing that allows me to determine someone else’s standing with God.  I may ask.  I may ponder and pray.  I may observe but God reserves to himself the right to judge us. 

Within that reservation is the balance of justice, love, grace, and mercy.  The comparison is his righteousness and holiness.  This means we all come up short.  We are all guilty before him.  The laws of God are just teachers to show us our need for him.  They are hammers for us to use on each other.

In an effort to figure out God one must realize that he will judge us as he sees fit.  We are not given a choice on that count.  We are given a way to circumvent whatever penalty is due from our failures.  God wants to deal with us in love, grace, and mercy.  First we need to see that we need it.

I must not judge.  God will.  I may be honest about how I feel concerning someone else’s condition but if that does not motivate me to love and compassion I am doing it wrong.  When I see someone overtaken by wrong I am supposed to restore them in love.  If I am judging and condemning then I cannot do that. 

If we want to understand God we cannot deny him the right to judge us as he sees fit.  We cannot act as judge on his behalf.  I must also remember that I will be judged by the standards that I use to judge others.  That alone should motivate me to great grace and mercy.

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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29 June 2015

Second Thoughts – Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Drunk

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.

So it was a stressful day.  I arrived home to find that the yard workers had “weeded” my precious
Anise Hyssop plants.  All they offered in compensation was “sorry”.  I have cultivated these for tea for the seven years.  This year’s crop, the last at this house was promising to be bumper.  Now it is no more.  The Anise Hyssop is lost.

Then I took Christmas out to dinner.  The waitress and I conspired to get the cook to make me a rare hamburger.  It arrived well done.  I sent it back.  It returned barely medium well.   I ate it anyway (found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now)  I assured our waitress that she was not to blame but offered to teach the cook how to make a rare hamburger.  This was not a good idea.

Then to my aching chagrin I returned home to my dead tea leaves.  Christmas, my daughter, was kind enough to prepare me a gin and tonic.  It was more like gin that had had a brief flirtation with tonic but had forgotten all about it.  The lime hid this fact until it registered rather forcefully on my brain. (Indian restrained to curry my brain.  Newspaper warriors changing the names.  In the underpass a blind man stands, with cold flute hands.  Won’t you meet me on the other side?)

So I endeavored to write something profound with my gin infused brain.  The lime helped.  I thought about “Lime in the coconut”.  I prayed for the cook and was kind to the waitress. It is never the server’s fault when the cook screws up.  Remember that when it comes to tipping.

I returned home from my overcooked burger and my happy waitress to see the glaring empty spot where my Anise Hyssop should be.  It made me angry all over again.  I prayed for the person who killed it.  Christmas made me my first Gin and tonic of the evening with lime.   The second soon followed to curry my brain. 

Even in this state it is obvious that I must love the Anise Hyssop murderer and the hamburger burner.  I must realize that even in my current pickled personality I must forgive and love.  I must love the killer of my Anise Hyssop. I must love the cook who tried to blame the server by saying she left my burger in the window too long.  How stupid is that?   I must realize that even in this moment I must do what is right and that I am in control of and responsible for my actions.  Everything else is window dressing and lies.

Still if your friend is a writer and you know him to Blog; protect him from dismal truths that dance through his mind when Gin is his guest.  The two of them are not friends.  They will betray you to continue their war.  In short; Friends don’t let friends blog drunk.

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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Figuring Out God – What He Hates

Greetings Dear Reader,

We put God into a box when we fail to understand that even though there are things that he hates he does not hate people.  When we say that God hates any group of people we are putting God into a box which is not his.  He does not fit and will not abide.

In short God does not hate:
Gay people
Racists
Prostitutes
Tax Collectors
Politicians
Bronies

There are some things that God hates:
Lust (not just for sex)
Gluttony
Greed
Sloth
Wrath
Envy
Pride

God hates these things because they cause us to damage each other and ourselves.  He wants things to be good.  This definition of God excludes using each other, hurting others, and not caring for each other’s needs.  When we do the things we hate we exclude God.

It is vital that we not assign hatred of any people or people group to God.  If God disallows me to hate anyone then if follows that he does not hate anyone.   If someone claiming to follow Christ says we are to hate anyone they do not speak for me. 

If we put God in the box of hating someone we remove his love for them.  He would not command us to love each other, as neighbors or enemies if he did not do the same.  He loves the worst person you can think of just as much as he loves you. 

In attempting figure out God I must not fail to proceed from the place where he loves everyone.  He hates only wrong.  I cannot assign hatred of others to God and be an honest follower.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 June 2015

Second Thoughts – The Gay Marriage Ruling

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

As with almost everything I post here I am pondering what I should think, feel, and do concerning the recent ruling by the Supreme Court.  The first thing that I felt was sadness for the division that would deepen in our nation.  The second thought I had was regret for how badly some of my fellow Christ followers would behave.  Sadly they have not disappointed me.

I think that the court has overstepped its authority and I fear for the implications that will arise from it.  I am not an expert on constitutional law nor can I say that I am qualified to interpret every aspect of this issue.  That is not my focus anyway.

My personal feelings about the question of same gender marriage are not what matter either.  I have a responsibility to everyone who identifies as anything other than heterosexual.  This responsibility is unavoidable and ordained by God.  I must live it out with extreme prejudice.  It is identical to my responsibility to my fellow humans who are heterosexual.

You see I believe those who oppose same gender marriage and are Christ followers are to blame for the situation in which we find ourselves.  If we treat any subculture of the human race badly we are not following Christ and should not be surprised when things turn out in a way we do not want them to turn out.

If Christ followers want to be heard by other communities and social groups they need to earn the right to be heard.   I do not have to agree with the morality of something to treat the people involved well.  I want everyone to have the same rights under the law.  I want everyone to have insurance, benefits, healthcare, and social recognition. 

We do not live in a theocracy. We live in democratic republic.   It is not my protesting, rejection, and criticism that should influence the law.  It should be my reputation for love and compassion.  The Church should be leading the way in combating true prejudice and social needs.  We do not.  We relegated social issues that are the Church’s responsibility to the government.  We should not be surprised that they did not carry our faith and morals with them. 

We are in a situation of our own creation.   We are not called to judge, condemn, and alienate.  We are required to love.  We are required to show compassion.  It is our place to care for the sick, the poor, and the oppressed.  If we want to care for the sick should we not lead the way in aids research?  If we care for the poor then should be not be on the front line of the homeless epidemic?  If we care for the oppresses should the Church not be demanding work benefits and family care for everyone that punches a clock? 

It is not loving to deny someone basic human needs because you object to his or her morals.  When Christ healed the sick they did not to fill out a morals and values questionnaire.  We need to clean our own house before we can hope to gain any ground socially.  I fear we have already lost too much ground.

Before we address anyone else’s marriage rights we need to quit divorcing each other.  If we are going to question how healthcare is handled we had better be pouring some serious resources into caring for the sick.  We need to be working until everyone who is hungry has food.   Until we set the example for doing in right in these areas we have little hope of being heard on moral issues.  Until we stand in support of people with real life needs we have nowhere to stand.  Until we are known for our love we should probably just be silent.

I realize this is harsh but I am weary of the contradiction between what we say and what we do.  I also realize Dear Reader that the Church does do good in the world.  The problem is we are not doing enough.  We can do better and we must.   Until we take the risk of losing everything for the sake of living the Gospel, both social and spiritual, we are only going to keep losing ground.   Caesar has spoken.  It is time we show him that we can live as loving Christ followers under any circumstance.

Prayer of Saint Francis – Sarah McLachlan

Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.

O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive-
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

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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Figuring Out God – A Loving God

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things I often hear is what a loving God would or would not do.  We put our own standards on God and decide how he will behave based on those standards.  Putting God in this box presumes so much.

We must presume that God’s standards are equal to ours.  We also presume that we have the same level of knowledge of all the things involved in how God is acting.  We assume that his ways are our ways when he has clearly said that they are not.  “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.  ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

God loves us.  He declares this as well.  We cannot manipulate his standards into aligning with ours.  We too often blame him for the consequences of our own actions.  We want him to align the world to what our vision of right and wrong is. 

We do not have God’s love figured out.  We know it is there, unconditional, and eternal.  How it works out juxtaposed to the problem of evil and the tragedies in human lives is not always clear.  That does not give us leave to define things for him.  We do not have it figured out.

I must have faith that God loves me.  I cannot pigeonhole the character of God and the demand that he express his love by my standards.  I have done this in the past with people and it just does not work.  I cannot imagine it working with someone so far beyond my comprehension. 

God loves me.  I have not figured out how that works in every area my life but I know it does.  Once again I come back to the fact that I must follow in faith and attempt to love others whilst I work out God’s love for 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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27 June 2015

Figuring Out God – A Sense of Humor

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I ponder certain situations I cannot help but laugh.  Jesus has five thousand people with him in the country.  There is not fast food available.   There are no diners or taco stands.  There are five thousand hungry people.

The apostles have been with Jesus for some time.  They have seen him turn water to wine.  He is mourning the death of his cousin.  He has just spent the day healing the sick.  Please take a moment to get that firmly in your mind. 

Jesus is healing sick people on the spot.  He is caring for the lives of others whilst dealing with the beheading of his cousin John.  His disciples are witness to this and he has already explained to them that they can do as he does. 

The day is wearing on and the people are hungry.  His followers tell him to send them away to the villages to buy food.  Again, no pizza delivery or vendors selling food “On a Stick” are an option.   The response holds so much that we overlook. 

Jesus says to them, “You give them something to eat.”  Jesus wants them to act.  He is telling them to provide for his followers.  The disciples do not get it.  They ask him if he wishes for them to go buy food.  They are concerned that it will cost too much.  I can picture the face palm. 

I can picture the moment so easily and it makes me smile.  Jesus asks them what they have.  The answer is simple.  They have five loaves of bread (picture flat bread here such as Nan or a pita. {I want to launch into a myriad of Nan puns here but I will spare you out of my deep love for you Dear Reader.  Besides they would be Nan-Sequential to my point here}).  They have two fish as well.

Jesus, in a moment of glorious humor tells them to sit the people in groups.  He already knows what he will do but they have lost site of the possible.  They have forgotten the potential promised in the things they have witnessed all day. 

Jesus feeds them all by dividing the loaves and fishes.  He does not make tuna fish.  He does not spend a penny.  Do we think of God as having a sense of humor?  Do we ponder that we can see God as laughing, joking, and dare I say making a bad pun or two.

When we attempt to see who God is we must remember that all of our good traits are created by him.  I hear God in good laughter.  I am sure he has played a joke or two on me.  If I fail to see God’s sense of humor then I will not know him in full.

I want to continue to discover the good things about this God who so many think they have figured out.  Beginning with laughter is a great start.  It grounds to the fact that the human condition is one that God chose to experience so that I could better relate to him.

Know You In The Now – Michael Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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26 June 2015

Figuring Out God – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We ponder God whether we believe in him or not.  It requires thinking to get to the place where we choose to believe or not believe.  I have met people who have said on the subject that they have not thought about it. 

It takes me back sometimes when I think I have God figured out.  I really do not want to have God figured out or understood or boxed up in any way.  I want to know him.  I want an intimate relationship that defines who I am.  I do not, however, want to ever think I have plumed the depth of who God is.

I often think that one of the mistakes we make with people is thinking we have them figured out.  We limit who a person is or can be by our failing to see the intricacies of others.  We put people in a box based on past behavior.

We do the same to God.  We decide who he is and how he does things.  We choose how he thinks and will act.  We assume that our view is the view.  I think that God likes to surprise us.  I think that he is so much more than we can imagine. 

I want to ponder this for a bit as I walk.  I need a bigger view.  I need an ever expanding one if I am to journey well.  Let me know what you are thinking Dear Reader as we discuss this.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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25 June 2015

How do you Feel – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We must feel what we feel and not suppress or deny it.  We must also master our responses to our feelings.  We are responsible that we balance how we feel and how we act.  How one feels is never justification for acting badly toward anyone.

My feelings are a great barometer for how my thinking is trending.  They are not to be primary movers in my life.  They are vital to my understanding of life but not the determiner of how I live it.

It is too easy to give my feelings control of what I say and do.  I must capture every thought and assure that how it is expressed is based on love and kindness.  The Bible is full of warnings about how we deal with anger.   We are commanded to love.  My choices must be based on that.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

24 June 2015

How do you Feel – Training our Feelings

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last night I saw something so painful.  I was at a baseball game with my Son Bezel.   A child about the age of four or five was walking up the metal stairs and slipped.  His eye socket hit directly on the next step.  He was stunned but also obviously in great pain.  One of the stadium personnel was there and immediately helped the child.  The boy will have a shiner but will be OK.

What amazed me was his reaction.  He did not wail, cry out, or in any way let on that he was hurt save to wince and hold hand up to his face.  We could tell he was in pain but he controlled his response.  How many of us would do the same?

Yesterday I thought through controlling when we feel.  Today I am pondering how we manufacture some feelings.  In the case of this boy no one would have been surprised at wailing and tears.  I am more surprised that there were not. 

Some feelings like the response to pain are visceral and come from deep within us.  They are necessary for survival.   Others like offense and anger are a result of how we think about what happens around us.  I used to have anger as my primary response to almost anything I did not like.   I leaned just how destructive this is.

I have spent years training my mind and heart to respond differently.  That happens by capturing our thoughts.  If I think about how I feel before I express how I feel I may be able to feel more honestly. 

If I do wrong and there are consequences I have no right to be angry about that.  If I take offense at something out of pride or arrogance then I have manufactured a feeling that is unhealthy.  It is easy to feel the feeling without examining its source.  When I feel anger or offense welling up I am obligated to ask if the feeling is justified.

Yes you feel how you feel but sometimes that is based on what I am thinking.  We live in a culture where we are training ourselves to be offended.  We set up rules that establish if, then scenarios for offense and anger.  Culture should not dictate how one feels.  Honesty and love must dictate how I feel. 

If I discipline my mind to think well then I can master the manufacture of feeling based on poor thinking.  If I practice love and humility I will not be easily offended.  If I follow the command to love others I will not become angry as easily.  How we feel must be honest but it must also be based on honest thinking.   If I lose that then my feelings will be predisposed to self-centered thinking.  This is harmful and wrong.  “To think well is to serve God in the interior court.” – Thomas Traherne

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 June 2015

How do you Feel – Not In Control

Greetings Dear Reader,

I mentioned yesterday that we are supposed to feel what we feel.  What is also true in that freedom is that the feelings are never supposed to be in charge.  Love, fear, joy, and anger all have a place in us.  They can guide at times but must always be filtered through reason and self-control.

One of my observations is that we too often put how we feel in charge of what we do.  We put the feeling of love ahead of both being loving and acting properly.  We use anger as an excuse to be unkind and irreverent.  We use it to disrespect others.  We use how we feel to justify actions over which we have control.

It is not enough to not be “in love” to abandon a family.  Feeling hurt or angry does not justify harsh words.  There is no justification in wronging someone else because of our feelings.  It is not our feelings that should determine our actions. 

There is a balance to be had here.  There are times when we must be in the moment.   At times compassion must rule our reason.  At times love must guide us.  The litmus must be that we have thought about our actions.  The cognitive must feelings into proper actions.

When I act on feeling alone I almost always create a mess.  When I think through my actions and let the commands to love and kindness rule them I seem to do better.  I must feel what I feel honestly.  I must also let reason and unconditional love guide my responses to those feelings. 

How I feel matters.  How I act matters more.  I must do what is right no matter what the cost to my feelings.  I must act properly no matter how long it takes to work through the emotions.  In this can be found peace.

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 June 2015

How do you Feel – Assignments

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the ways in which we deny others healing is in telling them how they should feel.  We either deny them the feelings they have or we tell them how they should feel.  Both of these choices create a painful lack of freedom and health.

We must let people feel how they feel.  When someone is hurting telling him or her not to feel that way is denying them honesty.   There are feelings we are to master but that is not the same as denying a feeling. 

The other side of the coin is telling someone how he or she should feel.  Assigning your own feelings about something to someone else is also dishonest.   If something is hindering feelings appropriate to a situation then there is an issue to be resolved.  This does not mean that I get to dictate how someone feels.

Learning how someone honestly feels about a situation is key to honest communication.  It is also key being the best help I can be for someone.   If I do not assure that my attention is focused on a true and honest circumstance my assistance may be way off base. 

Asking “How do you feel?” must be an open and honest question.  I must stand by with love and compassion ready to accept people where they are. It is what Christ does for me and what I must do for others.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Second Thoughts – Great Friends and Green Fire

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.

There is Green Fire
As I turn my home back into a house and prepare to move to someplace smaller and more Spartan there some things I do not want to overlook.  Last night we had what may be the final fire in our fire pit.   Close friends came as did my Children and Grand Children. 

We had homemade peach ice cream, S’mores, and Polar Bears (The latter is a potent potable that is a summer favorite in our clan).   My Son Maxim tried out his new bow and friends join in at testing their skill with our recurve bows.

We had a rich fire tended by Christmas and Dan.   We even had fire salts so that my Grandsons could grow up knowing that there is such a thing as green fire.  It was a fine time with people I love.  As begin packing the flotsam and jetsam that will journey with me the fire pit is one thing I leave behind.    

I will miss the cool evenings with a warming blaze.  I will miss the conversation.  I will miss the music.  I will miss the moments.  These people and these moments are precious to me.  I will have to find ways to create other moments with them but I will miss the fires.


I’ve been lately thinking
About my life’s time
All the things I’ve done
And how it’s been
And I can’t help believing
In my own mind
I know I’m gonna hate to see it end

I’ve seen a lot of sunshine
Slept out in the rain
Spent a night or two all on my own
I’ve known my lady’s pleasures
Had myself some friends
And spent a time or two in my own home

And I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my lifes been good to me
There’s still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
I’d like to raise a family
I’d like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon

I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about our dreams
And all the memories we share

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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How do you Feel – Crisis

Greetings Dear Reader,

There will be troubled waters.  There will be pain and suffering.  Life will be hard sometimes.  There are feelings associated with those things.  We often do not know how to handle the feelings associated with a crisis.

When we are the one in crisis we feel and try to express those feelings.  When we do we often get platitudes from those around us.  People mean well but the raw nature of pain can drive them into thoughtless responses.

Except for practical needs there is little to say when a crisis is emergent.  Although it is valid that people should realize that God is in control and that faith must guide us, no one wants to hear that in the moment.   When the pain is raw and new we know that we should still follow Christ.  We need to have someone hear us.

I know that in some of my greatest times of pain it has been difficult to express how I feel.   It is vital that I find a way to express it but it is harder to find a real listener.  I must be a real listener for others.  I must allow them to express without trying to solve or fix.

Sometimes the most compassionate, faithful, and loving thing to do is to let someone be who they must be in the moment.  Even if they are wrong or express doubt we must let them feel.  We must listen.  Christ followers must be a race of listeners.

We should inquire as to how other feel and listen no matter what comes out.  We must listen with honest open hearts.  We must allow people to be genuine.  It is what God wants from us.  It is allows us to keep moving forward.  We must listen with our feelings.

Good Man – Burlap to Cashmere

He was walking down the highway
And you saw him straggling along
And you reached out
Opened up your door
And you gave him a ride
To your heavenly home

God his mother, she won't listen
And his father hated his old man
But you listened to his feelings
And your eyes consistently understand
Yes, your eyes consistently understand

He was a good man
He lived a good life
He was a good man
He lived a good life
But he was dancing to the bright lights
He was dying for some love

Well, you see him with his guitar
Down the highway, he would walk along
Singin' old songs, singin' Sunday blues
But his school bells were his only song
Yes his school bells were his only song

Through the fire, through the lying sun
Through the smoke and fog
Through the day that's done
There was strength there
There was hope alive
There were strings of peace
From the other side
There were strings of peace
From the other side

He was a good man
He lived a good life
He was a good man
He lived a good life
But he was dancing to the bright lights
He was dying for some love

Don't you see he's falling away
Thank God for the love that you gave
Only love can put out a fire
And only love was calling him
Higher and higher

He was a good man
He lived a good life
He was a good man
He lived a good life
But he was dancing to the bright lights
He was dying for some love

He was a good man
He lived a good life
He was a good man
He lived a good life
And you were right there, for the hard times
You were there again and again
Again and again, again and again

He was walking
Down the highway
Give him a ride to your heavenly home
Give him the ride to your heavenly home

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 June 2015

How do you Feel – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have watched some people very dear to me journey through some extreme pain over the last year.  One of them has been honest and open with me about how he feels as in the midst of his turmoil.

It made me realize just how often Christ followers fail to express real feelings regarding the tragic and painful.  There is this unspoken (usually) rule that Christ followers are supposed to be happy.  We respond to expressed pain with platitudes that rarely help and deny real pain its lease.

David knew how to express his hurt, frustration, and anger with God in ways that led to resolution.  The impact of not dealing honestly with how we feel is very damaging.  It can work tendrils into all areas of our lives.

I want to always allow others to be.  I want to see the need of others to express their feelings without pretense and fear.  It can be difficult to hear the pain of others.  We do not always know what to say.  We need to accept that not being able to fix does not mean we cannot help.

I need to examine how I interact with the hearts of others.  I need to assure that I am honest with how I feel without letting my feelings and fears control me.  It is vital to assure that I am honest and honorable in dealing with feeling.  It is part of the human condition.   The walk may be difficult but it will be worth the effort.

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 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – The Road Goes On – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I packed away my Dickens books yesterday.  Most of my books are ready to travel.  The remnants of June and all of July will be filled with packing and preparation.  August will be spent moving.   I have the entire month but other events will demand my time as well.

Amidst these events that no one enjoys and are necessary to the movement of the universe there will be best of times.  We will have a fire this week.  There are baseball games.  The highlight of the summer will be my Grandson singing at one those games.  We are all excited about this.

Georgia peaches come next week.  I have found a wonderful gift for my Son for Father’s day.  New technology is on the horizon.  Travel and birthdays move onto the scene soon.  The summer of this year holds change both loved and loathed.

It is up to me to realize that the constant of change will damage and heal.  It will make best of times and worst of times available.  My duty is to look for Christ in every moved no matter how painful or sublime.   I am following through this time not defined by it.  I am seeking a kingdom beyond this one.  Tis a far far better thing that I do. 

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.  – J.R.R. Tolkien

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 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Future Thought

Greetings Dear Reader,

Fear is the mind killer.  Fear is the faith killer.  As I contemplate future best and worst times I contemplate the things I fear.  I must lay siege against the fear and fight its attempts to escape from my mind into my spirit. 

This thing is hard but it is not impossible.  This being alone is something that haunts my dreams but need not crush my reality.  Although I have not won these battles in the past does not mean that I cannot in the future.

I must lay in plans to fight the lurkers that will attempt to lay waste to my peace.  I must fill the time with things that enrich who I am.  I must invest more time in others.  I must look beyond my borders to the things that will draw to the new horizons that are possible.

In all of it the fear is there.  I can feel the fear but must not ever let the fear be in charge.  I have told this to others and now I must live it.  The things I fear will be are based on things that have been. 

In short I must make new best of times and be creative in doing so.  There will be new worst of times. I must assure they are not created out my own choosing fear over faith.  It is in the crucible that I can burn away the fears that have gripped me as long as I remember.  It is by faith that this can be.  It in faith in Christ that I must live and move.

By Faith – Michael Card

By faith one was commended
For the sacrifice he made
Another out of holy fear
Built an ark the world to save
Another left his homeland
and as a stranger he'd reside
But none received the promise then
And so, in faith, they died.

Others conquered kingdoms
Quenched the fury of the flames
Some made strong in battle
Some were raised to life again
But many more were martyred
Midst the crowds loud clamoring
By faith they would not bow the knee
Nor kiss the emperor's ring

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Being sure of what we hope for
Seeing what is yet unseen
A universe from nothingness
New life where none had been
The known made from unknowable
And hope for the comfortless
Who hear and hold on firmly to
The faith that they possess

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

So fix your eyes upon the Champion
As you seek to run the race
Understanding that He cheers you on
As you long for His embrace
So hold on and do not grow weary
Of the faith that you profess
Remembering that you are ringed around
By this cloud of witnesses

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

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 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Cyrano

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of my favorite plays is Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand.  I had the honor to play Cyrano when I was much younger.  We see his character from the beginning when he duels a pompous noble and spares his life.  He composes a ballad whilst dueling that shows his wit and intelligence.  In this opening act he is reveled to be a warrior, a poet, and very intelligent.  He is shown to be compassionate but also unwilling to brook insolence and pompous behaviour.  Here is his ballad:

Lightly I toss my hat away,
Languidly over my arm let fall
The cloak that covers my bright array –
Then out swords, and to work withal!
A Launcelot in his Lady’s hall…
A Spartacus, at the Hippodrome!...
I dally awhile with you, dear jackal,
Then, as I end the refrain, thrust home!

(The swords cross – the fight is on.)

Where shall I skewer my peacock?...Nay,
Better for you to have shunned this brawl! –
Here, in the heart, thro’ your ribbons gay?
- In the belly, under your silken shawl?
Hark, how the steel rings musical!
Mark how my point floats, light as the foam,
Ready to drive you back to the wall,
Then, as I end the refrain, thrust home!

Ho, for a rime! You are white as whey –
You break, you cower, you cringe, you…crawl!
Tac! – and I parry your last essay:
So may the turn of a hand forestall
Life with its honey, death with its gall;
So may the turn of my fancy roam
Free, for a time, till the rimes recall,
Then, as I end the refrain, thrust home!

(He announces solemnly.)
Refrain:
Prince! Pray God, that is Lord of all,
Pardon your soul, for your time has come!
Beat – pass – fling you aslant, asprawl -
Then, as I end the refrain…
(He lunges; Valvert staggers back and falls into the arms of his friends. Cyrano recovers, and salutes.)
Thrust home!

This moment of humor and skill sets up his death.  First we see his life.  He is a solider, a man in love, and a loyal friend.  The woman he loves loves another man.  Roxane asks Cyrano to help her meet this man.  She does not know he loves her.  She does not see that he loves her enough to help her find love with another.  He shows his love by being with her through the best of times and the worst of times.

ROXANE A hundred men against you? ... Well, adieu. We are fast friends.
CYRANO Yes, yes.
ROXANE Tell him to write me! ... A hundred men! You shall tell me another time. I must not linger now ... A hundred men! What a heroic thing to do!
CYRANO [bowing] Oh, I have done better since!

Roxane does not realize until Cyrano is dying that he loves her.  He has held onto his good character and given her the best of times even in the worst of times.  This character is required if we are to truly love others.  Even when others do not see what their actions require of us we must be grounded in love.  We must fight pride and selfishness to assure that our love is unconditional. 

I must focus on what love does to assure that it is unconditional and pure.  What I want must be replaced by what is good and right no matter what the cost.  Through the best of times and the worst of times love can allow us to still give our very best.  It is what Christ did for us and what he asks of us.  In this I must 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.”
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16 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Abase and Abound

Greetings Dear Reader,

I do not speak of it often outside of family.   I was homeless once for about six months.  A colliding set of circumstances and some friends who turned out not to be friends at all put me on the streets for a space in my early twenties.  It was surely a worst of times.

At this time in my life I have a measure of security.   Stable income and a mature attitude toward that income make for life of relative plenty.   As I am turning this home back into a house I ponder the former time of homelessness.  The lack of home back then did damage to me that has not healed completely.

It did give me an undying compassion for the homeless.  It showed me that there are places that truly work to help the homeless and that there are places that take advantage of them.  I remember in that time succeeding in being good to others.  I also remember failing to truly trust Christ to care for me during the first half of my exile.

Paul talks about being abased and abound or being made low and being exalted.  I have been both.  In all of it the thing that I have learned is that Christ is there.  He is there in every moment if I will seek him.  Paul also talks about being content in every situation.  I am still working on that one. 

I have to assure that the contentment is not a flat response to my situation.  I have to assure that I am content that Christ is with me even when I face things I would rather not.  I have to assure that I look for Christ in the moments of joy and laughter as well.  It all comes back to seeing Christ in the right way in every circumstance.

For some reason Jesus is asking me to face my deepest fears.  He will be faithful if I seek him.  Being with God and being content with just that is a lesson he has taught me over and over.  It is my responsibility to apply the lesson.

Box Number 10 – Jim Croce

Uploaded on Oct 18, 2010
Well out of southern Illinois, come a down home country boy
He's gonna make it in the city playin guitar in the studio
Well he hadn't been there an hour, when he met a Broadway flower
You know she took him for his money and she left him in a cheap hotel

Well it's easy for you to see, that that country boy is me
I'm sayin how'm I gonna ever break the news to the folks back home
Well I was gonna be a great success, things sure ended up a mess
But in the process, I got messed up too

Well hello momma and dad I had to call collect
cause I aint got a cent to my name
Well I'm sleepin in the hotel doorway
And tonight they say it's gonna rain
And if you'd only send me some money
I'd be back on my feet again
Send it in care of the Sunday Mission Box Number 10

Oh back in southern Illinois, they still worryin' bout that boy
But this boy's goin home soon as he gets the fare
Because as soon as I got my bread, I got a pipe upside my head
You know they left me in an alley, took my money and my guitar too

Well hello momma and dad I had to call collect
cause I aint got a cent to my name
Well I'm sleepin in the hotel doorway
And tonight they say it's gonna rain
And if you'd only send me some money
I'd be back on my feet again
Send it in care of the Sunday Mission Box Number 10

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 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Gain (not the detergent)

Greetings Dear Reader,

I must respect the gift this place has been as I turn it from a home to a house.  There have been many best of times here.  I cannot do them justice in this brevity. I can, however, reminisce and pass along some of the joy.

As I mentioned yesterday we came to this house to create a safe home for Christmas.  She has learned, grown, and healed greatly these years.  I am proud of her work, friendships, faith, and dreams.

Each year save one we have had a Christmas open house.  That year was the year that Christmas and I both caught a terrible flu and had to cancel.  Other years have seen friends and family join us for good food and merry conversation.  One year we had a blizzard erupt during the party.  We were privileged to host some of our guests overnight.    

My smaller circle of friends had shared long nights of gaming, cookouts, and talk around the fire pit.  The gaming and feasting will still be possible but my new abode will not allow for a fire pit. 

I have done some fine writing here.  I have honed my craft and cemented my goals.  I have gained confidence in the craft.  I will be devoting more time to this and try to make them best times. 

Each room in this place holds true beautiful best of times for me.  I will not dishonor them by failing to remember.  I will not leave them behind.  I will seek to find way to create new beautiful things.  I have gained from being here.  I will assure that I always feel gratitude for that gain.

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 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Losses

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I ponder the home that is turning back into a house I ponder some of the losses that have transpired in these rooms.  I moved into this house to make a place for Christmas as we adopted her.  We needed someplace large enough for three adults. 

Within a year Avalon had decided that being married to me was the worst of times.  She moved out and moved on to the best of times she wished to have.  Avalon leaving me is an eternally echoing worst of times. 

There was a winter where Christmas was bed bound for weeks.  She felt so guilty for being ill as she had not healed enough emotionally to know that it was out of her control.  I felt so helpless to help with her pain and discomfort.  It was not until she was healed that I shared my fear during her illness. 

I have prayed alone in the darkness for Avalon, my children, my grandchildren, and others.  I have wept in wee hours of the morning when the loneliness overwhelms me.  I have seen the death of dreams in this place.  That may be the deepest pain of all.

There have been other very dark times in this house.  In all of them I have found two things to be true.  The first is that no matter how dark it is there is deeper darkness out there. The second is that in the darkness there is always the Light. 

This is not a platitude.  Christ has seen me through the worst of times.  He is the constant in the chaos; the fulcrum in the void.  No matter how dark it is if I follow the Light I will make my way out of the darkness.

Even the worst of times work to achieve the final good of retuning all things to Christ.  If the darkness serves that then all is well with my soul.

One Whit Duck  – Jethro Tull

There's a haze on the skyline, to wish me on my way.
And there's a note on the telephone --- some roses on a tray.
And the motorway's stretching right out to us all,
As I pull on my old wings --- one white duck on your wall.
Isn't it just too damn real?
One white duck on your wall, one duck on your wall

I'll catch a ride on your violin --- strung upon your bow.
And I'll float on your melody --- sing your chorus soft and low.
There's a picture-view postcard to say that I called.
You can see from the fireplace, one white duck on your wall.
Isn't it just too damn real?
One white duck on your wall, one duck on your wall

So fly away Peter and fly away Paul --- from the
Finger-tip ledge of contentment.
The long restless rustle of high-heeled boots calls.
And I'm probably bound to deceive you after all.

Something must be wrong with me and my brain ---
If I'm so patently unrewarding.
But my dreams are for dreaming and best left that Way ---
And my zero to your power of ten equals nothing at all.

There's no double-lock defense; there's no chain on my door.
I'm available for consultation,
But remember your way in is also my way out,
And Love’s four-letter word is no compensation.

Well, I'm the Black Ace dog-handler: I'm a waiter on skates ---
So don't you jump to your foreskin conclusion.
Because I'm up to my deaf ears in cold breakfast trays ---
To be cleared before I can dine on your sweet Sunday lunch confusion.

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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13 June 2015

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Charles Dickens has long been one of my favorite authors.  I have read almost everything he has written.  His writing reminds me what matters in being good to my fellow travelers.  It also reminds me to put my “suffering” in perspective. 

As I move through a season of changes that I do not necessarily want I am re-reading A Tale of Two Cities to keep my perspective.  This particular novel also connects to a pinnacle moment in some of my other fiction, Star Trek.  So many things about that fictional universe touch the essence of who I am.

Above I quoted the opening lines of the novel.  As I reread them I realize just how much of the binary choices there are in my control.  I choose how I behave in the best and worst of times.  Even in times of pain and loss I can choose how I act, react, and interact.  Even when things seem grim it can be an epoch of belief.

As I turn my home into a house again I will be saying goodbye to many best and worst times.  I will make many binary choices over the coming weeks.  I must make sure that the important ones are made in the footsteps of following Christ.  Although I journey to a place that I fear will not feel like a home I know that I still have more than so many.  I must journey there with the right attitude, intentions, and energy.  Walk with me whilst I think through this if you will.  I could use the company and the conversation.

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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