31 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Closing

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a Christ follower I am accountable for all my time.  This means that even my leisure pursuits must be in line with the Father’s design for us.  I must rest purposefully.  I must recreate my life as necessary to conform to the gospel.  I must not abuse sleep.  I must avoid stress and adopt relaxation. 

It seems that managing all this could defeat the purpose of it but this is not how it works.  As will all things I must assure that I make the most of my leisure time.  My leisure pursuits must be ones that recreate and restore me.  Neglecting this will hinder my ability to work and serve will all that I am.

My entire life must be yielded to following Christ.  If I do not follow him in my leisure pursuits then I will not be equipped to do so in the work he has set before me.  It is about being committed to Christ in all that I do.  Even when I am bone weary or emotionally exhausted what I do to rest and recharge must be yielded to Christ and his purposes. 

It comes to assuring that in all that I do I am yielding what I have to Christ.  It comes to monitoring every step of the journey so that they are in the steps of Christ.  I will fail but I must lessen the failures and shorten the time between successes.  Rest well Dear Reader;  we still have work to do.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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


30 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Honest Recreation

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of you read that word as “rec·re·a·tion (/rekrēˈāSH(ə)n/)”   I try to always read it as “re-cre·a·tion ˌ(rē-krē-ā-SH(ə)n/).   We define recreation as the pursuit of activities done for enjoyment when not at work.  This is a great way to spend leisure pursuits but I think we leave out something vital.

I think that we need pursuits specifically designed to re-create us.  We all know what that is.  We all know what energies who we are over what we do.  If we have forgotten what does this for us then it is vital to rediscover it. 

There are times when we need major re-creation.  Our lives can become in need of a major overhaul.  We also need daily minor course corrections.  We need episodes where we do things to re-create the little things that impact relationships and focus our pursuits. 

We can re-create attitudes, actions, and assumptions.  We can always find ways to rediscover who we are created to be and reinvent our lives in more pleasing and productive ways.  I must re-create who I am in any area that limits my ability to follow Christ.  I must use my leisure pursuits to re-create the things that nourish my kindness and love.  The activity may exhaust or rest me physically.   What matters is that my mind and spirit are drawn closer to being more like my creator.

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 ͡°)

29 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Focused Relaxation

Greetings Dear Reader,

Relaxation is defined as an easing of tension or anxiousness.  Since Christ followers are not to be anxious over anything it seems that one should be relaxed most of the time.  This is not the case.  We become anxious and tense over many things both serous and mundane. 

This means that one must focus on being relaxed.  Worry and tension must be intentionally purged.  Our need is further than that though.   It is not enough to release tension.   We must at times truly do nothing.  We must push away even thinking about the things that plague us.

We employ many things to turn off our thinking.   Some of those things are unhealthy.  We indulge in excesses to deal with worry and tension.  This leads to many maladies that in turn increase worry and tension. 

Another form of failure to relax is when we deny our tension.  We avoid and bury problems that make us anxious.  This leads to short tempers, excesses, and failure to be as good to others as we should. 

I must seek focused relaxation.  I must not carry worry and anxiety intentionally.   Further I must assure that I do not use my tension as an excuse to be unkind or impatient.  If I am to follow Christ with my whole heart I must create space for focused relaxation that seeks calm and serenity.  I must become an instrument of peace.

Prayer of Saint Francis – Sarah McLachlan

Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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;
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;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

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 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Segmented Sleep

Greetings Dear Reader,

I do not sleep much.  It is not lost on me that I had planned this topic for today and I awakened two hours earlier than intended.  I have never like naps and there was even a wayward attempt in high school to wean my life fully from any sleep.  Three weary days and some terrifying hallucinations cemented in my mind that I need sleep daily.

The advantage of needing little sleep is that once I am asleep I do so deeply.  This may account for my needing little of it.  Still sleep is required and missed when elusive.   I realize that as there are those who need less sleep than the norm there are also those who require more.  Sleep is a necessity but can also be a leisure pursuit.  It is in the pursuit of sleep for leisure that we must be vigilant not to abuse it.

As one who does not like to sleep this is not an issue for me but I must consider how I think and feel about those who seem to abuse it.  I have a friend who has admitted that she is addicted to naps.  The Bible does not say a great deal about sleep but warns against too much of it.  It does teach us that we are accountable for all of our time. 

In this pursuit I must get enough sleep to be healthy and not so much that I waste time that should be used for other things   I owe it to my family and work to get enough rest so that I am truly present at required events.  I need to be rested enough to give my best both practically and socially.   I need to be careful not to judge those who need more sleep and those who abuse it.  It is not place.

I am not sure why the Father designed us to need sleep.  Were it up to me I would abandon it completely.   In this as with all things though, I must be subject to how I am designed over what I desire.   Then again I would value it if things stopped mid-day for warm cookies, cold milk, and a short rest.  I would prefer not to nap but I must be aware of the needs of others.  I prefer not to be asleep in the light.   

Asleep in the Light – Keith Green

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

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 your 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 you door you've left Him out in the street

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

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
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 job's done

Come away, come away, come away with Me my love
Come away from this mess, come away with Me, my love
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love
Come away from this mess, come away with Me, my love
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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Accurate Re-calibration

Greetings Dear Reader,

Many of us no longer need to calibrate things hence the word bears defining.  To calibrate is to “correlate the readings of (an instrument) with those of a standard in order to check the instrument's accuracy.”   We need to consistently re-calibrate. 

If left to my own measures I do not always assess my instrument well.  I push too hard when I am ill.  I can at times be too sedentary.   I should exercise more than I do.  I do not always assess myself honestly both on the positive and negative side.

I need to set honest baselines for what I need in leisure.   Diet, exercise, activity, and rest must all become measured and intentional.   This is not a secular issue.  It must not be my priority but it must be prioritized.    

Paul notes that “bodily exercise is of little profit.”   This does not mean that one should not exercise but it does mean that it must be seen in relation to other things.  An honest and accurate re-calibration of how I spend my leisure time is vital to assuring that I follow Christ in all things.

There is no down time from following Christ as I am to use all of my time to do that.  The Father has prescribed rest and relaxation but as with all things it must be tempered.  If I am to manage leisure pursuits properly I must know what I need and discipline every part of it.  This is not a stressful or worrisome discipline.   It is a part of following Christ with all that I am.  Even assessment must be done in faith.

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 ͡°)

26 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Intentional Rest

Greetings Dear Reader,

Since creation the Father has considered rest important.   When he rested after creation the word used to describe it is the same word from which we get Sabbath and sabbatical.  Rest is designed into the Law of Moses. It was a part of Christ’s weekly life. 

The idea of rest here is to cease from work.  It is important that rest is not doing something as opposed to doing something.  It can be better explained as I am not working instead of I am resting.  It is intentional refraining from work or intentional rest.

In our culture it is expected that we take work home with us.  I have coworkers that work every day.   In my years as a professor I did work outside of work almost every night.   If you do not think almost every teacher does this you are deluded.  I have friends who put in long hours at work and are still spinning late in the evening at home.  

As a writer I have to make sure that there are times when I do not sit down and begin to spin out lines.  I can get distracted by ideas and inspiration.   I must discipline my life to capture the idea but then return to whatever pursuit in which I am involved out of respect for my fellow travelers. 

I must also never assume that it is proper to impede on others when I work.  I must not assume that I when choose to work late that I can involve others without consideration for their needs.   When I supervise others it is my obligation to consider their time and need for rest.    

We are created to rest.  We are created to keep this in balance with our other pursuits.  I must assure that I focus on intentional rest.  I must not allow worry and circumstance to keep me from the rest the recharges me for the next day or the coming week.  I do not live under the law but the practice of intentional rest does make me a better 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 ͡°)

25 January 2016

On Leisure Pursuits – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have begun planning vacation time for the summer.  In discussing vacations, rest, and leisure with my friend Marsha I mentioned “Intentional Rest”.  I use this phrase so often the impact on her surprised me.  I will talk more about that in a couple of days.

It did trigger my thinking on the leisure pursuits and how I follow Christ in them.  Leisure like everything else in our lives must be an act of following.  There is not “down time” from following Christ.   Our idle words and leisure time belong to the journey as well.  It is, therefore, imperative that our leisure pursuits yield faithful following and not be squandered.

Please walk with me as I think through some various aspects of faithful leisure.  I need to assure that I follow Christ in all things.  Perhaps we can discover together how to better use down time to increase who we are Dear Reader.  As always I treasure your thoughts and questions.

Cool Change – Little River Band

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It's kind of a special feeling

When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change

Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change
Well I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best

The albatross and the whales they are my brothers
There's lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration

Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

I've never been romantic
And sometimes I don't care
I know it may sound selfish
But let me breathe the air

Let me breathe the air...
Well I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best
The albatross and the whales they are my brothers

It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover
Time for a cool change

I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

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 January 2016

Lurkers and their Real World Minions

Greetings Dear Reader,

First I should explain for the uninitiated what Lurkers are.  Picture stainless steel scorpions with narrow bodies and larger heads.  There are no pinchers.  Now give them venom, speed, and flight.  Their eyes are fiery red and their disposition is hungry.  The closest things to them that are recognizable are the creatures from the movie Aliens or those in Magic the Gathering knows as Slivers.  Both of these creatures are copyrighted and so not the same as those in my dreams.  I refuse to pay royalties on my nightmares.

Slivers
Lurkers are the denizens of my nightmares.  They are the product of a creative mind that is equally efficient in storytelling and night terrors.  When they come they besiege the landscapes of my night with dread and destruction.

I need to find a way for my faith and trust to transcend the barrier between waking and sleeping.  When things go bad in the daytime and I am alone at night the Lurkers visit at will.  They invade seemingly good dreams and terror-form them into indefensible sieges.  They always kill me and sometimes they eat me.  They are the most cruel when the conjure up past pain and insert themselves into my reliving it.

I know that I have family and friends who have trouble with nightmares.  As a fellow traveler I assure you that I do not take it lightly.  The place in following Christ for me must be in exerting faith in the light that my nightmares though real have no power over the day.  This is difficult sometimes but still true. 

It is in this that I must assure that how I feel about the nightmares and those involved in them does not translate into my interactions with real people.  The Lurkers are there waiting and will have their way with me based on the waking pain and hurt I feel.  This does not allow me to treat others with anything less than kindness and grace.  Even my nightmares must be handled in faith.

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 ͡°)

23 January 2016

Second Thoughts – What to Hoard in a Storm

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.

Whilst the East Coast is in the throes of a record setting winter storm I have been entertained by watching my Southern friends and family respond to the event.  I have seen pictures posted of the snow and the jokes about “running to the store for bread and milk.”  Also in demand when expecting snow can be eggs and toilet paper. 

This reminds me of a winter ice storm in Atlanta when I was much younger.  We lost power and heat.  We spent almost a week with a friend who had both.  I remember we brought bread and milk with us.  We had some excellent French toast.   The current situation makes me wonder what one hoards during other types of extreme weather.

One of the highway warning sings call for LIZARD conditions.  My friend Robin was curious about this so I suggested she needed to run to the store for onions and prune juice.  I have seen it rain frogs when I lived in Florida. Perhaps this is similar. Of course if it rains frogs you need to buy pears and kefir.

For tornado shelters one primarily needs to stock up on good snacks and digital entertainment.  A weather radio might be a good idea too.  I am not sure there is a proper prescription for tidal waves other than RUN.  Another aspect of storm hoarding is taking on enough salt or plywood as the weather condition proscribes.

In hurricanes they suggest stocking up on fresh water.  I prefer large quantities of the following whilst riding out a tropical storm:

Vodka
Grenadine syrup
Gin
Light rum
151 rum
Amaretto almond liqueur
Triple sec
Grapefruit juice
Pineapple juice

Volcano eruptions provide the opportunity for many kinds of weather all at once.  I do recommend observing them from a safe distance, in a shelter, on a video feed.  Hot lava and ashes tend to mess up the hair.  You may hoard whatever piques one’s fancy.

Whatever your weather challenge it is “your” weather challenge.  I care that you are besieged by a storm.  I promise not to mock you for buying bread or prune juice.  I will offer this.  God never gets the weather wrong.  Ride it out and enjoy the change.  Stay safe and do not give in to the temptation to do stupid things.  Snow is always beautiful to me even when it is in my way.

Let it Snow – Dean Martin

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

When we finally kiss goodnight
How I’ll hate going out in the storm
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And my dear, we’re still good-bying
As long as you love me so
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

When we finally kiss goodnight
How I’ll hate going out in the storm
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And my dear, we’re still good-bying
As long as you love me so
Let it snow (let it snow)
Let it snow (let it snow)
Let it snow (let it snow)

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 ͡°)

Changed by Pickled Beets

Greetings Dear Reader,

We are impacted by things and events in many ways.  Others share part of the journey        with us and when they move on leave their mark.    Some of those marks are good and some are not.  Some of those marks arrive in odd ways.

One of the things I love is pickled beets.  I have had excellent ones and poor ones.  Canned pickled beets are simply wrong.  Homemade ones are amazing.  Bev, a friend who has passed away used to give me a jar or two every year at Christmas time.  They were the best I have ever had.

I has some pickled beets this week that were above average but not great.  It occurred to me that my reference point is the pickled beets that Bev used to give me.  Nothing but my Grandmother’s come close but all are judged by the memory of Bev’s. 

It is odd how we mark the lives of others.  This woman turned beetroot, sugar, vinegar, and spices into a gift of kindness that imprinted my life permanently.   The memory of simple food brings to mind the memory of her life and all the people she fed over the years at her diner.

I need to be aware that even the small things may have lasting impact on others.  I do not know what I will do that will imprint on the memory of someone else.  This is one of the reasons that it becomes vital to assure that I am faithful to love and kindness in even the small things. 

Since I cannot know what others will take to heart I must assure that my heart is loving in all things.  Not all my idle words are idle to others.  A careless response or moment of impatience can mark someone.  I can only temper this if I assure that my idle words are good and gracious. 

Since I am accountable for every idle word I must monitor them to be filled with love and kindness.  As I move through the world I must assure that the memories I leave on others imprint them with good things.  It is my obligation to gift others with sweet memories.

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 ͡°)

22 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

One must be neither oversensitive nor insensitive.  One must always be sensitive to their surroundings.  We move through a world of fellow travelers who have wants, needs, dreams, and desires.  Christ followers are obligated to engage with the needs of others. 

I am obliged to measure my thoughts, words, and actions in a way that shows kindness and love.  My love for others is to be my benchmark.  Nothing gives me an exception for this.  Whether I deliver that through working for social justice or handing out a cup of cool water I must discern what will be the most loving act in any moment.

It is impossible for me to be perfect.  My fellow travelers share the same malady.  If I remain sensitive to this common condition then I can determine which responses show the most love.  I can remember to be kinder, more understanding, and .more forgiving.

It is in the intentional sensitivity to the difference between people and what they do that I live.  Actions may reveal many things about people.  None of those actions allow me to fail to love and respect a person.  Nothing precludes me from being sensitive and engaged with the needs of others.

If I walk through the world with this focus then I can be sure to engage in the love that I am to show to all.   The journey must be one of intentional sensitivity to world around me.  It is in that sensitivity that we find it easier to journey with Christ.  I must remain sensitive at all times.  I must engage with people and love them where they are in every moment.

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 ͡°)

21 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Toxic People or Toxic Situations

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is another of those fine lines with strict requirements.  It is a path one must walk when following Christ.   There are toxic people.  They are besieged by things that cause them to do more harm than good.  We will return to my thoughts on that shortly.

First I would address the easier task of toxic situations.  Circumstances can evolve where even well-meaning people find themselves in an untenable situation.  The problem occurs when unhealthy behavior becomes the norm.    We see it in extremes when people endure abuse on a regular basis because they cannot see that there is a way out.

When we see a toxic situation we are obligated to work to ablate it.  We must do so in love and patience but we must do so.  Excising a toxic pattern in a group can make the stronger and more productive.  I once worked with a group of people who had developed a pattern of working overtime to exhaustion.   When I refused to buy into this as a necessity they assured me that I could not get my work done without the same pattern of behavior. 

By the grace of God I was able to set an example of working smarter and not harder.  Even our supervisor was skeptical until I showed him a few weeks of consistent success.  He was the one who suggested the team try my approach and to their benefit it worked.  When our productivity rose and the overtime was unnecessary we saw increased moral as well.  Toxic situations are reparable as long as there is not a toxic individual feeding the problem.

Toxic individuals are a more difficult to deal with.  Whatever pain or need drives them to be so is not something one can easily unravel.  In many cases we cannot motivate the person to change.  It becomes necessary to then determine the level of exposure that is healthy for us.  No one can determine this for someone else. 

There is no room for hatred or anger at the toxic individual.  We may feel these things but we cannot allow them to live.  We must love everyone if we are to love God.  It is required, therefore, that we determine the depth to which we can involve our lives with the individual without taking damage.   We also need to be very certain that we do not reject someone out of hand.

There are other factors that must be considered.   What is my obligation to the individual?  Am I dealing with the impact of this person properly for my own health?  Are my thoughts and actions ones of love, humility, and grace?  I must be sensitive to the needs of others but not at the expense of my own well-being.  Even in the path of the toxic there is a measure of protection.  Again it is a hard line to walk and I can only do so in faith.

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 ͡°)

20 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Helping or Interfering

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a lifelong teacher I forget sometimes that my help is not always needed.  When it is not it can be an impedance instead of assistance.  If I do not assess others and keep arrogance and pride at bay I can do more harm than good.

When I interfere in the guise of helping I can hinder progress.  It can also seem critical.  Teaching when it is not needed can even hinder learning.  It I am not careful about this I can defeat my own purposes.

It feels quite good to be sought out for assistance.  The trick is to receive such requests with humility and grace.  I need to remember that it costs something to ask for help.  I must focus on the need of the individual  asking instead of on my pride at being asked.  I must create a safe space for others to learn and grow.  I must always see how the opportunity promotes a better whole. 

The other face of this is knowing when to offer help when not asked for it.  There are times when this is necessary.  There are even times when it is imperative.  I must assure that when I offer assistance that I am not butting in or interfering.  I must also not hesitate to offer or do so in pride when help is warranted.

Realizing that I am not responsible for someone accepting help is also crucial.  I must humbly assist when needed.  I must give my best when helping.   I cannot force anyone to apply the learning.  I cannot make someone learn.

The sensitivity training here is for me to use my gifts with humility without interfering.  It is to always be willing to help without stepping into a situation unwanted.  I must not force my thoughts onto anyone.  It is in love and grace that I must give my all to those in need.          

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 ͡°)

19 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Information versus Gossip

Greetings Dear Reader,

Gossip is obvious when it comes from the mouth of a person.  We still need avoid it and assure that we do not engage in talk about others that is defaming or demeaning.  It is always wrong to speak ill of others as a form of entertainment.

It becomes more difficult in some arenas.   Sometime we cannot verify the veracity of things that we see in social media.  We also fall prey to repeating things that are funny but may not be accurate.  Humor at the expense of others that is slanderous is still wrong.

I need information to know the needs of others.  I need data to do my job and to relate to my friends.  I must also assure that do not listen to things that are untrue of unkind even if they are true.   Sometimes the line between information and gossip may be very thin.   The knowledge that I need to understand a situation may contain negative information.  I must be vigilant that I do not let a necessary conversation drift over into slander or negative speculation.

It requires that I am constantly sensitive to the conversation.  If it turns to gossip then I must tactfully redirect it.  It is important that I discern between what is true and good when I converse.  After all I am accountable for every idle word.

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 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Political Stuff

Greetings Dear Reader,

It seems like election season has become a four year process instead of one for the year of the election.   One would think that with the season being so long that politicians would become an endangered species.  Instead they seem to breed like rabbits; the sharp pointy teeth kind of rabbits.

Everyone has a political opinion.   Some share them more frequently, vociferously, and energetically than others.  Across the entire political spectrum there are individuals with strong feelings and opinions.  Even among committed and serious Christ followers there exists honest disagreement on important issues.

This is where serious sensitivity training is required.  I am free to have all the opinions, stands, and leanings I wish.  There must be serious filters on how I use and communicate those positions.   There are a few purposes to those filters.

My first duty is to the great commandments.  My political leanings, my voting, and my communication about politics must all adhere to these two commandments.  If my position does not reflect an all-encompassing love for God and sacrificial love for my neighbor then I am in error. 

I may not politicize my faith.  Rather my politics must always be subject to my faith.  If I follow the two great commandments then I will be right in my politics.  Being right in my politics and following Christ means that I must not be arrogant, angry, or aggressive in any discussion of the matters. 

If I am motivated by love then I will be kind and tenderhearted.  When it comes to politics then I will have no enemies.  Politics are something shared by a common people. That means they are my neighbors.  So I cannot have political enemies.  Again it comes back to loving my neighbors.  It always comes back to loving someone: God, neighbors, or enemies.

There are issues about which I feel very strongly.  That does not give me lease to impose my feelings on others.  I must work.  I must show love and devotion to what is right with all my heart.  I must also be kind and sensitive that those who oppose my views may do so with the same feeling of Christ centered conviction.  I must put our relationship in Christ above all political position. 

It is love that crushes barriers.  It is love that is the great equalizer.  I will focus on that and see to the rest within its framework.  It is the only thing that endures.

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 ͡°)

17 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Sin and Condemnation

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that all of you do not acknowledge that we “sin”.  I will not debate that here although we can have a discussion about it if you wish.  I am proceeding from the assumption we do sin.  Notice the use of “we” there.  It is key to the discussion Dear Reader.

I must never become insensitive to sin.  I must see all sin and abhorrent and detestable; especially my own.  That is the thing to which I must always remain sensitive.  I cannot condemn others.  I have too much of my own for which I must account.  My failures demand their own condemnation were it not for the love and compassion of Christ.

If I am to obey the central commands to love God and love humans then I cannot also condemn those people.  If I condemn others then I am not being loving.  If I spend my time tending to the solutions to my own sin then I will not have time for condemnation anyway.  It is my obligation to see to my own sin so that I can better follow Christ.

I must walk the balance between recognizing when I see sin in others and not condemning them for it.  The recognition must trigger love and compassion in me.  It must move me to be a better example of love and redemption.  I must live as a fellow traveler and not as someone who has it all figured out.  I assure you that I do not.

The condemnation of others is not my place.  I am to be about working at getting us back to good.  I am commanded to love everyone where they are.  I must be sensitive to this in every thought.  I cannot condemn anyone without violating this.   It really is that simple.  In following Christ I must navigate the narrow line between contempt for all sin including my own and love for all people no matter where they are in the journey.

I cannot be sensitive to the needs of others whilst condemning them.  I cannot love unconditionally and damn people at the same time.  All I need do to embrace this is to stay sensitive to my own sin.  I am a crooked stick just like you Dear Reader.   


Oh, the suffering souls
Crying out for love
In a world that seldom cares
See the hungry hearts
Longing to be filled
With much more than our prayers

And a young girl sells herself on Seventh Avenue
And you hear her crying out for help
My God! What will we do?

Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!
Till your heart breaks from their sorrow
And the pain they're going through
With a life full of compassion
May we do what we must do?
Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!

All the desperate men
Are we reaching for the souls,
That are sinking down sin?
Oh, cry for the church
We've lost our passion for the lost
And there are billions left to win

And another 40,000 children starved to death today
Would we risk all we have
To see one of them saved!?!

Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!
Till your heart breaks from their sorrow
And the pain they're going through
With a life full of compassion
May we do what we must do?
Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!

Why have we waited so long
To show them Jesus lives
To share salvation's song!

Why have our hearts become so proud
That we fail to see
To love them is to love God!

And a young girl sells herself on Seventh Avenue
Hear her crying out for help
What will we do?

Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!
Till your heart breaks from their sorrow
And the pain they're going through
With a life full of compassion
May we do what we must do?
Don't tell them Jesus loves them
Till you're ready to love them too!

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 January 2016

Sensitivity Training – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Recently I was in a conversation with someone for whom I care deeply.  She was relating how she felt about the actions of a friend.  It was in her relation of this that I saw how offended she was concerning actions to which she was not a party.  My friend was upset because she had taken up an offense from a situation in which she was not involved.  

It is good that she cares for her friend.  It is vital that she engaged and listened.  There is even room for the outrage she feels at the situation.  I do, however, believe that we need a non-permeable barrier when it comes to the level to which we engage in the offenses of others.  I cannot know the entire situation from one person’s telling of the tale.  A one sided account does not give a clear view of the matter.

This gets to the entire matter of how I feel about the lives of others.  I must engage others with my feelings but not take up offences.  I must be honest about what I think is good and right without being judgmental.  I must resist what is wrong with condemning anyone else.  

One of the things that can facilitate this is a clear barrier between how I feel about issues and how I feel about people.  We hear the old saw of “hate the sin and not the sinner.”  I think it is true but not that simple.  That non-permeable barrier I mentioned has to be vigilantly maintained if it is to function.   

This barrier must be built by constructing it between the good and bad aspects in interacting with the lives of others.  I will focus on this for a few days.   I think it will enhance the perception of my life as one that is committed to loving others and giving all that I can to show that love.  I have to engage without getting caught up in the thing.  I have to listen with my feelings and really understand.  Please walk with me Dear Reader.  I value your observations and questions.

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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 January 2016

Sorry Is Not Good Enough – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The words we use matter so much more than we realize.  What we choose to say when someone is wronged injured, or when we simply need to pass matters greatly.  This particular social contract is one that I must avoid.  Using “I’m sorry” for anything is a risk. 

I risk not communicating what must be communicated.  I risk not showing compassion or repentance.  I am in danger of avoiding responsibility or failing to show love.  It is the actual participation in honest meaningful communication with others that makes a difference.  It is in participating in the proper aspects of these things that can show others that I love them.

Being sure that I use the right communication for my offences and congress will make me more aware of the actions that lead up to that communication.  Since I am required to love everyone I must assure that I do not allow a passive participation in the watered down responsibility of “I’m sorry” to be a part of my life.

My first duty is to follow Christ with all my heart.  In fulfilling that I must choose words that communicate over words that are easy and empty.  My words must show my compassion for others even if it means taking responsibility for my own wrongs.  I must engage with the hurts of others and feel genuine sorrow. 

Rebuilding who I am in Christ requires intentional captivity of every thought.  This part of the process is difficult because it takes meaningful engagement with others.  Although I desire that it is always a risk.  After all, social contracts exist to make others comfortable.  Comfort with the dismissal of the needs of others is never acceptable.

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 ͡°).

14 January 2016

Second Thoughts – Absent Friends

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.

When Death visits unannounced and unexpected he is almost always unwelcome.  No matter what we believe about the situation of the departed we are left behind in pain, shock, and turmoil.  A fragmented world still places its demands on our presence. 

At the end of the year I lost a friend.  His passing was sudden and intrusive.  In our minds it was also too soon.  The last time I saw Jason he aided me with both his skills and his friendship.  He was kind and gave me his very best.  We agreed to meet for lunch or dinner at some time in January.  He had just begun a new job and wished to catch up.

Jason was a former student who made the transition from that role to friend.   His passion for learner is the kind that makes any teacher proud.  His passion for excellence made him great at the things he undertook as both a student and a human.  I saw him often infect others with this passion and guide them to be better for it.

Other students immediately contacted me to assure that I did not find out in a random manner that I had lost my friend.  I was unable to get free of other obligations to attend his services.  I am unsure how to help his family but I desire to do so.  This is one of those losses for which I have no mantle on which to rest my thoughts.

I am diminished.  Every man’s death diminishes me but some more than others.   Later I will raise a glass to my friend.  When I gather with others who taught him we will speak well of him and drink to him as well.  I will try to comfort the others students.  That particular group shared a closeness that few achieve. 

I cannot fill this void but I can assure that when I come upon it that I remember the man well.  I can give these words to provide a spark of memory for those who knew Jason.  As I said every time we spoke, “I love you friend.  You matter to 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Sorry Is Not Good Enough – Genuine Apologies

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the reasons we use “sorry” instead of better communication is that we have not been taught or have forgotten how to give a genuine apology.  While we think of an apology as “a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another,” it was originally “a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.”

We have reversed the use of apology from defending or justifying our actions to expressing regret for them and hopefully seeking forgiveness.  If we are to do this well then there are steps to follow.  We need to begin with the internal.

This is the place where “sorry” has a place.  We must allow genuine sorrow for our wrongs, intentional or accidental to be realized.  If we fail to engage with those feelings then we may no grasp the impact of our failures on others.  We do damage to others and think we can dismiss it with “sorry” without feeling any genuine sorrow.  This makes our offering more than a platitude.  It creates a lie.

Once we acknowledge the impact of a wrong internally we need to address it outwardly.  We must admit our wrong.  We must accept responsibility and fault.  Because this is not as common as it should be people will try to help you justify your actions or be dismissive of their own injury.  It is imperative that we accept fault for our failures to others.    

The third step is to make it right.  The parts of this are simple.  We must ask for forgiveness, refuse to accept a dismissal of fault, and offer restitution where possible.  The last part is so neglected.  When we wrong others we fail to make it right.  We have incurred a debt and we must pay it.

Too often we dismiss this great opportunity to do right by others.  If I assure that I take this seriously I can show a richer love to those I offend.  I can have a clearer conscience knowing I have given my best.  I must not allow a simple “I’m sorry” to excuse me from my obligations when I have wronged someone.  If I genuinely engage with this process I can treat others better even when I fail. 

If I am to follow Christ with my whole heart I cannot conceal my heart from my obligations when I have wronged someone.  I must be especially careful to bring my accounts to right with others.  I can make no apology for doing less.

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 ͡°)

13 January 2016

Sorry Is Not Good Enough – In Place of Compassion

Greetings Dear Reader,

When someone shares a misfortune, hurt, or loss with we often respond with “I’m sorry.”   Our desire is to communicate compassion but we often do not know how.  We have developed this social contract of saying that we are sorry. 

I have tried to intentionally remove this from my conversation and instead engage with the person’s current crisis.  We gain so much more when we have genuine compassion for the needs of others.   Learning to choose words that communicate that compassion for others will be noticed.

When one communicates genuine compassion it stands out from platitudes and other common responses.   It is compassion that makes a difference.  It is genuine engagement with the hurts of others that makes us healers.  It is our example of this that will help draw others to Christ.

If I am to follow Christ then I must not fall into the trap of delivering platitudes when others are in need.  I must take the risk of engaging with the need.  I must put myself on the line to walk with them through grief, pain, illness, or loss.   This is how loved gets worked out in the lives of those with whom we travel.

Doing so will also take my eyes off of my concerns and remind me that I have it pretty good.  It may not be easy to find the right things to say but the effort is worth it.  The results are genuine.  The impact can be eternal.

Less of Me – Glenn Campbell

Let me be a little kinder. Let me be a little blinder.
To the faults of those about me, let me praise a little more.
Let me be, when I am weary, just a little bit more cheery.
Think a little more of others and a little less of me.
Let me be a little braver when temptation bids me waver.
Let me strive a little harder to be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker.
Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me.
Let me be, when I am weary, just a little bit more cheery.
Let me serve a little better those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker
Think a little more of others and a little less of me.
Think a little more of others and a little less of 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

12 January 2016

Sorry Is Not Good Enough – We Need Forgiveness

Greetings Dear Reader,

 I see the depth to which this is disappearing in our culture.   We do not see the need to ask forgiveness from others.  We think we can dismiss the wrongs we do by saying, “I’m sorry.”  Even in that though, we often do not feel genuine sorrow over our sin.

When I hurt or wrong someone unintentionally I still need to ask for forgiveness.   The request for forgiveness has a power that saying sorry will never have.  It is a transfer of power.  It is an act of humility.  It is vital to healing the damage that we inflict with or without malice or intent.

I must not fall into the trap of a dismissive expression when I have hurt others.   I must not feel that I can be free of guilt if I do not humbly request forgiveness.  I must always ask for genuine forgiveness and allow the other person to choose.  I must feel genuine sorrow over my sin against others.  If I deny this then I am a liar.

I must also realize that this is one of the few things I can do as a Christ follower that Jesus did not need to do.  Christ has the power to forgive all sin but never had to seek forgiveness for sin.  In seeking forgiveness from others I get to follow in one of the few ways that he did not lead.

I must do all that I can to live at peace with others.  This includes assuring that I seek forgiveness when necessary.  It includes embracing the humility necessary for this.  Perhaps as important as saying “I love you.” Is the power to say “Will you forgive 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

11 January 2016

Sorry Is Not Good Enough – Pushing Through Crowds

Greetings Dear Reader,

This happens too often to ignore.  You will be in a crowd or a que and someone “needs” to get further to the front or there is a legitimate need to pass.  In either case we encounter individuals who will push through the crowd saying “sorry, sorry, sorry”.

By definition the individual likely feels no sorrow over the action.  In fact the impression is one of being rude and pushy.  I am not angry about this but it does contribute to the dilution of both civility and the effectiveness of the world “sorry” in our culture.  The dilution of civility does anger me. 

The larger problem is that we put our agenda ahead of being courteous to others.  We see it in driving, shopping, movie lines, and many other places.  What would it do to our culture if instead of being this way we truly made eye contact and something like “excuse me please” when in these situations?

There are factors that make this more important for me to observe care here.  I must always be aware of how I treat strangers.  I am required to show love to everyone.  It is imperative that I observe courtesy and kindness when moving through a crowed.  How I treat others when I am in a hurry or vying for position is vital to my following Christ. 

If I fail to show love and kindness in these situations then I am be selfish.  That is not allowed.  Even when I am in a hurry or in need of movement humility and kindness must guide my actions.  Just because someone it in my path does on mean that he or she is in my way.  Furthermore, if my every move is to follow Christ I cannot push aside others or treat them rudely and still be following.

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 ͡°)