30 April 2016

The Conversations In My Head – Self Deprecation

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the areas at which we all seem to excel is being unkind to ourselves.  We hold so much of the conversation on our heads about who we are and what we can do.  We say things about ourselves we would not tolerate being said about our friends or loved ones. 

We fail to see ourselves as the Father sees us and we do not then take advantage of all we can be.   We limit our lives based on this inner talk.  We lose before we begin so often.   We know we can be so much more but we hinder it in our minds.

We become what we believe.   We experience what we talk ourselves into.  I cannot be all that Christ wishes me to be unless I truly follow him.  That includes seeing myself as he sees me.  It means having the courage to accept his vision of me instead of my own.  This is a daily or sometimes hourly struggle.  If I believe I can't I will be right every time.

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 April 2016

The Conversations In My Head – I’ll Tell You What You Are Thinking

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the most dire aspects of the conversations in our heads is that of holding the conversation for both people in a discussion.  We presume what others will say and impose it upon them.  We complete their thoughts even before they have so done and judge them on our assumptions of their minds.

When explained in this way it seems ridiculous that we would do such.  We, however, do just this.  We assume what others are thinking thus robbing them of the opportunity to do it on their own. 

The dire loss in this is that of the opportunity to hear what others have to say.  We judge and condemn based on our inner conversation.  We grow angry over things we imagine others to think.  We lose the opportunity to hear what may be different from our imaginations. 

We also lose understanding when in this place.  We fail to see someone as he is in the moment and instead see him as we assume he is.  We use our past experience to pre-determine the future.  We use our own thinking to build the person we think someone to be and reject him before he can speak.

Since I am to treat others as I wish to be treated then I must not do this.  I must listen with my heart.  I must let others speak and be true to who they are.  I must risk this in order to really see. 

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 April 2016

The Conversations In My Head – Really Listening

Greetings Dear Reader,

When someone else takes the time to speak with me I try to really listen.  Sometimes I really fail.  It is not due to a lack of concern for what is being said.  It is mostly due to thinking about what I want to say instead of hearing.

My Grandfather used to say, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.  Listen twice as much as you talk.” 

Ponder that for a moment.  What if we were to really listen?  I feel so ashamed in those times where I let the conversation in my head keep me from really hearing the conversation in front of me. I have an obligation to really listen when someone takes the risk of talking. 

One of the things the conversation in my head can do is help me to see what is really being said; the words behind the words.  If I am really listening I can hear more than words.  I can hear the heart and hurt being unspoken but told.  If I set aside my own conversation I can use the conversation in my head to help.

Listening is an act of will which can become a habit if I do it well.   As with so many aspects of the inner conversation I must master what I do when others speak.  I must hear the words, the hurts, and the heart of others.  I must have compassion that makes a difference.

If I listen with the right aspect of the conversations in my head I can do good things.  If not I will only muck it up.  Controlling this aspect of the conversations in my head is vital to following Christ with my thoughts.

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 April 2016

The Conversations In My Head – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all have an internal dialogue.   It can be pleasant and condemning all at once.  It feeds our courage and our fear.  It is there in the best of times and the worst of times. 

Sometimes the conversation bleeds over into the conversation with others.  Our inner voices assumes what others will say and we hold both sides for discussion without actually talking to the others person. 

We can also allow the inner voice to rule our choices in how we interact with others.  We always fail when we allow certain inner conversations to rule our choices.  We also  have that inner voice that can strengthen us and move us along to better things.

We become what we think we are.  We become what we decide to become.  I need to assess what voices are getting the most attention from my inner ear.  I must assure that I am not listening to the wrong one. 

Walk with me for a bit if you care to join the conversation.  I know that as I expose some of that inner dialogue to this bright light of self-searching that I will value your thoughts Dear Reader.  The journey is long and your company encourages 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 ͡°)

26 April 2016

Anniversaries Acknowledged

Greetings Dear Reader,

Thirty one years ago today my life changed forever.  I had just arrived at work when I received a call that my firstborn was ready to be born.  I drove from South Atlanta to North Atlanta so quickly that there was surprise when I arrived at the hospital. 


I will not likely get to see my Son today but I dedicate this time and space to him.  I love him deeply and fiercely.  I have watched him navigate pain and loss with honor and commitment.  He is a good father and loyal friend.  He vocation is one that directly helps those in need.

On his advent anniversary I feel so privileged to be his father.  I benefit from his presence in my life and realize what a blessing he is.  It is in this man, this friend; I see the potential of his generation.  His mind and heart have so much promise.  He is the kind of man we should all aspire to be.

I love you Son.  Happy Birthday.

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 April 2016

What is Your (My) God – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all tend to embrace things in a way that is out of proportion.  We latch onto things that we think will satisfy us.  We neglect our real needs in favor of things that consume us.  I know that I can obsess over things that are not healthy.

We are not supposed to put anything before God.  We are supposed to acknowledge the Father first in all things.  If we do he promises to direct us.   We are to be in a constant conversation with him.  It is vital that we realize that he is there in every moment waiting for us to arrive.

All of the things we desire are echoes of Eden.  It is the abuse of them that makes them dangerous.  The pleasures and pastimes of the world are not forbidden.  They are to be held in proper perspective to Christ.

I must follow without carrying too much of the excesses in the world.  I must not follow anything else.  Three are distractions that will devour me if I do not follow Christ alone.


The Things We Leave Behind – Michael Card

There sits Simon, so foolishly wise
Proudly he's tending his nets
Then Jesus calls and the boats drift away
And all that he owns he forgets

But more than the nets, he abandoned that day
He found that his pride was soon drifting away
And it's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind

Matthew was mindful of taking the tax
And pressing the people to pay
Hearing the call, he responded in faith
And followed the light and the way

And leaving the people so puzzled he found
The greed in his heart was no longer around and
And it's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind

Every heart needs to be set free
From possessions that hold it so tight
'Cause freedom's not found in the things that we own
It's the power to do what is right

With Jesus, our only possession
And giving becomes our delight
And we can't imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind

We show a love for the world in our lives
By worshiping goods we possess
Jesus has laid all our treasures aside
And love God above all the rest

'Cause when we say no, to the things of the world
We open our hearts to the love of the Lord and
It's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind

And when we say no, to the things of the world
We open our hearts to the love of the Lord and
It's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind
Oh, and it's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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24 April 2016

What is Your (My) God - Sports

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that sports is a subset of entertainment although the reason for the specific attention is that sports have become much more than entertainment.  I have a lifelong love affair with baseball.  I also realize that it would insult the beauty of baseball were I to make it a god.

We have, however, turned athletes into demi-gods.  We worship at the vast cathedrals we call stadiums.  Most of it is a subset of our worship of money.  We lift up our sports entertainers and monetize their talents.  We put important things on hold to watch a few hours of entertainment.

I have seen worship services moved so that people could get to the game on time.  We engage with sports at an emotional level that is often unhealthy.  We wager, eat, and drink to excess surrounding sports.  It is not sport that is the problem.  It is us.  Almost every vice we have gets played out surrounding professional sports. 

We lose perspective when we worship sports.  We allow people to be less than they should be just to win.  We put our team ahead of our family, friend, and faith.  We were not designed to worship in this way. 

There is nothing wrong with good competition, a cold beer, and some chili cheese fries (well perhaps the fries are always bad even though they are so good.).  The problem is the way in which we replace the Father with this form of entertainment.  The issue is worshiping something that is entertainment.

I believe that Andy Griffith gave us some good understanding of the foolishness of our obsession.  Give a listen to his comments and ponder the proper place of sports in our journey back to God.  They Called if Football – Andy Griffith

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 April 2016

What is Your (My) God - Entertainment

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think we have all noticed just how many celebrated people have died in the first few months this year.  The world grieves the losses in many ways.  I am always impacted by the death of singers and actors I admire.  My admiration usually comes from their art and occasionally from their character.

The death of every human diminishes me.  Mankind is my business.  I feel some losses more deeply than others.  That is not what matters.  The important thing is that every life matters to me and to God.  He gifts people whether they acknowledge him or not. 

This puts us in the position where we put on a pedestal people who are what they are because of God’s provision.  We worship the created rather than the creator.  We make celebrities and raise them up no matter how foolish it may be to do so.  It does not mean that the artist does not give us great things.  It does mean that we do not raise them up above anyone else.

We do grieve the loss but what we need to embrace is why we do it.  We don't grieve for artists because we knew them; we grieve because they helped us know ourselves.  The artists I value are not what changes me.  It what their work changes in me that I value.   A song, a painting, or some great acting touches places in me and it changes me. 

It is in that change that I find loss and gain.  When the person who creates that change leaves us we lose the source of that change.  We lose the potential for future input.  We lose something that connects to our inner being.  It is our nature to deify anything that touches us that deeply. 

I have lost some of those over the years and I grieve for that loss.  I will not, however, forget that the Creator is the one who gifted them.  He knows what he is doing and I will not abuse his gift by making the creation more important that the 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 ͡°)

22 April 2016

What is Your (My) God - Nature

Greetings Dear Reader,

Happy Earth Day Dear Reader.   This will not be a rant about environmental crazies.   They exist but I think that they do because of Christ followers.  My brother pointed this out well earlier this week not knowing that I was approaching the subject as well.  You can read his excellent articulation here:  Environmentalists and the Character of God

What I am pondering today is something my brother brought up earlier.  As Christ followers we do a very poor job at planetary stewardship.  It is an aspect of our over-consumption  We neglect our home and consume its resources without true regard for the future. 

The Father’s first command to his creation was to tend the garden.  Caring for the earth was the first job humans were given.  It is our primary responsibility from both a relational and practical aspect.  We must not worship the creation over the Creator but we must be obedient in caring for it.

Like care for those in need this is an area where Christ followers should set the example instead of being a hindrance.  I must do my part to reduce consumption and hinder destruction of the natural world. 

We were made to enjoy the world and care for it.  We will never truly follow Christ until we see the glory that is creation and our place in caring for it.  Ponder this from Thomas Traherne.   

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world.

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 April 2016

What is Your (My) God - Work

Greetings Dear Reader,

Almost all of us have to work.  Too many of us work at jobs about which we are not passionate.  Some of us fortunate few get to work at jobs we love.  Then there are the ones who make work their god. 

For a time I was obsessed with work and making money.  It was perhaps the lowest point in my journey with Christ.  There were other extreme contributing factors but I still chose to make work my god for a time. 

I recently had dinner with a friend who has made his work is god.  During the meal he was more in touch with his phone and afterhours messages than our opportunity to catch up with each other.  As I listened to his interaction about work I realized that he did not cover anything that could not have waited.

We create the expectation that work can consume all our time or we have it created for us.  It is a choice we allow either way.  I have made the mental choice to hang up work when I leave.  There are rare times when it must bleed over into the non-working hours but I guard that carefully. 

We work too much in our culture.  Ir is not that work is not important but we devote too much of our energy to it.  We use too little of our allowed vacation time.  We devote too much of our energy to things that do not serve who we are. 

We are to work but we are also to celebrate, vacate, and rest.  The Father has given us the ability to work.  We must always do so in balance.  Whenever I am tempted to pursue money over good work or put work ahead of other obligations I remember my Grandfather’s example.  He worked when it was time to work and rested when it was time to rest.  When it comes to what we do for work he also had some great wisdom.  “Do what you love and the money will come.”   

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 April 2016

What is Your (My) God – Adult Beverages and the Like

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I first began to follow Christ I was taught that all consumption of alcohol was wrong.  Basically Jesus turned water into wine and the church was trying to turn it back to water.  I later realized that under the law the Jews were allowed to use money that belonged to God to purchase wine or strong drink if they wished.  (Deuteronomy 14:26)

Today is April 20, 2016 (420 day).   I think it appropriate to address the excesses that make things we can enjoy into a terrible life-stealing god.  First let me say that I think marijuana should be a legal controlled substance in the same way alcohol is.  I am not debating the merits of this but will listen if you wish to do so. 

We live in a vast array of uneven standards when it comes to controlled substances.   It is an excellent example of how the civil law cannot dictate morality to the masses.  It is why we need to assure that we use such things in proper moderation.   Any substance can become a god if abused.    

It is true that the alcohol and other drugs are abused in culture and become a god to others.  I live with the specter of that potential and so am very careful not to abuse drink.  This does not mean that we condemn it outright.  Building a hedge around religious liberty never gets us closer to God.

To follow Christ I must assure that I do not make a god of any drug or its prohibition.  I must embrace moderation in things that can control me.  On this day when many minds will worship a plant I choose to be moderate.  I choose not to make any crated thing displace the creator.

From the Inside – Def Leppard

I am bad, I am evil
I am winter, I am pain
I'll mess up your life
I'll beat up your wife
I'll lose all your friends
And I'll win in the end

So you play the Joker
And I'll play the Clown
And I'll laugh while you're up there
And I'll laugh when you're down
Though your screams break the silence
Oh, they won't make a sound
Na na na na na na naaa

I will rise, I will take you
I will break you, never let you go
I'll shoot through your veins
I'll drive you insane
I'll poison your breath
And I'll love you to death

So you be the Joker
And I'll be the Clown
And you'll laugh when you're up there
But you'll cry when you're down
Though your screams break the silence
Oh, they won't make a sound
Na na na na na na naaa

So you play the Joker
And I'll play the Clown
And I'll laugh while you're up there
And I'll laugh when you're down
Though your screams break the silence
Oh, they won't make a sound
Na na na na na na naaa

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 April 2016

What is Your (My) God - Food

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all know that one of the seven deadly sins is gluttony.  I do not think that we all know what gluttony is.  It is not just that it is wrong to obsess over food.  The many facets of gluttony have to do with excess.

I have always loved good food.  I have often loved it to excess.  We need to eat to sustain our lives.  We also are allowed to celebrate with food.  What is not allowed is to have excess with food. 

I used to eat and over eat and eat again.  The consequences to my body are life-long.  The consequences to my spirit are healing.  I became insensitive to the needs of others.  I became dull to my own honest hunger and the needs of those in the world who are hungry. 

Food is not wrong.  Abuse of it always is.  The consumption of food falls under my need to be accountable for all I am given.  When I overeat I not showing proper care over what is provided for me by the Father. 

There is joy in the journey and it may be feasted.  There are hungry people and they should be fed.  I cannot follow Christ if I neglect this.  I cannot make food my god and live.  Besides, why worship something that goes bad if you leave it out too long?

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 ͡°)

18 April 2016

What is Your (My) god – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all serve something or someone.  We all give portions of our lives to attain or obtain.  Things become important to us because they fill a void or many voids in us.  We enjoy, become proficient, or even obsess over things. 

The enjoyment of things is a blessing that can become a curse.  It is a gift from the Father that we can enjoy things even in a broken world.  The difficulty is that we replace the Father with those things at times.  We use them to fill the void in us that is his space. 

No matter what it is we put in that void it will never completely satisfy.  I need to inventory the things that drive me.  I need to assure that I find joy in the things that are before me without obsessing over them in a way that displaces the Father.  Anything that displaces him is idolatry. 

It does not matter where I put my life and energy if it does not serve to help me follow Christ.  As I walk I must consider the things I carry in my spirit.  What do I really love?  As I ask these questions I hope to find balance and some deeper understanding of the Father and his love for me.  As always Dear Reader, I value your company and questions.

Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan

You may be an ambassador to England or France
 You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
 You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
 You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
 You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
 You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
 They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
 You may be the head of some big TV network
 You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
 You may be living in another country under another name

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 You may be a construction worker working on a home
 You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
 You might own guns and you might even own tanks
 You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
 You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
 You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
 You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
 Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
 You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
 You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
 You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
 You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
 You may call me anything but no matter what you say

 You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
 You’re gonna have to serve somebody
 Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
 But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

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 April 2016

A Win and Some Warmth

Greetings Dear Reader,

My beloved Braves finally won Friday evening and Saturday dawned warm, sunny, and full of Spring.  I saw my first daffodils as well.  My Son, Daughter, and my Grandsons accompanied me to the local municipal baseball team’s opening pitch event.  My younger Grandson was thrilled to see the team mascot and upset that there was no game.

The pinnacle of the day, however, was after it all.  The younger Grandson fell asleep instantly in the car.  My Son decided to drive for a bit so that the lad would remain sleeping.  We drove for about forty-five minutes.  The windows were down.  The music was loud. 

We road in mostly silence but my Son was singing with the music. I love it when he sings.  We have a long ride ahead of us in a few weeks as we all journey to the beach for vacation.  I find great pleasure in long drives.  I also enjoy the company of my children on such ventures.

In those moments on the road I find the journey so real.  My thoughts are my own and often I am in solitude in company.  I am able to pray, worship, and ponder the big questions dancing through my head. 

The warmth of the day and the time with family reminded me of how much I find joy in those things.   My Children and Grandchildren are a constant oasis in my journey.  As summer and all it activity winks at me from the horizon I find hope and anticipation in the coming events.  Fun times with those I love are truly a blessing.

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 April 2016

Second Thoughts – Back Where it Began

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.

A friend posted an old picture from a significant time in my life.  There I was, young, fit, and newly minted in my faith.  Forty-two years have traveled through the pinch in the glass since that picture was taken.  So much of what I believe is the same and so much has changed.  There is not a single person in that picture with whom I still spend any time.  I lost one of them today.  He has gone on to the clearing at the end of the path.  His faith is realized.  Mine is still functional.

I can remember almost everyone in the photo.  Some I know through social media still.  Some I have no idea how to find.  Each of them is someone with whom I shared a bond in Christ and with whom I hope to be reunited at the end of the journey.  We were young and ambitious.  We all wanted to make a difference in the world. 

I know that some of them have made a difference.  I do not know if this lonely soul has.  I look at each of them and wonder about their success and failures.  I wonder what they have become.  Then I realize that the answers are not as important as the realization that as their names float through my mind one thing has not changed. 

I love each of them as if we were still in that moment just before we got back on the bust to go home.  I pray for each one by name hoping that their journey is ever closer on the heels of Christ.  I hope they are finding joy in the journey home. 

Another thought comes to me.  If I could whisper something to that younger self it would be simple.  Cherish these people and stay in contact with them.  They saw me emerge from despair and death to life.  They were there for me as I learned to love instead of hate.  They were my first family of faith.  I would tell that young man to cherish every moment of the journey.

So Dear Reader if you see yourself in the photo I would love to hear from you.  Be assured that I remember you.  Be assured that I miss you.  I would love to catch up with you no matter what the journey has been for you.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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Too Much Baggage for the Journey – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The road home is a long one.  We are all on a journey back to the Father and all that he has for us.  The things we carry physically, emotionally, and spiritually only slow us down.  Putting too much baggage into the Gospel is perilous.

I have felt homeless most of my life.  I am a vagabond who does not wander.  I am a homebody without a real home.  What I need to remember is that I am passing through.  The comfort needs to be in that I carry my home with me.  Christ has promised to be our home and our sufficiency.  It is in him that we live and move and have our being.

We have two compass points to follow in the journey:  Love the Father with all of our heart, soul, and mind and love my fellow travelers unconditionally.  Everything else is subject to this.  Everything that violates these two commands is baggage we do not need.  It is a burden and should be cast off and discarded.

The mountain tops seem taller lately.  The valleys seem deeper.  I am lonely for some former fellow travelers.  When I pause to worship I wish they were there.  When I pray for them I long to see their faces and laugh with them again.  That time will come again but not until we all get home. 

For now I am going to assure that I shed my journey of the unnecessary baggage others put into the Gospel.  I have opinions, thoughts, and questions on many issues.  I will continue to process them here with you Dear Reader.  I will not, however, be indulging in hatred, judgement, or condemnation.  I will not dismiss anyone because they do not agree with the way I believe, worship, or practice my faith.

The road is long enough without carrying too much baggage.  I will not carry it nor will I require others to do so.  Walk with me when you can Dear Reader.  I cherish you companionship.  Let me know if I can help you drop any burdens.

I Will Bring You Home – Michael Card

Though you are homeless
Though you're alone
I will be your home
Whatever's the matter
Whatever's been done
I will be your home
I will be your home
I will be your home

In this fearful fallen place
I will be your home

When time reaches fullness
When I move my hand
I will bring you home
Home to your own place
In a beautiful land
I will bring you home
I will bring you home
I will bring you home
From this fearful fallen place

I will bring you home
I will bring you 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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15 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey – What to Pack

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was in primary school we would play a game.  It was called “When I pack my kit.”  We would go around a circle and say “When I pack my kit I will take my pillow.”
The next person would then say, “When I pack my kit I will take my pillow and my tooth brush.”  The third person would repeat the first two items and add a third and so on.  Miss Smith, my second grade teacher used this game to encourage us that we could remember and we could learn.  She would always end the game by saying we should never over pack our bags.

So what baggage do we need for the journey?  What is vital to take?  I must take only what is necessary.  I need the love of Christ in my heart.  I need the grace, mercy, and kindness for others that I so desperately need for myself.  I have seen over and over how I need the Word of God in my heart and mind. 

It is not a journey that can easily be made with too much to carry.  It is the weight of rules and practices unnecessary to the Gospel that slow us down.  The road is long and fellow travelers are precious.  I will never understand why some feel the need to burden others with more baggage that Christ requires. 

My responsibly is to explain and exemplify the freedom that is in Christ.  The entire journey has sufficient burdens without my adding to them with meaningless laws and rituals.  Pack love and truth and Jesus promises to provide the rest if we follow 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 ͡°)

14 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey - A Windup God

Greetings Dear Reader,

My Grandfather used to say, “You cannot sew wild oats six nights a week and then pray for crop failure on Sunday.”  One of the great lies we believe even if we believe is that we can compartmentalize our faith.  We do not have a windup God that we trot out for our pleasure on Sundays. 

We seem to constantly recreate God in our image.   Perhaps this is the greatest form of idolatry.  There are so many ways to say it but it comes down to treating God like a convenient buddy instead of the Creator and Sovereign.  It is not our place to treat him in this way.

There is so much of what we do that has nothing to do with following Christ.  The problem with that is that there is nothing that is not part of choosing to follow Christ.  There are no secular issues.  There is no moment that is not a moment where I must choose whether or not to follow Christ and his example.

When we load the Gospel with our own baggage we are making God our puppet, buddy, or less than he is.  We build a hedge of constructs and rules around the Gospel that makes it hard to see who Jesus really is. 

I know I participated in this for a time.  Part of my daily practice is to shed this.  If I truly believe that Jesus will draw all to himself then I do not need to judge, condemn, or reject anyone.  If I truly believe that Jesus is who is claims to be then I need to obey his command to love everyone.  Perhaps the narrow way is narrow because it does not have room for all our baggage.

I do believe all this.  Jesus is not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday.

 Wind Up – Jethro Tull

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
With their God tucked underneath my arm --
Their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.

So I asked this God a question
And by way of firm reply,
He said -- I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
Before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers --

I don't believe you:
You had the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
Well you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines --

How do you dare tell me that I'm my Father's son
When that was just an accident of Birth.
I'd rather look around me -- compose a better song
‘Cause that's the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me,
As you lick the boots of death born out of fear.

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
With their God tucked underneath my arm --
Their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.

Well you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines –

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
With their God tucked underneath my arm --
Their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.

So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
Before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers --
Well you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines –

I don't believe you:
You had the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

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 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey – What to Think

Greetings Dear Reader,

Thomas Traherne wrote, “To think well is to serve God in the interior court.”  If you have not read Centuries of Meditations then I highly recommend it.  Too often we add baggage to following Christ that is unnecessary.  One of those is telling people what to think instead of teaching them to think critically. 

Too often we tell people who to think about other faiths, the practices of others, and the world in general.  I have dear friends who have walked away from faith because of being told things that just are not true about following Christ.  Those lies have cost the church the support of good people.  Some of those people carry emotional damage that hinders their ability to believe.

The Father promises us that we will find him if we seek him with all or our heart.  If what I believe is true I do not have to invent constructs to manipulate the thinking of others.  If my faith has merit then I need not fear truth and open discussion.  Whether it is the Spanish Inquisition or social programming hatred based on fear telling people to think in any way other than loving others is too much baggage for the Gospel.

We can face the questions others have about our faith without fear, anger, hatred, or manipulation.  We can trust that God is true. If we obey his command to reason with others through love we can show that our faith has merit.  There are enough false representations of who Christ is without needing to manipulate the thinking of others.

Honest rational thinking may at first seem to draw us away from faith.  If we continue to seek the truth with integrity it leads to the conclusion that faith is vital, reasonable, and honest.  The journey is long enough without carrying the baggage of dishonest thinking.  The Gospel can stand on its own in the light of honesty.  After all if we let God be true then it he will show himself if we seek him. 

I do not want to tell anyone what to think.  I want to live a good example of following Christ and insist that others think honestly.  

Centuries of Meditations - Mediation 10 – Thomas Traherne

To think well is to serve God in the interior court: To have a mind composed of Divine Thoughts, and set in frame, to be like Him within. To conceive aright and to enjoy the world, is to conceive the Holy Ghost, and to see His Love: which is the Mind of the Father. And this more pleaseth Him than many Worlds, could we create as fair and great as this. For when we are once acquainted with the world, you will find the goodness and wisdom of God so manifest therein, that it was impossible another, or better should be made. Which being made to be enjoyed, nothing can please or serve Him more, than the Soul that enjoys it. For that Soul doth accomplish the end of His desire in creating it.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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12 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey – What to Build

Greetings Dear Reader,

The church I attend has been in its current building for eight years.  It is a beautiful structure but it is not ostentatious.  The floor of the large hallway is poured concrete coloured to look like marble.  The building is in almost constant use.

The first week in the new structure I sat with my family as the pastor celebrated the new place.  He explained to us all that the building was to be used.  He pointed out how it was just a building set aside for building a community of Christ followers so they can reach a community who is lost without him.  He promptly poured coffee on the brand new platform carpet.

So many gasped whilst I noticed that my family laughed.  Many got it.  Many did not.  The point is that the building is just a building.  There are those who think it needs to be adorned with gold and jewels.  I have worshiped from mahogany pews and folding chairs.  It works either way. 

Too often we put more into the edifice than we do the people.  Do not get me wrong.  I am amazed at the beauty and grandeur of great cathedrals.  I would tear it all down if I could use the gold and jewels to feed the hungry.  I would love to see the church understand the purpose of gold.

The gospel does not carry the baggage of buildings.   Instead it carries the idea of using our resources to help those in need.  We use them to show generosity and mercy to others.  We are to use them to meet the needs of others so that they can see their need for Jesus.

The church forces the Gospel to carry too much building baggage.  It demands that the world see its abundance whilst the world is hungry.  This cannot be sustained.  Until we remember that the building is just dust and it is the people that matter we will not gain ground in reaching the physically and spiritually hungry.  What we need to build is their trust in our mission.

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 April 2016

Second Thoughts – No Wins and Five Losses

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.

Today baseball has had a full week of games.  The spectrum of wins and losses already stretches out across a line of teams all with the same summer dream.  They all wish to be still playing in October.  They all want to win the very last game of this baseball season.

At the head of this line today are the Baltimore Oriels.  They are currently the only undefeated team in baseball with five wins and no losses.  In the grand scheme of things this means very little.  The will eventually lose a game.  The probability of a team going undefeated through an entire season is statistically unlikely. I am sure that Oriel fans secretly hope.

I am the other end of that same spectrum.  My beloved Atlanta Braves are sitting at zero wins and five losses.  We all know that the team is young and that this is a rebuilding year.  They will eventually win a game and in a few years they will be formidable again.  For now though the relationship will be one of heartache and waiting.  It will be one of unrealized dreams and mournful hope.

Then again, is that not what baseball is?  It is not a constant renewing of hope?  I am loyal to my Braves and intend to always be so.  I will cherish every win and feel a little sad at every loss.  I will not malign them or lose faith. 

I only hope that I can adopt the same when I see others trying to rebuild their careers, marriages, and lives.  I must maintain the same hope and belief in those around me no matter how long their losing streak continues.  As each person struggles to do better I need to be there cheering him or her on to success; especially after a long string of losses.

It is in this they I can find the courage to keep going when I fail.  It is in this that I can see the potential in every moment.  If I can be loyal to a team whose work is only entertainment then I can find it that the example I need to be loyal to lives that matter for all eternity. 

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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Too Much Baggage for the Journey – What to Wear

Greetings Dear Reader,

This may seem ridiculous to you Dear Reader but I assure you it exists.  There are factions of the church that actually tell their members what to wear.  They forbid women to wear pants.  They do not allow real bathing suits.   Some even go so far as to say that men and women should not swim together. 

There are more extremes but I think you get the image.  Instead of focusing on the love of the Gospel they focus on minor issues.  More attention is given to the outer appearance than to the soul.  They take the idea of separation to an extreme that causes division and judgment.

The problem is that it creates a hedge around the Gospel that hinders access.  It is the responsibility of all Christ followers to create as few barriers as possible.  We are to give people as little reason as possible to not consider Christ.

This does not mean that we are not to have standards.  We are to be separate and holy.  We are not to reject people to do so.  Telling people what they have to be in things like dress and hair length is not how we share our faith. 

We live it out in love.  We are kind and generous.  That is the only baggage we are to put into the Gospel.  I do not need to hinder it by telling people how to dress or what values they should embrace socially.  This extends to so many other social questions.

I do not have to accept or participate in things that I cannot do in good faith.  I am forbidden from dictating what others should do.  If I follow Christ in faith and do my best to love others as he does that is enough to carry.     

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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10 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey – Earning Favor

Greetings Dear Reader,

A dear friend who has hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) told me about how she would pick up and drop off items as needed along the way.  The AT refines what you need to carry and what is unnecessary. 

It is a living example of the journey.  So many people think that they have to earn God’s favor.  They believe that he wishes us to tip some kind of cosmic balance in our favor by doing certain tasks or adopting a lifestyle.  Like a system of weights and measures we categorize good and evil by degrees.

We keep moving from faith to deeds to add baggage to the Gospel.  We consistently increase or vary the good deeds that must be done to earn the favor of our deity.  Like a common TV ad says; that is not how it works.  Not only do we not need to earn God’s favor; we cannot.

Should we do good to exhibit our faith?  Should we do what is good out of love for the Father?  A resounding yes is the answer to all of this.  What we must not do is put further burden on the Gospel.  There is no way for us to earn God’s favor.  Rather, he gives it to us freely when we follow in faith.

God loves us unconditionally.  He wishes for us to see that he gives us this without hesitation or condition.  He asks us to follow in faith.  He asks that we love him in return.  We cannot demand that others earn his favor.  It is asking the impossible. 

As I consider my journey I must not take on tasks that hinder my progress by overburdening me.  I must do everything out of love.  That is the only baggage required of me.  At times it is burden enough.  Most of the time, however, it is a joy to carry.

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 ͡°)

09 April 2016

Too Much Baggage for the Journey – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was much younger I planned my first hiking trip for my dad and I.  I had a good lightweight backpack, sound camping gear, and no experience whatsoever.  I packed so much more than I needed for our three day trip including canned goods.

In the summer heat of Georgia I was carrying too much baggage for the conditions and my needs.  I was young and inexperienced.  I was also stubborn and determined.  The situations in which my dad had time for me were rare.  I was bound to not end this one.  I kept my suffering secret until I got sick from the heat and effort.  Our trip ended abruptly with my losing my lunch and sorely dehydrated.

As I ponder the ailments of the church in my pursuit of Christ I think it too has over packed for the journey.   We burden the Gospel with too much baggage and too little true supply of what is needed.  The journey is long.  It is fraught with danger.  We were warned by Christ what to pack what to leave behind.

If I am going to faithfully follow then I must assure that what I carry on the journey is necessary and of value.  I must also be vigilant over what I pick up along the way.  Whether it is opinions, practices, or possessions my baggage must contain only what enhances the journey.  Please walk with me Dear Reader and as always, I value your thoughts.

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 ͡°)

08 April 2016

Superman versus Batman – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We deconstruct our heroes.   We create antiheroes and make them our heroes.  In the golden age of comics both Superman and Batman were fighting against the darkness.  Eventually they did so together. 

I have always said that out literature is the best record of our culture and values.  There was a time when it was unthinkable for Batman to kill anyone.  Superman was accepted in his power because he was honest, good, and humble. 

When we start by peeling away the goodness of our fictional heroes we guarantee that their flaws will turn them into monsters.  We assure that we are devoid examples to draw out the better in us; the hero in us.

Systematically our culture seeks to deconstruct Christ in the same way.  Through the failures of Christ followers to live as an example and the erosion of the influence of Christ over culture in general we have seen even basic respect for him wear away.  We divide over social issues that are solvable if they are not politicized.  We fail to love at a level that is unconditional and disarming. 

As a true idealist I believe that we can be heroes.   I believe that Christ is who he claimed to be and that his followers can make the world a better place.  The problem is that we are not willing to risk all to do it.  We don’t believe in the no win scenario but we do not live like it.  Our faith and love do not crush the barriers erected to it. 

We seek for hope in drawn heroes when the only hope we have is in Jesus.  Those who follow Christ must be willing to live that hope; be that hero at any cost.  We must show a world truth, justice, and the Way.  We must do so in love and humility.  We must make everything else secondary to 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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