22 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ The Final Endurance: Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

The reality is that love is the most powerful force in all that there is.  We do not really see it because we do not really live it.  My eldest Son calls it a barrier crushing force.  We do not think often enough about the destructive forces of love.  I think they bear addressing.

Love destroys.  It mutilates hatred.  It devours greed.  It shatters and mends the hard heart.  Like all real life it forces its way in to places where it is unwanted.  It corrodes and dissolves the iron resistance of will steeled against it.

Love consumes.  It ravenously devours selfishness and self-centeredness.  It fills every void into which it enters and leaves room only for those things which feed it or for which it is a fuel.  It will take all that you are and own it eventually. 

Love steals.  It breaks in. It destroys locks.  It tumbles every safe.  There are no secure vaults or guarded places where it cannot enter unwanted and steal away resistance and rejection.  It ferrets out every mote of the soul and demands all of it. 

Love kills.  It causes men and women to face death on foreign fields for the sake of heath and home.  It murders the selfless to protect others and even the selfish.  It consumes lives in its servitude.  It devours galley slaves to row it to its destinations.  It causes the Living God to take on flesh so that he can be hated, beaten, and nailed to wood. 

I must give everything I am to love.  If I do not it will eventually take it anyway.  I would rather be its willing slave than a conquered shell.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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21 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Hope on the Long Road

Greetings Dear Reader,

In contrast to the necessity of faith being exercised in the moment; in the sprints of the journey if you will, hope must be the marathon of the run.  Again I have written about hope before but not as the fuel for endurance that we need. 

My friend, who thinks that hope is a four-letter word learned of my faith and no longer speaks to me.  My hope to bridge the space between her anger and my faith was shattered but I put back the pieces in prayer for her.  I do not demand that others believe as I do.  I do not push it on them or judge their unbelief. 

I do try to live my hope and share the faith that gives it when I am allowed.  Sometimes others take a hammer to hope that I have that is not in Christ alone.  When this happens, it wounds me deeply.  My inner voice wishes for me to reject everyone and become a hermit.  My spirit, however, demands that I regain that grasp on my hope in Christ.  It demands that my heart gather the pieces and use hope to go forth to every moment that is afforded me. 

Hope is fuel.  It is the balm that helps us rise when we fall.  It is the oil that softens a hard heart.  It is what leads me on.  It is what keeps me looking for Christ in the moment and on the horizon.  Faith is what helps me look but it is hope that drives me forward.  It is in Christ alone my hope is found and may endure. 

Pilgrims to the City of God – Michael Card

Pilgrims of passion we follow the One
Who holds out a cross and a crown
We travel a dark road that has but one Light
For we have here no lasting town

Sometimes we run by the power of His might
On our own at the best we can plod
What we hopefully look for is just beyond sight
We are pilgrims to the city of God

In a fallen world that's not our home
But we are not homeless prodigals here
Because we have someplace to go

Sometimes we run by the power of His might
On our own at the best we can plod
What we hopefully look for is just beyond sight
We are pilgrims to the city of God

Behold you have come to Mount Zion
The the City of Great King
To thousands and thousands of angels who've come
Assembled to joyfully sing, they sing

Sometimes we run by the power of His might
On our own at the best we can plod
What we hopefully look for is just beyond sight
We are pilgrims to the city of God

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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20 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Faith in the Moment

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have written often about faith and the endurance it can provide.  I need not dive back into that but rather wish to talk about the limited quality of faith.  There are ways in which faith expires.

There is a certain man who is in a struggle financially.  He related this to me.  He had a moment where he became anxious about meeting his obligations.  He felt the worry and fear.  He understood the situation.  He knew that he was being frugal with his savings and using his money wisely.  Further he knew that he was not going to violate his faith in God’s promise to provide.  Just after this thought he went to his mailbox and there was a gift from a friend to help tide him over. 

You see there was an expiration date on that moment of faith.  Had he chosen to violate his faith in that moment he would have lost the opportunity to see it realized.  This is no small thing.  As I spoke with my friend this week to get permission to write about him he related how this had happened again.  This time, however, he dismissed the moment of fear easily because of the Father’s provision.  He still has to have faith but it is bolstered by experience in having faith. 

Faith for the moment always has an expiration date.  It is that moment.  We are given opportunities daily to exercise our faith.  They are fleeting and vital opportunities.  This thought sheds a new light for me on something Jesus said.  He said, “He that is faithful in small things will be faithful in great things.”   The context is not this particular vein but the application is vital.

Being faithful in those fleeting moments of opportunity strengthens our faith.  It prepares us inch by inch for the times when our faith may be all that we have to sustain us.  I must constantly be aware that faith is supposed to be a part of the fuel for all I do.  Ultimately faith will become site and be unnecessary on the grand scale.  I must be faithful in the fleeting moments that offer me opportunity to have faith.  It is the small drops of the moment that lead to faith as broad as the ocean.

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 October 2017

Second Thoughts – Facebook Famous

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.

I saw a picture on my Facebook feed this week.  It was an adorable elderly lady holding a sign that read “I am 102 years old today.  Can I get Facebook Famous?”  I applaud her reaching my goal.   In fact, my goal is 102 years, six months, and twenty days.  That, however, is another story.

What troubles me here is the whole idea of being “Facebook Famous”.  Fame is one of those things that I see as attached to accomplishment.   I do not desire fame.  This is why I use a pen name.  Even if I become a bestselling author my desire is not to be known but to be lost in crowds. 

The idea of being Facebook Famous seems so fleeting.  It seems so unimportant.  What matters is what we do and not who sees it.  What is vital is that we accomplish things and not that we are famous for them.  We make celebrities out of those who are not deserving of celebration. 

Do not get me wrong.  I am impressed by the guy who can eat 72 hotdogs.  In the grand scheme of what matters, however, this does not matter.  I think it is great that the champion pumpkin pie eater can eat 46 pieces of pie.  This will not matter when we account for the good we did in the world. 

So tell me Dear Reader, what matters when it comes to fame.   I feel that like so many other things fame has lost its value as it is propagated throughout the world without merit.  I do not begrudge anyone recognition.  I just do not want recognition and acknowledgment to replace true earned fame and honor.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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The Three Endurances ~ The Corinthian Promise

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that some of you could not care less about what Paul has to say to the Corinthians in his letters to them.  Whilst I respect you Dear Reader if you have no use for the New Testament I would posit that there is value there for everyone.  There are universal truths in the text that can benefit everyone.

The primary context of the thirteenth chapter of Paul’s letter is the prime mover of love.  Jesus instructed us that the greatest and second commandments are to love God and to love each other.  The promise that Paul offers is that if we do wonderful amazing things and do them without love they are worthless.

He goes on to show the qualities of love so that we know what we are to do.  He also shows us just how easily we fail at loving others.  First Corinthians 13 has a greater context.  It is written to some of the worst behaved “Christians” of that era.  Paul is policing his own not handing out judgment to those outside of the faith. 

We live in an era where those who claim to follow Christ are easy targets.  The whole is painted with the vivid scarlet letter deserved by some.  We do not police our own as we should.  We do not see to our own house first. 

Worse, we ignore the Corinthian promise.  We act for our programs and causes without love for everyone involved.  We speak against issues which involve human suffering without addressing the suffering in a practical way.  I do not care about your political stance when there are starving children.  I do not care about your social issues if you are fighting for social justice. 

I love you Dear Reader.  I also love everyone else.   I must always be aware that if I do anything without love I am nothing but a loud irritating gong driving away those who may need me the most. 

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 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

“I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal.”

Even if every work I say is true and exact there are other things that matter.  I know people who value being direct.  Their speech often lacks love and kindness.  They may say what is true but it does not mean that they are doing good. 

Words spoken endure.  They last and dance around in the mind to either comfort or harm.  Words can be salves or weapons.  It is the way in which we use them that matters.  Actions are the same.  They are easier to identify in their character but are either ill or good.  I have often shown that there are no secular issues or rusty swords in the battle over good and evil.

This may seem a tangent but in life we seek longevity.  We seek things that will endure after we are gone.  We want to be remembered.  Some become addicted to fame.  Some are willing to sacrifice everything and anyone for it.  We seek to endure in all the wrong ways. 

What does endure is what matters.  What lasts is that which lasts beyond this life, age, eon, or world.  I am pondering this because I want to invest my life in what matters.  I want to do what matters.  Please join me Dear Reader in pondering that which 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.”
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17 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Closing

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are those who do not believe in absolute truth.  I absolutely do believe in absolute truth.  My first thought is that saying one does not believe in absolute truth is oxymoronic at best. 

The difficulty is that there are undeniable truths.  When we deny them, we weaken the foundation of all else that we believe.  We also forget that most of what we do is based on belief.  My Grandfather, when correcting me used to say,” You do what you believe. Everything else is just talk.” 

We evade truth to hold on to things that we do not wish to be truth.  Many of the people who abandon faith have either built faith upon false truths or refused to accept irrevocable ones.  The other reason that many do not accept fundamental truth is that it will require them abandon things that do not align with that truth.  When we cling to what we wish to believe against foundational truth we become unstable when our constructs are challenged. 

The truth is that we must follow our faith in truth.  We must be honest and demand honesty of others.  We must cling to truth and realize that God does not need us to fabricate anything for his benefit.  We do not need to deny natural truths for God to retain his place. 

The truth about 42~Truths is that they are true whether we accept them or not.  If I pull away the trappings and embrace this then the hard questions begin to take care of themselves.  Some of them do not even matter.  Some truths require faith.  That may also seem oxymoronic but it is true.  It may not be logical but it is true.  “The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”  

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Control

Greetings Dear Reader,

I often ponder if we understand the nature of control.  It is not simply the idea of one who directs others.  Even in the negative you cannot have control over someone who is willing to fight you.  One may manipulate and attempt to control others but even that is subject to outside forces.

We fight for control.  We manipulate to control outcomes.  Some will even kill for control.  We grasp for money and power all in an attempt to control our lives and the lives of others.  Lies, theft, and even war often circle the drain of control over resources and lives.  

Religions, including those in my own faith have lied and deceived for control of people.  Threats have been used to control the masses so that false dichotomies may be supported.  Recently my friend Shane was bemoaning the fact that there are still people who believe that the earth is flat.  We should not be surprised when dishonest beliefs refuse to support honest science. 

I do not wish to stray too far nor ponder overlong before making my point.  We control so very little in the world.  No matter how well I do at whatever I do things are not in my control.  Even when I fail at doing what is right in an attempt to control events I have no real control.

The difficulty and beauty in life is that we all have free will.  We can all choose to do what we wish.  No one can force me to do anything if my will includes a willingness to die rather than compromise.  My faith informs me that the only being control over me is the Father.  He is also the one who gives me free will.  He is one who could force me to see him yet instead asks me to do so and gives me a choice. 

We do have control for now over our choice of the reality of God and his love for us.  Some day we will not have control over even that.  I must build my faith whilst it is something that matters.  We have so little over which we have control but this vital thing is mine to choose.  Perhaps at a base level we know this and that is why we cling go tightly to the TV remote.

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Energy

Greetings Dear Reader,

“The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.” 

We expend energy constantly.  Even at our most restful the heart pumps, the organs function, and we burn energy.  We often get to choose how we expend our energy.  What we choose determines how our lives unfold.

We are gifted with time, resources, and energy in our lives.  They vary in quantity and we often have to give them to things that are “required” of us.  Our lives pass through the pinch of the present and we acquire and expend energy.  The difficulty is the way in which we choose to expend our energy.

Ponder with me for a moment the amount of energy that goes into hatred and malice.  That same energy put into the problems we see in the world could go so very far.  I see people I truly love expending energy hating “the other side”.  Whether it is social media ranting or arguing over dinner with loved ones we give too much energy to things in a negative way.

We must have values and standards.  We must stand for what we believe.  We must not spend our energy on things that to not contribute to the solution.  Our rants and jibes do not help.  Our witty attacks on character do not feed the hungry or provide healthcare for anyone.  These expenditures get us no closer to peace with each other. 

The 42~Truth is that we must reserve our energy for what is good, kind, and loving.  Hating someone because you disagree with their political or social views will never fit this.  I must assure the my energy is expended properly. 

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Private Truths

Greetings Dear Reader,

For centuries people believed that tomatoes were poisonous.  They match the warnings about foods that are dangerous.  The bright red colour, ugly nature of the plant, and acidic qualities all would lead one to think they are dangerous.  One can be allergic to them and thy can cause skin rash, eczema, hives, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  At one time it was even called Lycopersicon associating it with both werewolves and poison.  There is a good read on all of this if one wishes at Planet Natural where I sourced some of this history. 

Deadly Nightshade
In the early days of North American colonization like so many other plants the “deadly” tomato was grown as a decorative plant.  Puritans settling New England saw beauty in it even though it greatly resembles Deadly Nightshade.  It also had names in Europe that mean Golden Apple and Love Apple.  This would be something that Puritans would avoid.  

It was believed that eating a tomato would turn the blood to acid.  It was believed that the plant would kill.  Part of the problem is that except for the Tomato fruit (yes, it is a fruit), all parts of the plant are poisonous.  It was not until the eighteenth century that the tomato began to rise in favor and in the nineteenth century Joseph Campbell started tinning Tomato Soup.  Now only those allergic to the tomato need fear its poisons.

The 42~Truth is that just because an entire nation or continent believes something to be so does not make it so.  When we have sacred truths, we must assure that we, from time-to-time verify them.  We must have valid reasons why we believe what we believe.  I must not rely on pat answers or common thought.  I must know the reasons why I believe what I believe. 

I must also hold that in balance with what is proven and known.  After all, I do not have to check on the safety of eating tomatoes before I make my BLT. 

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ It is Never Too Early

Greetings Dear Reader,

I saw my first Christmas ad on television this week.  I have already heard comments about it being too early for Christmas.  I have heard complaints about the pressure of the season.  Some stores already have trees and decorations for sale.

The idea of early Christmas does not fit into my thinking.  I think about Christmas almost every day.  I have reminders of it in every room.  I have reminders in my car.  I keep Christmas in my heart all the year. 

It is never too early to celebrate the things we love.  We do not have to impose them on others.  We need not make it flagrant.  We do, however, have to understand that time is fleeting.  Life is too short not to enjoy things early.

I used to think that something things were for keeping and not using.  I realize that unused possessions that have value are few.  Even the art on the wall is used for viewing and appreciating.  We must not hide the good away.

I am not suggesting that everyone should celebrate Christmas in July.  I am saying that we must enjoy the things we love.  We must not wait until the right time in the future.  We must be temperate in our enjoyment.  We must vigilant toward our responsibilities. 

The 42~Truth is to celebrate life in the ways the fulfill us.  We must not put it off until others approve.  We must love life in every moment.  Even the pain and gall can provide joy if our perspective is correct.  It is never too early to wish you a Happy Christmas Dear Reader.

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Hope

Greetings Dear Reader,

If you are a fan of sports you understand the ebb and flow of hope.  TV dramas use it to keep you following certain characters and their stories.  I use the ebb and flow of hope in my novels to keep the pages turning. 

The 42~Truth is that there is always hope.  With baseball it is the next pitch, at bat, inning, game, or season.  With writing it is the next novel or story.  In life the truth of hope is that it is one of the three endurances.  I will address this more next week.

What I want to say today is that we exercise hope all the time.  We live it out and embrace it even when we think we are out of it.  Hope is all around us if we choose to see it.  Hope exists.

I will not belabor this here Dear Reader but the 42~Truth is that there is always hope.

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 October 2017

42~Truths ~ The Weather

Greetings Dear Reader,

I often ponder how often people complain about the weather.  Today it is chilled and raining.  The dark will last longer because of the clouds.  The light is growing shorter anyway.

As I go through the day I so often here people complain about the weather unless it is one of those 72-degree days with little clouds, a light breeze, and ample sunshine.  Then they complain about having to be indoors. I guess the point is that no matter the weather there will be people who are dissatisfied with it.

The 42~Truth here is that we complain about something over which we have no control or influence.  We spend our time worried about the amount of rain or our plans instead of seeing the beauty in the weather of the moment.  We can choose to understand that someone out there loves the rain, the snow, and even the clouds.  It is yet another way to embrace the beautiful diversity in the world.

I try to live the attitude that God never gets the weather wrong.  I realize that this does not work for those of you who do not believe in God.  I understand that one may have to choose instead to adopt the wisdom of “accepting the things we cannot change.” 

In any case unless the weather truly harms us complaining about it is a lost opportunity.  I must see to it that I allow the Father to have his way with the weather and that I look for the beauty in what he creates.  The truth is that I cannot do anything about the weather.  Is there in this truth no beauty Dear Reader?

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 ͡°)

10 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Smooth or Crunchy

Greetings Dear Reader,

Amidst the fires, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes I realize that this may seem trivial but it is important to me.  Some time ago I asked the question of some friends concerning peanut butter.  Which is better, smooth or crunchy?

The outpouring of opinion on it was vast.  Opinions were very strong in both directions.  Some people were downright militant in their view of peanut butter.  This caused me to do a little research into what people really think about peanut butter.

Here is what I found: 
  • Ø  Creamy wins as the most popular type of peanut butter, with 68% selecting it as their favorite.
  • Ø  Just 22% said they prefer crunchy.
  • Ø  9% would rather have extra crunchy.
  • Ø  And 1% named other favorite types, like all-natural or a mix between creamy and crunchy.
  • Ø  And when it comes to brands, Jiff, Skippy, and Peter Pan were named favorites.  Source:  AYTM BLOG

For me the answer is always smooth.  I do not like chunks in anything called a butter whether it be pumpkin, apple, or peanut.  I also am very picky about my uses of peanut butter.  PBJ of course but only Strawberry or Grape JAM, never jelly, and always made fresh not in a baggie.  I like it on toast occasionally.  I do not like peanut butter cookies.  I love peanut milkshakes.  I will also at times just eat it on a spoon.

So, what?   Where is the 42~turth here?  It is simple.  There is no RIGHT answer to how have and eat peanut butter.  There are those who dislike it wholly.  There are those who will cling like life depends upon it to a preference.  At the end of the day they are just preferences but we divide over them all the time.  We need to stop creating strife over preferences.

When I hope to show good to others I must allow for the differences that make us unique.  I must embrace the foolish oxymoron of chunky peanut butter if necessary.  I must not let my preference keep me from seeing the infinite diversity in humanity.  That Dear Reader is a 42~Truth necessary to follow Christ completely. 

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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09 October 2017

42-Truths ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the novel A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy the number 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  Sometimes people speak things that echo as universal truths.  They seem to become axiomatic in the moment of their uttering. 

A few days ago, my friend Lori commented on a question another friend had posted.  He asked if one should put Duck Sauce on a taco.  Her response was “Duck Sauce is magic and transforms all it touches.”  I see this as a 42 Truth.  This is not because its literally true.  I would not put Duck Sauce on my key lime pie.  Duck Sauce, does, however, transform everything.   It changes the taste.   That is transformation.

What this 42-truth did yield is an understanding that one can sauce one’s tacos cross-culturally.  I have since tried sweet chili, barbecue, and honey mustard on my tacos.  I would advise against the honey mustard.   

The point is that we get into habits that seem to be truths.  They may be preferences, practices, and patterns that we are used to.   We treat them as truths and even try to impose them on others. 

I must learn to differentiate between 42-truths and habits or preferences.  I am going to spend some time on this so that I reinforce the habit of adhering to truths that matter.  Your company in this part of the journey is valued highly.  Any comments or questions are valued as well.  Now Dear  Reader, could you pass us the Siracha?

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 October 2017

Hineni ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Present and available must cohabit.  It is not enough to be singular in this.  They must exist together.  They must march in unison.

Today I had several things cloying for my attention in the early hours.  For this reason, I chose to be present and available for others things and am just getting to my wiring now.  It has been interesting that this week as I have been writing about it my balance has been tested. 

I must measure all that I do by being present and available to what matters.  When I am with others for a purpose my personal concerns, my agenda, and my phone must take a back seat.  Life must be lived in the moments of presence and availability.  I must be there to be impactful.

As much as there are times when I need to check out I must assure that I do not harm others in order to accomplish that.  Being present and available is the action of assuring the Father that I am here to be of use. 

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 ͡°)

07 October 2017

Hineni ~ Single Serving Friendships

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday morning as I was nursing my first cup of coffee at my Our-for-Friday-Breakfast diner a priest came in the door. No, this is not the start of a joke.  He obviously did not know that he could sit wherever he wished so I informed him.  To my surprise he asked if he should sit at a table or by the window.  I suggested that since it is not cold yet it could be nice to sit by the window.  He did.

He opined that I must be a regular at the diner.  My favorite waitress in the world confirmed that I have been coming in for fifteen years.  What ensued was a brief but deep conversation about the very topic of presence and availability.  He asked why I came every Friday.  I explained that it was a discipline to keep me from being too much a workaholic.  I also ventured that I post that I am doing this so that those who wish to can join me. 

Father Randy was awaiting someone so we stood there talking until his guest arrived.  These moments only occur when we are present and available.  They only work when we are open to single serving friendships.  I think that this is something we must master to be truly available to others.  All of my Children are excellent at it.

I realize that some of you Dear Reader have challenges like social anxiety that hinder this.  Do the best you can and leave the rest to us irritating extroverts.  We will cause enough trouble in this area to compensate for you. 

The long and the short of it is that as we move through the world, the day, or the moment we must available and present.  We must be in the moment with those who venture a smile, a question, or a word.  We lose nothing from being kind and welcoming. 

I was told by a grocery clerk that I was her favorite customer.  When I asked why she said that I always really interact with her when I come through her line.  I am grateful for her noticing but it disturbs me that this is not the normal course of her day.  Everyone is on a journey through the day and we must be a people that make encounters with us an oasis in that day. 

I must be present and available.  Humans are what we are about.  It is the Father’s purpose for all of this, that we love each other.  Besides that, we get to improve a life if even for a moment.  That is something indeed. 

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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06 October 2017

Hineni ~ Be Prepared

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is so much more than the Boy Scout motto.  When it comes to being available to others it requires that we have our own situation managed so that we can be available and present.  Considering all the challenges of everyday life this may be more important than it seems to be on the surface.

When I do not deal with my personal shortcomings, difficulties, and pain I am not prepared to be available and present for others.   must not carry these as my banner.  I must not let the challenges define me.  I must be honest and open about them but I must deal with them.

There is not a single human who does not experience difficulties.  We tend to compare and neutralize things.  Instead I must assure that I deal with mine so that I can focus outwardly on others and their needs.  This does not mean that my needs are invalid or should be shuttled aside. 

What it does mean is that I trust that my needs will be met and that I must devote my energy to accepting this and remaining available for others.  I cannot say to the Father, “Here I am. Use me” if I have not prepared my heart and mind to be available to others.  No one I encounter wants to hear me complain and wail.  I can be honest about my struggles without doing this. 

I must always be prepared to see the needs of others, be present to comfort, and not seek attention through crisis.  That is not our banner.  That is not our place.  I cannot be available if I do realize that all the things that want to distract me are things that will pass.  The love and kindliness I show to others will remain.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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05 October 2017

Hineni ~ Busy Life

Greetings Dear Reader,

My Grandfather and much later one of my favorite professors used to always say, “Beware the bareness of a busy life.”   It was that same professor that when asked where the quote came from make me read Socrates to find it.  I have woven in and out of this bareness Throughout my life.

When I get too busy I make poor choices.  I get so wrapped up in the work that I do not pay attention to the people.  I have developed a way to avoid this but I have to consciously, intentionally make sure that I do not put getting the job done ahead of those doing it.  I am thankful for this weakness.  It makes me more aware of the needs of others.  It forces me to be more mindful about how I am treating my “neighbors”.

When I am too busy I am not available.  I am not even present at times.  When my oldest Son was newborn I was too busy to properly care for my wife and spend time with my Son.  When my Daughter, Rachel passed away I sunk myself into my work and became blind to the needs of my wife. 

Since I have llived in the Midwest I have been better at not doing this but I must always be aware of this weakness.  This wolf is always at the door.  We do this with many things other than work.  We make up rules for cleaning house that keep us busy.  We develop hobbies that consume all our time.  We get our children involved in so many activities that they do not have time to be children. 

We feed the machine of the busy life the lives of our friends, family, and children.   We are not present.  We are not available.  A virtual calendar controls our lives.  I have never heard a parent say that they wished they had less time with their children.  I cannot get enough time with mine now.  We must be available and present. 

Breathe – Jonny Diaz

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life

Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Want to make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in, fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe (just breathe)
let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe (just breathe)
Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

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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Second Thoughts – Cell Phones of the Dead Part II

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.

“I can hear the cell phones of the deceased ringing in the triage parking lot; loved ones trying to find them...".

It is Wednesday evening.  Even the very best of those cell phone batteries are dead now.  The phones are all probably in neat little bags as evidence or belongings of the deceased.  Almost everyone has a cell phone.  There are at least fifty-nine that are no longer needed by their owners.  They no longer have meetings to go to, news feeds to catch up on, or concerts to attend.

The cell phones of the dead are not getting the updates and alerts as we feast on the foul news of gun protests and people bashing.  We, the American people have already descended into factions, feuds, and political blamestorming.   We dishonor the dead by grabbing for political gain with their neatly stacked corpses as our platform. 

The cell phones of the dead will not bother you today because they too are dead.  Yes, we need to stop the violence.  We need to stop the bleeding first.  We need to show as much outrage over the commerce over corpses as we do over kneeling football players, aborted babies, and slow hurricane responses.  We have lost our ability to respect the dead.  We use them instead to further our own agenda. 

The cell phones of the dead are still ringing in my mind.  Here is my agenda:  Spend your protest money to care for the families left behind by the dead.  Donate your time giving blood, tissue, or anything else that is needed.  Refuse to engage in political talk about this tragedy and steer the conversation toward active practical ways to help the wounded and the grieving.  Save your opinions for later.  Care for those in need now.

The cell phones of the dead have gone silent.  The cell phones of the wounded are telling stories.  One woman, Jan Lambourne texted this to her husband after being shot, “I love you. I've been shot. I love you so much.”  She was in critical condition.  She has since been upgraded to stable.  We need to create a world where she and her husband want for nothing until she is recovered. 

The nation has forgotten how to be decent to each other in their disagreements.  That means the people, the individuals have forgotten.  That means that just as the cell phones of the dead go silent so do our horror and resolve.  When they were ringing we wanted to answer.  Now we want to blame and fight.  The cease fire in our civil war only lasted long enough for us to pause, not stop. 

The cell phones of the dead have gone silent but not in my heart and mind.  Seek not to know for whom the Cell tolls; it tolls for thee…

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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04 October 2017

Hineni ~ Our Place and Our Time

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday as I was thinking about this part of the journey my friend Doug posted the following on his social media page:

Our door is always open. My house is safe. Coffee can be on in minutes, and the dining room table is a place of peace and non-judgment. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. There may be laundry to be folded but it can wait! It's no good suffering in silence. I have food in the fridge, coffee in the cupboard, and listening ears, shoulders to cry on and love to share. I will always be available...you are always welcome!! This is an old value that has been lost to technology...a text, face-time, or emoji is not the equivalent of making time for those we love or care about!

Could at least one friend please copy and re-post (not share)? I'm trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening, you are never really alone!
MAKE TIME TO TAKE TIME!

Once again, this rings of the need for us to not only be present but available.  Before my current residence I have always has an open home.  I am working toward being there again.  We need to be available when people need to talk. 

I have seen people in dire need seek out someone who they trust.  They instead of a response of availability and compassion have been brushed aside.  I know at least two people who have walked away from faith because of this.  We must be available when someone needs our ears and compassion.

In contrast I have a couple of friends who show up just to listen.  They come to where I am not to get their needs met but just to invest time in our friendship.  Too often our busy lives keep us from being there for others. 

I know a church that is a very good church.  I do not expect any church to be perfect.  There is, however, a pattern within the pastoral staff that troubles me. I have seen these good honorable men set appointments with those in crisis and something else comes up that causes them to cancel or not show.  I know there is no intent.  I know there is no malice.  The problem is that we cannot make ourselves available in word only. 

Sometimes we hang on long enough to get in front of that friend, pastor, or family member who has said he or she will make time for us only to find that the interaction we need is unavailable.  He or she does not see our level of pain or need.  The impact to us is greater than they imagine.

I must be available, willing, and present.  When you come to speak to me I need to be engaged with what you need.  I must be there when I say I will.  Beyond that I need to create open space where I am available to anyone who shows up.

As a professor I did this with open office hours.  As a manager I did this by leaving open spots on my schedule and my office door open.  I have a friend who has breakfast at a local diner once a week and announces to the world that he is there for anyone who shows up.  It is vital that we be available, open, and present. 

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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03 October 2017

Hineni ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

“The word 'Hineni' means 'Here I am' in a spiritual sense, which is what Abraham says and means to God to indicate his readiness when he is called on in Genesis 22:1.”  It denotes not only presence but availability.  I seek to understand my level of availability. 

It is not enough to be present.  One must be available.  One must be involved and active.  This axiom becomes obvious when thinking of things such as school, family, or work.  It is not enough to show up.  One must be available and involved. 

In the wake of a month of storms, earthquakes, floods, and murderous violence I ask if I am doing enough.  It is all too passive and easy to offer "thoughts and prayers."  As I wrote last week prayer must be accompanied by action.  I ponder if I am present but unavailable.  I know that I take opportunity to do good when it is present.  I wonder if I seek it enough.  I wonder if my yearning to be constantly aware of the good I can do in the moment is enough. 

I intend to briefly ponder the things for which I must be more available.  Some of this will be difficult for me.  Some will be simple review of things to assure that I am not only present but available.  Your company, questions, and counsel are always of benefit to me Dear Reader.

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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02 October 2017

Second Thoughts – Cell Phones of the Dead

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.

I used to be a war hawk.  I used to wish to see my enemies driven before me.  I am no longer that man.  As the news broke this early morning of the shooting in Las Vegas I was horrified at the losses.

I prayed, did my work, and checked on the events after lunch.  I hear one reporter say this, “I can hear the cell phones of the deceased ringing in the triage parking lot; loved ones trying to find them..."  This broke me.  I wept and prayed some more.  I then learned of Tom Petty’s passing. 

Then I heard people already playing politics or even the CBS executive that said “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters [sic].”  I prayed for her.  I am glad that CBS fired her but what have we become?

Why do we need to do anything but care for the wounded and the families of dead?  I am ashamed of my leadership who would do anything else.  Even the President stayed away from the politics.  If he can do is so can we all.  The cell phones of the dead are ringing.  Who will answer them and comfort those calling?

I am ashamed that we are so divided.  Let us care for the losses before we are too late.  Let us show compassion for the families.  Let break records with our donations of blood, plasma, funds for those wounded.  The cell phones of the dead are ringing but the dead cannot answer. 

My friend Mark mentioned well that if we need to we can get back to our civil war later.  For now we need to shut up and do the work of healing.  Your politics, social issues, and religious views do not matter when it is raining .223 rounds.  Bullets do not discriminate.  The cell phones of the dead are ringing and wasting words on politics leaves them unanswered. 

The cell phones of the dead are ringing.  They are calling 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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Prayer: What Does Not Work ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Prayer is how we converse with our Father.  It is the way he has chosen for us to communicate our adoration, confession, thankfulness, and supplication.  Prayer must be a constant conversation.

Treating the Father as a wish list or vending machine does not work.  Only talking to God when we are in crisis is insulting and all too common.  We do not do what we should and then expect the Father to live up to our expectations.  We expect him to ignore or ignoring him and be attendant to our needs when we are at a loss.

Worse, we place expectations on how he should act.  We also demand that God do things our way.  If we do not get the result from prayer that we wish then we rage against God. We question his wisdom and authority. We even abandon him.  

Too often we use prayer to try to bend God to our religion.  We want our will to be his will instead of learning to make ours subject to his.  I must pray always.  I must converse with God like the loving Father he is.  Respect, obedience, and understanding are my responsibility.  Trust and faith are required of me.  I must pray always constantly with these things in mind.

My God – Aqualung

People, what have you done
Locked Him in His golden cage
Golden cage
Made Him bend to your religion
Him resurrected from the grave
From the grave

He is the God of nothing
If that's all that you can see
You are the God of everything
He's inside you and me

So lean upon Him gently
And don't call on Him to save you
From your social graces
And the sins you used waive
You used to waive

The bloody Church of England
In chains of history
Requests your earthly presence at
The vicarage for tea

And the graven image you know
With His plastic crucifix
He's got him fixed
Confuses me as to who and where and why

As to how he gets his kicks
He gets his kicks
Confessing to the endless sin
The endless whining sounds
You'll be praying 'til next Thursday to

All the Gods that you can count

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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01 October 2017

Prayer: What Does Not Work ~ A Matter of Will

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a matter of reminder, I realize that all of you do not pray of believe what I believe.  One of my hopes is that in dealing with these issues for my own growth I am able to also show that not all of us see God as a vending machine or complaint box.

One of the things that we forget to consider is what the Father wills.  We have free will.  I touched on this earlier.  That means that God allows us to disobey if we choose to do so.  It does not mean that we are required to seek what the Father wills. 

I think that we have become so familiar with what we call the “The Lord’s Prayer” that we do not remember what it is telling us to seek. “They will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” means that we are to pray for the Father’s will to match heaven here on earth.  This means that my will must match up with God’s and never the other way around.

I must exercise my free will to be willing to conform my desires to the Father’s.  Only when I seek that his desires be fulfilled here am I using my free will properly.  I cannot bend the Father’s will to mine.  That is foolishness.  I can chip away at the stony parts of my own will that do not conform to the commands to love God and humans above all else.  If I do the rest, will fall I line.

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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30 September 2017

Prayer: What Does Not Work ~ Expectations

Greetings Dear Reader,

Too often I experience disappointment because I have carried unjust expectations.  As I explain to others readily, we cannot disappoint God because he already knows what we will do in every situation.  One cannot have expectations to disappoint if one already knows what will happen.  It would be like watching an instant replay and hoping for a different result.

We, however, generate expectations like an engine designed for it.  We place them on each other and even on God.  We pray having already decided for God how he will respond.  We ask for our own purposes wanting to get God to sanction our will.  This does not work.

First, we need to realize that God already has it worked out.  He knows what we need and has prepared to meet us where we are.  Second, we are supposed to be about his business not trying to manipulate him to do ours.  There is nothing wrong with wanting, dreaming, planning, and working.  Our vision must be supported in prayer.

What we must not do is forget that we are part of something much larger.  We are not the designers we are the designed.  We are his work for his plan and purpose.  I must not place expectations any more than the characters in my stories may place expectations on me.

When I pray I must ask with confidence for the what I believe is right.  I must not cross the line into expecting the Father to do my will.  I must never think that my will, even though it is free, can supersede what God has purposed.  He is too far ahead of me for that. 

The Answer – Rudyard Kipling

A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,
Cried out to God and murmured 'gainst His Wrath,
Because a sudden wind at twilight's hush
Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.
And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun,
Had pity, whispering to that luckless one,
"Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well --
What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?"
And the Rose answered, "In that evil hour
A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower?
For lo, the very gossamers are still.'
And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah's will!'"

Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward,
Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord:
"Sister, before We smote the Dark in twain,
Ere yet the stars saw one another plain,
Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task
That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask."
Whereat the withered flower, all content,
Died as they die whose days are innocent;
While he who questioned why the flower fell
Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.

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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