28 February 2017

High Moral Ground ~ Fat Tuesday

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am going to sound prudish in the example but please understand that I do not do so in judgement of others.  Rather it is to lay the foundation for that which I must assure that I embrace.  I do not think that I am better than anyone.  I do think that we are doing it wrong.

Today is Fat Tuesday.  In some places there will be all night debauchery.  I am not against alcohol.  I think celebrations are grand.  The purpose of Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday was to indulge in richer foods before beginning the fasting and prayer time of Lent.  It was the culmination of the time of Carnival which lasts from the Feast of Epiphany to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

As with all most things we have gone overboard in the feasting and lost most of the purpose.  I will spend the evening pondering the plenty that I have and how it is a blessing from God.  I will ponder the cost of my redemption in the days leading up to Holy Week. 

God does not require us to follow a liturgical calendar.  He does honor it when we commit ourselves to understanding just how much he has given us.  I must celebrate and fast when it is appropriate.  I must remember that there is a high cost for my redemption.  The purpose is not to be naught to be good.  It is instead to celebrate what I have then deny some of that in recognition of what I will receive.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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27 February 2017

High Moral Ground ~ Moral Compass

Greetings Dear Reader,

When we choose what we see as proper or good it can be based on many things.  The values we hold are formed by our environment, education, examples, and experiences.  Our elders hand us a moral compass that points toward their true north.  We choose whether to follow it or create our own.

The one given by those who rear us may or may not align with directions that are socially acceptable.  They compass points may consider the needs of others or may be based on a faith or following of other traditions.  The compass points tell us when we are headed toward that which we value.

My moral compass must be based on my faith.  The one I was handed by my parents had too many erratic movements to be kept.  The one I chose was based on things leaned later and planted earlier by my Grandfather.  Following Christ demands that I have a moral compass. 

The compass demands that I have strict moral values and that I live by them.  It also forbids me from condemning others who do not follow it.  It requires that I live an example and not from a position of pride or arrogance.  I must never claim to have the moral high ground but must walk it in a spirit of humble grace. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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26 February 2017

Second Thoughts – The Trappists (Planets not Monks)

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.

This week NASA and nearly everyone else in the astronomical community celebrated the possibly that we have found three earth-like planets in the same solar system.  These are known as the Trappist planets.  The story can be viewed at the NASA site and there is an excellent analysis at The Telegraph

I would love to see them.  I would find great joy in exploring the stars to “seek out new life; new civilizations.”   I want these to be part of our adventure.  I desire for the cosmos to be teeming with life sentient and otherwise.  I want a Roddenberry utopia.

My fear is that we are not ready for this.  We still kill each other for resources and power.   We still put saving a nickel on a gallon of gas ahead of saving the lives of starving children.  Our species is still petulantly adolescent.  Our lives are still bound to this world too much for us to be ready for another one.

Yet, that is where we are headed.  There is so much undiscovered country.  There are so many vistas to travel.  We can be better.  We can take better care of each other.  I happen to think we cannot do it on our own but you know that about me.  We could, however, choose to unite and work toward a better planet, civilization, and species.

If we are going to make it to the Trappists, Mars, or anywhere that matters we need to do it together.  Getting there is not as hard as we make it.  We need to be much more “Temba, his arms wide” than we are.  Instead we are much too” Zinda - his face black, his eyes red.”  I celebrate these new worlds and hope we are much more Picard than Columbus.

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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High Moral Ground ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I watch the verbal civil war raging in our nation I notice that all sides claim the high moral ground.  We all want to believe our values are the ones that are correct.  We have standards that we think are the “right” standards.

Some claim that there are no absolute right or wrong positions.  Others see a vast spectrum of gray where everyone can do as he or she pleases.  Some of these gray positions include that one should not harm others.

There is a difference between claiming the moral high ground and being on high moral ground.  I am pondering my standards; how they impact my life, which ones are preferences, and which ones are intricate to my faith.  

As I wonder through this thinking I search for the path that keeps me closest to Christ.  I search for the high moral ground without ever claiming the moral high ground.  The only way to do this is with humility and, therefore, it is impossible for me to claim much given my need for grace and mercy.

Please walk with for a bit as I try to match my values and standards with who Christ is over my preferences and predilections.   As always, your thoughts Dear Reader or cherished.  Your company helps move me down the road.

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 February 2017

Ode to Spring, no Winter, wait err…um…

Greetings Dear Reader,

Two days ago we recorded the highest temperature ever for that day in February.  Today there is a fresh covering of snow on the ground.  That is the way of things in late winter in the northern Midwest. 

It is the reaction of people that has my attention.  On Thursday as the sun was shining people where smiling and rejoicing over the spring-like weather.  Yesterday as the temperatures fell and the falling rain turn to sleet the same people were complaining about the weather.  I am not condemning these people.  It is our nature.

We complain about the weather instead of seeing the beauty in it.  We rejoice when it is the weather we like and complain when we dislike it.  It is our nature to only appreciate the things we like.  I must assure that I am aware of the value in all things about creation.

I must see the beauty in each season.  I must see my journey in them and accept changes as they come.  I have no power to control the changes in the weather or life.  Rather I get to follow the one who sets the seas in their courses and directs the wind.  The kindler of stars loves me and promises to guide me through it all. 

I will rejoice in the sparkle of lights on the snow until it gives way to the rebirth of Crocuses and Daffodils.  I will enjoy the sun when it is warm.  I will try to take each moment of the journey as it is given instead of how I wish it were. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

24 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Everyone is in need at times.  Some needs are greater than others.  Nothing people like me experience compares to the injustices that rage throughout the world.  Instead of being always driven by compassion for others we allow or even support the ills of the world.

We cannot call our lives good if we treat others with disdain.  We cannot be good e and relegate anyone to the gutter.  We cannot traffic in humans be humane.  We cannot reject those in need and think we are compassionate. 

It is my obligation to see the needs of everyone for justice and care as equal to my own.  There is no social need that is not my responsibility.  The idea of following Christ means that every human is my responsibility.  Every situation where humans are degraded, oppressed, or in need is a situation Christ followers must address.

I need to assess my heart and actions over all of these situations and assure that my responses are relative to his values.  It is what defines us.  It is what shows the world the my faith has any value.

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 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ Cargo

Greetings Dear Reader,

I can still see the horror in the eyes of people who claimed to be Christian.  The girl was young and had no clue about modest dress and Midwestern behavior.  For the past ten years she had been told what wear, how to act, and who to service.

The catalog of bondage and abuse is long and horrifying.  I watched the Christians horrified because her clothing choice did not fit their standards.  I saw them whisper to each other in judgment.  When I called them on it their excuse was, “We have never had to deal with this.”

The scene replays in differing timbres and tones all over the plant.  We see men, women, and children who have been bought and sold.  We investigate the stories with lurid curiosity.  We also find reasons not to get involved.  We explain away the needs with the presence of organizations that meet them.

Worse there are those of us who pretend to care about these victims of human trafficking only to use them for our own purposes.  Some of those entrusted with helping further the abuse.

This is one of those areas where there is too much passive cooperation.  We allow the trafficking of human beings.  We even promote it even if from the gallery.  Any instance of forced labor or unwilling pornography that “benefits” us is participation in this vial practice.  The use of products produced by child labor is participation in human trafficking.  Any custom given to businesses that benefit from human trafficking in any form is participation in it.

We must see that no human is property for possession or designed for another’s use.  Every soul matters.  Every life is precious.  Any tolerance of human trafficking in any form is, well, inhumane.  Shine a light a slavery.  Recognize the problem and stand against it.  I cannot follow Christ if I do not.

End It Movement – Shine a light on Slavery

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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22 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ God Bless You

Greetings Dear Reader,

Since I spend the bulk of my day in the Petri dish we call an office I encounter coughs, sneezes, and sniffles daily.  Too often the response to these is for people to back away from the “offending” individual.  This is followed by the person doing the backing away expressing his worry about becoming ill.

This is simple.  I have real trouble seeing Jesus responding in this way.  What the sneezing, sniffling person needs is compassion.  What needs to be expressed in the moment is fearless kindness.  What the person needs is to be cared about and cared for by the people around him. 

Instead of treating the sick like lepers we must show compassion and care.  We need to not distance ourselves or wave the sanitizer as a weapon.  We must love and risk.  I must not create feelings of isolation and disregard. 

We must offer the person more than a blessing from a distance.

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 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ Two Great Lies

Greetings Dear Reader,

Let me start by being very clear.   I do not hate anyone.  I believe that every human should be seen as deserving of compassion, kindness, and respect.  Every human should be seen for his or her gifts.  Everyone should be loved and valued.

Instead we are asked to believe two great lies.  The first is that if I disagree with your morals and values then I must hate you.  This is not true.  I admit that those who represent Christ poorly have evidenced this throughout the centuries and do so today.  If I claim to follow Christ then I am required to love you no matter what you think, believe, or do.  To hate anyone is forbidden me. 

The second great lie is that if I love you and have compassion for you then I agree with everything for which you stand.  That is not true.  First, no two people agree on everything.  Second, I do not have to agree with you to love you.  I can think that you are absolutely wrong in any position you hold and still love you.  I am required to separate my thinking on an issue from my love for my neighbor, brother, and enemy. 

Instead of living this difficult path many choose to treat people in communities like the LGBT one like lepers.  The systematic denial of things like healthcare as a social unit is wrong.  To deny someone common needs based on issues with his or her morality is completely opposed to how Christ tells us to treat others.  One cannot treat anyone as inferior based on morality and pretend to be following Christ.  It never works that way.

I will never agree with some things being right.  I cannot violate my own morals and values.  This also means that I cannot fail to love and care for anyone even if I feel that they are wrong in their lifestyle.  I must accept the human in whatever state he is and with humility and grace live a life that shows him love and respect.  To do less is to fail in my commission.  To do less is to reject the Christ I follow.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ Our Tarnished Colossus

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name,
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

For those of you who do not recognize this, it is the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  It is titled “The New Colossus”.  This was a gift given to us because of our habit of taking in those who needed freedom and refuge.  It was an acknowledgement of our care for those who needed a safe place to stand whilst they got their footing.

I think we have forgotten that we need balance in all things.  We need to allow those who cannot harm us to have that refuge with as little difficulty as possible.  We need to vet everyone carefully without harming them in the process.  We also need to remind them that with freedom comes responsibility.  We need to assure that we protect our own without violating the needs of those seeking sanctuary.

We have reacted to betrayal and treachery with too broad a stroke.  We see to it that anyone who needs care gets it.  Once again, we are so wealthy that we can afford to find a way to help.  We also need to assure that we protect and care for our own in the process.  Instead of finding reasons why we should not help we need to stop seeing them as lepers and seeing them as humans who are to be loved and valued.

Those seeking aid must also remember that it is a privilege to be taken in by us.  We are obligated but they are as well.  They need to value their culture without trying to destroy ours.  We need to honor the differences and work toward the common good.  It all sounds idealistic but it is also possible.  Perhaps if we saw the common ground and the common needs we could find the common good. 

We need to remember we are supposed to be a united people not clusters of sects.  Our infinite diversity can combine to make us a stronger unified people if we allow it.  We can all rise together if we choose to.  We can stop treating other cultures who need us as lepers if we wish.  It could become our habit to be good to everyone.  Under her tarnished green patina lies bright bronze beauty that we can rediscover if we wish. 

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 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ The Homeless

Greetings Dear Reader,

Almost every weekday I pass a spot where a few homeless people gather.  There is some shelter nearby for the cold nights and their few belongings are untouched during the day.  On sunny days there are tables where they sit when they are not searching for food.

Many people pass this area moving between the office buildings that are adjacent to the plaza.  I sat at one of the empty tables one afternoon enjoying a rare free hour of lunch and sunshine.  I observed that as people traversed the plaza they moved to avoid proximity to the table where the homeless men sat. 

I spent the hour watching as people in nice clothes carrying premium coffee and freshly purchased lunches carved a wide berth between themselves and men who obviously were in need.  On that warm spring day it saddened me deeply.

I spent a second day at the table observing.  During my lunch hour I counted the number of people who passed the table.  It was over two hundred.  If each of them were to donate a dollar to the needs of these me each day (less than the price of their artisan coffee each day) these men would be able to eat and be healthier.  I am not saying that this is the answer.  It is just an example.

The homeless, in public are modern day lepers to us.  I will not say how I have responded to this need I have observed.  It is not my place to talk about what I do.  The Father sees it and that is enough.  I will say that like the priest and judge on the road to Samaria I see too many people pass by “on the other side of the road”. 

I cannot say how to address the problem of homelessness.  I can say that if everyone did a little it would have a massive impact.  If we found a way to think of them less as untouchable and more and humans that deserve our love and kindness it could change things.  None of them started out with a dream to live on the streets begging for bread.  Let that sink in whilst you listen to a great song from Men at Work.

Touching the Untouchables – Men at Work

Hello to you, my sweet young friends
Have you got money perhaps you could lend?
I wash my leather face in the afternoon sun
My shirt's turn my time's near done

Touching the untouchables but they don't know
Respect the disrespectable's, but in the end you know
You turn away, what can I say?

Spend my nights in the telephone booth
I make sure I leave the phone off the hook
There are no Jones' and I pay no rent
I have to stand straight because my back's so bent
Tell my secretary I ain't takin' any calls,
And if you want to find me, just ask the boys
Down at the wall that's where I'll be

Oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

Park bench and cigarettes
Can you help me get off this fence?
Can't you see, I'm just an old man
Tryin' hard, do what I can

Touching the untouchables but they don't know
Respect the disrespectable's, but in the end you know
You turn away, what can I say?
You'll never, never know
You'll never know

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 February 2017

Modern-Day Lepers ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We do not hear much about leprosy in our world.  Leprosy is “a contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, and nerves, causing discoloration and lumps on the skin and, in severe cases, disfigurement and deformities.”   It is now primarily found in the tropical regions of Asia and Africa.

In ancient times the fear of this disease resulted in those contracting it to be banished or isolated.  This resulted in colonies of people who were ill cared for and often unloved.  Rejection, hunger, and making a living were too often daily difficulties for them.

We have modern day lepers.  There are classes and groups of people that we exile, mistreat, and reject.  We are then surprised when they rise up in anger.  We are astonished when our claim to Christ seems a shadow of what it should be as his followers.  Our quiet loveless rejection manifests into their noisy riotous rage.

Their feelings are justified.  We are guilty of not loving the fallen, the sick, and the needy enough.  We care more about the speed of the Starbucks line than we do about the hungry homeless man on the sidewalk outside.  We relegate the care of our lepers to government agencies that our taxes fund.  We embody the statements of a pre-spirited Scrooge without realizing it; “Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?”

I must never lose focus on the idea that our modern-day lepers are my responsibility.  They in truth may not be lepers at all but instead labeled that way by our failure to love them as Christ does.  I am not going to pull any punches here Dear Reader.  Please travel with me as I address for my own journey what must be my positon on matters that we would rather avoid.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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17 February 2017

Searching Social Stances – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We need change.  We need reformation and revival.  It has always been the responsibility of the church to care for the needs of the masses.  We have watered down the mission with sects and politics and then are surprised that we become less effectual.

When we choose to neglect the needs of others we cannot speak the words of Christ and be heard.  When we treat anyone as underserving of our love and care we neglect the heart of the Gospel.  It is in the needs of other that we have the ability to project the love of Christ.

I must not fall into the trap of left versus right.  I must embrace Christ and follow him in humility.  I can hold to my faith without hating anyone.  I can hold to my standards without rejecting the needs of others.  True faith is never in opposition to true love, kindness, and care.

It is my obligation to follow with all my heart that which Christ commands.  It is my joy to be good to others no matter what their relationship to what I believe.  We need to stop taking our stand in things that are not Christ.  When we stand in Christ alone we lose the need to hate, destroy, and neglect.  That is a good place to be.

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 February 2017

Searching Social Stances – Reformation versus Revolution

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is one of those stances that requires careful distinction.  To revolt is to rise up against something as a rebellion for whatever purpose is claimed.   Revolution is not interested in peaceful discussion.  It demands and destroys.

Reformation, however, seeks to reform that which exists.  It is a presentation of ideas through which one seeks to right the course of things.  Reformation is based in idea and their free congress between people of integrity.  It is not necessary to revolt to reform.

The violence inherent in revolution is not necessary to reform things.  When we abandon peace to make others do as we wish we become the tyrannical things we hate.  Burning a shopkeepers business does not further the truths of a cause.  It destroys an honest man’s livelihood. 

If that alone does not give you pause then perhaps the motivations need examination.  If you are willing for one innocent to suffer to defend your ideas then perhaps there is something wrong with you methodology.   It is never necessary to shed blood to be heard.  It might mean yours gets pummeled out of you.  It might cost you more that you are willing to pay.  But that is the nature of reformation instead of revolution..

Revolution – Beatles

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be
All right, all right, all right
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be
All right, all right, all right
You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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15 February 2017

Searching Social Stances – Positions versus People

Greetings Dear Reader,

Whenever we allow fear or hatred to make our choices we diminish as humans.  When we allow our political positions to be the regulators of care and compassion then we allow others to be neglected for the sake of ideas.

We define our compassion for others by an assessment of politics first.  The essence of compassion is that politics do not matter.  To love one’s enemy is not a political command.  It is social and spiritual.  We are not to do harm or allows harm to be done by inaction.

The political climate fills us with the hypocrisy of believing that neglecting the needs of the opposition is acceptable.  I do not know how to solve the problems that are involved in allowing immigrants from nations that hate us.   I do know that starving children should be fed at any cost.  People dying because we are worried about what may happen is bad thinking.

We get distracted by the political arguments whilst the needs of people go unmet.  We argue over ideas and rights at the cost of justice for the oppressed.  We make up new ways to feel offended whilst furthering the offense of hating others.  In the fervor to advance our own agenda we fail to love and care for those who are in dire need of our help.

As a Christ follower my politics must ride in the back of the bus when love, compassion, kindness, and mercy are on board.  It is not acceptable for others to suffer so that I can create my perfect political venue.  It is a failure to follow for me to choose my social rights over love and compassion for others.  I cannot force other to believe as I do through politics.  I can, however, live my faith honestly by showing love and compassion to the needs of everyone regardless of his or her beliefs and philosophies. 

If my God is not big enough to care for me whilst doing this then I need a bigger 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

14 February 2017

Searching Social Stances – Issues versus Insults

Greetings Dear Reader,

I used to get so angry when students would refuse to learn.  As I grew in my teaching experience I realized that one cannot force anyone else to learn.  One cannot legislate learning.  It is the meeting of two minds over knowledge, understanding, and application.  It is the bridge of two people in academic congress journeying to a new place.

The social stances I see hinder learning.  Instead of speaking to each other we have become embattled factions hurling epithets and insults.  We damage each other over ideals instead of reason and conversation.  We fail to hold back our emotions in favor of conversation.

With me the anger, disrespect, and violence weakens one’s position.  I will always listen to a reasoned conversation.  I will withdraw from insults, derision, and attacks.  I will not support those with whom I agree who employ such tactics.  One cannot love one’s enemies and use these tactics.

We attack instead of expressing the need.  When we do express the need we load it with conditions and provisos that make compromise difficult.  I will always hold to standards that align with my faith.  That means that no matter what I think of someone’s morals or values I must care about his or her needs.  I must love him unconditionally.

We can discuss anything.  I must not argue or divide just to win my way.  The values I hold are worthless if they cannot abide honest discussion over issues.  My faith is a failure it cannot stand with all its requirements.  If the greatest commandments are to love God and love humans I cannot water that down and be honest.  I do not need to insult others to live my faith.  If you need to argue this then perhaps we do not share the same 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 ͡°)

13 February 2017

Second Thoughts – Reading

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.

From my earliest memories I love the stories that unfold from books.  I was blessed that my primary school required summer reading.  I was further blessed to be in a home that held many books. 

I see that love growing in my Grandsons as they reach the ages where they can learn to read.  They have reading time with their Dad that they treasure.  They are getting to know excellent books.

March 2nd is the National Education Association Reading Awareness Day.   I of course would love it if you were reading my books.  Whatever you choose to read, I care more that you do read.  Knowing a book broadens your life.  It gives you new places to stand and go.  It makes one a richer person.

There are so many genres and types of tales.  There are so many educations and adventures to be had.  Please Dear Reader, read.   Read to each other.  Read to your children and grandchildren.  Become of lover of good words, well-crafted into grand adventures.  Learn new things.  Think new thoughts.  Tell me of your journeys and I will share mine.

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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Searching Social Stances - Mayhem

Greetings Dear Reader,

Whenever one engages in violence against persons and property the action is by definition intolerant.  In a nation that accepts violence as entertainment we pretend to be people of peace and tolerance.   We act as if we care about the rights of everyone.

We do that until those rights disagree with our values.  Whether it is destroying college property or allowing someone to die because of rules and regulations we are not tolerant.  We may claim to be but in truth we visit mayhem on each other actively and passively. 

When protests have even the smallest bit of violence they are no longer protests.  When a law to protect our borders allows an ailing mother to die we are no longer being noble.  If we call our position one of social justice then we had better assure just behavior and just treatment of everyone.  When I say that I follow Christ I had best be peaceful with everyone.

If one claims to follow Christ and allows for mayhem then one is not following Christ.  If one claims to seek tolerance, peace, or justice and acts violently then one is seeking none these.  It is in the peaceful protest of injustice that justice will be obtained.  It is in the assurance all people get a peaceful voice that the truth can be heard.

I am required to love and respect everyone.  That love and respect does not condone any particular philosophy or behavior.  I can believe that one is wrong in his or her morals, values, and stances without hating him or her.  I can disagree with an approach to a social ill without being racist of bigoted.  What I must do is assure that I insist that the social ill be addressed with respect to the needs of others.  

No matter which side of the issue I am on if I am part of or condone mayhem I am wrong.  If I work through love and peace to assure that the needs of others are met I am living out the Gospel.  If I exclude anyone from that care then I am not follow Christ. 

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 February 2017

Searching Social Stances - Mockery

Greetings Dear Reader,

Running through the social media feed often leaves me sad.  It has become too easy to mock people with what appears to be impunity.  It seems to me that mockery is always self-serving.   When it does more it seems to breed disrespect and damage peace.

We do not go from dissatisfaction to riots.  We take a path to get to violence and insurrection.  If we disrespect others through mockery we do not allow a peaceful exchange of ideas.  We cannot say that we have respect for the idea of dialogue and disrespect the people with whom we disagree instead of having it.

I am not pointing a finger here.  I am saying that when I amplify my negative view of someone else to the absurd I harm both the peace and the truth.  I damage the fabric of reason and compromise.  When I use mockery to get a laugh at someone else’s expense I am failing to be loving and kind.

No matter how I feel about any stance on a social issue I am not permitted to mock someone else.  I am not allowed be dismissive or condescending.   I do not expect those who do not follow Christ to behave this way.  I also refuse to act in kind. 

I have mocked others in the past and been mocked by people I love.   Mockery causes harm whether we accept that it does or not.  I am not allowed to do harm.  As I journey through these varied stances on social issues mockery will not help me see your position in a positive light.  Neither will it further the cause with people of integrity.

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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11 February 2017

Searching Social Stances – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

(With apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber) At the watering holes of the progressive set I sense a lack of enthusiasm for our new President’s style.  The protest sticks of the liberal class aren’t supporting a single ass that will rise for the Don…

It seems that there is a change in the timbre of the voices rising in protest over the choices made by President Trump.  I have already made clear my thoughts on the responsibility of the Christ follower to the President.  We are obligated to love him, respect the office, and pray for him as the anointed servant of God. 

This does not mean that he is infallible.  It does mean that my thoughts must first go to the Father.  My position must be one of humility and grace.  I must disagree with respect and support with integrity. 

The air has changed in the world and I am concerned that if we do not center ourselves as Christ followers we will follow the wrong gods home.  We will lose our way and our voice.  We will not be the salt and light we are to be as representatives of Christ.

I am going to ponder what I see and develop a deeper understanding of what I must do to follow Christ well.  I must do this and always make it my focus.  See Christ and follow him alone.  I see too much hurt and hunger not to do this.  Walk with me and me see more clearly 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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10 February 2017

A Sign Post Ahead – 100 Years – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The batter swings and the summer flies.  The sands slips through the pinch and gives the illusion that it moves faster as the top half grows less.  I have so much in this life for which to be thankful.

I spent a wonderful evening with my Grandsons last night who were excited just to have me stay later.  I had a wonderful conversation with the eldest of my sisters (I would never call her old.  She is just older than the others).  Dad and I spoke earlier in the week.

Today will be interesting.  I know how it begins but little after that.  I can read the mile marker clearly and it is brighter than I hoped.  I only have a couple of real goals left.  The rest will be an adventure.  I have many books left in me and just need the time to get them out. 

I want to reduce possessions even further this year.  I would like to buy a place for my Son and the boys.  There are some places I would like to see.  Some of them easily attainable and some would take real work.  There are beautiful things in the world. 

Tomorrow is promised to no one.  I am thankful for today.  I still have much to learn and say and I hope, Dear Reader to keep your company for what is left of the journey.  Thank you for your time and companionship.  I love you and look forward to the day when the journey is complete and we can share a cup and bowl together.

100 Years – Five for Fighting

I'm fifteen for a moment
Caught in between ten and twenty
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm twenty two for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
Fifteen there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
Fifteen, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live
I'm thirty three for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm of age
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm forty five for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
Fifteen there's still time for you
Time to buy, time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
Fifteen I'm all right with you
Fifteen, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live
Half time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of an eye
Sixty seven is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on
I'm ninety nine for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
Fifteen there's still time for you
Twenty two I feel her too
Thirty three you're on your way
Every day's a new day
Fifteen there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey fifteen, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live

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 February 2017

A Sign Post Ahead – Milestone Fifty-Seven

Greetings Dear Reader,

When driving I have always valued and used the mile markers along the interstate.  When my Sons were young I taught how the mile markers and exit numbers worked.  It save quite a few “are we there yet” moments. 

Exit 57 Atlanta
I still anticipate them when I drive.  I like the moment when the green rectangle for which I am searching appears up the road drawing ever closer.  I cannot read it yet but I know it is the one that marks my proximity to a favorite stop or landmark.

I can see the next one now.  It is just a few moments away.  I draw to it with joy and anticipation but I am also tired.  Hard nights of traveling alone for too long have left me weary and worn.  My heart is still strong but other things grow troublesome.   My mind is clear but I hear the song of a distant shore; an undiscovered country.

It feels like I have a foot on the dock and one on gang plank.  I long to be home and rest but I still love the journey.  I am weary of traveling alone but I desire to lighten the load as well.  There absent friends with whom I deeply desire reunion. 

In truth my deepest temporal desire is to reach mile marker 102.  I want to sit on a high mountain and watch Haley’s Comet with my Children and Grandchildren and perhaps even their children.  I want to tell the tale of the first time I saw it.  I long to share some other stories proper for that moment in time.

I want to spend the next milestones crafting tales and journeying with you Dear Reader.  I realize to have these things I will have more absent friends and weary days.  I suppose that is the cost of dreams and visions.  Even worn and weary I have faith and hope.  I have love.  These three things that abide no matter the cost, cause, or casualty carry me. 

I journey on, I pray for my family, and I keep a strong hold on faith and hope.  I share love whenever I am allowed.  I see the green rectangle and focus on the next step…

Worn – Tenth Avenue North

I'm tired
I'm worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing

I've made mistakes
I've let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
'Cause I'm worn

I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won't let up

And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn

Cause I'm worn
And my prayers are wearing thin
I'm worn even before the day begins
I'm worn I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn so heaven so come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Yes all that's dead inside will be reborn
Though I'm worn
Yeah I'm worn

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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08 February 2017

A Sign Post Ahead – Milestone Forty-Seven

Greetings Dear Reader,

Once again the milestone approached with me unaware that just over the horizon were dark times.  Within the year Avalon would depart and I would be without a fellow traveler.  I do not think that wound has ever really closed.

The problem was I did not see it coming.  I believed there existed a hard deck based on commitment below which we would not sink.  When one casts off the rules one is capable of anything.  Breaking vows, destroying a family, and betraying an innocent become easy tasks.

Do not think that this is a judgment.  I was guilty of the same things when I failed to honor my first marriage.  Rather I chronicle the milestone so that I remember its lessons.  It may be time for this one to be remembered but never revisited.

I do not think we conceive and believe in the moment the damage we do when we abandon someone else.  We rationalize and justify but that does not prevent the damage.  We choose what we want over what we have vowed and destroy others to get our vision of what is “good”.

I have seen this pattern in others and do not know how to protect them from it.  I would agree that it is not good to travel alone.  I realize that Christ is always with me but it was the Father who declared the first thing that was not good.  “It is not good for man to be alone.”


I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's only me, and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one, and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's mucked up and every thing's all right
Check my vital signs to know I'm still alive
And I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I walk alone, I walk a

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one, and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

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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07 February 2017

A Sign Post Ahead – Milestone Thirty-Seven

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of the times that my life seemed to unravel it was not my doing.  At milestone thirty-seven, however, it was my own doing.  I had so many things that I had wished for and my life had the potential to have a long smooth sail over good waters.

Past memories unattended were seething up and demanding their due.  Improper responses to injustice and unreasonable demands fueled my dissatisfaction.  I chose a path of failed resistance.  I tried to handle everything on my own.  I turned false suspicions from others into failed realities. 

No one is to blame for the extreme life failures as I passed this mile marker but me.  I walked the path of selfish indulgence of my pain instead of drawing closer to Christ.  The echoes of the damage I caused as a result still sound loudly today.

Even though I acted outside of what Christ desires for me he used it to produce some beautiful things.  Had I not emulated Judas and Jonah my Daughter and my Grandsons would not be here.  They are an infinite blessing risen from the ashes of my extreme failure to trust Christ in my darkest time.

That dark shadow would fall across other milestones.  It has, however, taught me to follow more closely than to carve my own path.   Following Christ more closely always works.  Trying to forge a trail without him always leads to destruction for me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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06 February 2017

A Sign Post Ahead – Milestone Twenty-Seven

Greetings Dear Reader,

At the sighting of this mile marker I had one Son and one about to arrive.  This year would see his birth and our small family grow to four.  It would also be the year that I decided that teaching was my best choice for my life’s work.

I had not written in some time and a story leapt fully told to mind.  I had my first computer and tried my hand at telling the tale.  I return to it from time to time hoping to rescue it.  It was a spring board and will likely never be more.

My anger and arrogance were not yet in the rear view as I sped through the twenty-seventh mile.  I had not yet learned to deal with the pain and memories of my past.  I wanted to follow Christ but had not given him the places in me so damaged and shameful. 

As I held Bezel for the first time I realized that I needed to abandon the past if the future was to work.  It took some time to do so.  More time that I wish it had.  The pain still echoes.  It wants to rule me and I cannot ever let it do that.  That pain still holds nothing but wrong choices for me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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05 February 2017

Second Thoughts – Memories Unwanted Unleashed

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 the movie A Dog’s Purpose this weekend.  There will be no spoilers here.  I found the movie to be well made if a bit predictable.  I think, however, that they wished the predictability to prepare the viewer for the emotional impact. 

I was not prepared at all.  The movie brought tears to my eyes as soon as the central story began.  It struck a deep well of long capped over memories.  They erupted in a geyser of tears and pain that still echoes this evening. 

Her name was Shabel’s Shady Lady.  She was a champion Rough Collie.  She was a gift from a family friend who became my constant companion.  We hiked the woods and trails around our suburban home for hours and days.  She was gentle, obedient, and very well behaved.

We took her everywhere.  She slept in my room and would nuzzle me awake every morning before school.  When I returned in the afternoons she was always waiting at the door for our pre-homework jaunt.

I will not chronicle the details of her loss.  It is enough to say that others conspired to take her from me.  The loss was sudden, tragic, and met with no compassion from my parents.  I have not owned a dog since.  I will not until it is completely on my terms.

I cannot believe how raw and sharp the memories of that time are.  I thought that I had abandoned them.  Instead they lay in wait for me in some frozen buried part of my heart and mind.  Yesterday they assaulted me with cruel determination to undo me. 

It was necessary to visit the memories and forgive those who harmed so deeply with intent.  I had to remember the treachery and forgive as I know that I never did.  The pain is fresh and raw.  I don’t even have pictures; just memories to hold.

Walk on the Ocean – Toad the Wet Sprocket

We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away?
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything's better and everything's safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half an hour later we packed up our things
We said we'd send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they'd already forgotten we'd came

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Now we're back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don't know you
And trust is a joke
We don't even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

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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