31 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Fear

Greetings Dear Reader,

"You know as well as I do that fear exists for one purpose, to be conquered." – Kathrine Janeway – Voyager: The Thaw

If one discovers what he or she fears and conquers it one can accomplish almost anything.  Fear kills the mind and hinders action.  It debilitates and destroys.

When we look at all the problems in the world they can arguably be traced back to fear.  Despots and tyrants rule through fear.  One may say that there is greed for power and control.  At the heart of both is a fear of something.

It is our fear that keeps us on the ground when we can fly.  It is our fear that holds back from the great adventures.  When we move out of fear we actually fail to move.  I have made my worst choices out of fear.  I have done the most harm I have done in life because I moved out of fear.

We use fear to motivate others to do, to buy, and to join.  Perhaps the reason that we do this is because it gives us control.  It gives us power over others.  From advertising to governing we use fear to work our will on others.

My Grandfather would always tell me that “It is OK to feel afraid.  It is never OK to let the fear be in charge.”  Fear is a foe to conquer.  I must defeat it and assure that it has no purchase in my life.  I can listen to it and hear what it has to say.  I must not allow it wo have sway. 

Following Christ requires that I see the fear for what it is and deny it the power to hinder my journey.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

30 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Leadership

Greetings Dear Reader,

"Part of being a captain is knowing when to smile, to make the troops happy. Even when it's the last thing in the world you want to do. Because they're your troops, and you have to take care of them." – Benjamin Sisko – DS9: Rules of Engagement

One of the sacred truths of leadership to me has always been that if you take care of your team the work will get done.  I am sure that most of the people that lead us do not understand this.  If we truly took care of the people things would be much different. 

There will always be those who are not satisfied with the way things are.  There will also always be those who just want to burn things down.  The average person, however, just needs his or her needs met and little love and kindness. 

It is our fear, greed, and passions that drive us to do less than care for others.  It is our lack of understanding that if we care for each other we will not lack anything.  Whether our need is physical, social, or spiritual our caring for others will feed those needs.

Our failure to see and meet the needs of our “team” (read all humans) is what causes the gaps that others try to fill with things that do not satisfy.  It is what I do when I fail to focus on Christ.  When I put my own needs first I fail those around me.  It is then when I lack faith.  It is in those moments that I most need to think of how my failure will impact others if I continue. 

At the core of all leadership is the dire need and ultimate requirement to care for and take care of the lead.  As I see new responsibilities in this area unfolding for me I must remember that this seminal value will do more than anything else to help me do well.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 August 2017

Second Thoughts – Stop Fighting for Bronze and Stone

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.

Let me be very clear for those who do not already know it.  Theologically I am very conservative.  That does not mean that I fit into the group that some would call the religious right.  In fact, I believe that given the nature of my position on many things they might not want me in their company. 

What I am concerned about at the moment is that those who do agree with me in many ways about following Christ are not rising up to make it clear that statues and monuments do not natter nearly as much as the love and respect required to live out the Gospel of Christ.  There is no human constructed image that matters more than the impression we leave when we choose stone and metal over people. 

I am southern born and reared.  I understand the noble heritage of some aspects of the south.  I also acknowledge that aspects of southern history still bring harmful legacies to life.  As Christ followers none of that needs to matter as much as the hearts, minds, and souls of those who are harmed by the negative aspects of southern history. 

We can build factions around this issue all we wish.  Instead I must not care about the monuments as much as I care about the message.  It is never what we once stood for.  It is what I stand for today.  We need to fight for the rights and safety of all humans no matter what we think of what they think.  Nothing can replace lovingly listening to those who are hurt and sharing compassion with them.  I will not cling to any “thing” at the cost of my ability to share Christ with others.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Captains Courageous - Suspicion and Paranoia

Greetings Dear Reader,

Suspicion - "The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think." – Jean Luc Picard – Star Trek TNG: The Drumhead

The deeper we delve into division over issues as a society, the easier it becomes to accept lunacy as common thought.  There is sound reason for having solid immutable principles such as presumed innocence and freedom of speech.  If we abandon this “prime directives” even when we think what is being defended is abhorrent then we create precedent for the decent to become abhorrent.

Consider the current outrage over certain racist ideas that are gaining loud expression.  I agree that racism is horrid and must be squelched at every turn.  If, however, we drive expression of those views underground instead of openly opposing them, we create a rat’s nest for breeding hatred in secret.  We cannot control the hearts and minds of others.  We can fight and win with love and kindness.

The problem with making anyone guilty of a crime because of his or her thoughts and words is that we cannot always assure that we will control who decides what is “hate speech”.  We leave a dangerous door open that contains a ravenous beast behind it.  We put into motion the thinking that people can be criminalized for thoughts and words.  What happens then when your philosophy or faith becomes the unpopular one? 

We can fight all hatred and prejudice through love and kindness.  We can turn calls for hatred into opportunities for goodness.  We can defeat all of this if we keep in mind that we must not become evil to fight evil.  Picard again sums it up at the climax of this episode.  “You know, there are some words I've known since I was a schoolboy. ‘With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.’ Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged.”

As a Christ follower I must assure that all humans are treated well or I am contributing to evil, not fighting it.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 August 2017

Captains Courageous - On Humanity

Greetings Dear Reader,

"Human flesh against human flesh. We're the same! We share the same history, the same heritage, the same lives. We're tied together beyond any untie. Man or woman, it makes no difference, we're Human! We couldn't escape each other, even if we wanted to. That's how you do it, Lieutenant. By remembering who and what you are, a bit of flesh and blood afloat in a universe without end. The only thing that's truly yours is the rest of humanity. That's where our duty lies." – James T. Kirk - Star Trek TOS: Who Mourns for Adonis

We hear of new acts of terror, conflicts, crimes, and horrors almost daily.  Man’s capacity to be creative is mirrored in his capacity to find new ways to do harm to his fellow human.  From indifferent neglect to overt genocide we create ways to harm each other.

Trillions of dollars find their way into military budgets for research, development, testing, and deployment.  Imagine what we could do with those resources if they were committed to doing good.  Imagine what we could do were to embrace the simple truth that in the physical world all we really have is each other. 

We forget that when all else is stripped away all that matters is how we treat each other.  Whether you have faith or not you have a primary obligation is to humanity.  People are your tribe.  They are your only hope in the natural world.  Nature and others species are not going to band together to help you.

For me, as a Christ follower love of other humans comes only slightly after my obligation to love God.  Further, my love for others is the only way that humans can see my love of God.  Everything that detracts from my love for others is a smokescreen at minimum and perhaps destructive at the heart of it.

I must see every human life as vital, valued, and precious.  We can be better if we choose to do so.  We can build instead of destroying.  We can use resources save lives, build hope, create opportunity.  We can do better.  I must do all that I can.  It is my prime directive.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Prejudice

Greetings Dear Reader,

"Why are you so surprised? Whenever a group of people start believing they're better than everybody else, the results are always the same." – Jonathan Archer – Enterprise: Cold Station 12

We seem shocked when the violent results of allowing prejudice to thrive become evident.  We compare the quiet common prejudice to the blatant and overt and pretend there is a difference.  I suppose there is.  The blatant is at least honest.  It is still wrong and they not honest about the truth but it is honest. 

There has never been a successful time when claiming superiority over others has worked out for the good.  I have written before about the fact that my faith claims to be the truth about who God is and the way in which he deals with humans.  I understand that there is an arrogance in this that can breed prejudice and supposed superiority. 

That is why faith hinges on humility.  That is why at the heart of the gospel is the command to constantly be aware of the needs of others.  That is why our fallen state, our sinful natures are the great equalizer.

I cannot for a moment forget that I possess a treasure, freely given to me, that I am to freely share with others.  I am not to judge, condemn, hate, or feel superior in any way.  I am required to see everyone beating heart as one to be loved in kindness and humility.  When I think that I am superior to anyone else for any reason it is in than moment that I am low and in the greatest need for forgivness.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Tolerance

Greetings Dear Reader,

"There's a difference between respecting the spiritual beliefs of other cultures and embracing them myself." – Katherine Janeway – Voyager: Sacred Ground

Do we really consider that there are things that are not acceptable to even consider?  I am not advocating for thought police or denoting that things spring to mind that we have to fend off just because of our nature. 

I am going to use an absurd example.  What I am saying is that it is wrong for me to consider for a moment that it is allowable to think that we should kill someone because the toenail on his or her pinky toe is too small.  Like I said, absurd.  But replace the pinky toe example with something real in your mind. 

There are people who believe that other people should be killed because of their beliefs.  This too is absurd.  Both sides of our deeply divided nation contain factions that embrace this notion.  Then there are those who scream for tolerance unless you embrace something which they will not tolerate.

The deep vein of truth here is that I do not have to agree with you or embrace your beliefs as valid to be good and kind to you.  I do not have to agree that every idea has merit to love those who hold those ideas. 

There are ideas that I find heinous.  There are beliefs that I think absolutely wrong.  It is an error to think that disagreement is rejection of the person.  It is a lie to think that I have to agree with everything you think and believe to love you and treat you with respect.

Those who require us to do so cause great division in the name of tolerance.  They violate the very standards they profess.  Their pleas for tolerance are intolerant. 

I am not permitted to treat anyone in an unloving way.  I do not agree with every belief or position others hold.  I do strive to love everyone.  I will respect your beliefs and values.  I will not always agree.  I will love you and be kind to 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Questions

Greetings Dear Reader,

"That might be the most important thing to understand about Humans. It's the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions." – Benjamin Sisko – DS9: Emissary

One of the things I value highly is life-long learning.  It was a bane of my youth that I was always curious, filled with questions, and pestering adults with them.  More than once I was punished for asking an honest question at the wrong embarrassing moment.

As I grew older and developed my keen desire to also play with words to better understand them, I coupled that with questions.  It results in questions such as “does one have to vert before one can revert?”

 I love the moment of pondering before the questioned gets the point and the joke.  I get laughs, groans (especially from y kids), and at times a response that really ponders the point.  It is an exercise in thinking.  Since words are one of our primary vehicles for communication we really must think about them.  We must ponder the words we use and choose them well.

So many of the words we say are clumsy and wasted.  What if we chose each word with care?  We could slow down and better state what we think and feel.  We could ask better questions.   We could look for better answers and find new questions that matter.

We also ask the wrong questions.  We ask about the latest fashion instead of asking how to clothe those in need.  We ask about the best coffee shop or where to get the most expensive coffee instead of asking how to get water to places where people die of thirst.

It is not wrong to want good coffee.  It is wrong to have poor priorities.  I must be constantly curious about how to ask and find answers for the right questions.  I must not put the mundane or minor above the great questions.  I must make time to ask, seek, and understand.

One of my finest moments as a teacher was when a student made a very bold statement that she knew I would find in error.  After making the statement she blurted out, “And don’t say ‘let me ask you a question.’”  Of course, my response was, “Why should I not ask a question?  Do I not need to learn?”

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 August 2017

Captains Courageous - Racism

Greetings Dear Reader,

“If there is one ideal that the Federation holds most dear, it is that all men, all races can be united.” – Captain Picard, Nemesis 

It troubles me greatly to see how blatant racial hatred has continued to emerge in our nation.  It is wrong to think less of anyone based on physiological characteristics.  We struggle with this because we have inherited some kind of division from our forebears.  Past wrongs inform actions that treat others with disrespect or even hatred just because of the way DNA lines up.

In an enlightened society this is simply stupid.  I do not use that word much in my writing because I do not like it.  Still, to disregard someone in any manner simply because of his or her DNA speaks to ignorance, hatred, and evil.  It speaks to choices made out of disregard for intelligence and common sense.

It troubles me even more that some of those voicing racial hatred claim to follow Christ.  The two cannot be more divergent.  Following Christ is centered on loving everyone no matter how deplorable you may think they are.  This means that true Christ followers must even love those who spew filthy hatred in the name God.

I do not have to support them, agree with them, or give value to their words.  I do have to love them.  This is perhaps at the core of the ideal of uniting all people.  You will see many messages of unity that are filled with hatred and prejudice.  You will hear a few that ask us to unite under the common bond of love for all life. 

We can only do this if it is inclusive.  I am proud of my children.  They are not racist.  When they were young they were never allowed to describe people to me by race.  They had to tell me who their friends were by charter and qualities of the individual.  Both of them excel at seeing people as people.

I cannot follow Christ if I allow or participate in hatred of any kind.  The most foolish kind may be disregarding anyone at any level because of his or her DNA.  We can be united but only under the banner of love that embraces all life as precious and valued.

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 August 2017

Captains Courageous - On Death

Greetings Dear Reader,

“How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life.”

This may seem obvious but it puts in mind the recurring theme of Star Trek the Original Series (TOS) that we often overlook.  Even though it became a meme, red shirts (security agents) often died on away missions.  Almost every episode saw the death of someone.

Dealing with death became very important just as the Original Series was nearing its end.  My Grandfather moved on to that undiscovered country and there was no solace to be had.  I entered a deep void that almost took me.  I did not understand how to deal with death.

Though this quote would not come until much later in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, syndication of the TOS in the early seventies gave me some dry ground to get to the time when I finally dealt with death.  Once again my parents were too occupied to see my needs but the daily reruns on a local independent channel flinted a spark of hope into my spirit.

I was again dealing with death and I was planning my own.  It was the episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”, my favorite TOS episode that delayed me long enough for the universe to intervene.  The conversation that led to my embracing faith began with a conversation about Star Trek and Captain Kirk. 

On the eve of taking my own life the man who became the third hero in my life helped me turn death into a fighting chance to live.  We spoke of my Grandfather; first hero.  We spoke of Captain Kirk; my second hero.  Ray, the man speaking with me told me of his time as a jet pilot.  He listened to my hurt and my heart.  He helped me deal with death so that I would not embrace it too soon.

When I heard this line so many years later I had no idea that in a few short years death would again force me to deal with his uninvited eventuality.  It was these words that helped get me through that as well. 

This is not all there is.  This is the journey and getting to the destination requires death for most of us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

22 August 2017

Captains Courageous ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

For fifty years I have been influenced by my relationship with an elite group of people.   These are the men and women who have owned the center seat of a starship.  To deny the impact of the various Star Trek series on my life would be dishonest.  Their philosophies, actions, and impact have shaped much of my thinking whether their impact was as counsel or foil.

My relationship with James T. Kirk began when I was six.  The others, Jean Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, and Katherine Janeway came much later but have had their place as well.  Even Jonathan Archer has contributed to the chorus of thought.  It is not his fault the writers and producers failed him.

As I think through the changes in my life that are ongoing and beyond my control I turn to these noble characters for their input. They so often served as …” thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes, peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close.”   In this present time I wish to ferret out the things they say and weight them against the light on the marshes.

I wish to also prepare my mind and expectations for the new Star Trek frontier on the horizon.  A new show has been long overdue.  I hope it is not disappointing.  Enterprise was.

More important, I need to assure that whilst I have so much time to myself that I bolster my charter with the things that inform it to be better.  I need reminding of my first duties and how to assure that I do not take a wrong path just because it is easier.

You too are valued counsel Dear Reader.  Your company on this part of the journey would be valued and welcome.  I will follow the Captain of my soul ship first, but since all truth is his, I will remind myself of the truths that guided me even before I knew my place as his follower.  Moorings are clear.  Ahead one quarter impulse (for the moment).

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

There is an episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon decides that he will make all his choices based on a roll of the dice.  Obviously, this is foolish.  One who believes in chance should not let chance deicide if one should go to the bathroom now.

Then there is random selection when one does not have an answer and must have one.  My mind runs back and forth between using random selection or not deciding.  I have a process for deciding when I cannot choose and I must.  I do, however, find that I enter a very uncomfortable area.

What it always comes down to is the same affirmation and choice.  Everything I do must be done in faith that I am following Christ.  Every choice must be one of faith.  Every action must be taken as one of faith.  I must not seek for signs and portents.  I must seek counsel.  I must use wisdom.

If all of this does not give me an answer and I must act then I must allow the Father to choose for me.  “The lot is cast into the lap but every decision is from the Lord.”  I ponder over and over how assuring it is that there is no such thing as random chance.  There is nothing more important than acting in faith; good faith. 

I must exercise that in everything and not just the uncertain choices.  It is supposed to be a filter for all that I do.  I am supposed to journey by faith not sight.  I am required to use it even when the answers are obvious.  I want acting in faith to be the norm not the exception.  You may ask how that will turn out for me.  All that I can say is that I must do as I am told to do.  As for the resolution: I cannot predict now.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Twenty Answers

Greetings Dear Reader,

On the twenty faces of our icosahedral prognosticator we have a fifty percent chance of getting a positive answer.  The neutral and negative are divided between the other half equally.  When the ball is flipped, half the time the answer should be positive.

Here then is the quandary I consider.  I have a question.  I have had this question for ten years.  At least once a week I asked this question and flipped the Magic 8-Ball®.  In each case the answer was one of the neutral answers. 

This is statically impossible so I tried a friend’s 8-Ball.  It also revealed a neutral answer on several attempts.  The mathematical impossibility grew with each attempt.  I only had a twenty-five percent chance of getting a neutral answer and yet it kept coming up a hundred percent of the time. 

I am not a seeker of signs and portents.  My faith is based belief not events or fleeces.  Still when I am at a crossroads do not know where to turn, I accept that there is no such thing as chance.  The book of Proverbs teaches us that “the lot is cast into the lap but every decision is from the Lord.” 

When it comes to the ball I must presume that the physics of this are controlled by the Father as he controls all things.  This sounds crazy but no crazier than dozens of neutral answers that should only occur twenty-five times out of a hundred. 

Things I Never Knew – Pat Terry

Lord I have a question that I haven’t found an answer for
Noting seems to make it go away
Your Book was strangely silent when I turned the pages in it
Though I thought you’d surely have a word to say

I have had this question for some time without an answer
There’s a different view in everything I’ve read
At times I thought I knew it but when it got down to it
It was just some words that someone else had said

If only I were with you when you walked down here among us
We could have talked it over face to face
Though I know you never left me all alone know I long to hear your voice
Hear your words, touch your face.

Oh one day you will come for me
I’ll kneel before you humbly
We’ll talk about the things I never knew
And all the things I couldn’t see
Will simply be explained to me
In words that could only come from you

Until that day I’m waiting here with upturned face and open ear
And if my questions never bring me truth
I’ll be satisfied to know
That when my time on earth’s no more
I’ll have eternity to talk with 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.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

19 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Yes Definitely

Greetings Dear Reader,

The contrast between “Yes” and “Yes Definitely” may not be obvious.  Depending on one’s perspective the addition of definitely can be positive or negative.  In either case the addition is intended to dispel doubt.

People doubt for many reasons.  Sometimes it our past actions that cause doubt.  Sometimes it is their past experience that yields the same.  Still we want to dispel it when we make our yes definite. 

It is more important for me that no matter my past failings I establish an ongoing consistency of trust.  The simple answer of yes needs to be enough.  I cannot do anything about the doubts of others but love them and live the truth.  I cannot dispel the past.  I can only let my yes be yes and my no be no.

This is who I am commanded to be.  When I am not then I am not following Christ.  I cannot undo the wrong I have done.  I can live a life where love with integrity crushes the barriers I have helped create. 

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Yes!

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that our society has lost its understanding of this word.  We say it all the time.  This is the most simple and definitive positive affirmation of a question.  It is one syllable that is clear in meaning. 

“Will you take out the trash as you are leaving?” 
“Yes.”

One has just entered into a contract.  Then we equivocate.  We do so with words that follow the affirmation.  “Yes…(pause), unless there is green cheese in the bag.”   We make our unconditional affirmation conditional.   We leave ourselves a back door. 

We do this on small things or large things.   We say yes and then look for the loopholes.  We violate our commitment then justify with indignation and anger.  “I said yes but things changed.”

Saying yes is an exchange of power.  You have the power to say no right up until you say yes.  You can bring all the situational ethics into the question you wish but it is still your choice to say yes or no.  If you say yes you have an obligation.

I have failed at this. I have hurt others through this failure.  My obligation is to let my yes be yes.  There may be honest variables to consider.  If there are then I must not say yes.   I must use the if/then formula.  If it is not raining then I will come to the picnic.  We must be clean, clear, and honest in our communication.   I must be no matter what anyone else is.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Without A Doubt

Greetings Dear Reader,

Doubt is a curious thing.  It is one of those creatures that has power only given to it.  It does not live on its own.  It is born and lives in the mind.  It is completely subject to the will.

Faith comes very easy for me.  That does not mean that I do not doubt.  What it does mean; what it necessitates is that I deal with doubt honestly.  I musts acknowledge it when it tries to flicker to life.

I am sure this is one of the things that is meant by bringing every thought into captivity.  It is not wrong to have doubt.  I have spoken of this at length.  How I deal with it, however, can determine my entire future.

No one wakes up on a Thursday morning and abandons faith.  They start earlier by nursing the spark of doubt in the wrong way.  They entreat and nurture it until it becomes an all-consuming fire.  They find a focal point for the doubt and magnify it.  Thursday comes and faith has been added to the fire of doubt.

It is not wrong to doubt.  It is wrong to doubt in dishonesty.  Job makes it clear.  He points out that he will not charge God foolishly.  He will not doubt the goodness of God even amidst the ruin of his life, the loss of his children, and the damage to his health. 

I must let the spark rise from the fire if it tries.  I must also be ready to cling to faith that the Father is good.  The Son is worth following.  Faith is more powerful than all that I see.  Again my friend Job makes it clear, “even if he kills me, it will serve him…even if my body is turned to dust, I will se him in the flesh.”

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ It Is Certain

Greetings Dear Reader,

What do we mean when we say something is a certainty?  We assure people that we will do something or be somewhere.  We commit to an event, a time, or a place.  We commit to relationships or participation.

Then we back out.  We modify our minds.  Things change.  We decide that we want something different than that to which we have pledged a certainty.  That event, time, relationship becomes something to which we will not hold our certainty.

This is not how the Father deals with us.  If he says it is certain then it is certain.  There is not even a shadow of uncertainty.  We ascribe uncertainty to the Father because we are uncertain.  When we do not have all the answers we allow our uncertainty to be projected on others.

I cannot fault others when they are uncertain due to my failures in the past.  I must not, however, doubt the one I follow.  He has said it is certain that all things are under his care.  He has assured me that his promises to me will never fail. 

If I doubt it must be my uncertainty and not a false accusation that I cannot be certain about Christ and following him.  Doubt is not wrong.  Failure to distinguish between my uncertainty and the assurances of God is dangerous.  If I do not assure that my questions are founded on what is certain then I cannot use my faith whilst I sort out the rest.

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 August 2017

Second Thoughts – Progressing Princess

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

When I wrote this post last year it was from a luxury room at a Disney Resort.  I was weary from an amazing day of escorting my Daughter, Christmas around the Magic Kingdom where she dressed like a true Princess for our dinner at Cinderella's Castle. 

Tonight our dinner was a simpler fare at a local steak house.  Her Brother and I did our best to make her feel beautiful and celebrated.  Nothing I can do even with my vast power over words can express how much she is loved and valued. 

As each year slips through the glass I am amazed at her power to rebound and recover.  She has the ability to dazzle and delight others.  She is a gifted artist who uses imagination and insight to help others see what they envision.

I am proud to be he papa and blessed to see her impact in the lives of others.  Happy Birthday Christmnas.

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 ͡°)



Eight Ball Answers ~ It Is Decidedly So

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of my favorite recurring lines from Star Trek: The Next Generation is when Captain Picard would say, “Make it so.”  It was his command of decision.  It meant that discussion was ended and there was work to be completed.  His crew was to transform the command to reality.

Sometimes the answers we give seem like more than yes because of the way in which we give them.  There is a confidence in this one that implies more than affirmation.  There is a timbre to it that communicates beyond certainty.

This answer implies that the thing is not just on the horizon but is complete.  If something is “so” it exists.  Instead of hoping we may have realization.  Instead of wondering what will be this answer assures that it is. 

I think that there are many things that do not yet exist that want to be so.  We count on them even if the outcome is uncertain.  We depend on them even if the odds are slim.  There are things that require faith and there are things that are accomplished.  I must assure that I do not confuse the two.

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ You May Rely On It

Greetings Dear Reader,

For those of you who are regular readers you know that when I write thoughts in a series I tackle an aspect a day until I am finished.  Because of this, on longer paths I do not always know what will be unfolding in my life when I reach a certain thought in the topic.  This gives God opportunity to work out his sense of humor in my life.

It is the nature of life that we must rely on certain things.  I think we live in a constant imbalance in this area.  We rely to much on the things for which we think we have all the answers.  We put our security in things that we think are stable and fixed.

The problem with this approach is that things are never as stable as they seem.  A company is sold to another company and seven hundred people are found redundant.  On a Thursday they are told they no longer have a job.  On Friday they no longer have insurance.  If they have relied on that paycheck with no contingency dire straits are on the horizon.

We rely on our families in many cases.  They fail sometimes.  Sometimes they learn from their failures and work to be reliable again.  Sometimes they repeat the pattern of failure no matter how often they say they understand and will stop.  Sometimes they just do not care.  Sometimes they walk away to pursue their things never considering the years of devastation their children come to rely on.

I must be reliable.  I have not always been so. I must also realize that I must not rely on others for anything without a contingency.  I do not mean this in a harsh way.  I do mean that I must recognize that only the Father and the Son are the family that can be completely counted on when they say “You may rely on it.”

Sweet River Roll – Waterdeep

Homebound Henry's he’s got a tumor in his head
He wakes up sweating every morning after dreaming he was dead
He used to think that life was boring, but now that's not the case
He turns to his wife in the evening
He says "Honey I'm afraid I'm gonna lose this race"

Sweet River roll all over me
Sweet River roll, hey all over me

Soaking wet Juliet, she lives in a well full of tears
Her husband left her for some bimbo after twenty-two years
Now she's got to start all over, but she's just so terrified
She thinks it woulda been so much easier if he woulda just died

Sweet River roll all over me
Sweet River roll, hey all over me

Now I'm lookin' out my car window sittin' in the pouring rain
Although your house is fifteen miles away, I can still feel your pain
Now I've thought and prayed and worked it
Through about a hundred times or more
How your soul just cries to everyone to help you get up off the floor

Right now it's morning, you're probably sleepin'
I bet you're totally unaware
Of the flood of kisses you hold back by the way that you despair
It ain't me I'm talking about here, or anybody else you can touch
That's all I want to say right now, I don't want to say too much

Except Sweet Jesus roll
Roll all over me
Sweet Jesus roll, hey
All over me

Sweet Jesus, oh you has to roll, hey
You gotta roll all over me
Sweet Jesus, oh You has to roll, hey
And use to set me free
Ahh just set me free, hey

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 August 2017

Second Thoughts – One Small Thing

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.

Because staying in my small abode alone is unhealthy for me I have taken to spending one morning a week writing in a coffee shop.  I have a couple of favorites but both have the same need.  By nature coffee shops have limited seating and even fewer seats with access to power points. 

My tenure at these busy purveyors of caffeine and cream is usually a few hours.  The seats that offer readily available electricity all have tables that seat four or more.  I feel guilty taking up the space when all I am doing is drinking lemon ginger tea and working away at my next tale. 

Then I stumbled upon an idea.  With the manager’s permission and assistance I made up my little sign.  It simply says, “Feel free to share my table.”  I place it behind my laptop and focus on my work.  No has joined me yet.

There has been, however, a stream of comments about it.  At least once each visit someone will comment how thoughtful the sign is.  I know it makes the owner happy.   Then there are the curious.  There are people who actually ask if I am serious.  I assure them that I am but they move on to another table.

The most curious are those who notice and feel the need to apologize to me.  They explain that they are meeting other people or need to sit outside.  I try to reassure them that I am not offended and thank them for saying hi.  It is just curious that they are worried about me being bothered by their not sitting with me. 

It reminds me that I live in a society where offense is so easily manifested and sometimes even sought.  It reminds me that the motorways and footpaths of my town are paved in eggshells. 

I must remain difficult to offend.  I must assure that I remain open to the company of strangers. I must be considerate of the business owners to whom I give my custom.  It is vital that I am aware of the needs of all those with whom I congress.  If I am to follow Christ well I must remain approachable and available; generous and kind.

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 ͡°)

Eight Ball Answers ~ As I See It, Yes

Greetings Dear Reader,

There is a picture in one of our family albums from when I was a teen.  We are at an outing for my dad’s business.  I am about to depart for college and my youngest brother is a toddler.  The picture is of toddling along holding my hand.  Only my hand with my massive school ring shows as the focus of the shot is my brother.

In that picture my hand and class ring look large because of the small size of my brother.  I am looking at that same ring right now.  It looks small and insignificant just held in the palm of my hand. 

So many of the differences in our world are a matter of perspective.  When we discuss things with others from the mundane to the universal is so often comes down to where we stand when we are looking at the issue.  We use values, information, and beliefs to color in the black and white of things to construct our perspective.

“As I see it” always implies perspective.  From where I stand it means that there is information behind the assertion that is being offered.  The agreement has been weighed in the scales of perspective.  This is both good and bad.

The counsel of others always comes from their perspective.  It is why we must seek the counsel of those who understand ours.  Our choices must be informed by good counsel.  In making it good we must consider the perspective of those we ask.  We must always take I to account the source of our support. 

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Most Likely

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of you asked me yesterday if I was just shaking the Magic 8-Ball® and writing about the answer that came up to the surface.  I am not.  I am going in a very specific order.  I did repeat one answer.  I will leave it to you, Dear Reader, to discern why.  I think I know who will most likely sus it out.

That brings us to today’s ponderance.  When I ask a question that is a yes or no question and someone says most likely, I always feel that the question is being avoided.  That does not mean that it is true but that is how it feels to me. 

Most likely implies yes but does not assure it.  It is left to the hearer to infer the degree to which the person is affirming.   It is a loophole for the person giving the answer.  It is easy to slip out of the apparent assertion by simply pointing out the it was likely but not confirmed. 

The difficulty with leaving oneself a back door is that one is not being honest.  It is not wanting to commit to something but wishing to appear that we are committing.   This response can take other forms such as “we could do that”, “that sounds good”, or “that’s a great idea”. 

These are not affirmative answers.  They are simple diversions intended to make one think that there is agreement.  Using this to manipulate a situation is not right for me.  If I am unsure I must say so.  If I am reticent to agree I should not make one believe that I do just to keep favor.  It is my obligation to speak the truth in love.  That is enough.

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Outlook Good

Greetings Dear Reader,

Too often we think that the outlook is the answer.  In the current climate the outlook is not good in many ways.  A madman in Asia threatens the world.  Our own nation is divided on so many issues that it is frightening.  The outlook in the now is not good.

That, however, is not supposed to be my focus.  It does not take many words to explain that no matter the current distress my outlook is supposed to be colored by my faith.  It always comes back to that.  It is always the undercurrent of what I perceive in the world.

When I accept that I must live by faith and not by sight then there are certain things that must inform my outlook.  The first is that Jesus does not wish us to live in fear and worry.  He wants us to consider that all things will unfold to his ultimate success in bringing the world back to good. 

The bad in the world will run its course.  There will be hard times and there will be bad things.  In every response the Father has the goal of healing the world in the plan.  It is my duty to follow his Son in faith knowing that no matter how deep and dark my current valley may be, the outlook is good.

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Signs Point to Yes

Greetings Dear Reader,

At this turn we begin to address the positive facets of the Magic 8-Ball’s icosahedral.  Some of these are the opposite of the negative and some are unique.  There are as many positive responses as there are negative and neutral combined. 

This first one is one of prognostication and not certainty.  I have already touched on the lack of certainty in most things.  I have spoken about the certainty of faith being required in all things.  What it leaves us to is to consider how we follow the signs and our level of dependence on them.

I will deal with how to follow the signs first.  The simplicity is to think, seek counsel, and make a choice.  The difficulty is that thinking can be trying.  Even the clearest thinking can be muddled by the import of a choice.  The grave matters can easily summon questions and doubt.  Our thoughts can be assailed by our fear.

Seeking wise counsel is prudent and desired.  Finding good counselors can be more difficult than one would seem.  Each one must be honest and understand my faith and following.  They do not have to agree with that faith but understanding can prevent counsel that runs against it.

Making choices in dire circumstances can be taxing.  Choosing can direct where life goes and can be a permanent act.  We make choices that limit our choices for life whether we accept that or not.  Choosing, when we must choose, must be no light thing.

The other aspect of this is looking for a sign.  This is the most dangerous aspect.  Jesus makes it clear that to look for a sign in matters that require faith is spiritual adultery.  When it comes down to it signs and portents may inform but they must not replace faith and following.  The signs may point to yes but it is still my obligation to choose in faith.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

09 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Concentrate and Ask Again

Greetings Dear Reader,

This particular response only occurs In the Magic 8-Ball® and in my head.  No one has actually said it to me.   It surfaces in my head when I think that I am being unclear or that my listener is being obtuse.  

I strive never to get irritated when I must concentrate and ask again.  I fail more often than I would like.  The truth for me is that I am more impatient teller than listener.  I choose all my words carefully and in my pride, I wonder why people just don’t get it.  This is an excellent opportunity for me to learn more grace, patience, and humility. 

When I take the time to concentrate and ask again I find that I am more patient and show more compassion or understanding.  Perhaps I give better information.  Sometimes I find a new and better way to say what I am saying. 

Good communication is so vital to good relationships.  It must always be my endeavor to communicate well.  I must be clear and kind.  I must seek to understand before begging to be understood.  I must always put the moment of good repour ahead of the moment of understanding and both must precede my urgency for agreement.

In communicating well I can assure that focus my mind on following Christ.   He is Dear Reader the living Word and the final one on all matters.

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Cannot Predict Now

Greetings Dear Reader,

In many ways we make choices, decisions, and the like without all the information.  Sometimes we are in a hurry or sometimes the information is not available.  We sometimes have to make choices against the pressure of time and must do so without full assurance that we are correct.

Life is one of constant choices.  Some of them become automated by habit or the dictates of others to which we agree.  At times we limit our choices through the consequences of previous choices. 

In any situation when faced with choices we try to predict the outcome.  We hope that we come out favorably even when the situation is grim and the odds are against us.  Our nature is to sometimes deny the truth before to avoid the logical choice.  We will seek the prediction of others to shade things in our favor. 

It is true that in a multitude of counselors there is safety.  It is also true that when seeking counsel we sometimes hope to diminish our responsibility of our choices.   When Gildor the Elf is speaking to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring he puts it best;  “Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”

I always want to predict what will happen.  I always want it to be good and positive.  I am often wrong.  I am not a prophet.  I am a mere scribe.  I delve into this space to better guard my journey and my faith.  I do not offer you predictions or advice Dear Reader.  Rather, I hope that you can benefit from my blessings and learn from my failures. 

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 August 2017

Eight Ball Answers ~ Better Not Tell You Now

Greetings Dear Reader,

More frustrating perhaps than “Ask Again Later” is the response “Better Not Tell You Now.”  The difficulty is that I perceive a bit of goading in the latter response.  There are times when one must withhold an answer. 

The difficulty is that there is a clear difference between having to withhold an answer and being dishonest.  Then the second layer is honest withholding of information and being sure that one is not being taunting or cryptic.  Both are necessary for those times when answers are requested but not forthcoming.

I struggle with not being cryptic to the point that it is necessary for me to actually state that I am not being cryptic.  I like to lead up to things.  I like story as much as I like the information.  Apparently not everyone shares this.

The difficulty with not being able to reveal things is that I want people to know the whole story.  This is not always a good idea.  This is not always honorable.  Issues such as privacy, work product, and proprietary information necessitate the guarding of my words.  The truth is vital but at times the whole truth must not be disseminated. 

It is my obligation to be clear without violating my obligations to the truth and to privacy.  It is also my duty to avoid indulging my pride when I must withhold information.  “I better not tell you now” must be followed with a clear explanation of my duty to be clear but keep information for specific purposes.

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 ͡°)