31 October 2017

Revolution, Rebellion, or Reformation ~ Reformation Day

Greetings Dear Reader,

Five hundred years ago (31 October 1517) on All Hallows Eve, Martin Luther is reported to have nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany.   This act started the Reformation that changed much of Europe.   If one has not read them they are provided here without commentary. 

His desire was to begin a conversation.  His wish was to challenge the thinking on indulgences and earning the favor of God.  He understood that “the just shall live by faith.”  The Church was demanding increasingly extreme political and religious conformity to its will in order for one to earn salvation or favor with God.  If this sounds like current rhetoric from certain views one may be on to my point ahead of me whittling it.

Marin Luther was an educator who understood that reason and discourse could change things.  This was his intent.  What resulted was not what he wished.  The world did gain a better understanding of the Gospel.  The door was opened to common folk being able to comprehend that faith alone was required of them for access to the Father.  It was his appeal to the common man that garnered him success. 

We have forgotten how to reform.  Instead we rebel and revolt.  We put our desire for change ahead of the good of others and often do it in the name of doing good.  We demand instead of discourse.  We shout down and degrade the opposition instead of engaging in respectful exchange.  We fail to love our enemies in this.

I will honor this day by giving great thought to the ways in which I have benefitted from the Reformation.  It is my faith that has its roots in this act so very far away so very long ago.  I must always seek to refine the reformation of my faith so that it is perfected in truth and love.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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30 October 2017

Second Thoughts – Tricks and Treats

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I prepare to celebrate Halloween with my beloved Grandsons, I submit for your enjoyment and excerpt from Sheetrock on the Road.  Please note that this is taken completely from the book without editing.  I have included the footnotes for this chapter as well.  If you like feel free to buy a copy at the provided link.  

Tricks and Treats 

 Sometimes there are tricks that work and you get more treats.  Over most of America October heralds falling leaves, crisp winds, and the anticipation of Halloween.  In our home, it usually meant that there was much planning and anticipation.  The costume was carefully planned.  The trick-or-treat route was precisely planned to avoid streets that my mother thought unsafe.  A large bowl of candy was carefully set out for those who thought our street safe enough.  Everything was planned to the last detail, for my sister who was four years my junior and the princess of the family.  Halloween for me in the eyes of my mother was an afterthought. 

I do not wish to paint a picture of her as favoring my sister.  She completed that masterpiece years ago.  For me, surviving Halloween during my sister’s cute years was an act of careful strategizing and planning.  A chess game played out each year of my young trick-or-treat life determined just how much of my hard-earned booty I actually kept long enough to eat.  You see, for me, until I realized the spiritual aspect of All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, the purpose of Halloween had always been the candy.  Acquiring and keeping candy meant preparation, innovation, and careful execution. 

Obstacles to this objective were plenteous and treacherous.  My adversary possessed experience and cunning.  Each year three goals presented themselves with equal quantities of opportunity and danger.  How much of the candy intended for delivery to those trick-or-treaters arriving at our door could I liberate for myself?  How much of my sister’s candy could I liberate from her possession through persuasion, coercion, or outright theft?  How much of my own trick-or-treat candy could I keep away from the black hole of the chocolate universe that was my mother? 

The candy purchased for trick-or-treaters was always purchased two or three times.  This advanced my opportunity significantly.  The candy purchased to give away was always chocolate the first couple of times.  It went like this.  About two weeks before Halloween[1], whilst grocery shopping for bread and milk, my mother would spot the candy display with specially packaged chocolates for trick-or-treaters.  She would buy a bag for them and a bag for the black hole.  She always claimed that both were for the trick-or-treaters but I knew better.  Playing along with the delusion worked to my advantage.  The first candy acquisition endeavor was a reconnaissance mission.  The objective, find the open bag my mother had stashed and pilfer enough candy to give me the upper hand but not so much that she would think she had not already eaten it. 

Her hiding places were excellent.  One year it was in a basket under two weeks’ worth of old newspapers.  Fortunately, I had two or three hours to search between my arrival home from school and hers from work.  She often sequestered the candy in her room or in a closet.  It was always within easy reach for her and just out of mine.  She also set traps.  I became and expert at moving things and putting them back and removing stepladder imprints from the carpet.  Occasionally she would feel rather than notice the depletion of her supply.  Inquiries were impossible, as they would reveal that she was eating the candy.  Instead, she would relocate the candy. 

Eventually she would hide and open the other bag and the cycle renewed itself.  I became an expert at finding her stash and pilfering most of it.  I never ate the pilfered candy.  It had another purpose altogether.

The depletion of the original candy led to the second or sometimes third trip to buy candy.  On occasions when I was present for the second purchase, I often inquired as to the fate of the previously purchased chocolates.  Answers included creative explanations such as, “The news said there will be record trick-or-treaters this year.”  She also used, “I gave the candy away to the needy.”  The best was when she would say that she had lost it.  How do you lose candy when you are eating it every day?  Invariably my questions led to the ultimate answer, “Don’t bother me right now, I am trying to concentrate.”             

My second objective, liberating as much of my sister’s candy as possible, began early in the Halloween season.  I had power over her and I used it.  I would get one of my Blue Horse® tablets and begin a tally.[2]  Every time my sister broke a rule, real or imagined, I would write it down.  The deal was that she had to give me a piece of candy out of her bag for each infraction and I would cross the infractions off her list.  It was easy for me to persuade mom to let me take little sister trick-or-treating.[3]  On the way home, she paid up in chocolate for such crimes as petting the cat too long, yawing at lunchtime, and taking too long for a wheedle-wee.  After she paid up it was time to stop her tears and invoke her undying gratitude.  So as to not invoke suspicion from mother, I would point out to my sister that I had a lot more candy than she did.  I would then give her all the cinnamon hard candy and butterscotch.  It was years before it occurred to her that she was being scammed.  It is no wonder it took years for us to get back to being nice to each other.

After trick-or-treating, it was time to accomplish my final mission in securing that my gathered candy remained mine.  The arrival home always posed the most danger to my carefully administered plan.  My mother’s beliefs about Halloween were not at all equal to my worldview.  I truly believed that it was a time to dress funny, go out after dark, and get all the candy possible.  She believed it was the national holiday for all who would poison children.  She also viewed it as her sole duty to protect us from razor blades sequestered in apples[4] and dental destruction from candy.

In her mind, every piece of fruit required inspection for jagged glass, needle marks, and razor blades.  The person on our street who gave out fruit for Halloween was Mrs. Bush.  She ran the local nursery school and was the kindest woman ever.  She hired me to rake her yard, weed her garden, and in November, wash the egg and rotten fruit off her front door.  My mother’s fruit inspection was really a ruse to begin pilfering my chocolate candy.

The dental angle was the second prong of her attack.  She explained the reduction in the amount of candy we were allowed to retain as her part in preserving our teeth.  The fact that she took all the soft chewy candy and left all the hard candy served to belie her actual agenda.  This reminds me that the best candy on our street was from Dr. Haywood, a dentist.  He passed out loads of good candy and his business card.  He was a smart guy.  Unfortunately, my mom used the business card as a reinforcement of her arguments about the candy.  This is where the third part of my plan required expert execution.

The moment we arrived back at the house, I hurried to the bathroom claiming an urgent need to widdly-wee.  The dancing and jumping around really helped.  Above my mother’s protests I took my candy bag with me.  I knew that she imagined every germ known to man would work its way into the candy in the three minutes it took for me to accomplish my task.  Her phobia fed my scheme.  With the sound of the vent fan covering my own sounds, I took the candy I had pilfered from my mother’s supply from its hiding place under the sink.  Quickly, to avoid suspicion, I switched my good Halloween candy with the pilfered candy.  I would select a few of the low-end good items to leave in my bag as a way to put mom off the scent of something being amiss.  I had to because I think my mother timed my bathroom visits.  

Stuffing the new candy under the cabinet behind the collection of basins and buckets, I flushed the toilet, feigned washing my hands, and exited, candy bag in tow.
After the required six-minute lecture on the danger of food crossing the threshold into a germ-infested zone like the bathroom, the candy inspection began.  My mom pilfered back all the chocolate I had stolen over the previous two weeks and a few extras that I had garnered in my neighborhood rounds.  Her explanation was that these were soft candies and that anyone could have injected them with all kinds of dangerous drugs and poisons.  That she ate some as she explained this assured me that she was either immune to poison or this was a feint. 

She took nothing from my sister giving my sister the false feeling of superiority at not losing any of her haul.  I acted out the proper level of insult and protested just enough to seem sincere but no so much as to get me punished.  Mom relegated the remaining candy to the public bowl so that the entire household could share it.  This meant that it was no longer mine and that I needed permission, which I could not get, to eat it.

Later that night, after everyone else slept I crept into the bathroom, quietly retrieved my hidden candy, and slipped back into my bedroom.  I indulged in a few miniature candy bars and hid the rest in the back of my closet behind the toy box.  Moderation would allow me to enjoy my stash until Christmas.  Halloween was a success.  Carefully planned tricks garnered me a bountiful supply of treats.

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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[1] In those days, stores started selling Halloween stuff in mid-October.  Now you can buy the non-perishable items in August.  I get catalogs for Halloween stuff in the mail as early as June.  My wife, Avalon views Halloween as the pinnacle of holidays.  She decorates in September, plans elaborate macabre parties, and spreads ghoulish joy throughout the land.  In order to sell more stuff, retailers jump the gun on all holidays and the advertising begins earlier each year.  I think that if we have to endure soul cake day adds during the equinox that we should get extra paid time off from work for both.

[2] For the uninitiated, Blue Horse® writing tablets were those available for sale at the school store each morning for a nickel.  The school always ran out of them.  I always bought extras to sell for a dime.  I always sold lots of them.  Fear entrepreneurial second graders.     

[3] Another way I increased my candy haul was by telling the neighbors that my mom ate my candy when I got home.  More often than not this resulted in people giving me double candy and my mother getting the evil eye from most of the neighborhood until Christmas.

[4] Ok, I was unsure whether to mention this or not, but I will.  Do not give kids apples and oranges and donations to charity in their name for trick-or-treat.  They will not eat the fruit.  They will use it to con their younger siblings out of good candy.  If they do not have younger siblings they will wait until it rots and throw it at your house.  If you give trick-or-treaters little pieces of paper explaining how you have donated money to a charity in their name for Halloween it gets worse.  They will go back to the people who gave them apples and oranges to get extra.  They will let it rot until it really stinks, add some old eggs from last Easter, and pelt you, your house, your car, and your children until you reek.  Buy some good candy and give it to the kids.  It is for your own safety.

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We are all strangers at times.  It may be for a day or for years.  It may be our own choosing or visited upon us by others.  People at times choose to remain strangers living in the same house.  Some become fast friends in the moment of meeting. 

We are designed to need each other.  Our makeup is that we start out dependent upon each other and grasp at independence in healthy and unhealthy ways.  We must be whole and independent persons but we must not try to be islands unto ourselves.  We must not treat others as outcasts.  We must see our interdependence as a necessary aspect of life and survival.  It is vital to destroying the stigma

I must never mistreat or allow the mistreatment of strangers.  I will be a stranger and will be treated well or ill depending upon the choices of others.  I cannot control this.  I can, however, treat every stranger with love and respect.  I must realize that the stigma of strangers only exists if I allow it. 

It is my obligation to be kind to strangers.  I must meet their needs where and when I can.  Even if I have nothing to give I can give my love and respect.  The journey is too long to carry the lonely burden of not knowing those with whom I travel. 


The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy he's my brother

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother, he ain't heavy

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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29 October 2017

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Refuge and Travel

Greetings Dear Reader,

We are designed for a journey.  The length and path varies for each of us.  We fall into step with each other along the way.  How we treat each other during the times of shared travel determines who we become in great part.

All travelers need refuge form the road at times.  The weather and weariness can make travel unsafe a times.  It becomes the obligation of those who are paused in their travel to harbor those who are in need of a place to rest and recover.  We are obligated to provide this for each other.

On the road we at times need to keep each other going.  At times we need to be a support and encouragement.  Sometimes we need to carry each other.  I have been privileged to be a safe harbor for some weary travelers over the years.  I love knowing that I can and am willing to do this. 

I also find joy in the times I have come along other travelers and we have been blessed to encourage each other.  Sometimes I get the rare chance to show someone how the path they think to divert to on their journey is unsafe for them.   We are meant to keep each other on the right way.

I must remember that refuge is only temporary.  We have not permanent place here; no lasting home.  I must keep moving onward toward the next mile marker, the next adventure, the next challenge.  There will rough and smooth patches.  There will be times when I am give the stigma of stranger.  Sometimes it will even be given me by those whom I have harbored or by those who know me and claim to love 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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28 October 2017

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Seekers of Hope

Greetings Dear Reader,

What of those who come here with support, good purpose, and something to add to our way of life?  We make it difficult even for those who are not dependent upon public assistance or some kind of charity.  We put in place great hurdles for all but the wealthiest.

It used to be that if you came here honestly to “seek your fortune” you were welcomed and given hope.  We have lost that.  Rather, we have cast is aside.  We make is difficult. 

The other place we choose to set up high hurdles and snares to success is family.  We participate in keep families apart when all they wish is to live together in freedom.  I know a man who only sees his wife once a year because even though his work here is of enough value to keep renewing his visa, we will not allow him permanent status or to bring his wife and children here to be with him.  We have turned his American Dream into a nightmare of loneliness and separation. 

Before we get into the difficulties of what some people might do or how they might take advantage we must consider our obligation to them as humans first.  It troubles me that our conservative brothers who demand that we live out family values do not demand this when it comes to those seeking a place here.  We seem to cut off our values when it comes to the stigma of strangers.

As a follower of Christ, I am not allowed to differentiate between the needs of “Americans” and the needs of those outside of our borders.  God sees them all the same and desires for them to be well.  He desires that his followers show all the love and care they can muster.  I need not accept all of their values nor should I if they conflict with my faith.  That never means that I should visit upon them loneliness or judgement in place of love and care.

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 October 2017

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Suffering Refugees

Greetings Dear Reader,

I touched on this yesterday but need to dive a bit deeper for my own reminder.  I also hope that it will in some way benefit you Dear Reader.  I feel that we relegate too much to the State that is the responsibility of the Church.  I often feel it is like leaving the greedy cousin in charge of the treasury. 

I mean no disrespect to our political leaders.  It is rather that one of the chief ways given for us to demonstrate our faith is how we treat the stranger in our land.  We are told clearly that their welfare is our responsibility.   It is in their need that we can see the physical reality of the Gospel.  If we relegate it to our government then we are not being obedient.

One can argue about the fears they feel over possible outcomes.  Again, we are required to leave our fears aside and allow the Father to deal with outcomes.  We stir up the fear with images of terrorism and death whilst allowing those in need to languish and die.  For those who follow Christ this posture is untenable.

It may be that we stigmatize refugees with one of the deepest stigmas.  Whether it is Native Americans, Interred Japanese Americans, or people from other shores answering the call of the New Colossus, we stigmatize those we fear.   We create the problem or ignore the problem created by others.  We fail over and over again to demand that the values of Christ be lived out in our treatment of the stranger. 

It is my obligation to see the needs of others and help where I can.  I must never set aside my responsibility out of fear or greed.  If I am to follow Christ then I must not consider the needs of others someone else’s responsibility.  I must care and pray always.  I must help in any way that I can.

The New Colossus – Emma Lazarus

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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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 October 2017

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Weary Travelers

Greetings Dear Reader,

Since we have covered that the journey requires that we keep moving we must ponder that we live in a world filled with wanderers.  We must further consider that many of them may be very weary.

My faith has its roots in a culture that had very clear understandings around the idea of hospitality and how to treat strangers.  One did not turn away the person with no place to stay.  One did not neglect the needs of the foreigner in the land.

We are told to be careful how we treat strangers.  We are told that the needs of others matter always to us.  The weary traveler had needs.  The weary traveler deserves kindness and companionship.  The wanderer may only fall in step with us for a bit but we are obligated to be good company to him or her whilst we are in step.

We entangle the simple requirement to be kind to strangers in what if and where to fore until the needs of the human are lost in the fabricated rules and roles.  We hide behind programs and processes that leave starving beggars in the cold.  We deny children their needs in the name of what might happen. 

I am obligated to love and show kindness to whomever I encounter on the journey.  I am required to be present with them in the moment.  I must do these things if I think I have any hope of loving my neighbor.

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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25 October 2017

The Stigma of Strangers ~ Wizard and Gardner

Greetings Dear Reader,

I often contrast the characters Gandalf and Samwise from the Lord of the Rings in my mind.  Both have such great quality of character.  They have both been examples to me of things I would like to be in my life. 

Gandalf was the constant traveler who wished to be content to be in a place like the shire.  He knew that his lot was to wander and to what he good against the evil gathering in his world.  He knew that his rest lay further up the road.  He knew that the peace of the Shire would not endure were he to simply rest there.

Samwise could have remained a gardener.  He was content to tend to the hedge, clip the grass, and care for his Gaffer.  His adventure changed him through hardship and success.  He found peace and a fellow traveler in Rosie.  He returned to his home changed but the same.

We often seen Gandalf met with distrust and dislike.  We know he is good and means well but others see him as meddlesome and trouble.  He always proves to be a boon to those who are of good character.  He is often the downfall of those who are not. 

I see some of both of these things.  I am a wanderer who does not wander and so I often feel lost in the same place.  I dream of a home and fellow traveler but as was recently said of me, “No woman is strong enough to stay with you.”  I do not know if it is true but the person was telling me that I will not find that fellow traveler. 

In truth I cannot let even that hinder my staying the road and keeping the journey.  I may never again have a “home” but that is part of the stigma of strangers.  My home lies further on and my business is getting there on the path provided 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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24 October 2017

Second Thoughts – A Council in Cavendish

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.

As the evening air cools and the trees kick their leaves from the nest I find my heart drawn to the road.  When I was young I used to wrap myself in a heavy woolen cloak, collect my staff (yes, I have both), and walk the southern woodlands of my youth.  I miss those times.  I miss the smells of autumn, the occasional fires, and the discovery of places unknown.  

I also remember the times that I desired to leave all that was my life at that time and become a wander.  I had a vast vision of things I hoped I might become.  I pictured myself a modern day itinerant helper of others.  Carrying my possessions along byways and stopping to earn a small living and help others.  I loved walking back then.  I valued the journey above the destination in those days. 

Tonight, I sit alone in the council of the cold and my churchwarden of Cavendish.  The fragrant leaf calls to mind dreams of traveling with hobbits and elves and enjoying some Longbottom Leaf.  I am not sure where the ever-beaconing path is taking me these days but I will sit in my council of Cavendish looking at the stars and missing simpler days. 

Regret, loneliness, and poor choices from my past attempt to sway me from faith and hope.  Instead I will pray as I muse on the breeze-born blue vapor of failed smoke rings and imagined dragon breaths.  It is in this quiet moment of prayer and ponderance that I will find my footing to continue the path after I rest a bit.  

I can find only the next step or two along the road but will not despair that I cannot see further.  The light I carry will only allow me a step or two.  That, however, is enough to keep me from stumbling.  It is enough to keep fear from hindering my progress. 

As I pray and ponder I find no answers other than this.  The Cavendish is almost done and the chill begins to seep through my cloak.  I have no fire here to tend or company to serve.  I will turn to my evening rest still feeling the same but further determined to move on the down the road toward home.  If you find someone in need of a fellow traveler Dear Reader, please send them my way.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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The Stigma of Strangers ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The first CD I purchased, back when CDs were young and adventurous had a song on it, Aliens and Strangers.  I still listen to the song (link and lyrics offered below), when I need to be reminded that I am a stranger passing through the word.  

Sooner or later we are all strangers somewhere.  I find it both adventurous and lonely.  I love meeting new people and going new places.  I never like being alone and yet it is how I spend much of my time of late.  Still when one travels one faces times of being alone and being a stranger. 


With all the talk of illegal immigration in our world, that form of stranger also often comes to mind.  These aliens and strangers come to us with great need.  How we treat them matters eternally. 

I wish to ponder both the stigma I am meant to carry as a stranger here and the ways in which we are required to treat strangers in our land.  The journey is meant to be that; a journey.  It is required that I remember that I am not here to stay. 

Join me for a bit as I walk the part of the path that reminds me that the road goes ever on and on toward some undiscovered country.  Your companionship and conversation Dear Reader is one of the things that gives me the courage to continue.

Aliens and Strangers – DeGarmo and Key

Sunday morning, and the pews are filled with friends of mine, yeah, friends of mine,
And, for the first time, I look around,
I realize, I realis...

My closest friends are aliens and strangers,
Travelers here, living with danger,
My closest friends are aliens and strangers,
Travelers here, living with danger.

I used to wonder why they act so strange,
Now I know, yeah, now I know,
I heard the preachers say this world we're in is not our home, it's not our home.

My closest friends are aliens and strangers,
Travelers here, living with danger,
My closest friends are aliens and strangers,
Travelers here, living with danger.

They're all pilgrims just passing through, heroes away from their homeland,
And, since I've discovered the truth, I look at my friends and I can't help but think that....

All of my friends, they're aliens,
Just passing through, yeah, they're aliens,
My closest friends, yeah, they're aliens,
My closest friends, oh, they're aliens,
Just passing through, just passing through,
Just passing through, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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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23 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We think of the three fates, the three furies, and even the three stooges.  We like things in threes.  The foundational nature of this seems to come from our tether to a God who presents himself as three persons. 

He chooses to give us things that endure.  Throughout life we can have faith, hope, and love.  We can use these to see us through the light and darkness.  Faith protects us from that which would remove us from the narrow path that is our journey.  Hope shows us the next moment, hill, valley, or horizon.  It is love, however, that fuels it all. 

It is the love of the Father that asks us to have faith.  It is his love that holds out hope to us as a map to home.  It is love that gives us the power to forgive, repent, and give.  It is love that demands all of us all. 

I must use these things.  I must journey the path set before me with all that I am.  The endurance must come from the provision of these three endurances.  It may be that we are intended to only need these things and all else will be provided.  We shall see Dear Reader.  We shall see.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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22 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ The Final Endurance: Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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21 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Hope on the Long Road

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

Pilgrims to the City of God – Michael Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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20 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Faith in the Moment

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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19 October 2017

Second Thoughts – Facebook Famous

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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The Three Endurances ~ The Corinthian Promise

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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18 October 2017

The Three Endurances ~ Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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17 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Closing

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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16 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Control

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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15 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Energy

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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14 October 2017

42~Truths ~ Private Truths

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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13 October 2017

42~Truths ~ It is Never Too Early

Greetings Dear Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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