05 June 2020

God Hates This ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

As I have made clear in this series of posts, there are no humans that I hate.  There is nothing that allows me to hate any human.  I may get mad at you.  I might even try to dislike you.  The difficulty with that is that if I am working a not hating and at actively loving, there is nothing to feed dislike.

There are things that the Father hates.  They are all attitudes and actions that detract from his desire to love others without measure.  The Father insists that we love others through justice, kindness, generosity, mercy, and humility.  All that we do that neglects love in the guise of these things are hated by the Father.  If we cannot trace our actions back to love for the Father, then we must question those actions.

Further, if we find basing our actions in any way on violence, anger, and pride, we are acting in ways God hates.  We can feel angry about injustice.  We are required to work out that anger in love and grace.  People have walked away from following Christ because of this requirement.   There are those who would rather reject Jesus than face that they are living in anger and hatred.

Further still, there are those who justify their anger and hatred in the name of God.  They use the name of Jesus to carry their hatred and rejection of others.  This is the violation of the command never to take the name of God in vanity.  This how we make following Christ not following but idolatry. 

The reason that I must love always and reject all that is unloving is to be able to love the Father properly.  The purpose of becoming unoffendable is so that I can love properly.  In the current rage sweeping our nation, I must be angered by the injustice and deal with it lovingly.  I am required to hate the violence committed by anyone and love the person committing that violence.  The only way to follow Christ in this time is to love everyone. 

So, Dear Reader, I ask you to continue to travel with me.  We must work out a way to show love to everyone without compromising justice, kindness, mercy, and humility.  We have a long way to go.  We must love each other to get there well.  As always, your thoughts on this are precious to 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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04 June 2020

God Hates This ~ Objectification


Greetings Dear Reader,

We hear the word objectification and immediately think of how women are often treated.  It is true that this is a horrid thing and it lends itself to a deeper understanding of how we treat each other.  I think that we have more to learn from this than appears on the surface.

If I examine how Jesus approached this, I can see that it is more serious.  When Jesus talks about immorality regarding women, he makes it clear that it is not simply immoral acts.  It is what goes on in my mind that he cares about.  It is what I think leads to forbidden actions.  Those thoughts are where respect or objectification are born.

When I see people as things, whether it is gender, race, or social status, I look past the human that is there; a human deserving of my love and respect.  I covet or hate something about the person instead of loving the human.  I am creating an idol that replaces the Father as my first fealty.  I am violating the greatest command; to love the Father with all my mind, heart, soul, and strength.

Whenever we objectify another human for any reason, we set aside the Father’s rightful place as our only focus for love.   It is in the place of that devoted love to God that we are able to obey the second command to love all humans regardless of their situation or circumstance.  We focus on what we want or what we reject instead of seeing every human life as sacred and lovable.

The entirety of the human race can be loved by us once we lay aside our objectification of others.  No one is a body part, a color, a gender, or an ideal.  There are differences we can celebrate and respect.  I must always see past the object to the person and love that person.  Whether they are someone who makes me happy (a neighbor) or kneeling on my neck (an enemy), I am supposed to love.  If they hate me for any reason, my obligation is to see past their objectification to the soul within that the Father loves. 

I cannot be perfect Dear Reader.  What I can do is my best to journey home having learned from my errors.  I can choose to capture my thoughts that objectify anyone for any reason and redirect them to love for that person.  It is at the center of this effort that peace is found even when all around me is vicious and violent.  Let us choose to love every human and quiet the thoughts that wish for us to objectify others for any reason.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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03 June 2020

God Hates This ~ Avarice


Greetings Dear Reader,

It bears repeating that even though there are things that the Father hates, he does not hate any human.  This does not mean that he will not sternly deal with those who oppose him.  It does not mean there is no judgment. 

The clear command for those who follow Christ is to be lovingly generous to everyone.  We see its antithesis in our culture today.  We define rich by a much narrower standard than God does.  We do have poor people in our society but most of us have more than we need.  We can all find ways to share better than we do right now.

Instead, we focus on those who are very wealthy and push the burden on them.  It is true that if they are given much, much is expected of them.  Everyone who has great wealth is required by the Father to do what he can to help others in need.  It is not wrong to be wealthy.  It is wrong to feed your wealth instead of feeding hungry humans.

But wait, there is more.  You see, Dear Reader, if I have more than I need, I am obligated to share what I have with others no matter how meager it seems compared to the very wealthy.  My time, materials, and money do not belong to me.  They belong to the Father and are entrusted to me for the purpose of showing love to others.  The Father hates avarice and loves generosity.

If I hope to follow Christ then I must be generous.  I must share what I have and never think of things more important the humans.  Nothing I “own” should be withheld when it is necessary to showing love to others.  Jesus was clear that we are to care for those in need.  The first council of the Apostles in Jerusalem concluded that we must care for the poor. 

The Father hates greed; avarice.   Greed is not limited to the rich.  We all practice at times.  We all are guilty of failing to share when we can.  We do not like to think this way because we want to think better of ourselves.  We feed our pride with greed as well.  We compare our good to that of those who obviously have more than us and think we are generous.  We are not.  We can all do more.  I know that I can and must.  Before I judge the very wealthy for their avarice, I must address the plank of my own greed.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
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02 June 2020

God Hates This ~ Hedges


Greetings Dear Reader,

When we think of hedges in our culture, they are mostly good things.  They serve as fence lines and border markers.  Properly groomed hedges make beautiful yards, sculptures, and mazes.

It is the social, intellectual, and political hedges we make that cause difficulty.  We saw it from the beginning.  When Eve speaks to the serpent about the Tree of Knowledge, she accurately says that they are not to eat from it.  She adds a hedge.  She continues that they are not to touch it or they will die. 

The Pharisees built a hedge around the Law making it burdensome and unbearable for the common Jew.  They used their hedge to rob and control people.  Leaf by leaf they increased their power over the people and corrupted the very Law they said they were protecting.

The church does the same thing.  They add hedges around the freedom we have in Christ.  Whether it is the Health and Wealth gospel or creating rules that are not backed up by the Bible, churches build hedgerows that limit our freedom in Christ.  They add barriers by creating a law or works that are “evidence” of our faith.

One example is when churches demonize any use of alcohol.  An honest reading of the Bible makes it clear that the Father allows us to enjoy alcohol and requires that we not abuse it.  Instead of teaching self-discipline and balance, some churches teach that it is always wrong and even require people to vow not to drink.  This is a hedge around the freedom we have in Christ that weakens us as followers.

The hedges we build are unhealthy.  We wall off something and limit our education and understanding.  The danger is that I am to follow in truth.  I am to have faith based on the Word of God and not the teaching of men.  The Father hates when we turn his freedom into bondage.  He hates when we use him to control others.  This is perhaps the most severe form of taking the Father’s name in vain; taking it for our own purposes.

If we follow only the truth of the Gospel, we will not hate anyone.  We will not build into our faith excuses to reject and wall off others.  Hedges are wrong when they are used to separate others from Christ.  I must follow in faith that the truth is enough.  I must not allow any hedge to come between me and loving others as Christ does.  I must not allow any hedge to be a place of offense for me or use a hedge to offend others.  Walls, Dear Reader, have no place in following Christ, even if they are beautiful hedges.  Their beauty hides a darkness that the Father hates.  That is reason enough to avoid them.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
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01 June 2020

Second Thoughts ~ Power Nine Games


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am impacted by all of this.  I have watched people I love and respect be hurt by the violence that has erupted.  I have already written about my hurt over the death of George Floyd.  Tonight, I am feeling pain over the city I called home for twenty years, Madison, Wisconsin.

Several years ago, when the citizens of Madison felt strongly about the Governor’s actions, they protested peacefully for days.  Over the weekend, I have seen them protest peacefully again and then some people turn to the destruction of businesses that serve the community.  I wish to be clear that the protest, the lawful exercise of legal assembly was handled well by all involved.  It was afterward when a few individuals made their way down State Street damaging 75 businesses.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway explained, "This was not a case of a protest turning violent.  This was a case of a protest successfully concluding peacefully and then a relatively small group of people causing violence and property damage." 

As I watched from my small hamlet in the Georgia mountains, I saw the damage done to a friend’s business.  Power Nine Games is the type of business that communities need.  Dan and Alex Bock provide access to supplies for the gaming community in Madison which is quite large.  I have done thousands of dollars of business with them and consistently see honesty, integrity, and quality in all they do for the community. 

Alex once made time to sit with me and go through my collection offering me a just price and stellar company.  Neither justice nor peace is served by damaging businesses like this one.  It does not help any community to destroy in protest.  I laud them for their response.  They are open and dealing with the damage with integrity. 

I feel the pain of my friends 800 miles away.  I ask that we understand that every act of violence makes things worse.  Nothing justifies destruction and looting.  I hate the violence we witnessed against George Floyd.  He is not honored by the actions of others that are violent and unjust.  His memory and the crimes against him should be the focus and not the rush to violence we see in so many cities.

Just as “every man’s death diminishes me,” every act of destruction and violence against a community diminishes us all.  Those who are angry have cause.  I, however, must also take the time to show love to my friends, who love their community and provide jobs and entertainment for it.

We cannot hope to bring about real peace until we see that all violence violates it.  Dan and Alex, I love you and am thankful for all that you do for Madison.  I will be by to see you both next time I am in town.  Madison, you handled the protest well.  I am saddened that some thought it a license to destroy.

I will do whatever I can to be an instrument for peace in this.  I hope you can walk with me, Dear Reader.  It is not about the property.  It is always about the peace.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
Web Page:  www.aramisthorn.com
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God Hates This ~ Injustice


Greetings Dear Reader,

I suppose that at the time of this writing we think we have a clear understanding of what injustice is.  Whether it is the death of an innocent man or the violence of protestors against innocent business owners, we see injustice and know it.  We may not understand it based on our perspective but the Father hates injustice.

Questions spring to mind when one states this.  They are questions that cannot be answered in this short venue but they are worth pointing out.  If God hates injustice why does he allow it at all?   If God hates injustice why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?  I am going to address these briefly but there are those who will not like the answers. 

The first is this, that God allows injustice because he has given us free will.  We are not automatons forced to love him.  If we choose to act in a way that is unloving, it carries consequences.  Those consequences are not always seen immediately so we doubt them.  The Father will make all things right even if it is not done in our time.

The second is that we make a great assumption when we ask the question of God allowing bad things to happen to good people.  We assume that we are good.  We mean people like us.  The difficulty in this thinking is our standard for comparison.  We compare our good to the evil in the world and presume that we are not so bad.  We learn from God that our very best is filth compared to his holiness.  Our righteousness is nothing and, therefore, we do not deserve good from God. 

The truth is that he gives us great good anyway.  Whatever we have in life that is good is a gift from the Father.  He goes to the extreme in being good to us by allowing the Son to be the payment for our sin.  All he asks of us is that we love him and love each other.  We think we are good but we do not even obey those simple requests.

God does hate the injustice we visit upon each other.  We need to also consider that we are unjust with him.  We judge his motives and mistrust his plans.  We challenge his sovereignty and question his love for us.  If we look at what he has commanded us to do honestly, we find that we are lacking. 

God hates injustice so much that he is working out a way for us to choose to love him so that his justice can be satisfied.  When my brother’s dog bit my niece, he could have put the dog down.  Instead, he found a way to rehome the dog, showing his love for a broken canine and giving justice and protection to his daughter.  The Father does the same for us on a universal scale.  He finds the path to satisfy his justice and his love for us.  He only asks that we love him in return, Dear Reader.  He asks that we use that love to trust his justice.  He promises that there will be complete justice in the end.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
Web Page:  www.aramisthorn.com
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31 May 2020

God Hates This ~ Opening Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am going to begin with a clear statement of the antithesis of my topic.  You know that I focus on the love of Christ for everyone.  Jesus’ best friend, John relates this to us in connection to an explanation of who Christ is.  First John 1:7-12

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

What I want to focus on is that the essence of God is love.  If we are clear that this is true, then it begs a question that I am going to ponder for a few days.  That question is, how do I reconcile God’s hatred with his essence?  There are things that the Father and by equity, Jesus truly hates.  What are those things and how do we reconcile them with the truth that God is love?

Please understand that there will be a Scandalon in this discussion.  The truth of the things that God hates leads us to a stumbling stone and will sometimes offend us.  Remember Dear Reader that I pursue this thinking so that I understand Christ and can follow him more fully.  There is a paradox here that we must embrace to make our way along the path.  It is this, the God of the Universe whose essence is love must hate some things in order to be God; in order to live out the love that is that essence.

I would also be clear, as we endeavor to walk through this, that there are no humans, past, present, or future, that God hates.  We are not ever commanded to hate any humans.  There are actions that God hates and I will consider some of those as we walk through this.  If we are going to hold to the truth that God is love, we must define it in terms that he uses instead of what fits the world we wish we had.

Please ponder these things with me.  I value your thoughts and questions.  I love you, Dear Reader, and our company on this journey enriches it daily.  Feel free to share this 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
Web Page:  www.aramisthorn.com
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30 May 2020

Second Thoughts ~ George Floyd


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am going to say some things here that I need to say.  It may cost me some friends but that is not my goal.  I do not seek to cause any division but rather to recall the things that should unite us.  I am weary of the things that we use to hate each other.  I am dome with the things that hinder love and peace.

My Grandfather was a police officer for the Atlanta Police Department after World War II until he retired in the early 1960s.   He was a good man who lived a good life.  When he would arrest someone after dinner time at the jail, he would bring the person to his home for dinner before taking him to jail.  It did not matter what the crime was or the race of the arrestee.  He would not let someone go to jail hungry.  You can read about this in Sheetrock on the Road.  He hated prejudice and took the unpopular stand for Civil Rights in the Atlanta of the sixties.

From him, I learned that I needed to see beyond a person’s color without ignoring the needs and challenges inherent in growing up as a person of color in the South.  He made me understand as a young boy how vital it was to work to understand how I could love others intelligently.  It wearies me that for all the things we have accomplished, we have not destroyed racism. 

My Grandfather taught me and reminded me often that my obligation to love others had nothing to do with race but with faith.  As the story of George Floyd broke over the last week, I recalled my Grandfather inviting an elderly black man to sit in our box seats with us at a Braves’ game in 1967.  The men sitting behind us joked at my Grandfather’s kindness to each other.  In a moment that marked me forever, he said to them, “You may disrespect me all you wish.  Should you disrespect my guest again, I will have you removed from the stadium.  If you doubt that this will happen, look around you at the police officers here.  They are all my friends.  I trained some of them.  Some owe me their lives.  They will do as I ask without question.”

Our elderly guest was weeping.  You see, he had no idea that a white man would stand against another white man for him.  The three of us enjoyed the game.  On the way home my Grandfather instructed me further.  “You need to pray for those men.  They need the love of the Lord to get the hatred out of their hearts.  You also need to thank the Lord that we had extras seats to share with someone poorer than us.  The most important thing to pray is that you never lose the understanding that we are all in deep need of God’s love and mercy every moment.  Anyone can become like them if he does not remain on guard.”

You see, Dear Reader, the shameful violence that Derek Chauvin committed against George Floyd it outrageous.  The deeper outrage is that we have all allowed a society to exist where Chauvin believed it was allowable to behave the way he did.  We have allowed a culture where his fellow officers did not stop him.  We have allowed a world where every life is not respected, cherished, and precious to us. 

We all know peaceful civil disobedience works.  We all need to demand prejudice and power no longer have a lease in our society.  If the black community feels that they are being treated wrongly, that is enough reason to make sure that we treat them well.  We need to reject the idea that anyone can be treated badly and that society is whole. 

We can demand that our civil servants be what they are supposed to be; men of the city (polis men).  We can make it clear that we will not tolerate the kind of brotherhood that looks the other way regarding any crime and that we will fully support a brotherhood that does whatever it takes to protect and serve every living human.

I have spent time in prayer for George Floyd’s family.  I have wept over this event and the hatred that caused it.  I have prayed for Derek Chauvin as well.  I want him to see his need for the love of Christ in a life that would kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes for any reason.  I know who is guilty of the blood of George Floyd.  It is every human who has allowed prejudice to live in our society whether passively or actively.

Jon Donn made it clear to us that every man’s death diminishes us.  When they call us to a moment of silence out of respect for George Floyd, let us remember that unless we stand strong forever regarding every moment of prejudice, we dishonor this man’s blood.  I will not meet him in this part of the journey.  I will, however, carry him with me as a reminder that every human soul is worthy of my respect, my love, and my kindness.  I may not understand their circumstances, but loving others where are they leads to understanding.  That is what I am supposed to do anyway.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
Web Page:  www.aramisthorn.com
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On Fear ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

Whether it is over what might happen or what might happen again, fear steals so much from us.  It constantly begs for our attention.  It robs us of sleep.  It ruins our waking hours.  Fear lies and steals almost always.

Most of the time it is something we create from ignorance and misinformation.   Fear takes on the guise of what will happen instead of what might happen.  We give it life and lease in ways that hold us back from truly living.  We trade our real life for what we imagine and time is devoured as we are frozen from action.  I submit that the past does not determine who we are but rather our fear that what happened in the past may occur again in the future.  This is what makes us hardhearted, angry, judgmental, bitter, unforgiving, and dismissive. 

In the darkness, when we are alone, we feast on fear as if it was our true delight.  We build entire portions of our lives around what we fear then we decry the years lost to it devouring.  Fear lies and steals.  It has no place in our journey.

If I am going to follow Christ well, there can be no fear.  This is not a statement of bravado or pride.  It is an obligation to humbly count on the love or Christ to destroy my fear as I trust him.  It is internalizing the truths that we claim as Christ-followers.  It is living the belief God will supply all my needs, care for my every hurt, and show me how to live out the love he requires me to have for others.  He does not promise it will be painless or easy.  He promises we will never be alone in the journey.

In this current distress we have all had to deal with our own fear, Dear Reader.  We have all had to realize that our culture is more fragile than we imagined it to be.  My choice must be to walk in love and faith.  My choice must be to leave fear in the rearview.  You are always welcome to journey on with me.  Together, we can use the light and love within us to blaze our way home free from fear.

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Every human story is part of the great story that leads to the Father getting everything back to Good.

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
#aramisthorn
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
Web Page:  www.aramisthorn.com
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