31 August 2009

Building A Hedge

Greetings Dear Readers

I have always loved the classic boxwood hedge. As long as I can remember I have wanted a yard filled with topiary dragons and pirate ships. I realize that these are not practical but the boxwood hedge itself is a wonderful, practical shrubbery.

Boxwood can be used to make a real fence. It looks lovely lining long driveways. It can be grown tall or short and readily lends itself to many shapes and uses. I have wandered through boxwood mazes. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing topiary decorated with Christmas lights or covered with snow. All considered, it may be my very favorite kind of shrub.

It offers ready homes to many kinds of birds and critters. Yes, I said critters. I once spent a summer watching a family of rabbits that had taken up residence under a lovely boxwood hedge in front of a neighbor’s house. Perhaps someday I will get to enjoy some proper boxwood hedges of my own.

There are others ways that hedges can be useful. In ancient times they were used to protect gardens, to hide in, and even to symbolize care and safety. God spoke to Ezekiel concerning looking for a man to “make up a hedge” for him. Hedges are used to symbolize both good and bad things throughout the Old Testament. Much discussion is undertaken concerning ways in which the Pharisees created a hedge around that law that enslaved the people to an empty practice that left behind God’s loving intent for us as his followers.

We must consider carefully the hedges we build into our lives and the ways in which we shape them once they are built. Do we build hedges of love and grace that are inviting or our hedges thorny and dark; built to keep others out and at a safe distance? Do we interpret what God calls for in his word from within a hedge of his love and character? I know that I have built hedges around it that command others to be or do in a certain way so that they are protected from errors I see them about to make. Even though this seems good it is not.

In looking at the way in which we hedge our obedience to God I find that in the very first stories out our race, the hedge practice is vivid and dangerous. Eve is questioned in the garden about what trees are acceptable for food. She responds that except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they may eat of any tree. She then says that she is not even supposed to touch it or she will die. Who told her this?
God never tells them not to touch the tree. He does say not to eat the fruit. Someone, Eve, or Adam, has put into Eve’s mind not to touch the tree. The first account of hedging what God has commanded so that we do not have to depend on his grace and provision to obey him.

Hedges can be very beautiful but also very dangerous. I am examining the hedges I have erected and attempting to uproot the ones that are there for ungracious purposes. I am hoping to remove the unnecessary mazes and sculpt what remains into beautiful inviting art that invites the spirits of others to come out to play.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

27 August 2009

The Compass

Greetings Dear Readers,

I have a Face book page. I often emote things that are going on there and get both humorous and helpful reactions from my friends. One of them, a friend in Chicago whom I do not see often enough and love dearly says things that make me think and are very helpful.

The other day I posted that I was “Watching the compass spin.”

My friend, knowing my love of all things pirate replied with, “Captain Jack Sparrow would tell you that means you need to find someone else to hold the compass ...”

Another friend suggested that I was too close to a strong magnetic field.

I thought about both of these things in light of my attempt to be more Christ like and less in control of things. So I posted the following. “I have handed Christ the compass; Knows that He alone is the loadstone; Is back to waiting and listening.”

My Chicago friend did not miss a beat. He responded with the following:
“Upside: Compass will now point correctly. Downside: It may be a while before He decides to tell you which way the compass is pointing.”

I laughed and cried at the same time. Thank you dear friend for putting perspective to my doldrums. As with all things:

The Wind will be up when is should be
I must only trim them to the Son
He has the compass and will give me a heading when it is time
It is a joy to know that Christ is willing to be both my journey and my destination.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

25 August 2009

I Am Not Job

Greetings Dear Readers,

I want to dwell for a moment on the biblical character Job. I have been thinking of late how much I feel like him. In the last six weeks I have lost both my wife and my employment (interesting that the word "job" fits better here but does not fit). I am currently ill and most of my life is in upheaval.

But I am not Job. My children are all alive and well. I have not lost everything. Oh and most importantly, I am not the righteous man that Job was. God points out that there is no one like him in all the world. I have a long way to go before I can even consider that I could be a righteous man.

For whatever reason, events in my life are frightening right now. In the midst of it I have retained much wealth. My children love me. I have friends who care about me. My church is supportive and happens to be teaching about total dependence upon Christ. I have the ability to work and the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

I do not know what Christ has in my future, but I will face it in faith. If you care to pray for me, then pray this:

I would like to be nothing but what Christ wishes me to be
I would like to find peace with everyone in my life and treat them as Christ would
I would like to make my living doing the things I love

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

18 August 2009

Under a Cheshire Moon

Greetings Dear Readers,

I do not know if it is obvious or not but I am a romantic. The other night the moon was in a thin crescent that hung perfectly over the field beside our home. I say the other night but truly it was the morning; around 3 AM. I had awakened from a fitful sleep earlier than usual and was pondering the road that runs by my house when the moon broke from behind some clouds.

My mind immediately played back the conversations with Avalon over the years. She would lovingly point out what we called a Cheshire Moon and sometimes show me that Venus was again chasing the fading smile. Sadness griped me as for another moment I missed the wife I love. I began to turn away, pushing away the memories and the pain. Then a thought intruded both offensive and true.

I thought that seeing the crescent moon as both lovely and romantic was not a bad thing. As much as Avalon’s departure has hurt me, there can be peace in the pain. The moon is lovely all on its own. There is something magical about the quality of light and the winking Venus chasing after it. I am still a romantic.

What I must do on the road to healing is not reject things that, though still painful, are beautiful in their own right. For a while the memories will be barbed and hold a little venom. This does not mean that in the truth of standing alone with the Cheshire Moon there is no beauty. So, as I must do with all things, I give my romantic heart to the God who loves me more than I can ever imagine.

Under the smile of that fading crescent I see that my heart can heal. I have gained benefit from being someone who can be in love with someone who vows to spend their life with you and then rejects you. It lets me see a little clearer just how much the God I reject every time I disobey him loves me. In the divine romance that is God’s reclamation of man to himself, he can be found, infinitely loving us and sometimes, like Venus winking at us just above the Cheshire Moon.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

10 August 2009

A Leap of Hope

Greetings Dear Readers,

When Wednesday gets here I will have been divorced for two weeks. If you are reading my blog for the first time you should know this was against my will and out of my control. Avalon chose this. That is not where I am headed at this time but rather I am looking up the road.

I am looking up the road about two steps. That is all I can afford to look. That may be more than I am supposed to look. The pastor at church I first spoke with told me something at the beginning of this ordeal. He cautioned me to only seek Christ in my journey through this wilderness. He told me to only be who I should become in Christ and not try to fix anything.

I have been doing this and as I have done so Christ reveals my sin, my failures, my areas of falleness more every day. I see over and over new ways in which to give myself to Christ and the realization of his dream for my life. In perfect serendipitous harmony, my church has been walking through the Sermon on the Mount.

I am seeing some of the things Christ says in a light that leaves no room for me to think of myself as lacking anything. Each of the hurts, grudges, and losses I carry are not mine to keep. Each of the worries and apprehensions I use to plan my future are not part of the future I should be planning.

If I carry the hurts of those who wrong me, then I do not embrace the nature of Christ’s grace and forgiveness. If I think of anyone less than me then I do not see the nature of Christ’s love for us. If I abandon anyone then I do not count them as Christ’s and see him as Christ sees him. If I worry about money or provision for my needs then I am not focusing on the steps Christ is trying to point out to me.

I have a long way to go. I have much to learn and become to be what I would be for Christ. I will probably see few Milestones not until they are upon me. I cannot afford to look up from the footsteps I am to follow. Following Christ is not like driving. In driving you look as far down the road as possible.

Following Christ is like crossing a river on some rocks. I need to look each stone as I step on it for the clear footprint of the one who goes before me. As he lifts his foot from the stone I must put mine there. So in my leaps of faith I also take leaps of hope because my guide knows the way. The big truth, however, is this; they seem like leaps to us but what they really are, are baby steps of following the one who “holds out a cross and a crown.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

03 August 2009

Schizophrenia Unbound

Greetings Dear Readers,

Apparently there is not an end to the madness that grips our culture. We embrace auto racing in a national frenzy whilst warring over the price of oil and the environmental effects of exhaust. We insist on health care and food for everyone when we are quickly becoming the most obese nation on the planet, eating more than we need and promising a health crisis to the ascending generation.

This morning, however, a contradiction of values became so apparent that it nearly drove me over the edge. Reported on our local news this morning is a story of a man convicted for attempting to dig up and have sex with a corpse. I get that this is heinous. I understand that it is gross. It is wrong. I have no problem with that this is a criminal act. What does bother me is the specific crime for which he was convicted.

There were vandalism and trespassing crimes that make sense to me. It should be a crime to do anything with a corpse. What is ringing my “wait a minute” bell is that he was convicted of a third degree sexual assault. This means that a dead, embalmed, and buried body has rights.

One of the tests for human rights is viability. I have yet to meet a viable corpse. Until the Zombie Apocalypse comes I am just fine with denying human rights to dead people. Protect corpses. Treat them with respect and honor but please do not put us on a path of giving them rights.

We know that in some places they get to vote. Some people still collect social security and pick up their narcotic prescriptions long after they are post-human. The problems associated with heading down this slippery slope are obvious and serious. I will try to enumerate them in a logical manner

First and foremost on the post-human end of things is the obvious contradiction that the dead are no longer human. Human remains, post human, or former human works for me but not a human with rights. When we get to the Zombie Apocalypse, if there is record of them having rights of any kind they will demand the vote and we will end up with an undead president. NOT GOOD.

Second and just a crazy is the fact that the undead seem to have little or no regard for the living. They are not a protected species and our literature proves that any time they show up in numbers we tend to hunt them. It is a real problem for me that we are setting president to protect a human predator. You see, they see us as food. I am sure some of you out there are thinking that we should then make them a protected species. Sure let’s make human eating zombies have full rights alongside their favorite snack food. BAD IDEA

But the thing that scares me most. The thing that assures me that as a nation we have turned off of Sanity Street and are heading full speed down the Psychopathic Parkway is that we will defend the human rights of someone whose life is over and rip babies from the womb whose life is just beginning.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn