16 January 2019

All out of Epithets ~ THAT Four-Letter Word


Greetings Dear Reader,

Let us begin with this: what word comes to mind when you think of THAT four-letter word.  I apologize if what came to mind makes you uncomfortable.  You likely did not think of what I had in mind. 

There is a measure of arrogance in what I am going to discuss.  It is also necessary to realize that what I say is a complete one-way street that we both have to travel.  What I mean is that everything I have to say applies to you and I equally.  When I say you I mean me too. 

The word is “Love”.   You see, if you really understand what the Father wants from you, it is love.  He wants you to love him with all that you are.  I have written extensively about this but not quiet as bluntly.  You see it is the second part that is forceful and invasive.

You have to love me.  You must love me even if you dislike me.  You may not just pay lip-service to it.  When you think of me you must bring your thoughts into captivity to the point that every one of them is loving.  As I said, this is something I have to do as well. It is not easy.  It requires forgiveness, sacrifice, and action. 

But wait, there is more.  You have to love everyone with deep, consuming intensity that is selfless and healing.  I may not be passive or half-hearted in my approach.  I may not simply tolerate anyone.  You and I must love each other with everything we are.  Only when we embrace this truth is it possible that we can begin to live it.

If you need a test, here it is.  It is one I use to mitigate my own tendency toward loving others passively.  When was the last time you did something just to show that person you dislike just how much you love him or her?  I meant it. 

But wait, there is more.  You must love me without expecting me to love you back.  I am required to but I may not.  You must love me without any hope or desire that I act in the way you want me to act.  I may remain curmudgeonly, recalcitrant, and irascible.  I may not think or act in the way you deem right or proper.  You still have to love me with all that you are.  I must do so for you as well. 

Until we get this right, we will fail at most other things eventually.  Jesus is clear that all other things are built on this idea.  It is required of us that we be recognized by our love for each other.  It is to be the core of all we think and believe and motivate every action. 

There is no way around this.  If we do not apply it to everyone we fail.  If we do not act it is not real.  That person you claim to love but will not speak to or contact; how do you show your love for him or her?  The guy who irritates you because he is so different from you needs to see an expression of your love for him. 

You may swear at me all you wish concerning this.  You can call me names and hate me if you choose.  I must, no matter how you treat me love you.  I must love you with deep intensity that allows me to walk through your disdain without an unkind thought toward you.  You will be tested if you try this but it is what we must do to follow Christ.

So, here it is.  I love you Dear Reader.  I will do so no matter the cost to me.  You are not required or expected by me to do anything n return.  You must, however, love me without reservation if you have any hope of making the rest of it work.  Questions?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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


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15 January 2019

All out of Epithets ~ Pretty Jewelry


Greetings Dear Reader,

Imagine with me for a moment.  You are invited to someone’s home.  You have been friends for a year and had many good interactions.  This friend invites you over for dinner.  When arriving at the individual’s home, you note that it is a nice clean place with a well-kept yard.  You ring the bell and are greeted by your friend and warmly invited into the home.

As you enter you note that the inside is as well appointed as the outside.  The décor is homey and seems comfortable.  Your host takes your coat and offers you a beverage.  The smell of the meal wafts through the air filling you with anticipation.  You take a seat in the den on a comfortable couch in front of a lovely fireplace.  As you sit, you notice the antique mahogany mantle surrounding the warm blaze.  There above the mantle, hung carefully with pride is a four-foot tall, jewel encrusted, swastika.   

Re-read that if you need to do so.  What is your reaction?  How do you feel about that moment of revelation?  Unless you have a deep vein of hatred running through you, there is nothing that can make that particular symbol beautiful.

Symbols mean something until we water down the meaning and make the symbol more common than its story.  It used to be, when the symbol was new, that whenever you saw someone carrying a cross you knew you were seeing a dead man.  We have turned that symbol of death and then for Christ followers hope into jewelry that is common and complacent.

Jesus requires that we take up the cross and follow him.  He insists that if we are to be effective as his followers, we must die to the things we want that are not part of following him.  Instead we make following more comfortable so that it looks like the rest of the world.  We turn the symbol of death for the sake of life into adornments to call attention to our look and style.

I carry a cross every day.  It is hidden to everyone but me.  It is to remind me who I follow, whose I am, and where I am headed.  I do not always live up to the price of that symbol but I want to be worthy of carrying it.  I want TO carry it well and have others see Jesus not me.  I long to be dead to everything that is not what Christ has for us as his followers.

The cross is where the Father chose to make life possible for all of us.  It cannot be turned into something else without detracting from that message and intent.  I cannot become numb to the fact that I must take up the cross daily if I am to follow well.  I want others to see me as dead to my own wants.  I want to be worthy of that image.  If you want to carry your cross next to mine, you are always welcome 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.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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14 January 2019

Second Thoughts ~ UFO’s and Jesus Part II


Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the questions begged by this issue is that of the spiritual condition of sentient beings from another world.  As I see it, there are very limited choices.  I will address each of them in turn.  I do want to point out that my friend Adam reminded me of the Carl Sagan quote on this matter: “The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space."

In acknowledging that there is ample room for other life in the universe, we are left then to wonder how they interact with God.  The first option is perhaps the simplest but not one those who fear the things we read about the “Greys” will accept.  I will get to the matter of the Greys in a few days. 

The first option I see is that other life may exist in an unfallen state.  They have never rebelled against God in any way.  They are without sin.  As I said, some will find this impossible.  I do not.  I feel that it is entirely possible that there are creations that both have intelligence and choose not to defy their creator. 

This of course makes me wonder if they are being kept from us to protect them from our influence.  A species advanced enough to visit us would need to be benevolent in order to be prevented from just taking what they wished from us at any cost to our environment.

The second possibility is that they have fallen and their redemption is arranged through a means we do not comprehend.  I to not think that Christ has to planet-hop to pay for the sins of multiple planets via multiple deaths.  This does not mean that there is not a way to accomplish redemption for all created beings. I have an outline for some science fiction novels that would address this possibility.

A third possibility that is worth consideration is that there are fallen species (like the angels) that had a one-time choice and are sealed in their choice.  This would address that differences in encounters that are benevolent and then not so kind.  My view on this is different I think in that I do not believe that any creation is irredeemable.  The Father is unwilling that any should perish.

We have talked at length in other areas about the probability math.  If one wishes further reading on this, research the Drake Equation.  I would like it if there were other planets and I would like to visit them.  I do think that they exit and that the Father is likely protecting them from us.  What are your thoughts 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.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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All out of Epithets ~ Missing the Mark


Greetings Dear Reader,

I have loved archery since long before I loved Jesus.  My love for both has helped me understand something that our culture ignores or waters down to the meaningless.  As an archer when I was young, I spent hours firing arrows, improving my aim and technique in order to do a single thing.  I strove to always hit the mark.

As is the case with all efforts of skill, when I began, I failed often.  With every arrow I hoped to hit the black spot at the center of the bulls eye.  I seldom did.  Sometimes I missed the target entirely.  It became easier with practice to the inner rings of the target.  I still rarely hit the smallest of marks; the black dot at the center of the yellow.

The truth of it is that no matter how often I hit that elusive black dot that never moves I have not always hit it.  No matter how good I become at archery it will always be true that I have missed the mark.  I became skilled enough that at one point I could walk arrows across the target from the outside ring to the bulls eye blindfolded.  Still, at that level of skill, it is true that at one point, at many points, I had missed the mark.

The analogy is a simple one.  The literal definition of the word “sin” is to miss the mark.  No matter how often we do things that are good and noble, there are times when we are selfish, lie, or fail to love others.  This is sin.  This is missing the mark.

We all sin.  If we say that we do not then we lie.  To lie is to sin, therefore, we all sin.  We do not like to admit it.   Sometimes we dismiss our accountability for sin but that is another discussion altogether.  Diminishing our recognition of sin does not mitigate our guilt or the debt we owe because of it. 

It is this simple.  If the greatest commands are to love God and to love each other, then we are all guilty of failing at the second and, therefore, failing at the first. Let me say it clearly again: we all sin.  I am not better than anyone else.  I am as guilty as anyone.  We all need pardon for this sin.  This is at the core of our journey back to God. 

The Father showed his love for us in that even when we were sinners, Jesus died for us.  He died to pay the penalty for my sin.  He died to be the satisfaction for all sin.  When we dance around this truth instead of facing it fully, we are in danger of missing the rest of the mark.  We are in danger of being completely off target. 

 Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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13 January 2019

All out of Epithets ~ Opening Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the experiences of dipping my toe back into the waters of corporate America has been remembering that one must say things a certain way.  We are not allowed to put too fine of a point on things.  Further, the truth must be sugar coated.

People are genuinely surprised when you say things in a straightforward way.  Their surprise is greater when you do it with kindness and deference to their needs.   Genuine kindness surprises people.

Sadly, we have done the same thing in our pursuit of Christ.  We have created euphemisms, epithets, and politically correct terms to make the truth less offensive and more palatable for those who are easily offended.  We approach others abut the Gospel on a carpet of eggshells.

Unfortunately, there are things with which we must interact if we are to find the narrow way to following Christ.  I am not advocating hatred or disrespect in any way.  I am saying that there are things we need to say plainly in order to speak the truth clearly.  I must be sure that I speak the truth in love. 

How I say things is as important as what I say.  I have danced around some topics for quite some time and now I need to pay the piper.  It is not that I intend to judge anyone else or declare my own righteousness.  It is that I am accountable for what I say to others.  I have written about these things over the years but in most cases, it has been done so with an eye to not crunching that eggshell carpet.

I can be direct without being mean or harsh.  Put on your heavy shoes and walk with me through a bit of clarity Dear Reader.  The hard deck for this is that I love everyone.  It is also the motivation for this thinking.   The truth of the Gospel is going to be offensive to some.  That does not mean that this truth should be hidden or quelled in the least.  Freedom is found in that truth.

It is also true that some of those who believe as I do may be offended.  Again, I care for your feelings but not as much as I care for the truth.  As is always the case, I value your thoughts and questions.  I am not perfect and constantly learn from your interactions.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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12 January 2019

Second Thoughts ~ UFO’s and Jesus Part I

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that this topic is a bit off the beaten path.  It is also one worth pondering.  It came to a point in my mind when my friend Glenn posted about it.  It is not that I have not thought about it before now.  I have some very clear thoughts on this and will put them down here.  Let me say clearly that all of this is my opinion.  I am not indulging in any conspiracy theories or chasing any crazy groups.  I am considering this as I do all things in the light of my journey with Christ.

I suppose that the first thing I should address is the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.  The foundation of this is that I believe that the Father created and sustains all life.  Before you dismiss me out of hand, I also respect and value science.  I did not say I have all the answers to reconcile the two, but I do believe in intelligent design. 

That said, I think it is arrogant to believe that we are all that the Father has a mind to create.  He did, after all create the angels.  There is nothing in Scripture that disallows the creation of other sentient beings.  Some have tried to make it say this but they have had to twist some verses pretty hard to do so.  Anything else I have heard against it has been an argument from silence which is a logical fallacy. 

The first step, therefore, is to admit the possibility that life on other planets or in other forms may exist.   This, then begs some very serious questions.  I will answer these over the next week as second thoughts.  I will, however, leave you with this for now; if there are other life forms that have visited us, then I hope that they are not judging us by what they see in our science fiction.  We treat them pretty badly in our musings. 

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share this with others.  It is a discussion that leads to an honest examination of our views of creation, and, therefore, good. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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Twenty-One Grams to Carry ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

As I suspected, this ran its route rather quickly.  The truth is such a simple one and can be summed up quite readily.  If you feel there are other things to consider, do let me know please.

We are not a physical being having a spiritual experience but a spiritual being having a physical experience.  We are all on a journey back to God that we too often see as secondary or non-existent.  As with so many things we relegate the important to the optional until we are desperate.

The essence of our existence is contained in our souls.  It is that twenty-one grams that embodies the weight of all that we will one day become as the Father draws all things back to himself.  It is in that wee sprite that we will discover all eternity. 

That part of us is where the love resides that we carry beyond this life.  This is the house of all that is eternal in us.  It is the place that will shed all that is not good if we allow it.  It is our souls that make us all the same no matter how we package them.

So, Dear Reader I think that if we focus on loving every soul no matter how it appears to us it may be easier.  We find fault with the temporary and external.  What we need to love is the soul that is eternal.  It is those that are being sculpted into the likeness of Christ.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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11 January 2019

Twenty-One Grams to Carry ~ All Life


Greetings Dear Reader,

In our culture we have seen pets rise in stature from working companions on farms and other ventures.   They are now treated as family members and we invest much more in their care than we once did.  I am not saying that this is wrong.  There is, however, an important distinction between humans and all other life on the planet.

To be clear, I think that all abuse of animals and failure to care for them is wrong.  With the increase in domestic animals has come an increase in neglect of their care.  What follow has nothing to do with this.  A distinction, however, is necessary.

We are unique in that our souls are different that other creatures.  Animals cannot sin.  We can and do.  We choose to put a barrier between ourselves and God when we do wrong.  No other living creature acts outside of its nature.  When a leopard kills its prey, it is not doing wrong no matter how sweet and innocent the fawn appears.

Humans are the only beings capable of doing evil against each other.  We do wrong and often do not consider the eternal nature of the wrong we do.  It is our souls that are eternal and take on the weight of what we do.  Again, this stresses that we are charged with carrying a very heavy twenty-one grams. 

It is also this unique eternal gossamer that Christ seeks to redeem.  It is that part of us which will migrate to that undiscovered country that can become a beautiful thing.  I know that my only hope of doing that is in faith and following Christ.  It is in turning my heart to love every other soul that I will find peace for my own. 

Learning to be this is only accomplished in working at it each moment.  It is only seen in my determination to love every soul for its intrinsic worth.  The measure of that worth is in understanding that if Jesus sees each soul as worth his life then I must too see every soul as worthy of my love. 

Once I take this view then it is easier to lay aside offenses and have more compassion.  It is a focus worth filtering all my thinking through.  It is a way of life worth the discipline it takes to live it.  I will not ever be perfect in this world.  I can perfect daily my love for other souls which aides me following Christ more closely.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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10 January 2019

Twenty-One Grams to Carry ~ Eggs


Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was younger and tried to suppress my emotions, there were those who described me as an egg.  They saw me as hard on the outside but soft on the inside.  Those who broke through that shell often found the feelings underneath not what they wished. 

The latest use of the egg relative to people is one that I feel does not reach far enough.  There is a meme using eggs to explain race that is quite good. It shows a brown egg and a white egg whole and in their shells.  Then it shows both eggs broken side-by-side to explain that there is no difference on the inside.  I like it.

I feel that it does not go far enough.  Our souls are all the same.  They are unique in that they are singular in creation but they are still all our souls.  They are the eternal part of us that Jesus will sustain, nurture, and died to redeem.  They are the great equalizer and the great delimiter.  The soul is what matters.

This is why that particular twenty-one grams is such a great weight to carry.  It is also fragile.  The heavy and fragile soul is what transcends time eventually.  When we treat others with disdain, we are ignoring the unique nature of human soul.  We cannot carry the soul of another but we can treat it with love and respect.

If there is anyone I treat with disrespect or do not love then I am ultimately disrespecting another soul.  I am placing my disregard on something eternal.  If I remember to see every human this way, it becomes much easier to love others.  I must love them if I am to follow Christ.  Seeing them as equal to me genuinely helps.  It is vital that I live this if I am to follow well. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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09 January 2019

Twenty-One Grams to Carry ~ Opening Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

The concept of twenty-one grams is that of an experiment performed by Duncan MacDougall in the early part of the last century.  His attempt was to prove that the human soul has weight.  Even though most people see the experiment as flawed, it popularized the idea that the soul has a weight of twenty-one grams.

There is also a movie 21 Grams that carries this idea as its subtext.   What I am pondering is the idea that we neglect our souls and in so doing we do not realize the full weight of the burden we bear.  I will not debate the existence of a soul here, though we can discuss it separately if you wish.  I am not sure that I will walk this path for long but I am certain that what I ponder will be important.

Whether you accept the idea of the eternal soul or not, it is worth pondering what it is we carry if it exists.  For the record, I do believe that we have eternal souls that journey through this world for a purpose.  If you are at all familiar with my writing, you know that I see this life as a journey back to God.  It is a journey to find the path of light and life. 

As many try to shake off their faith and the essence of what makes us distinct from all other life here, they also abandon the idea of the soul.  If they do not then they marginalize or homogenize the idea so that it is a god make in their image that they embrace.  I realize that this is a sharply pointed way to approach this but sometimes subtlety hurts clarity.

Proceeding from the assumption that I have a soul, I wish to ponder the full weight of what I carry and what I impact in the lives of others.   With my over-arching theme of refining my ability to love others, I would ease the burden of this very gravid 21 grams if I can for anyone.  I would have us understand that of all the things we carry on the journey, this is the one thing that matters most.

Please walk with me Dear Reader as I try to investigate how to better handle the eternal gossamer threads of that which will go on long after my body has run its course and been rendered to ash.   Let us investigate together that which truly makes us all the same no matter the appearance of the shell.  As always, I value your thoughts and questions.  After all, we are soul mates whether we wish it or not.
  
Wishing you joy in the journey,

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


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08 January 2019

The Crucible of Time ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

Time is the crucible in which we burn.  The purpose of the crucible is to burn away that which does not belong.  It renders what remains pure and clean.  I suppose I could stop with that but you know that I will not.

We are all given the same amount of time each day.  We waste it complaining about things we cannot change or warring about the past.  We sacrifice relationships to selfishness and grudges Instead of valuing the time we have with each other.  We allow our differences to define us in the wrong way. 

I am only given so many moments in each day.  I can rehearse the past in my mind and argue with it silently.  I can bring up things with others to rehash the past or I can love them in the moment no matter what they say or do.  I can choose to invest those same moments in thinking well about how I can make that time something eternal.  The arguments in my head must be turned conversations of love, forgiveness, repentance, and faith.  I must hold them with my fallen nature and with the Father. 

When I am in those moments where others are not following n faith, I must be certain to seek Christ in that moment.  I have to think and act in love.  I must speak out of love and compassion.  I am not going to make real progress unless I focus every grain in the pinch as it possesses me on love for the Father and my fellow travelers. 

This does not mitigate the pain but it doe allow me to find peace in the pain.  It gives me higher ground to on which to travel.  It gives me a constant to follow that is irresistible.  I am aware of what I am without focus on the love and compassion of Jesus.  I understand that I can choose to live in the crucible miserable over the past instead of living in and loving in the moment.  I hope, Dear Reader that you and I can agree to live in each grain of time as those being refined to love.   It will make things much easier for all of us.

As the sands of time fall through the pinch, I leave a footprint in each moment.  I am longing to only leave impressions worth following going forward.   If you want to walk with me you are always welcome.  There is always a place for you with me 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.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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