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The Search for Utopia… Cleansing History

Idealism is a powerful motivator, especially in the young. The desire for a just, even perfect society, is resident in almost all of us. I was brought up with the ideals of the American experiment: truth, justice and the American way. American, the land of the free and the home of the brave, was dedicated to equality of all humanity from our Declaration. How distressing it was to learn that the United States has a sinful past. The litany of its transgressions is long: betrayal of Native American treaties, the banishment of the mostly Christian Cherokee people by Andrew Jackson when gold was discovered on their lands, slavery, and the treatment of coal miners and labor by corporate powers. As I grew up, the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy; the goalless Viet Nam War; and Richard Nixon’s abuse of power, all cemented my disappointment with America’s failures to fulfill its promises, dreams and ideals.

However, I see a strange and unrealistic movement in the radical left today to somehow fix the country by cleansing its history of all its imperfect past. This strange attempt to erase history, rather than to learn from it, is more than idealism. It is more akin to thought control. In the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the powers that be were constantly changing and rewriting history to fit with their present political objectives. If New World was at war with Oceana, then the powers would rewrite the history books to say that the New World had always been at war with Oceana, even if they had been allies the day before.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – 1984

The problem I see with this utopian urge for a perfect, and perfectly cleansed society, is a type of blindness. There is no end to sin and no end to sinfulness. Every person has flaws and all history is compromised by circumstance and inheritance. Yes, Jefferson and Washington had slaves, the South wanted to preserve slavery, Woodrow Wilson instituted segregation in the federal government, and Southern Democrats wanted to preserve segregation in the South in the 1960’s. There has always been a battle in this nation for equality and justice and it has never ended.
Segregation under Woodrow Wilson But the attempt to fix our past by erasing it is confused by a utopian mindset that any nation ever has or ever could be perfect. If we look around the world and at world history, we see that no nation, no civilization, no people have ever been perfect or perfectly just. There has always been use and abuse of power by all peoples of all times. Raping, pillaging, political prisoners, enslavement of people through conquest, impressment, even torture and cruelty, all have been more common than free republics. And even most free republics, like those of Greece and Rome, have relied upon military conquest and slavery.

My point is this: tearing down Confederate monuments and expunging references to, and honor of, the nation’s founders will not make this country a better place. It is destroying our past without a prospect for our future. Acknowledging our past sins and confessing them is a better place to begin to redeem our past in order to construct a better future. Attempts by idealists to create perfect societies have often ended in greater injustices. When Lenin and Stalin took power from the revolutionaries, they ended up murdering hundreds of millions all in the name of ideological purity, including purging the revolution of revolutionaries. Mao murdered 90 million and France instituted a Reign of Terror in an attempt cleanse their history.

What I’m saying is that the hatred of our history and of those with whom we disagree creates a toxic environment prone to totalitarian remedies. It is an intolerant intolerance of opposing views, even to the point of silencing them at any cost rather than to listen to what good ideas they might have or even to find areas where just people might honestly disagree. The inability to accept differences, or allow them, is a recipe for dictatorship. Orwell described this mindset as GroupThink. Everyone must agree or be eliminated.

The practice on many college campuses today is to shut down debate rather than engage it, to forbid people with opposing views from discussing them, and to name call and label as a way of preventing disagreement. And it appears that this tactic is only one sided: the Left declares all conservatives guilty before hearing their case. The Left, not liberal in their manner, are insular and deaf to all but their own echo. This radical approach of self-righteousness is a danger to democracy, freedom and individual liberty. And the greater problem is that their prescription for a new world order has all the earmarks of a tyranny of thought leading to a tyranny of control.

In short, this movement is driven by hate: hate of others, hate of the past, hate of the present. All this without the release valve of forgiveness or repentance. Any new government built on this foundation will end up trying to exterminate anyone who disagrees with them, and because they are so right, they will feel justified in their persecutions. It reminds me of this saying of Jesus, “the time is coming that whoever kills you thinks he is offering a service to God.”

It is so much better to acknowledge one’s sins and confess the sins of the nation, and to seek to live up to one’s ideals, and to recognize that we live in an imperfect and fallen world, with other sinners like ourselves: to realize that perfection in human governments is not possible, and to live with that salted truth of realism. With all our flaws, we are still working towards a more just society, and that unlike other countries, we have freedom to disagree. Any other path will lead to civil war, or tyranny, or both.

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Pair.com Saved My Bacon

In Praise of Pair Hosting

I did something really dumb yesterday. I wiped out 5 years of work on a site I created and maintained.  By mistake, I deleted the WordPress Database upon which the site relied.  All that was left was an empty index page.  My hands started to shake. I had that awful feeling in my stomach. There was no way to rebuild or repair all that work.   In desperation I called tech support at my hosting company, Pair.com. They have always been really helpful, but this one was a doozy.  What they needed was the database name I deleted! :-0    The trouble was, my configure files for WordPress were gone as well.

Fortunately,  I have a premium service for this site with Jetpack and it does offsite backup. But without the proper database to connect to, it cannot reload my backup. However, it has a copy of my wp-config file and I was able to retrieve my database name and host.

Graciously, and patiently, my tech rep at Pair told me he would send a ticket up to restore my database. He said it was more difficult to do for a single database on a shared DB server, so they had to know the name. Normally they backup the entire shared server and would have to pull my single DB out.

The good news is that after about an hour, my site was up and running again with no loss of data.

Thank YOU Pair.com and Thank You  Pair Tech Support.

Great Hosting Services:

Pair Hostiing

pair hosting

pair hosting


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Watch Out! Facebook Cloned Fakes of Friend’s Pages!


This is a warning about a new scam/hack on Facebook: impersonations.

I just got friended by someone who pretended to be my brother-in-law on Facebook. What was weird is that the had my brother’s picture and a list of friends in his friends’ file that I knew or are relatives.  He started a conversation and asked how I was doing, I replied that I was well, and asked how he was doing…. Then he started saying he was doing great, just got money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation… blah blah… I was already suspicious before that because it isn’t usual for my brother to be on FB at all.   Just to confirm, I asked him how is surgery went, and he said fine, but my brother hasn’t had surgery!

Anyway, it is very difficult to report to FB.

I found  this information a bit too late to use:

Impersonation Accounts
How do I report an account for impersonation?
If you have a Facebook account and want to report someone that’s pretending to be you or someone you know:
Go to the profile of the impersonating accountIf you can’t find it, try searching for the name used on the profile or asking your friends if they can send you a link to it.
Click on the cover photo and select Report
Follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation to file a report
If you don’t have a Facebook account and want to report someone that’s pretending to be you or someone you know, please fill out this form.
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How do I report an account or Page that’s pretending to be me or someone else?
Accounts and Pages that impersonate other people aren’t allowed on Facebook. If you see an account that’s pretending to be you, someone you know, or a public figure (example: celebrity, politician), we encourage you to let us know. You can report potentially impersonating accounts to us whether or not you have a Facebook account.
If you want to report an account for impersonation, first determine if you’re reporting a profile or a Page.
If you have a Facebook account and want to report a profile:
Go to the profile of the impersonating accountIf you can’t find it, try searching for the name used on the profile or asking your friends if they can send you a link to it.
Click on the cover photo and select Report
Follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation to file a report

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The Bold Beauty Project of Texas

Through the creative eyes of award-winning photographers, this project celebrates women who define beauty to include their abilities to boldly defy life’s challenges…
challenges which may shape their daily lifestyles, but which can’t override the strength and courage of each project model. That is the real definition of beauty!

6-James_Bonnie_Barbara Ramirez M.jpg
This year, artists and volunteers began shaping the Texas Bold Beauty Project in Wimberley, Texas. The small and scenic Hill Country town had recently been recognized by the Texas Commission On the Arts as a Texas Cultural District. Under sponsorship of the Wimberley Valley Art League, this group began recruiting models, arranging photo shoots, and pursuing exhibition venues. Locations have already been slated, including an opening exhibit and reception at Messina Inn in Wimberley and another at The People’s Gallery in Austin’s City Hall. Invitations to the Governor’s Office and several supportive commissions have been extended. Cecilia Abbott, the First Lady of Texas, committed to attend one of the project’s receptions. Work continues to expand exhibitions across the state, and notice will be posted at this site as they are confirmed. You will not want to miss this important presentation and join in this celebration of bold and beautiful women!

To find out more, to offer support, or to find our schedule of openings, please visit TexasBoldBeauty.com

Website Designed by
Peterson Design Studio

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WARNING: Do not buy from Walmart.com

I just had an eye opening experience with a purchase I made from Walmart online: they don’t accept returns in their stores if (and this is hard to tell from walmart.com) the item is sent or supplied by a third party! Unlike Amazon, which takes total responsibility for purchases through them, Walmart does not.

What happened was I bought a electrical plugin that was supposed to attract and kill mosquitos. It did not work. No insects were attracted. I tried to return it to my local Walmart and the very apologetic service agent said that they can’t take it back. Then he gave me a slip with a phone number of the third party supplier and was told to call them. And also this slip then tells you that return policies for third party suppliers differ from Walmart’s.  I.e., they may not take it back or will expect you to pay for restocking, etc.

On a $13 item, it is not worth it.  I tried to call the third party supplier. Got the answering machine. Left a message with name and phone number, etc.  No one called back after 5 days.   In the end, I went to my credit card company (Citi) and had to file a dispute.

Since my closest Walmart is 25 miles away, this is soured me on using Walmart as a competitor to Amazon, even if the price is lower.

Caveat Emptor!

UPDATE: I just remembered: this is actually the second time I’ve had a problem with Walmart.com in as many orders.  Several months ago I ordered some koi pond algae cleaner for $50.  My name and address were in the shipping receipt.  Inexplicably, the package was sent to somewhere in N. Carolina and I live in Texas!  I tracked the package to the address to which it was sent. I had no relationship to it or any idea who, how, or why it was sent there.  Customer service at Walmart did not know either.  

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Being a Friend to God

 Being a Friend to God

Gary has been preaching on Friendship.    The word friend in the OT and NT is a word that means a covenant relationship. 

2 Ch 20:7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
Jas 2:23  Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
Isaiah 41:8 But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend; 

What is a covenant relationship?    

Marriage is a good example:  you join bank accounts. Your debts become both your debts, your assets also theirs. You live together, you protect each other, and hopefully you would die for each other. 

Covenant relationships mean that you share whatever you have if the other person has need of it. If you are good in publicity, but they are good in finance, your promote their business while they finance yours. You would never let your covenant partner starve while you have food. You would die before you let anyone harm them. 

Jesus gave us an example  of this commitment to one another: 

Jn 15:13–16. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.   No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  

Today I want to talk to you about Lazarus.  Jesus called him a friend: 

After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”” (John 11:11–12, ESV) 

What was Lazarus’ Ministry?  Was he an apostle? A disciple? 

In the scriptures, Lazarus has a very special relationship to Jesus.  He is not like anyone else.  Though he too believed in Jesus and trusted in him, as we all must, Lazarus was not called Jesus’ disciple.  The disciples were those who followed Jesus around from town to town as he went on his ministry.  In the gospels, we watch as the disciples are trained to preach and to teach, and we witness as they follow their master around.  We do not see Lazarus undergoing such training, or following Jesus around.  Nor was Lazarus’ relationship to Jesus like that of the apostles’.  The apostles were also being trained for the power, authority, and leadership of the ministry.  We see Jesus constantly struggling with them–correcting them, teaching them, rebuking them, instructing them, and encouraging them.  He was working with them so that they would be ready for their mission and their purpose once he was gone.  

But Lazarus’ role was like none of these.  Other people had jobs to do with Jesus and for Jesus, but not Lazarus.  He had a special relationship. His relationship with Jesus was both a privilege and an honor.  He was the one whom Jesus loved.  And Jesus did not call him a disciple, but he called Lazarus his friend.

Think what a special relationship Lazarus had with our Lord.  He was Jesus’ friend.  He did not have to go out on missions or preach or anything, instead he was called to stay put.  He had a stationary ministry.  And what was that ministry?    You might say, Lazarus’ ministry was his friendship with Jesus.  Lazarus did not have any other special task to perform.  It was a ministry that was very important to Jesus.  Of all the people whom Jesus served, you might say that Lazarus was the one who served Jesus. 

How important was Lazarus and his friendship to Jesus? Lazarus was someone Jesus needed; someone he didn’t want to live without.  Do you recall when Lazarus died, what was Jesus’ reaction? When Lazarus died, Jesus cried.  It is the only record in the gospels of Jesus crying over a single individual.  Jesus loved him so much that when Lazarus died, Jesus wept.  

This special, covenant relationship existed between Lazarus and Jesus before Jesus began his official ministry. Something of deep love and mutual fellowship must have existed before then in order to have established a covenant between them.  They probably shared meals together, went to services together, played together. Lazarus’ house was a place where Jesus could go and relax. 

Well, Jesus loved Lazarus as one friend loved another.  Think about what it means to have a friend.  When you get tired and worn out, and the pressures of the world get you down; you want someone to talk to; someone who will listen, someone who will share your sorrows, who will understand, and who will just be a friend.  

Lazarus was that kind of friend.  He was the one person to whom Jesus could go when he wanted to get away from it all.  Lazarus’ home was a refuge for Jesus.  When Jesus got tired; when he needed a place of peace and quiet, he knew he could go to Lazarus’ house, and there he knew he would be welcome, anytime, day or night.  When Jesus just wanted to get away from it all, sit back, and kick up his feet, he knew he could go see his friend Lazarus.  And every time Jesus passed through Bethany, he knew he always had a place to stay.  With his good friend Lazarus, he had an open invitation; to him, Lazarus would say, “my home is your home; come and go as you like.”

Martha and Mary were Lazarus’ sisters.   Martha was busy serving Jesus, but wasn’t happy about it. 

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38–42, ESV)

Martha and Mary were Lazarus’ sisters.   Martha was a servant, but Mary was soaking in Jesus’ presence. 

But most of us are not friends to Jesus.  So many times we busy ourselves with the Lord’s work, always doing something for him.  We strive so hard to please him, we are like the disciples; full of good intentions, but a source of endless headaches to the Lord.  We are so busy trying to do great things for him, we never sit back and relax with him.  We are on an endless treadmill of work and service, but we are so busy with our work, we never sit back, kick off our shoes, and just enjoy the presence of our friend, Jesus, our friend who is also our God.  

And what is more, God cannot find a resting place in us.  He cannot find a place where he can sit down and share the welcome of our homes.  Or simply be at peace in the hearth of our hearts.  Like the disciples, we are so busy, we do not take time to listen.  We rush, rush, rush; bustle, bustle, bustle.  I tell you, Jesus would rather have a thousand friends than one disciple.  But because we do not share the home of our heart with him, we give up this special relationship of privileged friend for that of a servant.  

But doesn’t the Gospel say that he no longer calls us servants, but he calls us friends; for a servant does not know his master’s business, but to us he reveals everything? We are supposed to be his friends.  In fact, he wants us to be his friends.  

So, instead of trying so hard to please the Lord, try instead just to be his friend.  Open the doors of your heart, and give him a place where he can feel welcome.  Open up your doors and make room for him.  Give him a place where he can come in and stay.  Give him a place where he can sit back and just enjoy your presence as one friend to another.  Be his friend.  Make him feel at home.  Listen to him.  Let him find a retreat in your heart.  Give him a place where he will not feel rushed or pressured.  Make your heart a refuge, where he can come in and you can find rest from this weary and troubled world.  More than he wants you to get up and endlessly do things for him, he just wants your company and to share your friendship and your love.  He wants someone he can talk to.  As a good friend, be still and listen.  Just sit back and relax with him as he pours out his heart; make him feel welcome and at home.  Be a friend to God.

Open up your hearts. Let Jesus find a resting place in you. It isn’t what you do for God that matters, because it is who you are to God that really matters. True ministry comes out of fellowship with Jesus. It comes out of resting in His presence. Out of that relationship of love effective ministry comes. 

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Free on Kindle for a limited time: Pardoned or Paroled?

Pardoned or Paroled?: Escaping a Prison of Guilt to Find Freedom in Christ,  Kindle Edition
by Jefferis Peterson (Author)
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Do you feel sad, guilty, unworthy, or ashamed? Does it seem that no matter what you do, you can’t live up to God’s standards? Are you always trying to be on your best behavior, but still feel like you aren’t being good enough? If you always have the feeling you are being watched and judged, then you know what it means to be living on parole. God does not want you to live that way. He wants you to know his love. He wants you to feel freedom and joy.


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