Website Update

The last several weeks, I have been debating a change to a self-hosted version of my website. When I started this blog back in March during the first days of the lock down, I decided to use a paid WordPress plan, with the ease of use and the Jetpack social media aspects. A self-hosted plan will give me more control.

I will basically keep the same focus: God, Oregon, and more Christian content. A great debate in Christian circles is: should everything be about Christianity, or is God in the details of a worshiping life as pointed to through secular means? That is a fine line to walk, and requires Holy Spirit discernment for every project.

My plan is to be up and running by early March, when this account will revert back to a free plan. I also plan on complimenting it with a Tumblr account.

Hope to see you there.

Feeds for a New Era

My blog post today may be old-hat to some, but because of the censorship issues today, I am revisiting it.

The technology of RSS feeds some consider to be old-hat, and they have been since the rise of social media. But they have been under the radar, not obsolete like others have proclaimed over the years. Twitter had a feed many years ago.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Netscape created it in 1999 under the different name of RDF Site Summary, and through the years it morphed into the current name.

The format is in XML language, which is a plain text file. Another file associated with RSS is OPML, which is XML’s outline format for exporting the feeds you have created in a feed reader for backup.

This is a screenshot of the XML feed icon from my website. Most icons are orange, but obviously they can be customized.

Feed readers consolidate feeds from websites that use this form of syndication. Blogs, podcasts, emails, websites, and news sites (this is not an exhaustive list) publish the XML files to their sites so that feed readers can pull in articles that are newly published. Most feed readers are free. Another file form of aggregating websites is called Atom. Most feed readers support both.

I will use mine to illustrate. I use the Linux program named QuiteRSS. (I have blogged about other programs, but like this one the best.) It allows you to add folders to organize subject matter. For example, I have folders called Oregon, News, Church, Writing, and Personal. I can update all at once, only certain folders, or certain sites. There is a rudimentary browser so that you can read the feeds on their home website. Or you can open an external browser to read articles. Filters are available to further help sort information. And the articles can be labeled or deleted as needed. I clean mine daily so I am not overwhelmed.

The fall of popularity of RSS, a decentralized form of gathering data for the user, instead traveled to companies centralizing data on us users, was planned? If so, it is time to stake our claims on the World Wide Web and raise the flag of our RSS mailboxes.

Battle Axes and Spiritual Warfare

My mother was a warrior. She was the counselor at a small town high school – the students called her Battle Ax.

It has been a long time ago, so I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but it I think it was junior high school or a year or two later. I was sick – normal flu symptoms – that morning and stayed home from school. She went to work. We lived in a larger community about 15 miles down the highway. All of a sudden, without any warning, I felt extremely dizzy, disoriented, and called her at work, panicking.

She left work immediately, and while driving down the road, was telling the devil where he could get off – literally, no metaphors. And before she got home, I all of a sudden felt refreshed.

It was from her I learned spiritual warfare. I have used it in the seen and unseen realms.

In this same town when I had returned to live as an adult, I attended a church that practiced the gifts of the Spirit. Rumor mill had it that some in town viewed us as a cult. All I know is this church is the only one I attended (plus a home bible study of a friend of my mothers) where I felt the presence of the Lord. It was in that church that I taught high school. And it was in that church that I healed after a divorce.

If the church has failed us, I believe it is in this area: our spiritual authority in Christ. Deception is running rampant today, and discernment coupled with spiritual warfare is key.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

Have a blessed weekend!

Wild West and WIPs

With the revelations of malfeasance in the offing, Big Tech being in the cross-hairs in the days ahead, it is hard for content creators to know where to publish their works. Many that I follow online are doing a tremendous job of keeping afloat in the atmosphere of censorship.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is in the President’s cross-hairs as a national security threat. It would stifle social media companies by making them liable for on-site postings, therefore open to lawsuits. Some say to enforce this by punishing those companies that have censored conservatives. Others want it to be deleted.

And it has been a national security threat. If it were only a few companies censoring, they would most likely be disciplined and that would be the end of it. But the Big Tech companies – the big, bad apples spoiling it for us all – have consorted, pushing out the truth, and bamboozling a large swatch of the population in believing lies. The lies being antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

With unbridled, unrestrained freedom, I see a governmental backlash coming. If the social media companies are held accountable for what they publish, what does that mean for those of us who use the internet for ministry and/or writing? Are we about to reap what we have sown by not using freedom wisely?

If we are called to keep pursing our online writing ministries (and as a small fish in a big pond, I am), then I see a return back to what the internet was in the ‘90s, when I published my first blog. We all had our own home space on world wide web with search engines (like Technorati) and RSS feeds for others to read our content. I do think there is room for social media, but with a proper perspective to our home base.

Wild West days are upon us, it will be a work in progress – a WIP. It will be interesting to see what companies survive and those that don’t.

Those that have callings to produce content, need to get before the Lord and ask for wisdom, if they have not already. He shall surely give it.


Have a blessed weekend!