Preparing the Heart against Evil Times
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Preparing the Heart against Evil Times
Copyright © June 13, 2015 Douglas W Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.
If you want to get good at some thing you have to use it daily; do it
repeatedly; study it unconditionally, and serve it against all opposition.
Truth is no less so. There always will be opponents.
Here I will be rambling for a while about things you may think are useless
information. But in the end you will see how it all ties in to the above.
Bear with me, please, as I adumbrate upon the value of learning the Word
of God or any other valuable information before it is no longer available
Here is an example. I hope I am properly expanding upon it.
For the online community there used to be Something called Usenet.
Something with a capital S because it really was Something in it’s day. It
still exists, but it is not what it was. It appears to me that Usenet is
rapidly dying or is for all practical purposes, already dead.
We had a long good run, but more and more it appears the party is over.
Most people still have no idea that there has been from the beginning, an
alternative to the Internet. How many reading this article have ever heard
of Usenet? Fewer still understand that Usenet was the precursor to the
Internet, or that it still exists, and often has been better than the
Internet for many of the things both “do”.
Governments have long known Usenet’s existence, (after all, it was the
Universities that created it using financial grants from our government).
But government at first was not concerned with its potential to grow.
They did not see it as a threat. It was assumed that Usenet would always
remain within the realm of the elite (i.e., government agencies,
bureaucrats and the computer geeks, scientists and educators in the
university system). But as Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park
said, “Life finds a way”. Because vitality is the essence of every living
system, it eventually breaks out of the confines superimposed upon it. The
vital force that was the power behind Usenet was that of a million human
brains from all walks of life and from around the globe all working together.
Usenet and it’s step brother the Internet (which was developed from it)
followed the same pattern of movement beyond the original intent. The
vitality principal inherent in human minds that were increasingly interacting
with it could not contain it. Inevitably, information systems always move out
of their confined spaces and become the “property” of a public that was never
intended to have it.
Internet eventually became the dominant information system simply because it
was more accessible to the public. Usenet for many years was still confined
to the government and educational systems because it was (and still is) tied
to email. Most people "online" did not have a clue to the existence of the
alternative Usenet. (An earlier term for Usenet was in fact Altnet). Usenet
was associated through email with an option that most email users never used
– the news-servers part of nearly every older client-based email program.
(Hence another earlier synonym was Newsnet.) News-servers were an obscure and
impersonal feature of email that the average user could afford to ignore.
(I first discovered the news-servers in my email just simply because I enjoyed
tinkering with the stuff on my computer, and was not afraid of breaking things.)
The Internet rapidly became the better source for general information on any
particular topic. That information was usually enough to satisfy the average
searcher, but it was never a serious source for in-depth knowledge, or original
documents. And too often it was a source for misleading and propagandist nonsense.
It was easy to use; not arcane like email tended to be. Just open your browser,
and away you go.
“Just Google it!”
But Usenet was developing apace with the Internet all along. It was moving away
from the generic placement within standard email. More and more applications
were being developed that were specifically dedicated to Usenet because email
was becoming more visually based, as opposed to mere text. The ability to send
more than just text through email (binary images, videos, pdf files, etc.,) was
incorporated into email. Binary capability as opposed to mere text was becoming
a powerful part of the email news-servers. New dedicated applications that were
specifically designed to work as news servers exploded onto the market. Most of
them were free, and clunky, but eventually some very well designed programs
became Usenet superstars.
Those of us who knew about Usenet/news-servers kept it to ourselves so that the
government would not pay to much attention to us. Government tends to believe
the public is too stupid to catch on to the “evolution” of technology. Usenet
had gone public, but not so public that it was a threat to corporate interests.
Eventually, however, one way or another, word got out that Usenet was the
free-use underground rival for information that could not be found on the
Internet because of over-bearing legal issues. Too many young braggarts let
the cat out of the bag. Usenet started getting paid attention to by governments,
partly because of its stealth nature, but mostly because of the ease it gave to
piracy. Despite the piracy issue, many hardcore Usenetters insisted that if you
find something you really like and regularly use, pay for it.
So now the greatest source of online information is in its' death throes. None
but a few diehards post to it any more. They know that the Usenet community is
now being monitored too closely, and Usenet is becoming too dangerous to use.
Like file-sharing/torrent groups on the Internet, they are too often associated
with copyright and piracy issues.
I would never have put something like this online a few years ago. But now it
really doesn't matter. Everyone who knows what Usenet was knows that Usenet is
dead. That's why no one uses it any more, except for lascivious pornography
wannabees and Ponzi scheme charlatans. If you don't know what it was then, you
missed out on the most productive part of what made Usenet vital. If you do know
what it was, then you understand why I am sorry to see it die.
My favorite news-server for many years was alt.binaries.ebooks.technical.
At one time that was the greatest source of high end technical information on any
subjects you were interested in studying. There were literally hundreds of
thousands of books available to the researcher. If I needed to study a particular
chapter of one of the fourteen volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History I
would still pay around $500 per volume new, and $100 used. Why would I do that if
I could just “borrow” the book, read the chapter and then delete or archive it for
later personal use? (That is about as unethical as borrowing a library book and
photocopying some pages before returning it! I am not illegally buying it or
reselling it; only using it personally. And archival use is still completely
I am pretty sure that vital information never really dies. It just goes further
underground when it becomes verboten by the chill of a government-imposed winter.
No government can ultimately destroy, persecute, or vilify the truth. Eventually,
like a root, the truth flowers again somewhere else, and bears good fruit. The
quest for reality is a perennial flower; it grows from an undying root. The root
just dives deeper underground. (Some would call that the "deep net". We won’t
elaborate on that.) For approximately 1300 years the Bible was a closed book
until the invention of the printing press stirred the Reformation. To paraphrase
the quote used above, “Truth finds a way.”
Keeping information alive and available for future use is what ancient scribes
did before the printing press was invented. It is what Usenet did too. It was a
very effective and dedicated archival system, and was only used by those who
really wanted to preserve documents that might otherwise be lost by putting them
in the hands (and hard drives) of thousands of others.
Many of us would see this as equivalent to hiding the word in our hearts by
learning it well enough so that we can teach it to others after the "SHTF" moment.
(We call those people Preppers. More power to them!)
So what do we do now? Now, before whatever the S stands for that hits the fan?
Preppers prep. Writers (myself) write. Readers and students read and study.
Learn and practice all you can about whatever it is you need to know while you
still have the resources available to you. (That is exactly what the promise of
Usenet was: the potential to learn from vital resources without the interference
of the State). Learn and master it while it is still freely available to you,
always being aware that some day, maybe sooner than you think, the resources will
be taken away from you. Then like the foolish virgins of Jesus' parable, unless you
have applied yourself in advance, you will not have access to the lamp oil when
you most need it.
I grew up through the Cold War sixties and early seventies. I became a self-aware
Christian during that time. I remember how strong the fears of that time were.
Communism would, we feared, destroy the American way of life, and with it, our
freedom to access the most important source of our lives as Christians: the
The loss of the Bible was a very potent fear for most evangelical and
fundamentalist Christians during the Cold War. It was a real fear too, because
the communists' first goal in every nation they subsumed was to suppress
Christian dependency upon the Bible. They either destroyed the Bible outright,
or attempted to discredit it, making it no more than a hollow anachronism of
less enlightened times. My earliest Christian instructors were completely
convinced that we would one day be forbidden the privilege of having a Bible
that we could read at our leisure.
Consequently, it became a matter of necessity, of moral imperative, of haste
before denial of our ability, for those of us who were committed to God, that
we should make a habit of reading the Bible daily. We should read the Bible as
much as we could, and store it in our memories (hearts) before the day when it
was no longer available. Before governments deprived us of it, we should hide
every word of it within our memories, because soon, that would be all we would
still own: that which was hid in our hearts.
Whatever it is that is important to us we ought to return to it daily until it
becomes a part of our lives.
We were the first real Preppers in that sense. We were preparing for a time when
we would no longer have access to the written Word of God by continually reading
that Word and making it a part of our “deep net” in anticipation of a time when
the Word in the deep net of our hearts was all that was left. Between the ages
of twelve and fourteen years old, I think I read my Bible (KJV back then) cover
to cover no less than fifteen times. And that includes all the boring passages
("so and so begat...", etc.). I made a commitment to myself to read at least five
chapters a night. (I still read my Bible on a regular basis, but not always to
that degree. I say that with consternation, because I know I would benefit greatly
by returning to that pattern.)
I got to know my Bible that way. You can't take it away from me now. I know others
who say, "I read the Bible", and they mean once, cursorily, to say they read it.
But they are still Biblically illiterate. They are like those who claim to
understand Shakespeare because they read Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest
in junior high school. They have not read it enough to know it as if it were
something they might some day regret losing, because they did not get its value
before the loss. I have, because I was taught to treasure it against that loss.
I can lose the internet or usenet or books or tapes (we used to hear sermons by
tape). But I will never lose the Word hid in my heart. I have spent my life in a
continual going over and over and over the Word of God, as would a prepper in any
other subject worth learning. Whatever it is you have decided is worth learning
becomes that thing you give your heart and life too. It is the pearl of great price.
It is the treasure hid in a field that you joyfully sell everything else you own to
obtain. It becomes a part of you, so deeply, that you are doing it, eventually, as
a master. You master it so that you may pass it on to the generation after you.
“So perfect do the sum of your study
Your critics are exposed with red faces.” *
Some day they may steal my Bible from me. But they can never steal God's Bible
from my heart.
* Quoted from my own unpublished poetry.
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
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