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30th Anniversary of Darkness to Light
By Gary F. Zeolla
July 2021 marks the 30th Anniversary of Darkness to Light Christian ministry. I have written articles for previous five-year anniversaries, starting with the 15th Anniversary. These are listed and linked to on the Information About Darkness to Light and Its Director page, under “Abut this Ministry.” Here, I want to update what has happened since the Silver Anniversary article. But I will start by backing up to the beginning for just a bit.
I began Darkness to Light ministry in July 1991 with the publication of a hardcopy newsletter. In July 1996, I first set up a website for the ministry as a user’s site with my ISP. Then I moved it to its own domain of www.DTL.org a couple of years later.
Since then, I have added three additional websites: my fitness website on July 12, 2003 (Fitness for One and All), my personal website on May 5, 2009 (Zeolla.org), and my politics website on January 1, 2017 (Biblical and Constitutional Politics).
But then a couple of years ago I needed to add SSL security to my websites. That is indicated by the “s” after “http” in the URL of a website. It was needed, as Google was going to stop indexing sites without SSL. But it was very time-consuming to do so, as I needed to update the html code on every page of every site.
It was also rather expensive, especially since there would be a separate charge for each domain. That is when I decided to combine all of my sites under one domain. I had been thinking of doing so for a while to make things less complicated, and now it made even more sense to do so in order to save the extra expense of paying for hosting more than one domain with SSL security.
The domain for my personal website is www.Zeolla.org, so I moved the other three sites as subdomains under that domain. Thus, the URL for Darkness to Light (DTL) is now www.Zeolla.org/Chrisitan. The URL for Fitness for One and All (FOA) is now https://www.Zeolla.org/Fitness, and the URL for Biblical and Constitutional Politics (BCP) is https://www.Zeolla.org/Politics.
There are redirects for DTL and FOA from the old URLs to the new ones. These will remain in place for at least a couple of more years. The BCP website was originally set up as a subdomain under my personal website, so it did not need to be moved.
I’m not sure of the exact number of webpages on each website. But my best guess is there are well over 1,500 pages on DTL, over 500 pages on FOA, about 150 pages on BCP, and a handful of pages on Zeolla.org. Altogether, there are probably 2,000-2,500 pages. That’s all in the past 25 years.
I stopped the hardcopy newsletter in the late 1990s for health reasons. But then I began this email newsletter in 2003. I also began a newsletter for my fitness website at the same time. I have continued to publish both newsletters to this time. I didn’t bother to start a newsletter for my politics site, as for it, I post items regularly and announce them on social media. I also announce about new issues of the newsletters and anything else new on the other three sites on social media.
A couple of years ago, I had to change the email service for the newsletters from Mail Chimp to Send in Blue. Mail Chimp changed their pricing structure, so that it was no longer viable for my limited circulation newsletters. Plus, it went woke, refusing to send out newsletters that it considered to be offensive. Not wanting to risk having my newsletters being so censured, I switched to Send in Blue, which has a better pricing structure and no such censure policy.
Another difference is Mail Chimp included a link in my newsletters to back issues of the newsletter as stored on its system. Send in Blue has no such service. But no matter, as I of course had copies of all of the back issues for both my Christian and fitness newsletters. Therefore, I posted all of them of the respective websites.
Back issues for this newsletter are listed and linked to at Back Issues of Darkness to Light Christian Newsletter. Once I post this issue, there will be 135 back issues available. The back issues of my FitTips for One and All newsletter are listed and linked to at: Back Issues of FitTips for One and All Newsletter. There are 136 back issues of it available, making a total of 271 issues I have sent out this century.
Posting these back issues on my websites rather than them being hosted on my email service’s site worked out better, as this way, all of these back issues are readily available for visitors to either of the websites. In addition, a link to these pages is on the subscription pages for each of these newsletters. I include a link to that subscription page whenever I post about a new newsletter on social media, to which I now turn.
For many years, I have had an account on Facebook and Twitter. My handle on both is GZeolla. More recently, I began to participate on Gab and Parler as well, both with the same handle.
I am sure the reader has heard of the first two of these sites, but you might not have heard of the other two. That is because they are newer sites that were developed by conservatives in reaction to the other two sites “shadow banning” conservatives.
I might have been so shadow banned of late, though I am not sure. I just know there have been many times I have posted comments on Facebook or Twitter that I thought would bring a significant reaction, but nothing, no response whatsoever. But even if I haven’t already, I am sure to be so in the future, as those sites crack down on conservative speech. That is why I set up accounts on Parler and Gab, to be sure I have a place to voice my opinions. These sites promise not to censor people’s comments, beyond what is required by law.
Note also, I rarely post to Twitter due to its 280-character limit. Even Parler has a 1,000-character limit, which I also find a bit restrictive. If the reader hasn’t figured it out by now, given the length of many of my articles and books, I’m not good at being concise in my writings. However, by being so exhaustive, I thoroughly cover every topic I address, including presupposing possible objections to my position with responses thereto. And if the reader peruses all of my writings on a given subject, you will be well-versed on the topic at hand.
That said, on these social pages, I post about new items being posted on my four websites and whenever I send out a new issue of either of my newsletters. I also post personal updates, such as about my powerlifting.
I also post links to articles from Trib Live, with comments thereupon. Trib Live is the website for three Pittsburgh, PA area newspapers, including my hometown newspaper. I read their website every day. Trib Live is left leaning in its perspective, so my comments are often critical of its coverage.
But note, I ignore all replies to my comments that utilize “foul” or indecent language. That means, if you reply to one of my posts using such language, I will not even read your comments, let alone respond to them. I also will not respond to ad hominem attacks.
Simply put, if you cannot respond to the substance of my post in a civil manner, without resorting to name-calling, personal attacks, or foul language, you will not get a response. And if my post is a link to one of my articles or books, then please read that item before responding. If you do not, I will just refer you back to it, and that will be that. And that mention of comments and my books leads to the next section.
In preparation for this 30th anniversary of DTL, I gathered together all of my books to take pictures of me with them. More on that in a moment. But here, I will say, altogether, I have written a total of 40 books this century. That includes 30 Christian books, four fitness books, and six politics books.
I’m not sure what the total page count would be, but figuring an average of 300 pages per book, that would be about 12,000 pages total. Add that to my up to 2,500 webpages and 271 newsletter issues, and that is a lot of writing.
Through the years, I have received many positive comments about these writings. For instance, just this past week, I received two emails that are representative of many others I have received over the years.
The first was an email from someone who had been inspired by my books on nutrition and the Bible, along with a scary diagnosis from his doctor, to lose 30 pounds via a change in diet in accordance with the recommendations in my books and by starting to exercise again for the first time in many years. He also said my prowess in powerlifting at my age (I’m 60) contributed to him deciding to change his lifestyle in order to enter a powerlifting contest himself someday.
The other email was thanking me for my Bible versions book, saying it helped him work though that confusing issue. He said he would be recommending the book to others. Again, these two emails are indicative of many, many others I have reached over the years.
Then there are the many reviews of my books on Amazon. Most all of them are positive, 4-5 stars, with most all of my books averaging 4-5 stars. Of course, not all of the comments or reviews have been positive. But the positive ones far outnumber the negative ones. And the negative ones are often based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the book, with the commenter or reviewing very obviously having not even read the book.
I plan on following up this issue of this newsletter with an article in the next issue responding to these negative reviews of my Christian books on Amazon. I hope to write a similar article for my FitTips newsletter later this year responding to negative reviews of my fitness books on Amazon.
But here, I want to say that by far, the book with the most reviews is the first edition of my Scripture Workbook. That is followed by my translation of the New Testament. That reflects the fact that those two books have always been my best-selling books. They are also older books, both having originally being written in the early 00s.
Meanwhile, my more recent Christen books have few if any reviews. That reflects that they have barley sold at all. I express my frustration in that regard at the end of my article about my eight most recent Christian books in my article 3½ Years of Extensive Writing.
Three of my books mentioned in that article are the book The LORD Has It Under Control and the two volume set God’s Sex Plan. The subtitles to those books are: What the Bible Teaches About the Sovereignty of God, What the Old Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality, and What the New Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality, respectively.
Those similar substiles are due to those three books being the first of a planned series of “What the Bible Teaches About” books. I indicated the list of books in that planned series in an appendix in those books titled “Proposed Books.” That list was also posted on the DTL website. However, since those books hardly sold at all, I saw no reason to continue that series, and removed that page from the website. If you read those books, ignore that appendix.
With my most recent Christian books not selling well at all, that is when I switched to writing books on politics. My first such book was Tearing the USA Apart, written in the fall of 2018. Since then, I have written five additional politics books and am currently working on two more.
To be clear, my switch from writing about the Christian faith to politics is not because I think the latter is somehow more important than the former. It of course is not. I would have preferred to have continued to write Christian books, but with the sales of my more recent Christian books being so dismal, I had no choice but to try something else. I have bills to pay, just like everyone else. Moreover, it is hard to pour my heart and soul into writing a book, and then for hardly anyone to read it.
However, I do try to quote at least one Bible passage in each of my politics books, even present the Gospel if I can work it in. That is often easy to do, as the Bible has much to say about issues relevant to politics. As such, I am still spreading Bible truth, even when I am not writing specifically about Christians issues.
Sales of my six politics books have been a little better than my most recent Christian books, though still nowhere near as much as I would like, both for financial reasons and for the satisfaction of knowing people are being benefited by my writings.
As mentioned, in preparation for this 30th anniversary of DTL, I gathered together all of my books. I then had my dad take pictures of me with the books, with all of them together and with just each of the types of books I have written, Christian, fitness, and politics.
I have taken such pictures before. But this time, I had so many books, I could not lay them all out flat on my kitchen table like I had previously. I had to line them up like on a bookshelf and use two of my powerlifting trophies as bookends. But even at that, the books barely fit across the widest part of the round kitchen table. If I write any more books, I will need to line them up on the floor for such a picture.
That in fact is what I had to do when I also had my dad take pictures of me with all of my powerlifting trophies on that same day.
Gathering together all of my books and all of my trophies from where I have them scattered around my home was quite a chore. It took about an hour and a half to gather them together, set them up for the various pictures, then put them all back. And I was exhausted afterwards.
In any case, the various pictures of me with my books are posted at Me and My Books: 2000-2021 on my personal website. The various pictures of me with my trophies are posted at Me and My Powerlifting Trophies 2003-2021 on my fitness website.
Also in preparation for this 30th anniversary of DTL, I updated the autobiography posted on my personal website. I updated all of the information and added new pictures and a new section at the end on “My Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Schedule” which explains my health situation and what my life is like in general.
Finally, I added new pictures on the home pages of all four of my websites.
As can be seen. I’ve gotten a lot of work done over the past thirty years, continuing over the past five years. But I’ve been slowed down the past few months due to a rotator cuff injury. Details on it can be found in the article Rotator Cuff Injury, posted on my fitness website.
The rotator cuff injury is just the most recent of many health problems I have dealt with over these many years. These are listed near the end of my autobiography. But I thank the LORD that He has enabled me to accomplish this incredible amount of writing despite the problems. Here’s praying I am able to continue to add this volume of work over the next five year
The above article first appeared in
Darkness to Light newsletter.
It was posted on this site July 1, 2021.
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