Letters to the Editor

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We always appreciate hearing from our readers. In the future, we would like to encourage readers to respond in the comment boxes after the articles. But you may also send us letters via e-mail at christianstandard@christianstandardmedia.com, and through the mail: Christian Standard,  8805 Governor’s Hill Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249. We look forward to reading your comments!

 

Churches Must ‘Stand Up and Speak Out’

Matt Proctor, David A. Fiensy, and Rubel Shelly have written exceptional messages [in the October 2016 edition] on how they believe and I truly hope that many people have  read each one.

Many college presidents, professors, and ministers live in a vacuum.  They have a skewed view of the flock within the church.
Patriotism is not exceptionalism.  I grew up having patriotic themes within the church, the community, and our schools.  Where is that now?  If the church does not speak of these things, who will?  Our schools are embracing multiculturalism and being politically correct, just like our communities.

There is no separation of church and state within the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” by Thomas Jefferson. This means, per David Barton and the Wall Builders (see www.wallbuilders.com), that this was to limit the power of the federal government in regard to religion so that it would ensure that we had freedom of religion within the U.S. I am so tired that the churches feel encroached upon and refuse to teach from the pulpit what is right and wrong in our country.

. . . Just learned that the Henry County Schools in Georgia are now required to remove all Christian symbols from their person, desk, rooms. What else will it take for the churches to stand up and speak out for Christ  in the pulpit for community, politics, and schools. It is past time for the ministers to talk and educate.  Jesus is our focal point and our freedoms are on the line.

—Judy Jarrett

 

‘They Have Decided to Skip the Father’
(posted 6-3-16)
As an admitted 70-year-old, I miss the encouraging traditional church hymns that have been replaced with worshipful type songs. Most of these songs worship Jesus by name and rarely mention God the Father, and offer no encouragement to the struggling Christian. God wants our personal worship way more than corporate worship. The church should seek to disciple and encourage the people so each one will worship God all week. 

While the new worship style is not “Jesus only,” it is “Jesus mostly.” They have decided to skip the Father and just call God Jesus. This is a serious reversal from just 50 years ago. I wonder what God thinks of that? These same churches often skip Sunday school, causing the congregation to stop reading Scripture on their own. I fear the people are becoming “seed sown on rocky soil” when trouble comes.

Let us seek God’s guidance!

—Leon Custer
Greensboro, NC

 

Enjoys Schantz’s Articles
(posted 3-17-15)
I especially appreciated the two articles by Daniel Schantz in the December 2014 issue of CHRISTIAN STANDARD. [Editor’s note: The articles were “What to Give the Person Who Has Everything” and “The Agony and the Honor.”)

I’ve been a fan of Schantz’s writing since I first met him the late 1960s. He was teaching at Central Christian College and I was coaching the basketball team at Manhattan Christian College. His article in the March issue (“To My Brave, Upstanding Trees”) was excellent also.

The new-look STANDARD is better than ever, and I have enjoyed them for more than 50 years.

I preached in Christian churches for more than 35 years, mostly in the Kansas City area.

In October I retired after spending the last 11 years as minister of visitation in a large church in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Keep up the good work.

—Charlie Clayton
Heber Springs, AK

 

 

What About Sex Trafficking?
(posted 1-26-15)
Why was sex trafficking not addressed in the February 2015 issue of CHRISTIAN STANDARD (“The Sex Issue)? Shared Hope International gives Ohio and Indiana grades of C in the area of sex trafficking. Kentucky is given a grade of B. Bobby Jindal’s state of Louisiana has moved from a grade of C in 2011 to an A in 2014. Perhaps, because CHRISTIAN STANDARD has its offices in Cincinnati (where the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana meet), we need to talk with Jindal or the Rapha House Mission on solutions to the problem and ways to assist the victims.

My opinion, from one considered these days as an “ager” Sunday School teacher, I think you missed a golden opportunity. Could this be why “nones” are not attending church . . . because believers don’t really and consistently want to honestly address the social issues of today’s sex-saturated culture?
—Douglas F. Carter
Georgetown, OH

 

‘Increasing Pressure of the Feminist Movement’
(posted 10-2-13)
I am quite sure (and hope) you have received many letters of disappointment regarding the “40 Leaders Under 40” edition of Christian Standard (from July 2013). Now two months later, after further Bible study, research, discussion, and prayer, I feel compelled to write to you for the first time. I strongly disagree with the ever-increasing pressure of the feminist movement creeping—no, boldly infiltrating—into the Restoration, New Testament churches. At what point in time has Standard Publishing accepted women as pastors? For that matter, when did it accept of the title “pastor” for those in ministry? Pastor, a shepherd, is another name for elder. Women are not qualified to be elders. Titus 1:6: “If any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife . . .” (New American Standard Bible, author’s emphasis).

I have heard many so-called “better interpretations” of 1 Timothy 2:12 (“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet”), but the context of the preceding verse, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness” (v. 11), and proceeding verses provide explanation for why this command is given.

The one thing I hear most often when counseling those who want to implement their desires instead of following God’s way is the word BUT. A couple of examples are, “I know, see, and read what it says in the Bible, BUT . . .” and then their opinion overrules God’s Word. Another, “I know the Bible says my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, BUT it is my body, and I’ll do whatever I want to do with it.”

The same BUT argument is also used in the feminist movement! Again I am told, “I can read what 1 Timothy 2:12 says, BUT that doesn’t apply today. Times and society have changed; things are different now.

Well, the apostle Paul uses the word but too! The difference is—his words are by inspiration. The reasoning behind 1 Timothy 2:12 can be found in the three verses that follow (vv. 13-15): “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived,fell into transgression. But women will bepreserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

There is no mistaking the gender, as men do not bear children.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). On this basis of inspired truth, I cannot see where any man or woman has the authority to make changes or insert their opinion.

God wants his instructions followed precisely. I’m reminded of the event where the ark of the Lord was being moved. “Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it,” innocently enough—so it would seem. However Uzzah was not authorized to touch the ark no matter the reason, and “God struck him down” (2 Samuel 6:6, 7). For the same reason, women are not authorized to teach or exercise authority over a man (see 1 Timothy 2:12). Seems very clear to me that God is serious about what he wants and what he will or will not accept. “Let God be true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).

I have confidently used Standard Publishing study material for decades. July’s issue of the Christian Standard causes me to seriously rethink it as truly being a publication “devoted to the restoration of the New Testament.”
—William Hesse Sr.
Cincinnati, OH

 

Leadership Unhappy with Article
(posted 4-30-13)
The leadership at the church  I serve is upset about the “What’s Next?” article by Brian Mavis entitled “Women Preaching”  in the April issue. We are no longer subscribing to the STANDARD and are not putting it in the foyer for people to take home. My personal take is that we need to consider the words of 1 Timothy 2 as more than cultural. However, it saddens me that we no longer take the STANDARD.
Davon Huss

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20 Comments

  1. Seemingly there is a need to revise the following sentence under the heading of “The Seed” the Christ who sums up in himself the covenant people and in whom the Israel of God are blessed with all spiritual blessings,” explains Alexander Ross

    Did the writer intend to write “the Israel of God?”

    Thank you.

  2. I read about every page in the christian standard. Weekly. Last week’s issue ( DOES IT MATTER IF THIS CHRISTIAN COLLEGE STUDENT IS ONE OF ‘US’?) covered a topic that is discussed from both sides fairly often. I learned a lot from the Percentage chart. One of ‘US’ is a topic always on the table. Would it be possible to hear the voices of some of ‘THEM’? I wonder if ‘they’ are absorbing much or little of our heritage. Or if ‘they’ appreciate the whole gospel message, or if ‘they’ take the whole Bible seriously. If I have missed the ‘they’ discussion, I stand corrected.

  3. In regards to Paul S. Williams excellent April `1st article “Does Anybody Really Care/” Yes, I care!, however “Christian Standard” needs to update its approach to addressing the GenX group such as the two part GenX Rising article points out. “Christian Standard” is not currently relevant to my 34 year old son with three boys under 7 and a baby on the way, not relevant to my 31 year old newly married son who provides sound reinforcement for his local church or my 29 year old daughter with two children under three. They were raised in the church, but find our worship style wars, lecture style preaching to be old fashioned and not relevant to them. They are, and in is some cases I am, tech driven. I would much prefer to receive “Christian Standard” as an app on my iPhone or IPa, to be read in short bites as time allows. My children would like to see a relevant tweet with a link to the article that they can read on the go and then post comments, additions and reviews on Facebook, Twitter and provide U-Tube® videos for their small group and friends. As to ink on paper, well let just say the Post Boomer generations will be more interested in relevant articles on line, linked to videos, Facebook and their small groups, than picking up a copy at the front of the church. I believe that posting on your Facebook page, developing a GenX preachers following on twitter, tweeting the current posts from the “Stake” columns and the new monthly columns will continue to bring in more readership, but that readership will be online via blogs, twitter and Facebook, not “ink on Paper”, Readers, like me will continue to use the Ink on Paper paradigm until you move to the online version, then at least I will move too! A online subscription for $5.00 or $10.00 per year is possible if relevant content is provides such as video clips of messages, the ability to respond directly to the author of articles, and post to twitter and Facebook feeds. Take for example, the April 1st article “Why should Christians Care about Bioethics?” now this article would is very relevant to both my oldest son and my daughter (a chemist), yet as I loaded the “Christian Standard” web site this morning, no link was provided to this article or if there is, not easily found. This article is very relevant content to my children and they would read it if I could send them a link to the article, you blogged it, tweeted it and placed relevant content announcements on web links they use. This type of article, life relating issues is very cutting edge and what the next generations want and need, not just continued articles about worship style, women’s roles etc., which they have already moved beyond. They are interested in moral issues, like Same Sex attraction, Bioethics, etc. Provide these type articles, heavily based on scripture, with online links and they will come.

  4. Just read my online version of the Christian Standard dated April 4, 2012. After doing so I felt it necessary to let you know this coming Sunday is Easter. That is a pretty important day for Christians. Might have been nice to see an issue highlighting such. I think I know why you are concerned about your readership dropping. HE is RISEN!!!

  5. Brethren:
    I was a bit upset reading that Christian Standard will resort to a monthly publication beginning in September. I know, the bottom line is finances. Personnally, I have collected, read, and saved most of the copies since 1957. The index has helped me often to refer to what others said on certain subjects. It has been a wealth of material for me. I will miss it immensely.
    In Christ, Bernie Zylstra

  6. Dear Brother Taylor,
    I have known Tim Harlow since he was a “kid.” I have been associated with Christian Standard through 57 lyears of ministry, and have known seveeral of the editors personally (especially Sam Stone).

    I am appalled that Tim wrote, and that the Christian Standard published, “In Matters of Opinion….BEER?” It may be a matter of opinion concerning drinking a beer once in a while, BUT to basically ENDORSE it in a Chrstian magazine is very disappointing! I will NOT keep beer in my refrigerator for when my brother-in-law comes to visit!
    Sincerely disgusted,
    Charles M. Embree, Marshfield, MO

  7. Regarding the article, “In matters of opinion… Beer? by Tim Harlow

    Once again I am reminded how dangerous topical writing and preaching has become among Christians today. Take a few Scriptures put them in a blender and their is no telling what it will taste like in the end. I found this article disturbing and misleading to say the least. I knew this article was headed downhill as soon as the author suggested the world would be a better place if God had created it differently? Is it really God’s fault? The idea of encouraging believers to drink beer so they can be like Jesus is outrageous. If that’s your opinion fine, but don’t try to convince the rest of Christendom your opinion is right. I am disappointed, but not surprised that Christian Standard would publish this kind of article. I can only hope that I pulled this issue from our church lobby before any of our members had a chance to read it. Thank God his mercy endures forever we definitely need it!

  8. I just finished reading the article by Rev Harlow in Illinois and was quite surprised that a man of God finally admitted and preached that social drinking was OK. I had never thought about Jesus eating and drinking. My grand sons have a Sunday School teacher that is a strict non drinker and preaches it to his class. They would certainly enjoy attending your congregation. We used to attend the church of Christ in Paxton , Ill. Maybe we can visit your church sometime when we are out there. Your class meetings must be a hoot
    Harold Newell
    Ligonier, Pa. 15658

  9. I ‘feel’ like I need to respond to my friend and Brother Paul S. William’s latest And So It Goes article “So Much Safer to Think than Feel”. Paul, I ‘feel’ for you being brought up in a Scots-Irish home. Mine, Italian on both sides. And so it goes that accordingly, it was ‘feelings’ that motivated a lot of my childhood discussions and thoughts. Logical? I’m not sure logic was ever given a thought.

    Just think of the arts and music and you see a line of Italians who so wonderfully have given us beauty to see and awe inspiring music to hear down through the ages. Beauty that touches our soul and moves us to – dare I say it? Yes, I dare – ‘Feelings’. Granted there were a few ‘other’ people from ‘other’ nationalities that dabbled with the arts. Where was I, oh yes the arts and feelings. Think of how boring it would be if the arts were just left to logic. Yea, right brained people! Thank you Bob Ross for all your “happy little landscapes”.

    Just think of two New York Italians discussing the latest in politics or religion and you have my earliest recollections of my extended family Christmas and Easter dinner discussions, hands flailing all over the place. I believed my Brother called this type of movement “broad gestures”. Nope, ‘hands flailing’ is a much better explanation. Standing up simultaneously with a crescendo in your voice to make your proposition and pointing menacingly with your index finger at the person you are having a discussion with. Go ahead, just try asking an Italian to talk while sitting on his hands.

    Brother Paul, we found ourselves at opposite ends of this continuum, the older I get the more I understand the need to think more, and even if that means before I speak. However, I still like to ‘feel’ the points I want to make – What can I say, I’m Italian, I’m full of passion!

    And So It Goes. Now, can I take my tongue out of my cheek
    John Sarno

  10. Have we lost our roots?? Since when is the “preacher” …”The Pastor” . What every happen to
    “Where the Bible speaks We speak” The pastors (more than one) are Elders, you know that!! Why because it’s Bible. In the Bible the Preacher is called the Evangelist…remember Paul told Preacher Timothy “to do the work of an Evangelist” II Timothy 4:5. Paul did NOT say do the work of a “Pastor. Our roots are in the word of God not in men’s thinking.

  11. Who benefits from shifting standards? No-one! Who profits from slipping morality? No-one! Who is improved by substituting darkness for light? No-one! When morals are no longer universally embraced, then America will no longer be a moral nation. It will become a amoral nation where there is no longer any recognized standard for morality or decency. There is looming in America something far worse than a fiscal cliff and that is the moral cliff we are fast approaching. Same sex marriages being promoted for the purpose of tax advantages despite abandoning recognized marital standards of sexual normalcy. Homosexual lifestyles being promoted as legitimate alternative lifestyles. Legitimate for who?
    When abhorrent behavior is being promoted as acceptable behavior, then man has become a law unto himself with no regard for divinely set standards. Is this the direction we in America really wish to embrace and promote? What logically follows? The legalization of unborn babies? The legalization of taking older adults lives for the sake of expediency? The legalization of amending the definition of what constitutes a family?
    These changes will not strengthen our nation. These changes will crush our nation under the false premise of enlightenment, when in reality, it is age-old darkness that still wants to triumph. Take care America, the edge to the moral cliff is fast approaching with catastrophic results following. Stand up, speak up, stop it now before it can’t be stopped and we speak about when the opportunity called us to action and we were silent!

  12. Dear CS,
    I have often enjoyed the many articles that have been published by CS. The recent article pertaining to women preachers in the March 2014 issue does not surprise me. The real issue appears to be Christian churches do not have enough REAL MEN to step up & help in the church so many have tried to justify with scripture a reason to get the help needed by stating this is biblical along with some other issues….sad! I know many women that could preach the pants off of many men preachers. It does not mean it’s ok. God put this restriction on women for HIS UNDERSTANDING not ours. Although there are many reasons we do know like Eve being the one who fell 1st & tempted Adam, man is to be the head of the house and lead his family in the ways of TRUTH and NOT BE DECEIVED etc. We must trust HIS WORD and not lean on our understanding!

    I am not going to be the person who says I will not read the CS publication any longer because we need to know when the Church and God’s Word is being “dumbed down”.

    May God help us all grow in His wisdom.
    Brad

  13. I read the article on “Religious People and Scientific Cherry Picking” in the May 2015 issue of Christian Standard. I am not sure I understand what the point of this condensed article is but the overall tone seemed to be religion vs science. I found this disappointing as if the two are mutually exclusive. While it may only be to convey a view of society it emphasized either religion or science as a viewpoint. I would like to offer several sources that offer that the two are not mutually exclusive:

    Scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation
    http://creation.com/creation-scientists

    The not-so-Nobel decision
    http://creation.com/the-not-so-nobel-decision
    Dr Raymond Damadian, the inventor of the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.

    Creation Scientist
    https://answersingenesis.org/creation-scientists/

    Steve

  14. The “Evangelism” issue was great! Regarding numbers being important, I agree that it is encouraging for all to see our churches winning people to Jesus. For many years, the section of the “Christian Standard” I went to first when I got a new issue was the Reports of the Churches where the churches listed baptisms and transfers. That was my go-to encouragement. Sadly, CS stopped printing those. I would love to see CS restart the reports of the churches in their monthly issues. Again, it would be the first place I’d go. Let us rejoice together in the salvation of souls!

    Don Stowell

  15. I applaud Dave Ferguson on an effective literary “hook” with Explode Those Old Scoreboards. However, this is an emotionally charger “trigger” for a numbers person. Delving deeper, he provided welcome relief when the statement is modified to his having concerns for any church that measures only (my emphasis) attendance and offerings and his great list of measures. I like and work with numbers, but there may be problems with some overemphasizing numbers like worship attendance. That is only a starting place.

    Worship attendance is the most common measure and easiest number to obtain, but to me it is primarily a measure of exposure. A church needs both exposure and maturation. Comparisons, trends and relationships of many statistics can help understand maturation or depth. Maybe the bottom line is just turn the lights down on the scoreboard a bit and look into what those numbers can tell you. Then, investigate internally or with professional help. Some churches don’t really want to know the truth and stop measuring even exposure. Too many of these have closed their doors.

    For Mont Mitchell and others who have felt some disappointment from a possible overemphasis on numbers, there may be some encouragements. The first is that exposure is only the beginning of the story. Note the experience of a major mega church that recently collapsed. (Attendance numbers didn’t hold all the answers). The second message is growth or decline may come because of you or in spite of you with influence from any number of other factors. Hopefully there is team compared to individual effort. Lastly, big isn’t always best or maybe even good. For those on the other side of the fence, be careful in your judgments.

    Just “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

    Be Blessed,

    Bob Kitchen

  16. I want to reply to the “Kill For Us?” note in the “Seen and Heard” page in the June 2015 issue of Christian Standard. I realize that you must fit my comments into a very small section on the page. I will try to keep it short.

    In that note former Marine Todd South’s article written for The (New Jersey) Record on February 15, 2015 is reviewed and quoted. I would ask, did Clint Eastwood give us an honest representation of the trigger-pulling moments in “American Sniper”? If he did those moments had to be terrifyingly gut-wrenching.

    I have heard all the comments about Chris Kyle being like John Wayne’s heroic movie characters. I must have seen a different movie. I did not notice a gun slinging wild-west attitude or any Texan haughtiness. I did see a man at war and I believe war is kill or be killed. I have no idea what getting shot at feels like, but I would certainly appreciate a “trained killer” stopping anyone that may be shooting at me.

    The silence at the end of the movie is disturbing because the man died at the hand of one he sought to help and I teared up watching fellow Americans pay tribute to the man as his funeral procession went by. I walked away from the movie a bit weak kneed because it felt like I had been there watching every shot.

    Sincerely,

    James R. King

  17. I propose that we, the Church of a Holy God, admit that we can no longer
    dictate social mores. We can only dictate what happens within our
    fellowships. With that in mind, I propose that we let the lesbians and
    homosexuals be married. In fact, I propose we cease all together
    preforming weddings in our churches and accept the redefinition of what
    we have traditionally called marriage which is already a political
    reality.

    Considering the fact that what is now being called marriage is unholy and
    even abominable, and as such is only a civil contract of some sort, with
    no spiritual meaning. We should cease to participate in it.

    Instead, the church ought to institute a ceremony called “A Blessing on
    Holy Matrimony” with the emphasis on the word Holy. This will sound
    strange to many of you and yet if you have a background in Latin America
    and indeed in much of the world, you will know that for historical
    reasons and in order to centralize documentation, most governments have
    taken the power of marriage from the church and have placed it in the
    hands of civil authorities as a civil contract. A couple must celebrate
    this formal contract in the presence of a judge, or notary or a special
    official. During the course of the ceremony they are read a nice little
    piece about how the couple ought to be responsible and make good homes
    for their children, but there is no spiritual overtone. The couples may
    then, if they wish, choose to go to a congregation to celebrate that
    marriage and to ask the church’s blessings upon it. Thus they
    acknowledge the spiritual nature of their union.

    I contend we can no longer consider stopping gay marriage nor should we
    attempt to, but rather that we should cease to participate in what the
    state has already established and that we should provide a substitute
    cultural equivalent which emphasizes the holy nature of matrimonial
    union. I for one reject the “privilege” of serving as an agent of the
    state. I predict that the “privilege” of serving as an agent of the state
    may one day enslave us, forcing us to participate in things that are
    anti-biblical.

    Let us dedicate our efforts to edifying Holy Unions, and not waste
    energies on standing against the tide.

    William Hoff

  18. I really enjoy reading Christian Standard. I find it relevant and insightful. June’s edition was excellent… except for the title. Shades of Gray? I saw the plumb line and the title and knew what the magazine was going to be talking about, but, frankly, I was embarrassed to put the magazine out on the side table of my living room. I have a 13 year old daughter who knows that Shades of Grey is not suitable reading material. She can understand the Christian Standard title and what it means, but it just seemed like a cheap pandering to something sensational in order to attract readers. I thought the title choice was beneath the sophistication of Christian Standard.

    Sincerely,

    Tina Campbell
    Speedway, IN

  19. The August issue struck me very positively with several items, but the following were special:

    The article on Gary Hawes was encouraging. I was in Detroit at the time he started the campus ministry. As I remember, there were only about 120 Christian churches/churches of Christ in the whole state of Michigan at that time. Few had attendance of more than 200. It was a major undertaking.

    Steve Reeves did a pretty thorough job of covering both the positive and negatives of hiring family. Without the insight he provided, it is dangerous territory. Most advice I have seen is to avoid it. The dynamics of church size is a significant factor.

    Eddie Lowen presented a fair balance in his “Back to the Present” piece. Idealism needs to meet pragmatism fairly. Too many leaders slow or stop learning and their thinking becomes fossilized. I see this in all ages.

    Arron Chambers provided good thoughts about attending Christian college. I’d like to add a couple. That is, a Christian college is a tremendous help in transitioning from a home life to the world and a good place to get oriented to the separation as well as connecting with life partners. My wife and I encouraged at least a year. As a result, six of my seven children have attended three different Christian colleges. Also, four grandchildren have attended. Seven of both groups have married classmates and all are active in their churches. I have also attended four.

    As for perspective on my opinions, I’m an old guy that continues to be a low profile church/parachurch consultant on administrative items and have been a part of leadership in almost a dozen churches and several parachurch groups. I continue very actively today both learning and doing.

    Keep ‘em coming,

    Bob Kitchen

  20. I have read the Christian Standard for over 60 years. Your ‘new’ format with its right on target articles has challenged me with greater insights into effective ministry.
    Your December 2015 issue is the best yet.
    The ARTS/STORY/WORSHIP articles have given me a new vision of that which, at least in part, the church must do to meet the challenges of this postmodern world. I have incorporated these lessons into my Vision and Mission statements preparing for a new church plant in 2016.
    Thank you for your many years of CS service.
    Bob Alexander
    Desert Hot Springs, CA

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