Why I am leaving the Orange Juice blog

This will be my last Orange Juice blog post.  I made this decision on Friday, and related it to our editor, Vern Nelson, via email.  At the time I intended to stay involved behind the scenes, however by the next morning I had changed my plans.

Allow me start what will be a long story, at the beginning.  We rented a few movies on Friday, including the “Book of Eli,” an otherwise forgettable action movie starring Denzel Washington.  In that film, the character named Eli, played by Washington has the last surviving copy of the Bible.  He has carried it for thirty years, in a quest to bring it to a safe haven.  He failed to do so, as it was captured by an evil man, but the movie ends (spoiler alert) with a surprise – Eli had memorized the entire King James version of the Bible.  And the copy that was stolen was written in Braille.  The evil guy was not able to do anything with it.

I went to bed, tossing and turning as I fretted about the lawsuit filed against me and this blog by a number of bloggers from the Liberal OC.  And then I was suddenly in a very deep sleep.  Something took me through a guided tour of my entire life.

The scene in the “Book of Eli” reminded me that, as a young man, I once memorized the entire Book of James, in the King James Version, in order to win a prize at my church.  I think I may have been in the fifth grade at the time.  I relived that moment and so many others as the night wore on.

And as I awoke on Saturday I immediately prayed for forgiveness and left my old life behind, at that very moment.  You see as I relived my life I saw very clearly where I went wrong, and where I allowed my hubris to hurt many people.  I told myself we were making a difference here and perhaps at times we did.  But we also did a lot of things I now regret, and which I am now sorry for.

I want to thank Dan Chmielewski, Claudio Gallegos, Chris Prevatt, and Ryan Trabuco.  Had they not sued me I would not be writing this today, with hope in my heart instead of despair.  I ask that you, our readers, not judge them harshly.  They did what they had to do.  I had it coming.  I see that now.  I deserve whatever punishment I get.  And if that means my family will lose our home, then so be it.  We can start anew.  I understand now how little the material world matters.

Over the past year, things got so bad, as I struggled with the lawsuit, that in recent weeks I even entertained thoughts of taking my own life, as my brother did.  I realize now that this was the fallen one whispering in my ear, as is his wont.  He is always looking for such an opportunity.  And he must have know what God had in store for me.

I  know now that I had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death in order to enter a new life.  I had to be broken and humbled, and I truly was.

Everything that happens to us happens for good reason.  I clearly see that now.  God has a new mission for me.  But to do it I had to go through many dark paths.  I had to emerge into the light.  I had to be born again.  That is not something that just happens.  You have to be led to it and then you have to be willing to accept it.

And so I am leaving the Orange Juice, permanently, as I am leaving politics altogether.  Oh, I will still try to make a difference but now I will do so in the lay ministry.  Now I will serve not this kingdom but rather the one that awaits us all.

I am leaving this blog to Vern.  He is a good man and I know he will keep doing good things with this blog.  He will be the publisher now and he will call all the shots.  I will have no further involvement in this blog once I finish handing it over to him.

I do plan to keep publishing my New Santa Ana blog, but it is a very different blog.  It is a civic blog with lots of news about good things happening in our community.  I allowed that blog to become more political this year but that is at an end.  If we do cover local politics we will do so with kindness in our hearts.

I wish you could all know the peace I now have in my heart.  It is a wonderful feeling after so many months of despair.  If you have been troubled and want to know how to leave your problems behind please do contact me, at artpedroza@gmail.com.  There is hope indeed.

Again, I apologize to all those that I hurt over the years here at the Orange Juice.  I cannot undo those harms.  I can only pray that you will find it in your hearts to forgive me and that you too will find the peace that I now have, in service to Jesus Christ, my savior and yours.

About Art Pedroza