I was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian

I’m a former Christian. I have had a hard time calling myself an atheist, but for the normal definition of the word, I am. It’s been an interesting journey out of Christianity. One that would take far too long to describe in great detail. But here is the simplest description.

I grew up in the midwest. My hometown has an old nickname. The city of a thousand steeples. Christianity surrounded me. I grew up in a dysfunctioning home. We were poor too.

My parents separated when I was a baby, so on weekends I would visit my dad and he was the one who would take me and my brother to church. The church just so happened to be a Seventh-day Adventist Church. For a person who has spent her life wanting to be accepted and wanting to do things right, the Adventist Church was quite an interesting match. It’s full of rules and regulations. You’ve gotta look and act a certain way to be accepted. You need to do certain things for God to love you. An Adventist would never agree with that, but it’s something that is more subliminal than outright taught. I think most Christians (if not all) have this feeling of wanting to be good to please God. I just think it’s on a different level for Adventists.

So with that feeling of wanting to be accepted, of wanting to do things right, of constantly judging myself, I chose to be a minister. I wanted to serve God. Tell people about him. I was a religion major in undergrad. Even went to the Adventist seminary. I loved my time at the Adventist university. I made a lot of friends that I treasure. The problem was, I was turned off by how evangelism was done. I was turned off by professors who told me that our goal was to tell people about the 3 Angels Message and not take care of the people’s physical needs. I also didn’t like how women in ministry were treated.

Upon graduation I headed overseas to teach English as a second language. That didn’t work out like planned so I came back to America. Disappointed because of many aspects of life at that time I began to look deep inside to figure out who I was and what I believed.

In 2011 I decided it was time to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Before sending a letter to the church asking for my name to be removed from the church books I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it out of bitterness. I didn’t want to be like a little kid who was angry and took their ball and went home. In the end my choice to leave was based on being in integrity with myself. I was no longer living as a Seventh-day Adventist. I didn’t believe a large portion of the beliefs anymore. To stay only left me out of integrity. My integrity is one of the keys to my happiness and success in life.

I have done a lot of personal growth work since then and began to see what was working, not working, and what I’d get to add to how I live life. I am finally the one in charge of my own life. No more depending on a higher power or another human being to live life to the fullest. It is up to me. Since then I went from being a progressive Christian to being a secular humanist; from being unemployed to owning my own business that I love greatly; from being single to being in a committed relationship with an amazing  man. It’s great to finally be alive. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this life.

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You can’t believe everything you read or hear

Did you know that you can’t believe everything you read or hear? Even the stuff that sounds so true because it fits some other thing you know is true. I was reminded of this very recently.

I am passionate about animals. So much so that I’ve made working with animals my career. One area of interest of mine is making sure owners do some important things to keep their pets healthy and safe. I encourage all owners to spay and neuter their dog or cat. I also encourage them to have an ID tag on their animal at all times as well as a microchip. The number of pet owners that don’t do all three of this is ridiculously high.

Growing up, I don’t remember many stray animals in my hometown in Michigan (and it’s a big city compared to many cities). When I moved to the Los Angeles area that changed. I’m sure part of it has to do with the number of people that live in this area is far higher than the number of people who lived in my hometown. Even though my current city is considerably smaller than my hometown, the surrounding area is considerably larger in population than my hometown’s area. Add more people…then the number of stray animals goes up. Hence the over abundance of strays going into area shelters.

Most of the animals that go into shelters were abandoned. Sure, some are lost, and if their owner has them tagged and microchipped, they get home pretty quickly. Others stay a little longer because they aren’t tagged or microchipped (or the info isn’t up to date) so the owner needs to go to animal control to get them. But sadly, a large portion of animals that go into shelters don’t make it out. There are huge exceptions to this. Sadly, in the Los Angeles area there are few exceptions.

A recent story about an animal being brought to a local shelter had a lot of people up in arms when a vet connected with the shelter had to euthanize that dog. The statistics from the shelter are awful. They haven’t even posted their statistics from the last two years. I wasn’t happy when I heard all of this. I got a group of community  members together and we went in front of the city council. I even contacted one of the employees at the shelter.

I ended up having a conversation with that employee and the director. I learned a lot in that phone call. I learned that while those the director and employee are pretty good at making the organization sound good, they also made logical sense. Some of the information I had been given through other people was not correct. And I think the misinformation can be harmful for the animals.

So instead of going into detail with the group I had brought together to help the animals at the area shelter, I decided to push educating the team on what the laws are involved in animal care. If we know the laws we will definitely be on a similar page at the shelter. No more hearsay for me. I will not let the misinformation interfere with making a difference in the lives of the animals that need to be freed.

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Dear Police Officers

Dear Police Officers,

The police forces around this country have their hands full with a lot of things. And a lot of forces are working against the honorable work that they do. The point of this post is not to talk about the things that the police forces have to work through. That would take far too long. I am going to make one point in this post that I believe would greatly help police forces gain respect where they aren’t earning it right now.

I believe that if police forces would remove the bad cops from among their ranks without the public calling them out on their inaction then the respect from the public would increase. Stop looking at all the societal issues that are working against the good work that you do and start looking at yourself. This can be done from a lone officer looking at himself or herself and rooting out the parts that prevent them from wearing the badge with honor and integrity, all the way up to a commissioner of a large police force cracking down on dirty cops and removing them from their jobs. This would even involve police forces communicating with other police forces after they fire someone telling them not to hire the police officer because of XYZ issues.

Don’t continue being like the Catholic Church and their sex abuse cases. Stop shuffling bad cops to different roles. They should not be in their position if they are dirty cops. It is imperative that this change comes from within your ranks. Stop blaming others for the issues you have in your family. Start handling your dirty laundry and your dirty cops and then we can actually hear the issues you believe are causing the problems in this country.

The honor and integrity of the badge is on the line.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen and niece of a police officer.

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#LoveWins

Love

The Constitution is upheld. As Craig Ferguson always said, ‘It’s a great day for America.”

 

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Small city annoyances

I live in a small city in California. I am from a much larger city in Michigan. My hometown actually has a large downtown with many skyscrapers. This little city I live in has a downtown, but it reminds me of a small town in Michigan. Maybe it’s like this because this city is a suburb of Los Angeles and Los Angeles itself has a relatively small downtown compared to other large cities.

I have been in the middle of organizing a pet fair for my city. The small city mentality seems to be that things are done extra slow. Now I understand that things take time. And I can live with things being done slowly if that means they are done well. My biggest frustration with working with the city on this project is the lack of communication from the city with relevant information. I had to hear from someone else that another organization was coming into town to do a vaccination clinic for pets. One would think this is something the city could have told me as soon as I contacted them. Maybe I’m expecting too much from the city? I read recently that a lot of our frustration in life and even anger comes from when we think things SHOULD be done differently. SHOULDS are as bad as ASSUMPTIONS. Especially for me.

communication3

 

I have voiced my dissatisfaction with the lack of communication from the city. I’m not sure it will change anything, though. I heard from one city official that the person I originally talked to is good at getting back to people and getting things done for groups. I heard the absolute opposite from someone else about that person from someone else.

This whole thing makes me realize I get to stay out of city government completely. This includes not publicly backing any specific stance or person in city government, but also not being involved in government. I have a small business and I wouldn’t want someone to not hire me just because I backed someone politicly. The reason I wouldn’t be in city politics is because I don’t usually know what my face is doing. Sometimes I am not aware of what my inside emotions may be doing to my face (“Fix your face” is something I hear often). Politicians are supposed to be like poker players. I may get elected once, but probably not after that. 🙂

So there’s my frustration with city politics and red tape. I will continue to send my thoughts to politicians, small city politicians, too. But that’s probably where it will end for me. I will get my voice out there, I just don’t think I’m the one who is meant to be behind the bull horn for important topics. I’m the one who encourages the leaders to be their greatest. And that’s a pretty good role to play.

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Dogs, 100,000 miles and giving…

The last few weeks I have been busy setting up my personal business and doing focussing my attention on a couple of sites that I post information on. I was excited that I finally got a new customer for my dog walking business. I’ve worked with the two dogs for about a month now. Now to build up the business even more.

I have started an Instagram, Twitter, and Vine account for my business. And I’ve been more consistent in posting on the Facebook page I created awhile ago. Today I posted a little advert in a few groups on Facebook for selling items in my area. I had one person ask about my dog training services. I am currently in training to become a certified dog trainer. It’s a long process. I will need many hours of work before they will certify me. I’ve barely begun. I have a lot to learn. I am glad that people are willing to work with me even though I’m new. I am charging really low prices for my training service because of the level I am at. I am good at learning new things. I also had some people “like” my page. Most of what I post is information for dog owners. I also post pets that are up for adoption. No need to do much sales stuff. The more people who see my other posts, the more likely they’ll find me for taking care of their pets. I am deciding whether to have tshirts made or a car magnet with contact info. I want to get my name out there even more.

The other thing I’ve been focusing is basically on the area of giving. These include 3 sites. The first is more about how I am giving. I will be training next week to be a call center person for The Hotline Project run through Recovering from Religion. I am nervous and excited about it. The thing that scares me is the people who might call in and be jerks. I am glad I can say something like, “I don’t think we can help you here at the hotline.” Click. I don’t like confrontation. It’s never been something I enjoy. To me, debates are all about confrontation, and that was part of studying to be a minister that I didn’t like. THANKFULLY, The Hotline Project has absolutely nothing to do with debating or trying to convince anyone of anything. I love supporting people from where they are at from their own worldview. It’s all a support for people. No telling them to do this or that. We may suggest resources, but it’s nothing about encouraging people to leave their churches. It’s being of support. Being someone who listens and who has resources if requested. Being someone who is a neutral space for someone to speak. It’s a place for people to brainstorm even. To figure out where they want to go from where they are at. I love it.

The other two sites are my Facebook pages. The first is 100,000 Miles For A Cause. I am highlighting people who are running a race for a cause that is close to their heart. A friend did a 50K trail run in honor of her mother and her father. Another person I have featured is riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles in May to raise money for HIV research. And yesterday’s focus was on a man who goes by HP who is climbing Mount Everest right now to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I love that I’ve started to find people to participate. It’s exciting.

The page is my Kindled Flame page . This is the page where I focus on people making a difference. I featured HP on that page as well. I found out that he’s creating Find Your Everest. He said on his fundraising page: “I encourage all of you to find your own Mt. Everest (‪#‎findyoureverest‬); a goal that you are passionate about accomplishing and a mission you believe in supporting. Together, we can do this.” (You can find updates about HP’s climb at his facebook page Tryst With Everest.)

Both of these pages are important to me. There is so much crap that’s been going on in the world. I am using them to remind myself, and anyone who follows, that we as a species aren’t a lost cause. We can turn this all around.

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Seventh-day Adventist University denies fundraising for LGBT org because of policies…

I found out tonight that my alma mater Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist university told the unofficial LGBT student organization (AULL4One) that they could not hold a fundraiser on campus for Project Fierce, an organization that houses LGBT homeless youth. Sadly the university has a policy that, while at least from what I see is backed by the 1st Amendment, doesn’t allow fundraising to be done for organizations that don’t have the same values and mission as the Seventh-day Adventist church or the University.

So here I am reaching out to all of you to ask you to donate to the online fundraiser that ALL4ONE is having. They are over their original goal, but let’s blow this puppy out of the water and show what true humanity looks like. We’ll show the university and the denomination that they are on the wrong side of morality.

Please share if you feel so inclined.

Donate here: https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/aull4one-raising-money-for-project-fierce

News/blog articles on this story:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2015/03/10/christian-universitys-morality-prevents-them-from-helping-lgbtq-homeless-youth/

http://www.andrews.edu/agenda/event/36208

https://sdakinship.org/index.php/easyblog/entry/208-lgbt-youth-homelessness-not-the-time-to-argue.html

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/christian-university-shuts-down-bake-sale-benefitting-homeless-lgbt-youth/

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