On Falling Away From Catholicism and How Female-Led Spirituality Saved My Life

I grew up as a Bible-loving Roman Catholic African-American boy. This ultimately means that every Sunday, for 90 minutes, I stared into the despondent eyes of a black man on a brown cross who had willfully committed his soul to the hope that the lives of everyone who ever lived forever would be without sin. Thus, religion became everything to me, as I wanted to live in accordance with the Bible, and be akin to Jesus Christ in all that I did.

Now as a 38-year old black man, I'm at the point where I see a world where religion is playing a key role in the order of things and I don't like religion anymore. In the Judeo-Christian white male-dominated cash-grabbing idiocracy that using religion "prostituted" for totalitarian power and ultimate influence has allowed the world to evolve into, I don't have a place. However, in looking longer and deeper into the universe, it's in embracing honest, female, (sadly) marginalized, and warrior-driven spirituality where I find myself kneeling and discovering maybe where salvation from a world gone askew exists.

I had been on the fence regarding my relationship with religion and spirituality since college. Ever the good Catholic boy, attending private and Roman Catholic Providence College made all of the sense in the world. However, that was until the day that I simultaneously realized that as an African-American I was three percent of the 3,000 person school's student body, and that in my Development of Western Civilization class we were learning about the Crusades.

These notions aren't dissimilar when you realize that there's a very uncomfortable narrative forming that says that Catholics like brown and black people as long as they bow and break to the will of a world where white Jesus is salvation, and all other notions of spirituality are pagan rituals akin to bowing before golden calves. Well, having grown up staring into the eyes of despondent black Jesus, and being in a Roman Catholic place where I was woefully underrepresented, this didn't sit well. At that point I stopped reading at mass and volunteering for Campus Ministry, instead deciding that me and religion needed a break.

I have been largely disassociated from Catholicism for the better part of 20 years. In that time, I've fallen out of favor with tithing, regularly attending mass, and all religion-based, yet commerce-perverted holidays. That means that I pretty solidly hate Easter and Christmas, which means that it's caused me to largely miss out on spending holidays with friends and family.

When I was 18, I had a lot of friends and a lot of family. 20 years of not buying presents on principle and being unwilling to "gather around the table to pray to a God who convinced people to kill my ancestors, and who tells people that it's okay to worship opulence in all things" really isn't my cup of tea. So, that's left me very much alone, and very much searching for family, friendship, community, and in many ways, my best self (as defined via family, friendship, and community).

However, I was still pretty good with occasionally talking to God. Like, I always knew that no matter what, God was still good with me. Like, no matter what was happening, I always knew that the higher power that controlled this whole thing could give me a minute and assure me that everything was okay.

That was until January 21, 2017.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity."Yes, that's what Donald Trump said in his Inaugural Address, and that's when I knew religion as I knew it and myself were done.

Donald Trump is a carny showman playing the role of "leader of the free world" on television and in social media. I'm not even mad at that, as it's more a knee-jerk reaction to the rapid digital and mobile evolution of society stripping away our one-time desire for a positive relationship with both humankind and what we once knew as "common sense." In this being the case, he's probably our most ideal leader into an era of cultural dissolution.

Rather, I'm mad at the fact that this literal fool had to tap dance on my already very frayed nerve with having a relationship with God, the Bible, Catholicism, and long-established religion with which I was familiar.Since January 21, I've had a sit-down with myself and realized that I needed to shift my personal definition of religion from that of "a belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power" to that of "a particular system of faith and worship." Moreover, I've decided that religion for me needs to shift from a near "magical" thing to a more "organic" system.

In embracing the organic, it pairs well with the Buddhist idea of chakras and balanced energies to which I've found myself ascribing greater importance in my life in the past few years. I ham-handedly attempted to right my way with Catholicism via some sort of Buddhist-Christian meld that simultaneously let me practice Yoga and pray to God, but that now feels highly out of sync with any sort of balanced energy.Somewhere in the midst of all of this, feminism and the strength found in woman-led societies plays a key role.

I've been keenly aware of woman-led societies since my birth. I was raised in a single-parent household by a prototypically strong black woman who filled the role of both mother and father while sometimes holding down four jobs and still providing guidance to me, sometimes sternly, for 18 years. As well, at every turn as I've been fishin' for religion and spirituality (shout out to Arrested Development) for the past two decades, I've learned of the incredible strength, courage and wisdom (shout out to India.

Arie) of women in all faiths and mythologies that so often goes without the proper acclaim.From Mother Earth to the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Shakti, Isis, Gaia, Sophia, Xochiquetzal, Freya, and more, there's so many women who consistently embodied all things at all times throughout history. Even moreso, there's a tradition that has seen men embracing Christian and generally established religious dogma representing the worst of humankind, especially in how they treat women of the world.

Ultimately, for me, I had to sit and think to myself regarding religion moving forward, if I saw myself as one day metaphorically being black Jesus on a brown cross, who would ultimately best care for the safety of my body and soul as it expired into the universe? I can't imagine that a God who would allow Donald Trump to quote their holy scripture while building walls and wanting to engage in willful assault against all humanity would let him do that while also valuing my safety. However, I could imagine that a woman, guided by a healing, empowered, birthing and omniscient spiritual energy, wouldn't let that happen. At that point, the choice became simple.My only complaint so far about this life is noting the difference between women empowered in a male construct versus those who lean into the strength of the unique energies of their gender association and socialized-as-"female" humanity guide them.

We're at a place where if we all accept that this female energy represents our best way out, then there should ideally be women who are able to embody this essence, as say those like Gandhi, Dr. King, and others have and did in attempting to realize the the "male-dominated energy-spirit-as-religion ideal." However, that's arguably not necessarily the case in great enough numbers to truly make a difference.

There's a "sheep-in-wolf's-clothing" sense that I may uniquely feel when confronted with the idea of so many women identified as "leaders" whose energies are dominant in the pop culture mainstream. In my current construct of the universe, there's a strong sense that if you're going to accept being defined as a leader, there's also a certain level of responsibility associated with this level of "deification" that must be accepted, too. This doesn't necessarily mean "accepting of bowed religious prayer," it moreso means "taking full responsibility for protecting and advancing the energies of feminist-empowerment-as-guiding essence of the world at-large.

" Being a comedian or CEO isn't mutually exclusive with being a warrior goddess. Simply put, the idea of working within this male-dominated Judeo-Christian driven shitshow instead of without, beyond, or inverting it against itself really doesn't showcase the type of spiritual-as-real-time guidance I'm looking for in the world.I've accepted that this is a world that's entirely torn asunder.

I've accepted that in this world torn asunder that I'm desiring a connection to people and energies that are aligned with my desire to protect and enhance my body and spirit. Thus, I want to give a shout out to the brujas, the goddesses, the witches, nymphs, priestesses, and heroines, and those who in real life embody their healing and empowering energies.I grew up as a Bible-loving Roman Catholic African-American boy who stared into the despondent eyes of a black man on a brown cross who had willfully committed his soul to the hope that the lives of everyone who ever lived forever would be without sin.

As a grown black man, I now look at the Bible as tremendous literature that has nothing to do with my spirituality, and religion as a crutch of rich white people and the people the conquered worldwide. Still though, I'm very much feeling like my end is to be met on a metaphorical cross, committing my soul to a cause far greater than myself. Thus, given current aforementioned global conditions, I've moved on.

Now having discovered what best lies beyond how I once regarded myself and the world, I feel learned (and still learning), enlightened, aware, empowered, and ready for whatever lies ahead for us all


How can we restore the lost steel plating and bring back shine on the bathroom ware? Is there any easier way?

Chrome plating is a "barrier layer" plating; once the barrier is breached by a pinhole, very rapid rusting is unavoidable. A low quality chrome plating job with pinholes or porosity is worse than no plating at all; the plating electrochemically forces the underlying steel to rust.When an item needs "re-chroming", you need to strip the chrome, strip the nickel (and the copper if applicable), then polish out all the scratches and blemishes (they can't be plated over and any scratches will show after plating), then plating with copper and "mush buffing" to squash copper into any tiny pits.

For top reflectivity "Show Chrome", this will be followed by buffing of the copper for perfect smoothness, cleaning and acid dipping again, and plating more copper, then two or three different types of nickel plating, all before the chrome plating is done. Rinsing is required between every step.So, simply re-plating bathroom ware would cost several times more than replacing it. It's the old story of labor cost. The new item requires far less prep work, and an operator or machine can handle dozens of identical parts at the same time whereas a mix of old parts cannot be processed simultaneously, but must be processed one item at a time.

If a plater has to spend a whole day on your parts, don't expect it to cost less than what a plumber or mechanic would charge you for a day of their time

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How Does Traditional Market Research Integrate Blockchain
Insights network launched the install blockchain, which is one of the most unique blockchain technology use cases seen in the world. In this article, we will discuss how our blockchain Market Research Network works from a technical perspective, and how this technology can improve data quality, reduce costs, reduce fraud, and empower data creators.Next, we will focus on some of the most common problems in the traditional market research industry. Since the birth of the Internet, there has been no innovative standard practice in the traditional market research industry.Problem: low quality users. Unconfirmed false data. The traditional panel only allows users to register and select demographic information. We call it personal data value (age, gender, income level, number of children, pet owner, etc.). IP address detection is the basis for deciding whether to allow consumers to participate in the survey. In some cases, a method called "river sampling" is used to conduct real-time surveys of respondents. In this method, anyone who visits the survey link will begin to be screened for demographic questions and enter the relevant surveys (if available). This will lead to a poor user experience, which we will discuss in another article on this blog.Solution: verify the blockchain account. The submitted value is assigned to the install blockchain account as a hash value after verification. The insights network blockchain authentication account is assigned a hash value, allowing the account to participate in the smart contract. The identity is verified by a third-party authentication partner, and the value of the profile is submitted as an unexplained hash value, so it is impossible to know what value is assigned to each user. We use our patent application zero knowledge proof authentication scheme as a filter to ensure that authentication partners cannot track the documents they are validating. The technology we are applying for patent will be published and disclosed in detail before the end of 2019. Next, you will see the account verification record that occurs in real time and recorded on the blockchain. In this example, the account "fbtiezh3sty4" has received the authentication credentials assigned to its account and submitted to the install blockchain as "commit".Install blockchain record of the validated profile value submitted to the blockchain accountProblem: poor user experience. When conducting the survey on the traditional market research platform, a method called "river sampling" is adopted to conduct real-time survey on the respondents. In this method, anyone who visits the link will begin to be screened for demographic questions and guided to the relevant survey (if any). This leads to a bad user experience, and users constantly jump out of the survey in the process of accepting the survey. This is a waste of investigators' time and creates great frustration among the team members, resulting in a low retention rate of the team. For example, a requester can set a condition that only men aged 30-40 who drive a white car, own a dog and have mortgage debt are eligible to participate in the survey. Instead of predetermining these values before service users, they ask them when investigators conduct surveys. Some surveys may take 45 minutes to complete. Imagine that you spent 25 minutes completing a survey, but when they asked you if you had a pet and you said no, you were rejected. What would you think. This happened to most respondents.Solution: determine the "match" in advance before providing users with investigation opportunities. Through the smart contract on the install blockchain, you can find the value of the blockchain account submitted to each user and the local storage of the encryption profile value on the user's device. Every time a survey opportunity is created and funded, it enters the insights network data exchange smart contract. The contract then polls each device connected to the network for a device that matches the requested survey. The same selection criteria as traditional market research products can be set by the requester, but it does not allow anyone on the local IP address to access the survey - just to pop up unqualified participants afterwards - the smart contract searches for active devices on the network and only shows the survey opportunities to providers who meet the exact criteria specified by the requester. We use the so-called disconnection circuit to calculate the encryption profile value of each user to determine the "match". During the matching process, encrypted data polled for eligible demographic data will never be decrypted - giving users complete control over the visibility of their data. Here is how to record a match on the blockchain:Complete the "matched" install blockchain recordOnce a match is determined, the provider can see an investigation opportunity. Users can view the compensation provided for completing the survey, the personal data requested and the submitted data, and agree when exchanging personal data and responding to the survey. The submitted answer cannot be represented by a hash value.Install blockchain record for data exchangeQuestion: can you really believe these data? Most panel companies that complete the brand survey sample provide data sets to brands in an opaque situation. Previously, the industry has been plagued by the sharing of personally identifiable information (also known as "PII"). However, with the introduction of the general data protection regulation (gdpr) by the European Union (EU), this system has undergone major adjustments. It is illegal to collect consumers' personal identity information and sell it to a third party without consumers' consent. If the PII of consumers cannot be shared, it is more difficult to provide accurate information about the surveyed users. Nevertheless, most online panel companies have completely unauthenticated user databases, and trust in people is the only determinant of data quality.Solution: the blockchain can verify the transaction ID. When running an example on the insights network, the blockchain transaction ID is associated with each respondent. This creates audit trails that are not available in the current market research industry. There is now a clear record of team members' submissions and the relevant summary values of each team member. In addition to transparency, these transaction IDS can also be used as your consent records, that is, the consumers you investigate and exchange data agree to the data exchange you pay for them. Some gdpr laws require applicants to keep records of subjects' consent. Using the insights network, this feature is built-in to the end-to-end experience.The following is a screenshot of the data export of a survey recently launched by insight networ. As the requester, this is the data you paid and the data you received. As an additional feature, insights network uses one-time pad encryption for all data you purchase. This means that insights network cannot pry into the data set you pay as a requester. After you export the data, this is the only time you can export the data.Results of a survey sponsored by insights network on the popular cryptocurrency chainlinkProblem: slow invoicing and long revenue turnover time. At present, the invoicing time of the market research industry needs at least 60-90 days, and a brand can pay the expenses of researchers. This means that team members also have to wait for their bonus. The core reason is the lack of high-quality data and deceptive survey responses that need to be evaluated and filtered from the final data set. This may take several weeks for the brand to comb through the data and determine which data sets are available and which are false. This is a particularly painful experience for group companies because they are waiting for feedback from the brand. Basically, the brand tells them how much they will get from the data set provided by group members.Solution: early data verification and smart contract payment data exchange. As mentioned in this article, the verification of profile values, matching on blockchain and smart contract governance create a more efficient and high-quality end-to-end experience. The last thing to record is the payment scheme. Because surveys can be provided to pre-determined, pre validated audiences, payments occur immediately and are subject to smart contracts. Install cryptocurrency provides funds for the smart contract according to the budget determined by the requester, and pays the provider with blockchain transaction immediately after the provider submits and agrees to the data exchange. The following is the transaction ID of the data exchange smart contract paid to the provider who completed and agreed to exchange in the network.Blockchain transaction ID of payment data exchangeCryptocurrency payments on the blockchain and install blockchain are borderless and can be sent to anyone around the world within 1 second. It also opens up access to emerging markets that were previously inaccessible due to the collapse of their banking systems.Development prospectAt present, we are running the survey sample on the install blockchain network as the first use case of insights network. This technology has unlimited scalability, can safely verify data, and communicate privately on the network in a transparent record, such as sending bitcoin payment to friends. Some future use cases we are dealing with include releasing previously unavailable data exchange / sharing opportunities, such as nuclear power plant data exchange, PII involving Enterprise Market Research (Q4) using secret state data prediction, and simpler use cases, such as receipt data exchange and micro customer experience survey. The most beautiful aspect of blockchain technology is the global cooperation opportunities it provides.Source: blocknet
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