November is traditionally a month to be thankful. In bygone days, the harvest is completed and we thank God for what He has blessed us with. Few of us still live off the land, other than possibly a small backyard garden. We are more thankful for what our local grocery store has on its shelves.
LOVE ISN’T LOVE UNTIL....?
Our metal refrigerator is covered with wonderful and colorful magnets. Many remind of us special places we’ve visited or a meaningful saying we enjoy remembering. Yesterday as I was making a hot drink, my eyes caught a saying Carolyn and I share often but don’t always think about its complexity, broadness, and meanings.
Happy Kinship Awareness Month!
A couple of years ago, we voted to make the month of October a time to raise awareness of Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International. Since October 11 is National Coming Out Day, we decided to take the entire month to celebrate and affirm who we are. Some of us can do this publicly and others can certainly celebrate in the safe space that Kinship provides for our community.
The story is told of a king who held a race in which all the young men in his kingdom were invited to participate. A bag of gold was promised to the winner.
On the day of the race, the young men assembled and started running at the sound of the fanfare. At a certain point in the course the runners found a large pile of stones, around which, one by one, they managed to scramble over or around. Gradually, the runners crossed the finish line. After almost everyone had finished the king refused to declare a winner.
I am happy to announce that we have appointed a new interim Vice President to fill my previous role before being elected as President. After deep consideration, the Kinship Board is excited that Catherine Taylor has agreed to serve out the current term of Vice President. Catherine is certainly no stranger to SDA Kinship and has been connected with the organization since 1981 and has served in numerous capacities through the years. She has a passion for people and their stories. Among many other contributions, she was the Connection editor for more than 12 years and led the Building Safe Places project for several years. I believe that Catherine will be a very positive addition to the Kinship Leadership Team. Please stay tuned for additional projects and important changes we will be making to the organization to make it even more appealing and relevant to those who need its message today. We will feature Catherine and other Board members in upcoming media.
—Floyd Poenitz, President
As Carolyn and I connect with many LGBTQIA+ families and close friends, we are often asked about SOCE. Yes, we have connected with a few folks who claim “success” when they experienced SOCE and we’ve also connected with other folks who failed their SOCE experience.
So what is “SOCE”? We’ve done some research from several angles and will share what appears to be well-based information and recommendations.
Focusing and Refocusing, Adjusting and Readjusting
Focusing is a complex process. How many times a day do you stop and focus on something? Maybe you need to see a special store sign or read an email message. Maybe the room is noisy, and you need to focus your ears to hear an important announcement. Or how about focusing your emotional support on an activity or a dear friend? Our human brains and emotions are constantly being challenged and refocused to experience our daily lives, and our reactions and behaviors also need to readjust to new situations.
“Learning” is an interesting and complex process. All living creatures learn as they grow and mature. If you think about that process, it’s easy to recall watching your pets learn to find food, chase toys, or hide from you when you are looking for them. Also think about yourself or your children as you learned to walk, talk, play, read, and even think and make decisions.
So learning is really gathering information or experiences to make, hopefully, excellent decisions. Where are those decisions made? All decisions originate in our brain and transfer to the muscles, organs, and emotions to protect us and help us survive. Yes, some reactions appear to develop naturally through our genetics, but we develop and learn most of them as our brains and ourselves mature.
LOOKING BACK INTO 2020
Carolyn and I hope this finds you enjoying the Christmas and New Year’s holidays despite the virus. We pray you could connect in person or through digital media with your special family members. We also hope you all created some positive and beneficial memories as you traveled the unpredictable paths of 2020.
Many LGBTQ+ folks have celebrated their successful “coming out” to friends and their families. It’s probably a process and event they had thought about and worked on for many months and years. Hopefully, they had created a network of friends and other LGBTQ+ folks that helped them - even coached them - on the scary but desired event. Their understanding and supporting friends were valuable allies for that major and probably emotional time.
Yes, it was a “successful event” for the LGBTQ+ member. They wanted to do it, they needed to do it, and they had their personal courage and friends’ and allies’ support to fall back on to if it didn’t work out as desired.
Our monthly roundtable discussions are beginning to connect and, hopefully, provide a beneficial and personal time to meet and share around the Kinship world. Each discussion has increased in attendance and participation, thanks to all of you all who have joined us.
Last Sunday our roundtable was enriched with Pastor Kris and Debbie Widmer’s thoughts and comments regarding “The Fiddler on the Roof” movie/musical and its very meaningful songs and dialogue about adjusting to life-impacting changes. There was excellent participation and comments from many of those who joined the table. If you didn’t join us, you missed Pastor Kris’ modification of the meaningful closing song - somehow Walla Walla, Loma Linda, La Sierra, and other traditional Adventist locations were woven into the song. It was a great closure to a good discussion regarding traditions, change, and family.
Recently I read an article sharing the successful accomplishments a primatologist had made over her lifelong desire and goal to help chimpanzees survive and expand. Early in her career, we had the joy of spending a couple of days with her as she shared with college students and later in two public conferences.