Making Money Like a Millennial: Steemit

Old and new logos. I prefer the old.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for me to pick up the series again. I have decided to start the new year off with my favorite way to Make Money Like a Millennial: Steemit.

This may end up being split up over a couple of posts since it is such a big topic.

What it is:

In short, Steemit is a platform which pays you to create blog posts and other materials.

It’s actually much more than that. Steemit is a social network platform designed to reward posters with a cryptocurrency known as “Steem” and “Steem Backed Dollars” (SBD).

I’ve heard it compared to Reddit or Facebook, but it really is its own unique format. It is similar to Reddit in that comment sections can get quite long and in that posts are almost infinite in subject matter. There are upvotes and downvotes also.

It’s similar to Facebook in that there are… actually no. I’m not sure why it is ever compared to Facebook. It’s pretty much Reddit, but with actual rewards for your upvotes.

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My Feed page, which contains posts mainly from those who I follow.

How to get started:

Very simple, go here and choose a user name, give them an email address and a phone number, enter the verification code, wait for a confirmation email, sign in and you are on your way!

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My Blog page, you can see the upvotes and amount of SBD for each post.

The best way to start your Steemit career is to post an introduction post about yourself. Basically just tell us your niche in the Steemit world. Do you write about cryptocurrencies? Do you blog about politics, love, marriage? Are you a photographer? Painter? Tell us about yourself!

What do you do

General experience:

Steemit is definitely a learning curve. The platform itself is relatively easy to use, but the finer details for success take time to learn. You won’t get rich quick by any means with this.

Overall I have enjoyed the experience. I like blogging anyway, so Steemit just adds to my experience.

How much money are we talking here?

I didn’t know a lick about crypto currency when I started and I didn’t bother to look into it for almost a year. Knowing how to trade your Steem and SBD for other currencies is key to success with Steemit.

At first you won’t make much at all. Your upvote will only be worth about $0.01 SBD and you won’t be out there in front of a lot of people. As you gain followers, get more upvotes, and upvote stuff yourself you will gradually watch your wallet grow.

My Steem wallet is currently worth about $3,000 US. Most of this is locked up in Steem Power, which is not easily converted. In the past four months or so, I have moved about $500 off of Steemit into other currencies. So, at my pace (admittedly slow, I was off Steemit for about 3 months) you can make about $3,500 a year.

I have seen some folks who have been on only a few months who already have twice as much. It depends largely on your content and how many whales you attract.

Also, just like any crypto you are able to invest your own money into Steemit. If you choose to do this your votes will be worth more and you will earn money quicker.

General tips:

Where to start? I may make a second post to give you all the tips, there are loads of them.

But for now I’ll give you these:

Stick with it! Persistence is key for most things in life, and Steemit is no exception. Post every day, even if it’s just a photo of something cool you saw the day before.

Comment and upvote, carefully. Don’t just scroll through your feed and ignore everything. Don’t scroll through and upvote everything either. Vote for only the stuff you think is really good. In the beginning you won’t have a lot of voting power, so use it wisely. And please, comment! A great comment can get you a new follower or two. And since it counts as a post and can be upvoted, a great comment can make you money.

Don’t follow everyone! Like upvotes, you should only follow people you think will post good stuff. Otherwise you will end up with a feed cluttered with crap. No one likes crap. It’s good to have 500 followers, it’s not so good to be following 500. Which reminds me, I need to go purge the rolls a bit.

Bottom line:

Steemit is a great platform to post blogs, photos, artwork, and just about anything else you can think of. With some persistence you can make a good amount of money. So definitely try it out.

And when you do, follow me. I don’t post crap! 🙂

Music and Art Monday, January 29th, 2018: Just a Few of My Favorites

I had a pretty blah week this past week. And after racking my exhausted brain I couldn’t come up with anything except the idea to share a few of my favorite paintings. Plus all I have talked about lately is music, it’s about time I start looking at art again!

This is Matisse’s “Seated Odalisque With Left Knee Bent”. I’m not completely sure he picked the name, but it is definitely descriptive. He did several “odalisque” paintings, and all of them are quite good, but this is my favorite. An odalisque is a Turkish concubine by the way. They were popular subjects in 19th century Orientalism.

The Bedroom in Arles”, or as van Gogh titled it “The Bedroom” was painted in 1888 to depict his bedroom in Arles, France. I bought a print of this when I went to the van Gogh exhibit in DC in middle school and it hung on my wall all the way through college and beyond. I loved the colors and the simplicity of the objects in the room. He didn’t waste time with all with an over abundance of details.

“Cycles Gladiator” is actually a work of commercial art. It was designed by the printer G. Massias to promote a Parisian bicycle company during the late 19th century’s golden age of cycling. There are apparently only four originals left, but copies are abundant enough that I was able to purchase one in college.

Lucas Cranach the Elder is one of my favorites (and was friends with Luther, so he had to be a cool guy). There are many to choose from but I really love “The Fountain of Youth” because he didn’t shy away from “non-ideal” beauty. Artists, especially in that day, rarely paint “ugly” subjects, preferring instead to depict ideal human figures. I think his depiction of old women is beautiful and respectful.

“The Feast of St. John” by Jules Breton is something I wish I had a print of. What caught my eye about this first was his great execution of fire, the realism almost makes you feel its warmth. I also enjoy the way the women almost float, his capture of their movement is flawless.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. What are some of your favorite paintings?

Every Sperm is Sacred: Onanism and Birth Control

Every Sperm is sacred
Every Sperm is Sacred… Wait, that’s the Catholics… Source

You may want to send your kids into the next room for the next couple of posts, I’m going to talk about sex. In particular about birth control. Is birth control a sin? Is it wise? Can it harm you?

Personally, we do not use hormonal birth control, but ours is less a conscience issue and more of a personal experience issue. I’ll discuss later in this series, but first I want to address a common objection to birth control often thrown around in Reformed circles: The story of Onan.

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and He put him to death also.
Genesis 38:6-10

According to the Onanists, the mere spilling of a man’s semen outside of a woman’s body is a sinful thing. The birth control methods of coitus interruptus (stopping before orgasm), pulling out, or even vasectomy are ruled out as violating the principle found in the story of Onan.

Just reading the story of Onan is not enough to find these principles. One has to dig into commentaries and discussions written centuries ago.

Before one questions my Reformed credentials, old commentaries are helpful when studying the essentials of our faith. They are helpful for learning Godliness and how to live a Holy life. But, sometimes even the men of the past show their fallibility.

“….the third [murder], in that there is a seminal vital virtue, which perishes if the seed be spilled; and by doing this to hinder the begetting of a living child, is the first degree of murder that can be committed, and the next unto it is the marring of conception, when it is made…” -Westminster Annotations and Commentary on the Whole Bible (1657), Genesis 38:9.

“Most Hebrew and Christian commentators conclude [from the grammar] that the sin of Er was of the same type as the sin of Onan, which they call effeminacy. Augustine in book 22, Against Faust Chap. 84, concluded that this Er had sinned in this offense severely because that sin impedes conception and destroys the foetus in its own seed….” – Lutheran minister Johann Gerhard (1582-1637)

“The rabbis interpreted Onan’s transgression as birth control through coitus interruptus. In an illustrative euphemism, the Jewish commentator Rashi calls this “threshing within, winnowing without.””

Given the terminology used by the commentators I think it is safe to assume that the interpretation of past generations was based on a belief that the man’s sperm was a fully formed seed. In fact, the KJV translates verse 9 as:

And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

This seed was planted into a woman’s body, much like planting a vegetable seed in a garden. To spill the seed was murder as the spiller was denying the living seed the opportunity to sprout and grow.

The 6th commandment requires us to protect life. Even potential life should be protected. If we assume that a man’s emission is a fully formed seed it is reasonable to conclude that wasting this emission is in fact ending a potential life.

In order to answer the question “do spermicidal or barrier birth control methods violate the 6th commandment?” we have to answer this question: “is sperm in and of itself ‘potential life?’”

My answer to this is “no”.

Semen is not a seed, sperm is not a seed. Without an egg present there is no chance that the sperm will survive. Unless the sperm fertilizes an egg it will die. Yes, the sperm is a living cell, but it does not carry by itself the potential for new human life.

Unless a woman is ovulating there is no potential for that sperm to grow into a life as it will never contact an egg. It will simply swim around inside the woman for a few hours or days and eventually die.

If we had to ensure sperm survived sex (the logical conclusion of Onanists), we would limit sexual union to only the time in which a woman is ovulating. Any sex outside of that time of fertility would be denying that “seed” a real opportunity to grow into life. You would be robbing that sperm the opportunity to meet and fertilize an egg.

We are commanded to give our spouse their conjugal rights, surely our spouse wants this fulfillment outside of the ovulation period, are we therefore being commanded to commit murder every time we do it any other time?

God would not command us to violate His own commandments. He knew that eventually we would know the science behind ovulation and understand the cycle of fertility. He allowed us to discover these things. The logical conclusion of the Onanists would have us use this knowledge to limit intercourse to those fertile times, otherwise we are “wasting” our “seed” just as Onan did.

Whether or not you believe barrier methods of birth control are sinful or not is not an indication of your salvation. This is a matter of conscience and I don’t hold it against anyone if they come to the conclusion that they personally cannot use barriers, coitus interuptus, or vasectomies in good conscience.

But for the reasons above, I don’t consider them sinful.

Stick around for the next post when I discuss why I believe hormonal birth control is sinful.

Tripping the Life Craptastic

I was going to publish another “Making Money” post today, but it was taxing my brain just to get the words out. At this moment I don’t really care about it. Sure, I can be passionate about it. But right now, no. Right now I want to break the first rule of blogging and write something personal. I want to give you some report for how well I am doing on my new year’s resolutions.

I don’t want to write something trivial or trite. I don’t care much if I entertain you or inform you. I’m not going to lie or put up a facade and pretend I have all of life together. I’m not going to tell you how life suddenly got better when I gave my life to Jesus.

Life is hard, ya’ll. Life is ugly. Relationships are tough, you have days where you send your spouse out the door with a curse instead of a kiss. People break up. People break apart. People dump on you and demand from you. You get stretched thin enough they can see through you.

Stretched thin. But I still have my sense of humor…

I said I was going to focus this year. It’s not even a month in and I find myself weekly cycling up and down. Mondays are great, Tuesdays slide a bit but I still come out upright, Wednesday is a hit or miss, by Thursday the kitchen is gone, Friday I let the kids have the house, Saturday I try to reclaim some ground, unsuccessfully. By Sunday everyone is a grumbling pile of anger and boredom, just ripe and ready for the complete upheaval of the routine known as church.

Now church is good, don’t misunderstand me. It’s just not a day of rest for a couple with five kids. There is no day of rest for anyone with children. I don’t believe they exist. While church is not a restful experience (as anyone who has had to haul two snarling children out by the arms at the same time can attest) it does spark hope and a desire to be better that week. It is the driving force behind the good Monday.

But how do we keep that driving force into Tuesday, Wednesday, and beyond? That’s what I want to know. I know many people who manage to stay driven all week. Is it just discipline? Maybe. Is it just a strong will? Maybe. Is it faith? Probably maybe. There is an innumerable amount of reasons people keep on going through all the nasty of life.

I am doing better. I am improving. I am more disciplined, more focused, and I am accomplishing things.  It’s not all bad. It’s also only January. One can’t give up that quickly.

But how do I continue to improve? What does everyone out there do to keep that drive going?

Music and Art Monday, January 22, 2018: Christian Metal

The_Undisputed_Truth_by_Seventh_Star

I once had a pastor who said one of his nightmares was to get stuck in a rock concert. I had to chuckle when he said it (in a sermon) because one of the members of our church headed a metal band. Despite what the pastor may think, rock music isn’t all sex drugs and rock n’roll. Sometimes it’s theological.

Metal was not a genre I grew up listening to per se. Sure, there were bands like Metallica, Def Leppard, and Poison. But 80’s hair “metal” hardly qualifies as metal. In my teens, I listened to much of the roots of metal with Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, AC/DC, and The Who. The heavier sounds eluded me until my wife introduced me to Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, Nodes of Ranvier, and Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet and Dragontown.

Still not sold on it, it took a moment of anxiety to change my mind. She had always claimed that metal mellowed her out. I was incredulous, how could something so loud and raucous mellow one out? So one particularly crappy day I looked up Christian Metal, because I figured if I couldn’t understand the lyrics, they might as well be “good”.

The first band I stumbled on was Becoming the Archetype. What got me hooked on them was their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” on the album Dichotomy. I could understand every word! It probably helped that I already knew them, but you know. The fact that they were loud and roaring made my anxiety melt, the noise drowned out my crazy thoughts.

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The whole album was so melodic, classical music came to mind. It was exactly what I needed in that moment of my life. Mellowing indeed.

My second favorite album of theirs, Celestial Progression, is a little less heavy and mixes in another of my favorite genres, electronica. There is also some sitar and a little ska thrown in, it’s an incredible mix of eclectic styles. It’s definitely worth a listen.

After that I explored the genre a bit, even joining Facebook groups dedicated to it. They introduced me to many other awesome bands including Demon Hunter, Sleeping Giant, I Shot the Albatross, and Haste the Day.

My current favorite, and what inspired me to write this post, is Seventh Star. Seventh Star is (was) headed by a guy in my church, so i may have a bit of a bias. I’m not even much a of a fan of their first album, released before he was the lead singer. Particular highlights of his career with the band are “The Seventh Star”, “My 96th Thesis” (the most Reformed metal song of all time), and the entire third album Undisputed Truth.

Unfortunately, the band broke up in 2008, but have reunited on occasion. If we are lucky they will do another tour soon. For the most part you can understand the lyrics, but metalcore wouldn’t be nearly as fun if you knew all the words. The good balance of comprehensible lyrics to unintelligible ones is a testimony to Johnny’s skills as a singer.  Having spent some time with him, I can hardly see him being such a great metal singer, he’s way too mellow. Hey, maybe I should take lessons! If listening to metal is mellowing, singing it must be all the more! He’s proof!

Maybe with some poking I could get some singing lessons!

Who’s up for listening to my first release? 😀

The “Wonderful” World of Kinism

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Way too obvious to be kinists….

“I’m not a white supremacist, I just believe that whites are superior.”

“It’s just statistics. Blacks aren’t as good as whites by various measures.”

“That person of X race who is good at y? That’s just an outlier.”

“You are putting your family in danger living in a black neighborhood. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ you or your family will be attacked.”

“Oh, I believe that non-whites can be saved. There will be people of all colors in heaven. But we should not mix them on Earth. It’s not right.”

Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

If cultists weren’t bad enough, Reformed groups on Facebook have also had to endure at times the assault of the wonderful folks known as kinists. You may not have heard of this group, as it’s fairly new in Christian circles. It has roots in the South, where many used it to justify slavery. Since the end of the Civil War it has maintained a steady following, and has even branched out to races other than those of European descent.

So how will you know you’ve run across a kinist and not just a run of the mill racist jerk?

When confronted, the white kinists (they come in all colors) will claim that they are not racists, because “racism” is a concept invented by Cultural Marxists intent on wiping out the white race. “Racism is a word without a definition” they will claim.

When confronted with the actual definition of racism all kinists will claim that they have no antagonism towards people of different races. They even trot out friends of different races, though not close ones, just to prove they can be civil towards them.

They may even claim that true racists are supremacists, but they are not. They believe their race is superior, but everyone believes that: “After all, don’t you know that the Japanese consider themselves superior to all other races? Do you not think that blacks think themselves superior to whites, Mexicans think themselves superior to blacks and so on?”

To them, ones race is just like a football team, you always root for the home team. They aren’t hating anyone, they are just cheering for the survival of their own group. They aren’t harming anyone, they are just keeping their people pure and undefiled from all those other inferior races.

Kinism is a subtle racism. It’s a slightly “cleaner” racism then the straight up Klansmen type. Kinists back up their position with out of context scripture and verbal gymnastics designed to make you look foolish for even beginning to disagree with them. You end up being the person who “doesn’t care about your child’s future”. Beware this menace. Don’t cast your pearls before these swine.

Instead, consider them a harm to the spread of the Gospel. Gently point out that you will not limit your evangelism to your “team” and that spouting off about how superior that “team” is creates unhelpful division within the church.They will likely counter this with some more nonsense out of context Scripture. At this point just walk away, there is little more you can do for them but pray.

Anyone else dealt with this menace?

Music and Art Monday, January 15th, 2018: Just One Thing 

Otis Redding

I’ve been on a Motown kick lately, which is probably appropriate given today’s holiday.

It started as an innocent request to Google to play Otis Redding. Then all the flashbacks of listening to the oldies stations in my youth (when this music was only 20-30 years old!) came and made me find a Playlist on Spotify. 

Well here it is: https://open.spotify.com/user/classicmotownrecords/playlist/0bI05scZoM5amVNebOVZkH?si=7wDI64RIQWm_bRMWLbaNxw