Christianity is killing me (advice appreciated)


#1

I wasn't able to find a specific sub-forum for spiritually-related life issues and this was the closest that seemed to fit with my case, but feel free to move this topic as you see fit.

Alright, first I'd like to give a little background. I'm a 19-year-old male Catholic who has remained relatively dedicated to his faith since birth. While neither has been clinically diagnosed, I believe that I'm just getting over a two year battle with depression and have also suffered from behaviors that seem to follow those of OCD. While I don't agree with their stance on some issues (abortion, state-legislated gay "marriage") I find that I align closest to the Democratic party.

Now then, for my debacle. Just recently, I began to take a closer look at my faith. While again, I've remained a devout Catholic for the greater portion of my life, I never took the time to look at how closely my life was following church teachings much past the ten commandments. I guess it just comes with age.

What I came to realize was that the relatively happy life I was leading all but contrasted church teachings. It all began when I overheard that masturbation was a sin, which, up until that point, the pleasure of the act made me overlook. Soon after, I got to understand why it was a sin: its addictive nature and the lustful, unrealistic, thoughts that it often produces. Slowly but surely, I somehow managed to stop (extremely hard for a teenager). This led to a storm of "Is X a sin" questions soon-after and consequential amazement and further reform (everything from stem cell research to gay rights to capital punishment).

While I won't deny the fact that, through the time I've spent thinking about and praying to God, I've grown closer to him than ever before, at the same time, it hasn't come without substantial cost. So much of this "reform" has come in contrast to my previous rose-colored ideals that I don't feel much like myself anymore. It's like I've taken the most extreme stance possible on every potentially sinful issue and have created this ultra-conservative ideal, that for me, a liberal, seems impossible to fulfill. It's not that I don't understand what the church is teaching, either, it's just that I'm running into so many "my way or the highway" ultra-conservative Christians that it's all become so hard to understand. Even my heart is telling me that continuing down this path is wrong. I feel like I'm slowly dying, and while I can understand that making the transition from say, a moderate to this position might be do-able, I just can't see myself living through this. It's not that I disagree with the church's stance on the majority of these issues and it's not that I'm putting too much faith in Democratic ideals, it's that I'm becoming a cold, joyless, person because, for all intents and purposes, these people are basically expecting me to become a Republican, lest I go to hell, something I'm positive God did not create me to be. Something inside of me is telling me there has got to be another way; a way to hold to my Christian values without effectively murdering myself.

I'm open to any and all constructive advice you can offer.

--James Chapel


#2

Uhm, first of all, your taking this out of proportion. Don't do what somebody else wants you to do, listen to the bible and try to understand it. that will lead you in the right direction. You can be a christian and a liberal aswell. I know many liberals who are christians and it does not harm their faith at all. Nobody said a liberal has to be pro-abortion or any of that stuff. Although I can tell you this, you said you are pro-gay marriage and pro-stem cell research? Well stem cell research has opened up so many scientific research and has given us many great answers and will continue to do so. Gay marriage? Well, gays claim they are born gay, and as far as im concerned, they are. Now should they be able to fall in love and be physically in love with the person? God says no, but alot of people I know say yes. Let me ask you a question.... What is your position on abortion and gay marriage? Be honest. Just tell me what your position is.


#3

Neither political party really exemplifies everything The Church teaches. We do have to align ourselves with the teachings of The Church, but I think you may be getting caught up in the wrong areas.

You're not changing your political position, you're trying to change your belief, and probably trying to do it on your own. That's not the way Catholicism is meant to be done. We rely on Christ for everything from the minute to minute graces that allow us to resist sin to the huge signal graces that help us to believe. Your dedication to Christ and His church is impressive, and not one many our age are willing to take. You're recognizing the sacrifices of ourselves that must be made so that Christ can be made more present, and learning that they're difficult. Just because they're difficult doesn't mean we abandon them though (which I think you realize).

Ultimately, you feeling like you're losing yourself is basing who you are on a falsehood, I think. YOU are not your political positions, and you are not a robot who's able to flip a switch and change your beliefs, even if you now see that a belief is wrong. Christ will work with you and, more importantly, in you, but you need to be reaching out for Him.

My suggestion is to not focus so much on what is required of you as pertains to your vote, or even so much your belief, for now. You need to re-establish your relationship with Christ because ultimately it is Him we serve. Establish your relationship through prayer, Holy Communion, and Confession, and focus on that. Let the other things go for now until you're in a better place to re-examine these issues.

Catholicism is a religion of life, and if you feel drained and 'dying' then you need to re-examine how you're living your faith. I'll be praying for you.


#4

What is your position on abortion and gay marriage? Be honest. Just tell me what your position is.

Personally, in all but the cases where it would kill the mother and maybe if it came out of rape/incest, abortion seems wrong to me, because your effectively killing humans that had the chance to live. In other words, no abortions unless the situation is serious.

As for gay marriage, it's complicated. I do believe that the homosexual attractions that gay, lesbian and bisexual people have are god-given. I have also known gay people that have demonstrated genuine love for those of their gender. As for the ethics of it, that's where problems arise. While I feel it's wrong to deny these people the access to love that so many heterosexuals take for granted, we can't exactly allow this access either. The definition of marriage between a man and a woman denies it, and the fact that Catholics aren't allowed to have sex outside of marriage rules out any other possibility. In an ideal world, we could expand the definition of marriage to include homosexuals (who, while still unable to procure children on their own, could still raise adopted children) although this would, of course, go against the Vatican's infallibility regarding moral issues. Nevertheless, I still believe that we are doing these people a grave injustice, and as it stands now, it has become a very fragile situation.

--James Chapel


#5

I think your main problem is with labels. You want to retain the title of Democrat while maintaining the standards of your religion. There are no Democrats or Republicans in heaven, there are only Saints. I would recommend looking at the issues that you feel you have to support and then looking that the issues that the Church clearly defines and making an informed decision. You don't have to always vote right down party lines. There is nothing wrong with being an Independent. Just follow your conscience, pray, and make your decisions.

I looked over the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics and it only lists five points that Catholics cannot support.

1 Abortion
2 Euthanasia
3 Stem Cell Research
4 Human Cloning
5 Homosexual "Marriage"


#6

If you follow that guide, you will end up voting Republican. :(

The problem with the two party system is that BOTH sides are corrupt.

Democrats are far too "liberal" concerning moral issues outlined in that PDF file kmuestwin posted. Liberals support abortion "rights" as a women's health issue (never mind their mental/emotional health in the aftermath of the abortion). They don't see anything wrong with gays getting married, and probably want churches to allow gays to marry as part of "acceptance" even though God said it is wrong. Cloning is fine, stem cell research, IVF, and euthenasia is seen as a "mercy killing."

Republicans are not known for watching out for the greater good. I understand that people should be allowed to keep their hard-earned money, and that socialism can lead to laziness: if everyone is getting the same things anyway, why bother trying? However, this system leads to many people being disadvantaged and slipping away, not being given an equal chance to succeed. They want to cut out medical plans and welfare for the poor, saying they are burdens on society, even though people on welfare are some of the hardest workers I know (they changed the system so you have to be volunteering--free labor or working at least 35 hours per week to get any aide at all, unless you have a medical condition and then you go on disability).

IMO, both sides are corrupt. We need to reform America and stay away from political parties. I say look at the candidates and decide which will be the best for your State/Country as a whole by the time the person's term is over. I am an independent voter and refuse to join ANY political parties. George Washington warned us against political parties, and he was right.


#7

Hi James,
you are in a period in your life when you don't simply want to obey, you also want to understand the reasons behind the Catholic Church's teachings. Indeed, the Catholic Church is at odds with the secular world on many issues, and even at odds with other Christians - see the ordination of actively gay bishops in the Episcopal Church. The most helpful thing would be to find a community of Catholic college students on your campus, become a part of this community, and educate yourself there on what the Catholic Church teaches, as well as hopefully make friendships with other folks who are on the same journey, a journey of becoming mature followers of Christ. Are you aware of any communities of Catholic students on your campus? Do you have a Catholic church on campus, where you could talk to the priest and ask him?


#8

I'd like to thank you all for the advice and support you have given me so far. I'll admit that, taking into account my rocky past experience, this comes as a pleasant surprise.

Politically, I'll agree with you there that to at least some extent, both major parties are corrupt and in this day and age, I'd probably be best off voting as an independent. Again, it's hard to say where I stand exactly, but for the most part I'd say that I believe in Catholic values and liberal ideals, something close to what Wikipedia refers to as the "Christian Left".

I suppose you are also right in that I need to get to know Jesus better. If it's any consolation, I began my first serious attempt at studying the bible today, starting in Mark I plan on going at a pace of about three chapters a day and any advice you can give me on bible-studying would be appreciated.

I'll post any other questions I can think of as they come up, but again, thanks everyone, for your help thus far.

--James Chapel


#9

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:7, topic:215027"]

Are you aware of any communities of Catholic students on your campus? Do you have a Catholic church on campus, where you could talk to the priest and ask him?

[/quote]

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any Catholic communities on campus, and being a secular community college, it does not have any churches available. Hopefully, this will change when I transfer to a university this next year.

--James Chapel


#10

[quote="stephe1987, post:6, topic:215027"]
If you follow that guide, you will end up voting Republican. :(

The problem with the two party system is that BOTH sides are corrupt.

[/quote]

I agree and I'm really sad that the Democratic party drifted so far from non-negotiable Christian values that Christians can no longer vote on it, in good conscience. Because this also allows the Republicans to lower the bar, knowing that they have the strong Christians values voters in their pocket. Just as the Democrats have minorities (African Americans, for sure), Jews, and gay voters in their pocket, Republicans have a stranglehold on Christian values voters.

The European system is more interesting, because you often have 5-6 parties on the playing field, and the party that gathers the most votes is usually not strong enough to form a government on its own. Then, this major party is forced to form a governing coalition with a smaller party, which gives the smaller party some real leverage in policy making. The European system does a better job of preventing the biggest parties from becoming cynical power players. When the biggest party, the winner of the election, is not big enough to govern on its own, this big party is forced to make concessions and look out for allies in the smaller parties.


#11

[quote="JChapel, post:4, topic:215027"]
Personally, in all but the cases where it would kill the mother and maybe if it came out of rape/incest, abortion seems wrong to me, because your effectively killing humans that had the chance to live. In other words, no abortions unless the situation is serious.

[/quote]

I'm afraid you've fallen somewhat into the "rape/incest" exception by many Christians and Catholics. Why is abortion wrong? Because it is the murder of innocent human life. What about rape or incest makes abortion right?


#12

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I have had issues with OCD and too much worrying since trying to grasp all the stances and rules. I also do not like feeling like their are not adequate political choices.
But some points to consider. Just because you do not want to worry or obsess too much, does not mean that there is not a correct amount of forming one’s conscience according to the mind of the Church and worrying about aligning oneself with truth. I strive to find this balance myself. But the solution would not be to stop caring. Secondly, Christianity will always lead to some sort of personal sacrifice. We are called to die to ourselves and embrace a life of some sacrifice and penance and surrender to God. Now, I do not liken this to intellectual suicide or simply ignoring our real thoughts. Rather it is an ongoing relationship, where we give our Lord the benefit of the doubt, but continue honestly wrestling with the issues in prayer, as He knows our thoughts and feelings anyway. But in the mean time it is probably best to think and act in line with the Church when you realize her source orf authority (have you considered this aspect much) and the fact that there is a strong chance that she is correct (well definite certainty in my opinion). This can make it hard to accept, because it sort of does mean that we have to eventually learn to let go of our personal opinions that differ from the Church, but it is a process where our minds and hearts can wrestle, learn and become convinced more so over time. But we have to remember that we are finite. Things may seem a certain way to us, but we only have a limited ability to see things as they really are from an eternal perspective. Meaning, if you were an expert in coffee making, I may have to admit that you are correct and I am not in the opinion of whih is better between two coffees. I may like anything that has enough sugar. But you know what you are really looking for, and if I want to truly understand the true allure of coffee, I am best off trying to learn what you learn and appreciating things on this level. Same with the arts for that matter. Is their some room for opinions and subjectivity, yes. But not as much as people often think. My point is that, a wise person can try to learn to surrender or suspend their own views while educating themselves on the possibilities and depth of research that needs to be grasped first.
But there is some loss and sadness in conversion. And for this you will be greatly rewarded. The disciples left all they had to follow Him. We may have to leave some of our personal opinions and luxuries as well. The thing that worries me is not knowing how to advise you how long this should take. It is certainly a process, but I do not recommend willfully putting off submission to Church views either. My other worry is your lack of joy. Now I am not saying that this should be easy or that you should be happy all the time or feel guilty or at fault for not having more joy. But I hope and pray that over time you sense that to gain Christ even if you lose all else would have been worth it 1,000 times over. This is not to judge you for not having this joy (not to be confused with happiness per se) but to encourage you to wait and pray and ask for it. Study scripture, but also let it saturate you and form a basis for conversation and prayer with the Lord. Let Him be the best friend and Father that you need. Learn to adore Him and realize that His graces are so wonderful and sustaining even in dark times (and everybody will have dark times). But simply trying to surrender one’s views and change one’s mind without learning to love and be loved by the Lord may be a futile and graceless effort. It is the Holy Spirit’s ability to help you and transform you that you need. May the Blessed Virgin aide your cause by her prayers and motherly gifts as well. But above all, keep seeking Christ. Try to find a good spiritual counsel if you can as well. Maybe someone who is a solid priest that you know of. And if possible try Eucharistic adoration if it is available close to your area. This has been such a source of strength for me. to be continued…


#13

As per the abortion thing, well, technically, even in rape or incest, the abortion is still killing innocent life, so the Catholic church is not going to not support it. It may seem unfair to the women, but two wrongs can not make a right, (meaning, putting the child to death in no way is fair to the child - indeed it is a horrible act against it - regardless of why the child got there. If murder is always wrong, and abortion is equal to murder, there can not be an exception that justifies it). We also believe that abortion is physically emotionally and spiritually harmful to the mother as well. Granted, this is not saying that having a baby that was put in you by a monster is a walk in the park. I think if we want to be pro-life we have to learn to be compassionate and support groups that are going to help women in significant ways as well. As for when the mother's life may be in danger, we believe that we try to help mother and child survive as long as possible but if the situation becomes critical we do not abort the child but address the physical problem with the mother directly and the result may often be that he child dies, but it was not killed so much as nature took its course after solving the most direct problem that is effecting the woman. A complicated mater, but it still avoids abortion but allows the woman to be protected in such rare cases. You may want to read more about that or the homosexual issue.

As to whether homosexuals are that way by nature or not, the Church has wisely not ruled. But we do think compared to the natural order of creation that homosexuality is not in line with the plan and purpose for human sexuality. It is a difficult thing for a gay person to realize or accept, but it is a sacrifice and gift that could enable them to serve and find true joy. I am not saying it sounds fair, but it is better than telling them that they are better off acting on their feelings which are not going to help them spiritually. But I think that it is possible to observe from a natural point of view that homosexuality is something disordered. Not that gay people are bad people, or that merely feeling the homosexual attraction is a sin (so long as not willfully acted on or sustained and intensified willfully perhaps). Gays are worthy of respect and any hatred against them sickens me. But it also sickens me when people call openly proclaiming our theology in a loving way an act of hatred.
But this is an issue that maybe you can read more about eventually (if now is not the right time). In the mean time maybe you are best off just learning the mind of the Church and resting in the loving arms of the Father and getting to know your Savior more intimately in prayer and reading holy literature. With this in place all struggle will become much more doable. Basically, there is a long way to go, and I wish I could be of more help in knowing what steps and thoughts to take and have (and or which ones to avoid for now if any) and in what order and how the whole thing looks. This is why I recommend getting a good Catholic strong spiritual personal spiritual counsel along the way. Someone that can encourage you and help you figure out which battles to fight and how and when. It can be challenging to try to do it on our own. You have at least one prayer from me.


#14

[quote="Alexander_Smith, post:11, topic:215027"]
I'm afraid you've fallen somewhat into the "rape/incest" exception by many Christians and Catholics. Why is abortion wrong? Because it is the murder of innocent human life. What about rape or incest makes abortion right?

[/quote]

I can see where you all are coming from with the perspective of the mother, but I can't imagine how hard life would be for the child, knowing that they were essentially created from sin and living life as a kind of... abomination. That said, life is still life, and I suppose even the most disordered of us should be given a chance to live.

I don't think there's anything that will change my opinion, though, when it puts the mother's life in danger. If both can be saved, great, let them, but if the risk is simply too great, I believe that the mother should be allowed to make the decision for herself.

--James Chapel


#15

Back to my original point, I can see where some "self-denial" would be beneficial, particularly when it comes to leading a pure life, but I also believe that too much effectively destroys the personalities God gave us and turns us into cold, angry creatures. I'm doing my best to try and find a middle ground here (following God's word fully while still having at least a degree of joy, happiness and freedom), but it's like I'm either running into the extreme of pure atheism or extreme scrupulosity. In the end, I want to be able to understand and follow the words of God to their fullest, even if they come at the expense of some sacrifice and sadness, but at the same time, I don't want to be so encapsulated in scrupulosity that I lose track of God's message, become a cold soulless sheep or worst of all, becoming so disconnected from my life that I'm not able to relate to my secular brothers and sisters or enjoy God's gift of life at all. In other words, I by all means want to be be a fully committed Catholic, but at the same time want to be able to live some kind of meaningful life. Not all of us are called to be priests / monks, you know.

--James Chapel


#16

[quote="JChapel, post:1, topic:215027"]
I wasn't able to find a specific sub-forum for spiritually-related life issues and this was the closest that seemed to fit with my case, but feel free to move this topic as you see fit.

Alright, first I'd like to give a little background. I'm a 19-year-old male Catholic who has remained relatively dedicated to his faith since birth. While neither has been clinically diagnosed, I believe that I'm just getting over a two year battle with depression and have also suffered from behaviors that seem to follow those of OCD. While I don't agree with their stance on some issues (abortion, state-legislated gay "marriage") I find that I align closest to the Democratic party.

God isn't a democrat or a republican... If you try to align a political party with God's ways, I think you are going to have some issues, although I understand why you do... :)

Now then, for my debacle. Just recently, I began to take a closer look at my faith. While again, I've remained a devout Catholic for the greater portion of my life, I never took the time to look at how closely my life was following church teachings much past the ten commandments. I guess it just comes with age.

What I came to realize was that the relatively happy life I was leading all but contrasted church teachings. It all began when I overheard that masturbation was a sin, which, up until that point, the pleasure of the act made me overlook. Soon after, I got to understand why it was a sin: its addictive nature and the lustful, unrealistic, thoughts that it often produces. Slowly but surely, I somehow managed to stop (extremely hard for a teenager). This led to a storm of "Is X a sin" questions soon-after and consequential amazement and further reform (everything from stem cell research to gay rights to capital punishment).

The type of thoughts you are having are a good thing and is the path of a true Christian. Although you will never be able to absolve all your sin, working on one sin at a time, will bring you closer to God. This shows sacrifice and a willingness to take up your cross. If you read about the monks and spiritual fathers, you will find that this is conincides with their experiences.

While I won't deny the fact that, through the time I've spent thinking about and praying to God, I've grown closer to him than ever before, at the same time, it hasn't come without substantial cost.

This is why you are closer to him, there was sacrifice involved. (Don't take me in an absolute fashion here, I am not saying sacrifice is the only thing that matters. There is more to it than this, but without writing you a book, you get the jist...)

So much of this "reform" has come in contrast to my previous rose-colored ideals that I don't feel much like myself anymore. It's like I've taken the most extreme stance possible on every potentially sinful issue and have created this ultra-conservative ideal, that for me, a liberal, seems impossible to fulfill.

Again, don't mix polictics with religion, you will never be able to reconcile the two. It sounds like you have a passion for politics, I would recommend you do away with politics altogether and focus on the faith exclusively.

It's not that I don't understand what the church is teaching, either, it's just that I'm running into so many "my way or the highway" ultra-conservative Christians that it's all become so hard to understand.

Even my heart is telling me that continuing down this path is wrong. I feel like I'm slowly dying, and while I can understand that making the transition from say, a moderate to this position might be do-able, I just can't see myself living through this.

*Anyone that chooses the road of salvation witll inevitable have to war with the demons. Your heart is not telling you that this is wrong, its the demon the tells you through your heart that this is wrong. *

You are in fact dying... When you decide to go down the road you are going down, the ultimate goal is to kill your ego which represents your former self and through your ego, you have compassion for yourself and seek the easier way out. The destruction of the ego, ultimately will lead to a new self. This isn't something to be depressed about, but to embrace.

It's not that I disagree with the church's stance on the majority of these issues and it's not that I'm putting too much faith in Democratic ideals, it's that I'm becoming a cold, joyless, person because, for all intents and purposes, these people are basically expecting me to become a Republican, lest I go to hell, something I'm positive God did not create me to be. Something inside of me is telling me there has got to be another way; a way to hold to my Christian values without effectively murdering myself.

I used to be a stout republican and by party I still am, although I have tried to ignore politics in my everyday life. Politics are a distraction and if you follow your thoughts closely on this issue, you will find that it has a tendency to have you sin more, than not.

I'm open to any and all constructive advice you can offer.

--James Chapel

[/quote]


#17

I worked for several years with a colleague who was conceived in rape. She really wasn't any different from other people. I could never guess her story, had she not told it to me once. It was during the Soviet occupation of WWII that a Russian soldier raped her mother. My former colleague is a normal, healthy person, married and with two beautiful children, a professional with some good accomplishments. Thanks God her mother didn't abort her.


#18

Pro-Life Democrat here, Fiscal liberal, Moral Conservative... I have no party anymore.

Quite frankly though the Democrats are in line with the Church on pretty much every issue except for Life issues (abortion and stem cell) and Gay Marriage (which is moot because it will be decided by the courts). Ultra right wing lasse fair capitalism in the extreme some promote contradicts the Sermon on the Mount IMHO... probably why the Pope is farther left fiscally than I am.

NO political party in the US represents the all the teachings of the Church... don't let anyone fool you into believing that the pro war, pro death penalty, I'm only responsible for me republicans some how are that party.

There are good people in each party trying to do the right thing, my suggestion would be to forget the elite on either side and be an independent and make an informed decision when you vote. There are a lot of good voter guides, you can probably pick one up at your Parish.

Joe


#19

Very few exemplify the path of a true Christian from my experience. Your experiences appear to be on the right track though. Don't give up and go the other direction. Yes, you will feel better about your self for quiting the war, but ultimately you will regret it, you can trust me on that... :D

I too have OCD and for Christ's sake I have gone through battles that have left me scrared, broken down, and depressed (I don't mean this figuratively either). Some days I have woken up wondering if I can make it through one more day, but through Christ, I find the strength to do it one more time. Am I happy? Depends on how you look at it. My body yearns for relief, but my soul refuses to give in and go back to the way it was. My relationship with God in my eyes is miraculous and I always have to decide weather I am going to keep my closeness with God or go back and be normal like everyone else. Too me, God is everything and I refuse to give up!

As soon as I feel no more pain over my spiritual endeavors is the day I am dead again, as Christ said, "let the dead bury their dead." The pain I feel daily is the signs of one that was once dead and that seeks to live.

NearDeath


#20

Alright. In that case, I will do what I can to continue on this path. That said, I have a few questions regarding a couple of those "borderline" behaviors and, of course, my future.

  1. Prior to this rather dramatic experience, I used to meditate a lot as a form of relaxation and occasionally for thought and reflection. However, in these very forums, I came across posts suggesting that if I ever clear my mind that I will be "open to demons" and that the only way I could meditate is if I was basically thinking about religion the whole time. Now this seems a little ridiculous to me. Sure, on occasion, I could see myself justifying religious meditation, but can't I take a break to clear my head on occasion?

  2. Secular music: I've always had odd music tastes, yet I've also developed a passion for music. Most of this is classic rock, everything from Elvis to Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan. Unfortunately, traditional Christian music and Christian rock's sounds just aren't compatible with my tastes. Is it wrong that I continue to listen this music (quite frankly, one of the few things I'm living for)?

  3. Video games: Ever since college picked up this term, I've all but stopped playing video games. That said, I've always been quite the enthusiast. I've played everything from Fallout 3 to Maniac Mansion to StarCraft. I can't see them destroying my faith if the worlds are imaginary. I might as well disconnect my internet, cut my cable and throw all my DVDs into a fire, if that were the case. Your call.

Sigh I don't know. I'm just really frustrated with the fact that if God created me a certain way, wouldn't he want me to accept that? I just don't know how I could go on this road any further if I keep rejecting everything. Sure, when the last day comes, I'd be more than happy to throw everything away and follow God, but now... but now.. I just have nothing to live for. I'm just so suddenly throwing all of my hopes, dreams and aspirations into a hole in the ground which may or may not bear fruit and it's just... it's killing me. It's literally killing me, not just my ego, my soul, my everything, my reason for believing in God in the first place! I realize this is board composed largely of extremists, but... I don't know how you guys function.

--James Chapel


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