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jazzologist
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« on: June 18, 2011, 03:37:47 AM »

As a new "Inquirer" at a 'Mission' I've found the conversion process to be somewhat lengthy, not too engaging and tedious. Are there any forum members who attend "Christ The Savior" parish in Chicago and can help direct me to the appropreate parties there (for Inquirers class)?
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2011, 08:37:31 AM »

As a new "Inquirer" at a 'Mission' I've found the conversion process to be somewhat lengthy, not too engaging and tedious. Are there any forum members who attend "Christ The Savior" parish in Chicago and can help direct me to the appropreate parties there (for Inquirers class)?

I would think that the parish priest is the person to contact. OTH, if you wish to talk about the conversion process, would you tell us in a bit more detail about the conversion process as you understand it and why you think it is "not too engaging and tedious"? May God bless your journey and welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2011, 12:13:07 PM »

The Spirit is descended!
As a new "Inquirer" at a 'Mission' I've found the conversion process to be somewhat lengthy, not too engaging and tedious. Are there any forum members who attend "Christ The Savior" parish in Chicago and can help direct me to the appropreate parties there (for Inquirers class)?
Are you in Chicago?  You can always drop by us.
http://www.allsaintsorthodox.org/

I know a number of people there (I was at Holy Trinity Cathedral when the church fell from the sky into the diocese), but haven't been there in a year.
http://www.xcthesavior.org/
http://www.xcthesavior.org/inquiries.html
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What is Orthodox Christianity all about? How does it differ from other Christian confessions? This section will attempt to answer these questions and many more.

For a visual introduction to the Orthodox Church, please view the video below, for a short presentation on "Orthodoxy at a Glance" please view the PDF, for a detailed look at Orthodox Christianity please see our About Orthodoxy area, and for any other questions, please contact our priest, Fr. John Baker.
I've only had opportunity to speak with Fr. Baker a few times, but he was more than gracious.  I would contact him.

Btw, can you elaborate on "unengaging" and tedious.  As for lenghty, it takes as long as it takes.  I'm sure my sons' mother would have prefered to have birth right after conception, but the 9 month preparation time serves its purpose.
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2011, 08:22:33 PM »

Conversion in parishes used to adult converts often takes about a year, roughly. There's a lot of wisdom in experiencing a full liturgical year. There's also a lot of stuff to learn. Parishes don't necessarily have inquirer and/or catechumen classes. A lot of the time, it's just attending Liturgy and Vespers and as many of the extra (festal/Lenten) services as you can make, reading whatever the priest assigns, and discussing it with him.

My parish actually has a trained lay catechist, who does one on one or small groups (depending on how many catechumens there are at a time) but having someone other than the priest do the teaching seems to be the exception rather than the norm.

Also, Christ the Savior does not have "mission" status. It became a full-fledged parish several years ago.

Fr. John Baker is wonderful and very welcoming. His parish has lots of converts, so he's doing something right!
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 12:21:17 AM »

I would like to thank all of you who've taken the time to answer. All answers have been helpful. The "mission" I am attending is of course not "Christ The Savior" parish. I cited it because it seems to be nearest to my job location on the near west side of Chicago. I do however live on the south side of Chicago. Quite frankly, I had no idea the conversion process takes about a year. Right now the Inquirers class is centering around my work schedule(which is quite accommodating).
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sainthieu
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 01:49:52 AM »

One does not rush in to the Orthodox Church. It's like the "Marines" of Christianity, so to speak.
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 03:44:18 AM »

I'm even more confused than before. Talk about tempering one's enthusiasm...I had some apprehension of even joining the Forum. Now I know why.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 09:26:56 AM »

I'm even more confused than before. Talk about tempering one's enthusiasm...I had some apprehension of even joining the Forum. Now I know why.

why?? i think it's fierce!!
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 02:58:34 PM »

Quite frankly, I had no idea the conversion process takes about a year.

Oh, yes. I've heard of people who converted in more ethnic parishes (who weren't used to having very many adult converts, aside from a few via marriage), who joined the Church within 4-6 months.

The year time frame is a very rough estimate. Some people take a bit longer, others a bit shorter. Depends on the parish - I know of a parish that requires you to be a catechumen for at least a year. That doesn't include however long you were attending as an inquirer.
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2011, 09:33:37 AM »

If i'm ever ready then i won't want to hang about. I will either convince the priest i am ready or i will go round all the other churches and see who does it the quickest lolOl
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 10:02:44 AM »

If i'm ever ready then i won't want to hang about. I will either convince the priest i am ready or i will go round all the other churches and see who does it the quickest lolOl
Any reason for the hurry?
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 10:12:52 AM »

If i'm ever ready then i won't want to hang about. I will either convince the priest i am ready or i will go round all the other churches and see who does it the quickest lolOl
Any reason for the hurry?

It wouldn't be a hurry. If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 10:15:32 AM »

If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.

Your reaction would mean that you wouldn't be. It's not for you to decide.
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 10:26:11 AM »

It takes as long as it takes. My husband was ready after a few months - it took me almost a year. Personally I think that one should experience a full liturgical year, with its cycle of feasts and fasts, before even considering it. But it's up to your priest and you to decide when you are ready. We had one guy in our parish who attended for years off and on, before being chrismated. We referred to him affectionately as the "world's oldest catechumen."

You see, Orthodoxy is not just a set of beliefs to which one gives one's intellectual consent, it is a commitment to a way of life, a journey, almost like marriage. I have seen the results of people rushing into Orthodoxy (and rushing into marriage, also). Once the honeymoon is over, and real life starts, more than a few abandon ship. My god daughter, for whom I ask your prayers, left the Orthodox Church because the priest counseled her that she could not live with her fiance before they were married. She didn't think that there was anything wrong with it - actually she thought that the priest was meddling in her private life (!) as well, so she left.

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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 10:30:02 AM »

Quite frankly, I had no idea the conversion process takes about a year.
Consider yourself lucky to live at this point in history. It used to take three years.

The conversion process is not standardized across jurisdictions in the USA, and often the "when" of a person's reception into the Church is a pastoral decision.
If i'm ever ready then i won't want to hang about. I will either convince the priest i am ready or i will go round all the other churches and see who does it the quickest lolOl
Any reason for the hurry?

It wouldn't be a hurry. If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.
Anectdotally, I can think of several people who were certain they were ready to enter the Church only to leave it before that time even came. This happens more than we like to admit. It also makes a good case for the extended catechumenate.
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2011, 10:37:24 AM »

If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.

Your reaction would mean that you wouldn't be. It's not for you to decide.

Listen, i spent 18 years letting other people tell me when to do things and who i am and where i can go and what i will eat and who i have to talk to. I'm not about to let anyone else do that no more. I know if i am ready for something or not. Anyways, it's moot because i'm not even anywhere close yet and i might not even ever be.
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2011, 10:39:25 AM »

i might not even ever be.

I'm afraid of that.
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 10:41:45 AM »

If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.

Your reaction would mean that you wouldn't be. It's not for you to decide.

Exactly.

That said, you're not a monk. You don't have to give your obedience over to a single parish or priest. Shop around and find a parish you like. that doesn't mean, however, that you should search for a parish that gives you all you want without "negatives." Those so-called "negative" aspects of your community are just as much, if not more, for your salvation than those things which you love. Orthodoxy is not an a la carte religion.

So, definitely find a parish you don't dread. Most importantly, a priest that resonates with you (and who also makes you grow spiritually), but also a style of worship that is effective for you, a good community, etc. Don't forget that there are other ways to do it out there, but there's nothing wrong having your favorite ways! I love my parish, and the other two parishes nearby. That said...I wouldn't want to be a member at those parishes as long as my parish is an option. However, I also love when we get together for pan-Orthodox events a services (regularly, several times throughout the year, with occasional special times like a visiting wonderworking icon, marriages, etc.)

My point: Find a parish you're going to be comfortable in for the long-haul, and stay there. If there's something you don't like, bear it. Even though most of us aren't monks, Orthodoxy is a religion of humility, submission and obedience to God, the Church, your confessor, etc. If it's really an issue for you, mention it in confession or when otherwise speaking privately with the priest, but bear it. If you aren't ready for such submission and obedience (not that it won't be a struggle regardless), you aren't yet ready to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2011, 10:45:37 AM »

i might not even ever be.

I'm afraid of that.
well good job i have more faith in myself then you huh??  Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2011, 10:51:54 AM »

...tell me when to do things and who i am and where i can go and what i will eat ...I'm not about to let anyone else do that no more.

You might want to consider an extended catechumenate then. The Church, and your priest or spiritual father, will pretty much do all those things. One of the hardest lessons the Church teaches us is humility - we don't know nearly as much as we think we do. Fortunately, acknowledging that seems to be the beginning of wisdom.
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2011, 11:09:23 AM »

...tell me when to do things and who i am and where i can go and what i will eat ...I'm not about to let anyone else do that no more.

You might want to consider an extended catechumenate then. The Church, and your priest or spiritual father, will pretty much do all those things. One of the hardest lessons the Church teaches us is humility - we don't know nearly as much as we think we do. Fortunately, acknowledging that seems to be the beginning of wisdom.

So i expect the priest will be really humble then given that hes had a lot of practise at it and he will respect that i don't presume to know much at all about the church, God, others, or life in general even but what i do know about is myself.

Maybe if other people were half as sure about themselves then they wouldn't be so insecure and go through life wishing they had done a whole bunch of things. (i'm not meaning you Katherine)

Security is a good thing.
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« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2011, 11:21:22 AM »

...tell me when to do things and who i am and where i can go and what i will eat ...I'm not about to let anyone else do that no more.

You might want to consider an extended catechumenate then. The Church, and your priest or spiritual father, will pretty much do all those things. One of the hardest lessons the Church teaches us is humility - we don't know nearly as much as we think we do. Fortunately, acknowledging that seems to be the beginning of wisdom.

So i expect the priest will be really humble then given that hes had a lot of practise at it and he will respect that i don't presume to know much at all about the church, God, others, or life in general even but what i do know about is myself.
And herein lies the problem. How can you be sure you want to join the Church if you don't know "much at all" about it? Salvation is not something we pursue because we think it is nifty, and the sacraments are not to be trifled with.
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« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2011, 11:31:40 AM »

It takes as long as it takes. My husband was ready after a few months - it took me almost a year. Personally I think that one should experience a full liturgical year, with its cycle of feasts and fasts, before even considering it. But it's up to your priest and you to decide when you are ready. We had one guy in our parish who attended for years off and on, before being chrismated. We referred to him affectionately as the "world's oldest catechumen."

You see, Orthodoxy is not just a set of beliefs to which one gives one's intellectual consent, it is a commitment to a way of life, a journey, almost like marriage. I have seen the results of people rushing into Orthodoxy (and rushing into marriage, also). Once the honeymoon is over, and real life starts, more than a few abandon ship. My god daughter, for whom I ask your prayers, left the Orthodox Church because the priest counseled her that she could not live with her fiance before they were married. She didn't think that there was anything wrong with it - actually she thought that the priest was meddling in her private life (!) as well, so she left.


yes, many think the Church is here to bless your lifestyle. She's here so you live in a way that makes it blessed.  Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2011, 11:35:38 AM »

yes, many think the Church is here to bless your lifestyle. She's here so you live in a way that makes it blessed.  Lord have mercy!

I'm struck by two things. First is what I heard a very wise priest say one time: "The Church isn't here to make you happy, it's here to make you holy."

The other is a story of St. Moses the Black (also called "The Ethiopian"):

Once a brother had been caught in a particular sin, and the abbot asked St. Moses to come to the church and render judgment. He came reluctantly, carrying on his back a leaking bag of sand. When he arrived, the brothers asked him why he was carrying such a thing. He simply said, "This sand is my sins which are trailing out behind me and I do not see them, and now I go to judge the sins of another." At that reply, the brothers forgave the offender and returned to focusing on their own salvation rather than the sins of their brother.
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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2011, 11:38:01 AM »

If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.

Your reaction would mean that you wouldn't be. It's not for you to decide.

Listen, i spent 18 years letting other people tell me when to do things and who i am and where i can go and what i will eat and who i have to talk to. I'm not about to let anyone else do that no more. I know if i am ready for something or not. Anyways, it's moot because i'm not even anywhere close yet and i might not even ever be.

"If one wants to be free they must seek slavery in every aspect of life." from Way of the Ascetics
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« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2011, 12:09:27 PM »

How can you be sure you want to join the Church if you don't know "much at all" about it? Salvation is not something we pursue because we think it is nifty, and the sacraments are not to be trifled with.

I answered that already here

Quote
Anyways, it's moot because i'm not even anywhere close yet and i might not even ever be.

I know salvation is not something to pursue because we think it's nifty. You don't even know me.
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2011, 12:55:35 PM »

Quite frankly, I had no idea the conversion process takes about a year.

Oh, yes. I've heard of people who converted in more ethnic parishes (who weren't used to having very many adult converts, aside from a few via marriage), who joined the Church within 4-6 months.

The year time frame is a very rough estimate. Some people take a bit longer, others a bit shorter. Depends on the parish - I know of a parish that requires you to be a catechumen for at least a year. That doesn't include however long you were attending as an inquirer.

The parish I attend is not ethnic and quite used to adult converts.  I was Chrismated at just over 5 months as a catechumen and about 8 months after I began attending regularly.  The practice of being a catechumen for a year seems to  depend on jurisdiction, diocese, the priest and the person being catechized.  
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« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2011, 01:08:05 PM »

How can you be sure you want to join the Church if you don't know "much at all" about it? Salvation is not something we pursue because we think it is nifty, and the sacraments are not to be trifled with.

I answered that already here

Quote
Anyways, it's moot because i'm not even anywhere close yet and i might not even ever be.

I know salvation is not something to pursue because we think it's nifty. You don't even know me.
I'm sorry if you feel I was being overly familiar. Truly, no offense was meant.

But the point remains that our entrance into the Church is on its terms, not ours. I will not presume to judge who you are and whatever personal history you have. I leave that between you, God and your priest.
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« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2011, 01:52:45 PM »

[The parish I attend is not ethnic and quite used to adult converts.  I was Chrismated at just over 5 months as a catechumen and about 8 months after I began attending regularly.  The practice of being a catechumen for a year seems to  depend on jurisdiction, diocese, the priest and the person being catechized.  

The one parish I'm aware of with the year rule has a priest that keeps that as an iron clad rule. A friend half joked to me that the only way you could get your baptism/chrismation to be sooner is to be dying or diagnosed with a possible terminal disease.
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« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2011, 05:14:20 PM »

It took me 8 months from being a catechumen to getting baptised on Pascha.  But, if I had been made a catechumen in, let say, January, it would only be 3 months because the plan was for me to get baptised for Pascha.  That's just how it worked out for me.  We have to remember that the priest is responsible for the person's soul. They want to make sure that the person understands the commitment and doesn't leave the Orthodox Church after they're baptised because they had second thoughts; that would be an apostasy.  It has to be an absolute decision.  In most cases, a person will have contact with the priest and have a lot of discussions before they decide to become a catechumen.  I just went to the church and said that I wanted to be Orthodox and he made me a catechumen.  I had no discussions before.  I had books of the holy fathers. 

So, in a way, I understand Poppy's position.  If I decide it, then it's a done deal.  When I decide something, I do it because I know that this is what I believe in.  But, in my case, I didn't have the advantage that Poppy has...communicating on the internet and getting information.  I had my books.  So, I had no idea about Church stuff.  Here, non-Orthodox can read explanations of Orthodox matters and Church traditions. 

And I was so oblivious to where I was going, that I showed up at the Church (at the end of Liturgy), in shorts!  What do you want... it was summer.  And this was the GOC.   Shocked  Later on I understood the looks that I got.  But, then they got to know me and saw that I came with faith.  I've never worn shorts to Chruch again.  laugh

So, to Poppy...you will have many months of discussions here and you will get to learn alot about the Orthodox faith in a way I never got to (before I came).  So, if you decide to become Orthodox, go for it all the way.  Because I see that you make decisions with all your heart.  It's all or nothing.  Right?
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2011, 06:08:03 PM »

If i'm ever ready then i won't want to hang about. I will either convince the priest i am ready or i will go round all the other churches and see who does it the quickest lolOl
Any reason for the hurry?

It wouldn't be a hurry. If i had spent a whole long time sorting out what i believed and i was sure, then i wouldn't want someone telling me i wasn't ready. I would be ready.
I was in a hurry to join the Church once I learned about it. My priest told me to wait, because he didn't think I was ready to be received yet (nor did a lot of other people at my parish). I'm glad he made me wait.
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« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2011, 06:18:54 PM »

yes Joasia, cautious big time with people and situations but all or nothing and once im sold on something i am loyal and in it with my whole heart.
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« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2011, 06:27:58 PM »

Don't rush into it, I got caught up in the honeymoon phase myself and wanted to be baptized ASAP.

I wrongly believed I was ready for the commitment to the Way, but I am far away from it at the moment. I have alot of pride and sexual passion issues to deal with before I can be worthy enough for Christ.

As far as people telling you what to do, if it has an ounce of truth to it I don't see how that should harm you. If you want to be a Christian you must try to obey Christ's commandments, deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Him. If you don't like the sound of that, I'm afraid Orthodoxy isn't for you and wish you well.
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« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2011, 06:37:07 PM »

Aposphet, it sounds like you have doubts about your faith and some messed up personal issues.  Like Poppy, when I know it's right it is the choice I make.  And there's no doubts.  I knew it and I took it.  You either want it or you don't.  Being luke warm is an offense to God.
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Stillness,  prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to Heaven. (Philokalia 2: p.308 - #24) - St. Thalassios

The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios
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« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2011, 06:45:56 PM »

The only way to overcome sin is to have it washed away in Baptism, and receive the Holy Spirit in Chrismation, and receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

There are some legitimate reasons to not rush into conversion, and a priest can gauge this. Many want to convert quickly out of a passion that may be pride-related. But fear of your own unworthiness is not a reason to stay away. How can one overcome sins without the Sacraments? You will be waiting for the rest of your life.
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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2011, 06:52:40 PM »


So i expect the priest will be really humble then given that hes had a lot of practise at it and he will respect that i don't presume to know much at all about the church, God, others, or life in general even but what i do know about is myself.

Maybe if other people were half as sure about themselves then they wouldn't be so insecure and go through life wishing they had done a whole bunch of things. (i'm not meaning you Katherine)

Security is a good thing.

I knew my old self as well.  And by that I mean my false self.  The true self is only revealed in relationship and obedience to Christ and by extension, His Church. 


To Jazzologist, it took 14 months for me.  Please remember that it is out of love that it takes time.
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« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2011, 07:15:14 PM »

Aposphet, it sounds like you have doubts about your faith and some messed up personal issues.  Like Poppy, when I know it's right it is the choice I make.  And there's no doubts.  I knew it and I took it.  You either want it or you don't.  Being luke warm is an offense to God.

I do want it but it's going to take time and action for that to occur. I do have bouts of doubt over my faith and with regards to my personal struggles, they aren't as deep as some other people I know. Maybe they are, but I don't think so; although I'm trying to setup some time to see a therapist on a few things.
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2011, 08:55:00 PM »

It is good to take some time for a serious decision. However, don't be afraid to call or e-mail the priest, or drop by the office.
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« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2011, 02:53:45 AM »

Quote
although I'm trying to setup some time to see a therapist on a few things.

don't bother, ask us all we can help  Wink and we're cheaper  Tongue
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