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My name is Patrick Christian Staples. About three years ago, I was quite active here. I wrote quite a bit about my religious views, the love of my life, and my artistic pursuits. It has been a long time.
I recently served a full-time mission for my church in Hamburg, Germany, spending the majority of my time (a bit longer than a year) in the Ruhrgebiet: Siegen and Hagen. I was also in Oldenburg, Elmshorn (a small city outside of Hamburg) and Luebeck. I learned to speak German and love the people there. I was able to talk to the German people about the existence of God and his establishment of religion. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Several of you were frustrated that I wouldn't be able to continue communication because it was not allowed to maintain extraneous social attachments while serving the Lord, evoking a response much like those against Catholic celibates. But I felt supported as I left, even by those who were not religious, and many I knew came to a conclusion of peace and tolerance for different walks and views of life.
I greatly loved my service there, but now I can continue my regular life on a secular plane. I promised that I would come back and revisit the NAO community. I hope that my return will be welcomed and appreciated, and I hope to further my correspondence with those whose life strains are similar to mine, as well as exchange on forums of dissidence to reach reasonable conclusions and enhance the humanistic qualities that make us beautiful.
I hope that old friendships are revived and that my return is well welcomed. Until I the surfacing has reached its zenith...
Discipline makes you happy.
Well, nice to see you're back ;)
BTW: What was so bad about Germany? According to you, you have been to the parts in which the most understandable German is spoken - at least for (english speaking) foreigners.
Naturally, I love Jesus very much. I love him so much that I'd like to crucify him all over again.
Thank you. I guess it's better that it's "calmed down" a bit. At least, it fits my preferred social climate the most.
It is true that High German is most prevalent in the Hanover region and most anywhere north of that point, which helped me get a really good handle on the language. I feel quite comfortable with my German speaking abilities.
The difficulty arose from the nature of the work itself. A good third of Germans are pronounced atheists, and those that consider themselves religious have largely subscribed to a religious sectarianism, and the religious nature of both the Catholic and Protestant factions have become, over time, quite culturally rooted in place of faith-based. What I mean is, it was quite difficult to lead any intelligible religious conversation with most because they see God in the form of a first/aid kit that really doesn't work, and religion as a superfluous set of rules and customs arbitrarily set up by man to try to explain God, deemed by some as to galvanize their "faith," (religious ethos,) or to hinder the "true knowledge" of God, which is a learned helplessness to understand or follow Him. Both strip God of His power and majesty. Of course their were true Christians and those which tried not only to be obedient to the tenets of their respective faiths, but were also open to discussion and tolerance, although these types fell far into the minority compared to the aforementioned derelict of faith.
My difficulty was in trying to talk with these people. The barrier was not in the German language - no, not even a substantial proficiency in the language could hold a candle to the religious barrier which holds them captive. Now, as a caveat I understand that this is probably the nature of most civilized societies, America before all not exempt to such sullen behavior... These difficulties would probably extend most anywhere that Christianity has taken root.
In this sense, religion is a true anomaly of human behavior. Rather than simply complain and rant about my views, I would much rather simply and quietly resolve to keep to the tenets of my own faith, and let my actions speak for the truth rather than words. After all, Christian words remain abundant, to little avail. I will try - as mortals can only do - to prove the doctrine of Christ through the happy life it produces.
Discipline makes you happy.