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Ben Courson

Ben gave his first message when he was in third grade, started a Bible study at age 16, and became a full-time pastor his senior year of high school. He was an optimistic person who was voted student body president, won the homecoming crown, and was a star basketball player. But things changed in the middle of his senior year when he came face to face with depression. He says, “I can’t even tell you exactly what went wrong or what chain of events led me to this dark place.” His optimism went down the drain and hopelessness set into his mindset. He became a loner during this time and even toyed with the idea of suicide, his faith in God began to disappear, and Christianity began to seem fake to him. He would give sermons telling people how to find peace and joy with God, but inside he felt empty. The harder he tried the more he became depressed. He thought about death a lot.  Things turned around for him when he discovered a group of friends he refers to as his Squad of Optimisfits (a nonconformist, an adventurer, a person who lives with wild abandon, childlike wonder, and unapologetic optimism). He found himself surrounded by these people who helped him go from loneliness to the joy of real friendship. Together they embrace a different kind of optimism. “We aim to transcend the churchy optimism that is out in the weeds, as well as the atheistic pessimism that leaves everyone in the dumps, by acting with a fearless hopefulness.” Walking with God and the Squad has been Ben’s secret to happiness and a meaningful life. Too many people today try to deal with loneliness by popping pills to be happy, checking their social media accounts to see if they matter or watch too much television. When you pursue life with others you can have a better life.

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