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   Thursday, January 24, 2008  

Questions of Faith

I was raised in a fairly typical midwestern family.  My parents divorced when I was young and my mom left the Catholic church as a result -- not so much because her beliefs changed.  Her leaving the church had more to do with her request for counseling from the parish priest being denied.  Her husband had physically abused her and was leaving her with two young children.  And the priest told her that his friendship with her husband (my dad) prevented him from being objective and from fully believing her account of things.

I was baptized Catholic, but never received first communion.  And I'm fine with that.  I went to protestant churches but felt most at home in those that were non-denominational.  I attended an evangelical Christian college.  My religious beliefs are something very personal and very dearly held.

Mr. W came from an interesting family.  His mom was raised Catholic.  And then she met his father, a Jewish man.  His family required that she convert in order to marry their son.  Since she didn't really feel strongly about her own faith, she saw no problem in this.  Mr. W's Jewish grandparents also insisted that he go to Hebrew school and have a bar mitzvah.  They celebrated Jewish holidays in the homes of his grandparents, aunts and uncles (rarely their own) and Christian holidays with his maternal grandparents.

Mr. W always believed in the existence of Christ as more than just a man.  Of course, he also thought that in order to be of any faith major classes were required.  And then we started dating and he asked about my beliefs and how it worked.  I told him what I believed -- remarkably similar to what he, himself believed -- and explained the sinner's prayer.

We've finally found a church we both like.  We celebrate only Christian holidays.

But, as I've been accused of by his family (maybe because of), I do feel like there is an element of Mr. W's culture and that of my son, that is lacking.  I feel that we do need to address their Jewish heritage in some way.

Specifically, I feel that my son should be raised with some Jewish traditions.  That we should be celebrating some of the holidays as they are the foundation that our faith springs from.  I don't quite understand why Christians have stopped celebrating some of the holidays and haven't been able to find an adequate answer in any of the things that I've read.  Of course, some of the holidays are not things that one can celebrate as a Christian (Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah come to mind as Christ's death is the atonement for our sins and therefore negates the need for us to atone).

Wondering if anyone can give me any input as to how this can be done in a Christian family -- the recognition of both the familial Jewish heritage as well as the Jewish heritage of our faith.  Even if we decide not to celebrate the Jewish holidays as a family, I'd like input on how I can teach my son about them and about how they differ from our faith as Christians.  This is extremely important to me as I do not want my son to be completely confused at family functions.  I also want him to have a more complete understanding of his (much hoped-for) faith in Christ than I did prior to attending college.  Thoughts?

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You may find the Jews for Jesus organization to be of help here.

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