Journeying as an Anglican with a cultural and ethnic Jewish identity.
I grew up in a Reform Jewish home. From a young age, I had an interest in saints, which lead to a fascination with the Incarnation: God in the flesh.
Over the years I tried to convince myself that this interest was nothing more than a hobby, but in time it grew into something more. I secretly envied the faith that they had.
I eventually converted to Christianity while in college. Following graduation, I attended seminary in Denver, Colorado, where I experienced a crisis of faith that lead me to drop out after a year. That crisis worsened when my father learned he was dying of cancer, and some of my Christian friends pressured me to make sure he was “saved” before he died.
I started dealing with hard questions I never let myself contemplate before: What kind of God punishes people forever for not believing “correctly”? How can that God still be considered “loving”?
At the same time, my Jewish identity would come up in unexpected situations, such as at the doctor’s office filling out new patient forms that asked if I had any Ashkenazi heritage.
I started wondering, What is Judaism, anyway? Is it a religion, ethnicity…or both? More specifically, what is Judaism to me? It may not be my chosen faith, yet it’s still part of me…somehow.
In time, I came to realize that while Judaism was no longer my chosen religion, it still had much to offer me — particularly when it comes to dealing with questions and doubt, which are seen as acts of faith rather than rebellion.
In order to remain a Christian, I needed to find a church home that viewed asking questions in the same way.
A few years after my husband and I settled in Colorado, I discovered the Anglican-Episcopal church. I knew after a few Sunday visits that this was my new spiritual home.
Read more about this journey in my memoir, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter.
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Headshots by Erika Chambers Photography and Design