To many in my family I'm still an Irish Catholic in the same way that Marines consider themselves Marines, 'once a Marine, always a Marine', even though I've converted to Judaism twice (that's a story for later) and very happy with my choice.
Why do you think so many atheists seem so evangelistic? They even sometimes speak of their moment of "de-conversion" as a flip-side to the so-called born again experience. If life teaches us anything it's that certainty is overrated.
Raise your hand if you have ever purchased the wrong gift. The $60 billion annually spent in the United States on unwanted presents is a frustrating problem that can be solved, Fligoo CEO and startup co-founder Lucas Olmedo says.
Back in the '80s, Josh McDowell was extremely popular among evangelicals. Maybe he still is. Unfortunately, I can remember reading his stuff as a relatively uninformed college freshman and thinking, 'This stuff looks like Swiss cheese.'
I have sweet associations with smells and tastes and experiences of the Jewish holidays that in a certain way take the place of my old experiences with Christian holidays. However, the old memories are still there and it can be a strange feeling to have them come up without enacting them.
I hope that every religious tradition will teach tolerance and spiritual literacy of other traditions. That's a given. But I also think that there is more. Tolerance may be our supreme civic virtue, but it is not the most important virtue for using religion to its fullest.
I can be as born again as the former tax collectors and prostitutes of the New Testament, as devout as Mother Theresa, as divinely gifted as a saint, but because I was divorced at the age of 24, I can never be part of an Orthodox religion.
Instead of searching out problems and solutions, maybe we need to trust ourselves, our heritage and our Torah, and take a moment to marvel at the strength of Jewish life that has survived so many cultures throughout so many centuries.
In 1990, East Germany had to handle the delicate issue of the withdrawal of Soviet troops. This was no small question. There were 380,000 Soviet troops stranded by the fall of the Wall and the unification of Germany.
I was raised outside of organized religion, in a spiritual-but-not-religious home. I obviously did not stay a "none." I'm a pastor in the United Church of Christ and I try, for better or worse, to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Whether it's be-suited men standing along College Avenue, a horrible gay conversion preacher screaming in front of the student union, or Campus Crusade for Christ actively trying to convert people who are just sitting around, the conversion campaign is nearly constant.
For every Grand Inquisitor, there is a St. Francis of Assisi. For every Osama bin Laden, there is a Mother Teresa. Anything in the universe that humans touch will be ever thus: strands of good, evil and everything in between.
It's as if I'm being outed as an imposter, nothing more than a goy trying to pass with a Jewish last name and a Star of David around her neck. Even so, I don't doubt my decision for a minute, and I would be honored to have those same three rabbis as my witnesses if I were to do it all over again.