Thank you so much for your podcast and your books, your work is tremendously enlightening and has enriched my life immeasurably.
I grew up as an atheist and discovered God as an adult. I am struggling finding the right path for me to learn about God and follow his teachings.
My own family background is Jewish on my mother’s side, but my husband comes from a Christian background (but secular). We have started attending church because he is now also yearning to follow God’s word. I enjoy church and Bible study but feel somewhat uncomfortable there due to my Jewish background. However, I want to support my husband and show a united spiritual front to our children, and I want my children to grow up in a Bible-believing community, instead of around the toxic secular values that my husband and I grew up with in school and society.
What is the right path for me?
Thank you for your warm and encouraging words. We really appreciate hearing that we are adding value to your life. We think that you are a wise and courageous woman. We say this without knowing you because you understand the importance of presenting a united front with your husband and of giving your children a spiritual reality and a safe community.
Little did you or your husband think that it would matter that two people, both of whom came from families with a secular mindset, had different religious backgrounds. Yet, like most couples who have blithely ventured down these perilous pathways only to discover eventually that it does matter, you too have seen the same. It sounds like you are both on a growth trajectory and that takes honesty, courage and strength.
We encourage you to allow the process to play out. While there are huge theological differences between Torah observant Judaism and Christianity which we’d never try to blur, the truth is that when contrasted with an atheistic or secular worldview, they have much in common.
We discourage trying to raise your family as both Jewish and Christian. Sometimes house-bound people try to look at the beautiful garden outside from the windows in two separate rooms. Unfortunately they spend so much time darting from room to room that they actually spend very little time gazing at the garden. Far better to remain in one room and derive all the benefit possible through the windows right there in front of you.
Nonetheless, this might be an opportunity for you and your husband to become more familiar with both religions. We don’t know where you live, the ages of your children or what church you have found but many churches we know appreciate the Jewish origins of their faith. You can supplement church and Bible study with some Jewish sources (perhaps online) and begin to get knowledgeable about Jewish holidays and practices. Maybe there is a local synagogue you and your husband could occasionally visit as well. As with churches, you need to be careful to choose your guidance carefully—there is a great deal of nonsense available out there and there are both churches and synagogues that sadly have little to do with the Bible and God’s dominion over the world.
The important thing is finding a faith family with which you can affiliate as a family and in which each of you finds individual fulfillment as well as that warm surge of deep inexpressible happiness when engaged in something meaningful together with your family.
Initially, simply accepting the idea that there is a Higher Authority and rules for living is a major step. Recognizing that those rules for how the world REALLY works are formulated in God’s message to mankind which he presented to Moses on Mt. Sinai is next. You and your husband ought to engage in a weekly Bible study together and into which you can include children as they reach appropriate maturity. Way down the road, it is entirely possible that members of your family might choose different paths and you will need to figure out how to make that work, but right now you are at the very beginning of your explorations.
Meanwhile, we applaud the steps you are taking and your commitment to your family and its exciting spiritual odyssey all together down one spiritual path.
May you thrive in your journey,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin