In my last post Mind If I Rant? I posed a question to everyone: Does the term ‘secular Jew’ bother you? Although I didn’t receive hundreds of responses, the responses I did receive (todah rabah, thank you very much) had one common answer: “who am I to judge?” No one thought it appropriate to judge another person’s walk. One reader even thought I came across as insulting to the Goyim (Gentiles, Nations) although I can assure you it was not my intention to insult anyone. Then an interesting question was asked of me. Would I be willing to write about my life’s mistakes?

Let’s see, air my dirty laundry? Hmmmm, next question 🙂

Where do I begin? I guess the best place would be a little background. I grew up an only child in a loving home. I often tease my parents and tell them they had it easy, if something was broken or missing they knew who did it! My mother and father worked far too many hours for the pay they received. We weren’t wealthy but we definitely weren’t poor. I was raised Christian, attended a Lutheran school, and at one point wanted to go into the ministry.

Eventually I decided on a career in the military where I met and married my wife of now 19 years. We married at a young age and even started our family early. For most of my life I considered myself to be a “non-practicing Christian” and raised my children as such. I brought them up with all the man made traditions of christmas trees, easter bunnies, trick-or-treating, etc.

Then I began my walk back home, back to Avinu YHWH. I began to question where all these things came from. I started researching and was dismayed at the truth. My whole life I considered myself to be a good person and yet I was living contrary to what YHWH wanted and expected of me. It’s my opinion that we were given the ultimate owner’s manual (The Scriptures) for a reason. Sure you don’t have to ever change the oil in your car but if you do change it according to the recommendations that engine is going to last a whole lot longer!

I read and study the TaNaKh and the B’rit Chadasha. I believe the Father, YHWH, and the Son, Yahushuah, are echad (one, unified). I obey the Torah to the best of my abilities. I observe YHWH’s feasts and Set Apart days. I do not work on the Shabbat, in fact I don’t work at all right now. I know the Sh’ma and look forward to praying it everyday. I believe in using the Hebrew names (Yahushuah, Yisra’el, Yirmeyahu, Moshe, etc.) because, let’s face it they are Hebrew. I have davened at the Kotel (Western Wall) and been overcome with tears in Synagogue.

So, does this mean that I am better than or look down upon others? Absolutely not! In fact, it wasn’t but a short time ago that I was on a very different path. However, I do feel compelled to speak the truth about man made traditions that have no basis in Scripture. My one hope is that as people read about my experiences they will decide to do their own research. We have to crack open the books and study for ourselves. No longer can we just take for granted that what someone speaks is truth, including what I’m saying right now! When my dad and I discuss Scriptures we are not afraid to ask each other for a citation to the source and then we will go and actually read what the source has to say.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like that prodigal son that wasted his inheritance and wound up face down in the mud. I’ve made many mistakes in the past and I’m sure will make more in the future. The difference is: now I know that I’m on the road back to our Father’s home.