I made a new friend over lunch today. He’s a lifelong Seventh-Day Adventist.
Our lives have many parallels. Our fathers were SDA ministers who were ejected from church ministry for preaching heresy.
I feel light-headed. I feel like I am back in childhood. I feel like I am in my parents home. I feel like I’m in Avondale College or Pacific Union College. I feel like I’m in Sabbath school.
As I extol the virtues of Orthodox Judaism, I look at this Orthodox Jewish kid in the next table who’s devotedly picking his nose and then eating what he finds up there.
"That’s Orthodox Jews for you," says a friend later. "They’re always embarrassing you. You’re never sure if they are retarded or not."
I can’t wait for the food to come. We ordered vegie burgers. I devour everything. Normally that stretches my stomach but today it is no problem. I can’t stop stuffing the food down my throat because I feel so empty inside. I feel light. I feel naked. I feel like a child. I feel like someone with no accomplishments. I feel like my father’s son.
I explain my changes. I’m asked how Jews interpret the story of Abraham offering up Isaac. I note that we say it at prayer every morning. That the story rings true for Jews because every time we bring a child into the world, there’s a strong likelihood the child will be murdered for being Jewish. That Jews must offer up all their children to their awful God.
I’m so shaken up by lunch, I’m seven minutes late for therapy. I’m never late for therapy. This was the first time I’ve been late for this therapist.
I stretch out on the couch and my back causes me great pain and I start talking about my family.
Growing up, I never knew what uncles and cousins and nieces were. We were so disconnected from our relatives — due to my parents converting to Seventh-Day Adventism — that they had little reality to me. When I met them as a child, I did not know how to relate to them because they were not Seventh-Day Adventists.
I’m offered a book on Christian theology by a mutual friend. I return it. "I’m sorry," I say. "I have an allergy to Christian theology. I hate it. I have an irrational hatred for it. I will never read this book. I heard so much about God’s love as a child, and had so many punishments in the name of God’s love, that I despise God’s love and never want to hear about it. I got this punishment as a kid where I had to read 40 pages of dense Christian apologetics every day and type out a one-page summary. I learned to type and I learned to hate Christianity."