Sunday, 31 August 2014
So, those of you who are with me on Facebook are probably wondering what in the world is going on with those Tomlin people. You're probably wondering where all this talk about G-d came from, and why in the world does she always put that hyphen in the middle of G-d when she types it? Why is she using all these alternate names for G-d? What's all this Shabbat and Challah stuff about?
Imma tell ya..
Don and I have always had faith in G-d. [Hereafter, in this post, referred to as HaShem (“the name” in Hebrew)]. We just didn't talk about it much because we knew that we weren't in the right place and, because we felt alienated from other Christians who lean more towards spewing judgmental bigotry regarding other's splinters while feigning ignorance regarding the beams in their own eyes.
About ten years ago a family moved in behind us. The first few years I pretty much ignored them. Somewhere along the way Jack was playing in the yard and met their three boys and they began to play together on a regular basis. This is when I noticed there was something different about them. That’s when I started putting the pieces together.
Initially I thought they were Jewish. The boys wore four tassels and Jack would come home after eating dinner with them saying things about Kosher, and Shabbat, and started calling them his “Hebrew” friends. I thought, “OK, cool. No problem with him learning about the roots of our Christian Messiah.”
It wasn’t until a few more years passed that I really had an opportunity to talk, in more than just passing regarding the kiddos, to the mom of the family. She explained to me that they were Christian, not Jewish, and chose to follow the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). This got my attention. She and I established a rapport, I expressed an interest in their dairy goats and chickens, and Erica’s goat milking days commenced. Ya’ll remember those days, right? The goat I called Lucy(fer)?
I went on about my business, letting them be them, and me be me – but always looking across the back yards and thinking, “Something is right over there.” I became more disconnected from mainstream Christianity and abandoned the evangelical church I was attending. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that the Old Testament was somehow a taboo subject. That we would be given that part of the bible and then be told that it didn’t apply to us. Christianity no longer made sense. And, then I realized it had never made sense. That I’d always felt like something was missing, that somehow I had lost part of what HaShem desired for us. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a voice shouting, “Jesus was a Jew!” and I realized that, as Christians, we are all in denial about what that really means, what the New Testament was telling us all the times it said “As was His (Jesus’) custom” when He did “Jewish” things.
Then, one night as we were going to bed, Don says to me that he feels like we need to find a church and reconnect with our faith, that he had a need to strengthen that relationship with HaShem. He had been spending some time with Mr. Backyard Neighbor and I think this was the catalyst for his “awakening”, if you will. Then he tells me he’s fairly certain the Backyard Neighbors got it right. Inside, I jumped for joy!
The next day, we were putting up corn in the deep freeze and realized we didn’t have enough room for all of it and I asked him if we could take it to the Backyard Neighbors, and if it looked like a good time, could we have a conversation with them about where we were in our thoughts. And, that’s just what we did.
I won’t give you all the details about why we’ve chosen this path, why we think it’s right, and what we are learning. You see, the most important thing I learned from Mr. and Mrs. Backyard Neighbor is that being a witness to others on behalf of HaShem doesn’t require a bunch of shouting, browbeating, and condemnation. The best witness for Christ is a silent witness; the one you learn to watch, to take notice of their example, and to crave the peace they have.
So, if you have specific questions, ask away. If you want to just sit back and watch the change happen, that’s ok too. Just know, I will not debate or argue with you. We know what’s right for us and are comfortable with that and ask that you let that be enough.
Posted by Erica Tomlin