Today, it’s scary how anti-Semitism sometimes reawakens. I really don’t understand it. What is the problem that someone else’s ancestors were worshiping the true God back when my German, Scottish, and Irish ancestors were worshiping trees or ancient warriors as if they were gods?
In such an environment, I’ve had to defend a fellow Catholic writer, Dawn Eden Goldstein, from attacks. She converted from Judaism to secular none-religion and then to Catholicism. Dawn recently wrote a moving testimony of her conversion with all the struggles and difficulties called Sunday Will Never Be the Same.
As a kid, I always thought of the troubles in my own family, but as an adult, I’m realizing that my family was almost idyllic. (To give you a sense, my two married sisters have chosen to move back to the same street as my parents after living elsewhere.) Dawn talks about an upbringing with far more struggles including divorce, parental issues, and sexual assault at synagogue.
Even as a young child, Dawn is reflective. She notes, “I don’t understand how people could have forgotten God made them. It’s not like we can make ourselves. I mean, I know daddies and mommies make babies. But someone had to make the first daddy and mommy.” (15)
Eventually, she notes that she felt sick of feeling like a prude for waiting for a man to say “I love you,” so she just loses her virginity to a guy she doesn’t care for just to get it over with. She stays in the world of rock and roll for years, writing various things.
Then comes her conversion to Christianity. She takes on her Christian life seriously. She becomes a copy editor at the New York Post but is eventually fired for her pro-life stance being too strong. Eventually, she turns to studying theology to the point she got a doctorate. Further details of Dawn’s story can be seen in various talks and interviews online.
One short section from her post-conversion life struck me, “My need for psychological help shocked me. Ever since my conversion, I had assumed God’s grace would protect me from sliding back into nihilism. […] For several days my thoughts were taken up with guilt, fear, and a kind of spiritual exhaustion Although I managed just barely to fight off temptations to self-harm, it was scary.” (209) If you ever feel like this, please get help. Psychological and spiritual help should work in tandem, not in cross purposes.
Overall, this book is a wonderful testimony of a person who went through various changes to end with the beauty of Catholicism. It doesn’t have many pull quotes but instead gives you a dramatic first-person account of such a life and conversion. The chapters are little vignettes of specific moments with a deep self-analysis of what was happening in her mind. So often, we can focus on the externals but the deepest drama of human life happens in the mind.
Disclosure: Dawn Eden gave me a copy for free and I said I’d probably review it. It took me a while longer to get to it than I’d hoped.
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