Surnames, Great-grandfathers, And Why London Doesn't Look The Same Anymore

     It is remarkably easy to feel confused about your enthnoreligious area of belonging in this current era that we partake in. Borders no longer exist and ethnicity is no longer nationality. Religion is no longer ethnic. Spirituality is no longer religion. We currently are partaking in an era wherein the nuts and bolts of a thing are cracked down on and we get to examine the gist of a person and his/her wires, at a level previously unheard of. Some individuals even need therapy to address ethnoreligious identity crises, and that does not even surprise me in the least. Today, one may have blonde hair, blue eyes, and be a Muslim. One may be Pacific Islander and be a British national. One may be Nordic through and through but be Jewish. A person can be African and Protestant.
     Catholicism is a renegade form of Judaism that was created by the Romans, from which Protentantism was formed; the English Bible is a direct translation of the Hebrew Torah; but you surely do not need to be Italian to be Catholic and you surely do not need to know what Hebrew is, to pick up a Bible. In fact, lots of Catholics and Protestants don't even know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and spoke and wrote Hebrew because he was a Jew.
     In 1980, one could expect to show up in Norway or in London and see white people. When I was in Norway and in London not so long ago, every third person I saw was Middle Eastern. Some people in London didn't even speak English!
     The world we live in is different now and it will never go back to being what it once was, it just will not. This is the new paradigm that we now live in.

     Even I have struggled with a small crisis with regards to my ethnoreligious identity. Religion has played an immensely profound role in my life. Immensely profound. It has impacted me deeply. My parents were both Theologians when they met, specializing in the Torah and in the Jewish roots of Christianity. They fell in love while they were both in Israel. My paternal grandmother converted to become a Jew later in her life and she encouraged me to do the same before she passed. I loved her dearly and deeply and immoveably. My mother is currently Jewish-Protestant and I was raised Jewish-Protestant. That means that I was raised in a Protestant church but with a keen awareness of the history and life of Israel and the Israelis, I sang Hebrew songs, I celebrated some of the Jewish holidays.
     My mother's grandfather was a Taoist High Priest in China. The Administrator and Keeper of the Yin and Yang. He was a big deal! The rest of my family does not care for him at all, or care for Taoism at all, as they believe it to be insignificant and inferior to their Protestantism. I, on the other hand, believe this root in my ancestry to be of outstanding worth!
     I am a "roots person". I truly value and truly respect any and all roots that I may have! There is so much magic to be found in the places where my pieces have come from and I appreciate and respect each one of them to the highest possible degree. This is why I gave my son a Hebrew name (his name is entirely Hebrew); because I deeply appreciate the fact that my parents fell in love while they were in Israel. This is why, today, I practice the Jewish holidays, I follow non- orthodox Judaism, because I grew up with a heart close to the songs and the holidays. This is also why, today, I believe in the principles of the Yin and Yang, I believe and respect the many Taoist principles (which are echoed in Judaism very much, by the way).
     I was given a very English name by my parents. And I have probably the most English surname on the planet: "Childs". Literally, this surname was developed in English courts to be given to the young Knights at their knighthood. It doesn't get any more English than that! Since they were Theologians, they initially wanted to name me "Agape" (Greek for "Charity") but then last minute they decided to go with the traditionally very English "Charity", out of respect of my father's Welsh heritage. But then I was born in the USA, so I share the same citizenship with many an immigrant over the hundreds of years.
     I have every right to struggle with ethnoreligious identity. But I honestly know a number of people who have so much more right to battle with this than I do. I know a Malay-Polynesian who is a British National but who is also Muslim by virtue of his grandfather's Nigerian-Muslim heritage. Now that's not easy to wrap your head around. At least with my case, I can easily be categorised as a typical WASP with some religious and ethnic twerks (and that would just sound cute and interesting).
     We have entered into a paradigm wherein our inward struggles have to do with the pieces of us that make us who we are. But then who are we, really? Are we all of these pieces? All of these roots? Or are we just the parts that we pick out and highlight? Or are we responsible for writing our own stories? Are we responsible for refusing to rely on the stories written before us to define us?
     In this new paradigm we are entering into, I hope that we all come to terms with how we want to see and to understand who we really are. I hope this for you and I hope this for me. May self-discovery and self-actualisation take centerstage now. I wish you a Happy New Year and Prosperous New Decade beginning in a few days and with my wishes I send you my warm embrace! Thank you, wonderfuls, for loving me, staying with me, supporting me, and really just never leaving my side! It has been a decade of C. JoyBell C. And look at where we are now! ILY! IRRLY (I Really Really Love You).

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from my readers and friends, you touch my heart, so please feel free to leave me a note (or two). ♥

Back to Top