Sunday, August 12, 2012

Is My Writing Toxic?

In the first 11 years of my Jewish journey, I never wanted to write anything bad about any rabbi. I revered rabbis. I knew there were bad ones, but I revered the profession as a whole. Then I got kicked out of three Orthodox synagogues in Pico-Robertson in 2001 (after one expulsion in 2008) and my heart got very cold. About three years went by and I read the book "The New Rabbi" and I decided that rabbis deserved at least as much journalistic scrutiny as high school basketball coaches and I started writing about them, with few exceptions, with the same sort of detachment that I brought many years ago to writing about high school basketball for the Auburn Journal. One leading Conservative rabbi called my writing "toxic." That shook me up. The word is so powerful. I recognized that there might be something to what he said but I could not deal with it at the time. Now I'm 12-stepping and I'm willing to look anew at myself, my writing and my behavior and to look for the resentment and fear I'm exhibiting as I pursue my own selfish ends and decide to instead turn my will and my life over to God, to let go of my resentments and to stop depending on my own competency (which is not very competent or I would not be in the position I am in) and to instead turn to God constantly, asking, "What is your will?" I'm taking a second look at my toxic behavior and there's a lot more of it than I would like.