The celebration, Chanuka, or Hanukkah, began last night. We placed our menorah in the living room window, which is at the front of our house. My wife lighted the first candle. I hadn't neglected to blog about it; I've just been very busy and couldn't get to it. We are an interfaith family. My wife is Jewish. She was not raised in an observant household. Her parents were hostile to organized religion and not moved by spiritual concerns. She was brought to observant Judaism by emotional grief at 9-11 and revivalist outreach by a Chabad rabbi. This affirmation of her ancient religion coincided with that of our son, who was also punished by 9-11 and moved quickly to orthodox Judaism. I was raised in the Episcopal church, was confirmed, was an acolyte, sang in the choir, and, until college, attended both church and the little church's youth group run by the minister. Alas, this participation in the organized life of the church was not accompanied by a belief in salvation through Christ. I never believed, though, in my younger years, I wanted to. I have discussed my rationalist scepticism elsewhere in this blog. So, once away from my home village, my parents' influence, and the church, Christianity became one of the things I left behind on my life's journey. 9-11 did not return me to Christianity, but it did reinforce my earliest, earnest desire to understand Christianity. My grief, this abiding wound 9-11 caused, also compelled me to recognize the role of emotion in thought, to seek some category of truth function for emotion in the empiricism of scientific investigation of physical reality, so to speak in the long-ago language of logical positivism. I have not become a believer. I am, though, in the position of sitting in the back pew of the sanctuary, appreciating the music, comfortable with ancient prayers, and feeling that mysteries exist that I can't any longer deny. I have, over the past five decades, kept in correspondence with the Episcopal minister who took over the church in which I grew up the year I left for college. He was my parents' pastor. He presided over their funerals. We exchange Christmas greetings. I know he is confused and perhaps unhappy with my interfaith marriage, it's not part of the Episcopal Church in he was trained. But neither are other changes to the church, which have disturbed him, such as the ordination of homosexual bishops. We haven't discussed women bishops, so I don't know whether this development disturbs him. So here we are, in this modern situation, in a half-way station, partly in one world, partly in another. I feel like a Victorian at the end of the nineteenth century, watching one world set and another world arise, and feeling that things are not going to get better. For the Victorian, they certainly didn't. And, oddly, at least I am comfortable with this position. I still have a few years to figure out where my journey take me. I am sure things are not going get better for the world and I suspect I will be around to observe the denouement. I refer to the clash of civilizations, between a Christian-secular West and a Medieval Islam that has yet to experience the Enlightenment. I enjoy Chanuka for its symbolization of the world's search for enlightment, and enlightenment is surely something the world needs now.