One Cashew, One on the Way, and a Bunch of Mixed Nuts.

This week staff writer Frank Friedlander discusses the subject of religion in a relationship and with family.


When two people find true love, or something close to it, religion is not something that should get in the way. Sometimes, it will create the obstacle of which type of wedding to hold, but beyond that, it should be smooth sailing. However, when the children come along, things can get somewhat complicated. Even if the parents are not particularly concerned, the family tends to but in. None of their business as it may be, the situation can be the cause for heated discussions, which everyone would just as soon resolve as soon as possible.

Our daughter, and the one who will be joining us this coming April will be a “Cashew.” She will have a Catholic mother, and a Jewish father. By Jewish tradition, if either parents or the mother only are Jewish, then the child is Jewish; however, if the father only is Jewish, they’re considered half Jewish. Problem solved, right? It is, assuming that the family of the mother is OK with that.

Luckily for me, it’s not that big a deal. On my side, the Jewish side, my grandmother’s the only one who seems concerned in any way. These days, she’s pretty much given up, and as long as they’re aware of their Jewish heritage, she’s satisfied. After all, as I tell her, they’ll likely go to Synagogue about as much as I did growing up, pretty much never.

You see, I come from one of those families who are Jewish because they like the title. Nobody is particularly religious. My grandmother’s generation may be to a degree, but not beyond that. When somebody dies, we’ll don a yarmulke and go to Temple. My father, for example has had a history of touring various churches and temples, everything from Unitarian to Hindu. He’s in it more for the learning experience than anything. As a child, we even had a Christmas tree; my mother would try to dress it in all blue and white, and refer to it as a “Chanukah Bush.” However, as years went on, Santas and Reindeer ultimately invaded it, and it became an it is what it is type of tree.

My wife, on the other hand faithfully went to church every Sunday as a child. We currently do not, but when the children are old enough, she is adamant about carrying on that tradition. I am personally opposed to it. To be honest, it has nothing to do with religion. It’s just boring. It’s not like anyone’s listening anyway, just wasting a Sunday because somewhere down the line, people were convinced that they had to do it. I’ll assume that those who originated that decision were the proprietors of the churches. Kind of like if the owners of Chili’s tried to guilt people into going to Chili’s once a week because the Divine Powers demanded it.  I’d hope that eventually, people would see through it.

Beyond that, there are ways to keep everyone happy. Hopefully, it isn’t one that requires an hour or more of worship twice a week instead of the mandated once, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. If it is something that the couples themselves feel strongly about, then they should really work it out. However, if they are doing it to appease outside parties, eventually, one or both partners might just need to lay it out that only we and we alone can make that decision.

The last thing to think about is this: If the primary goal of faithfully following one’s religion is to enter the kingdom of heaven, I’d assume that every family would like to ultimately unite there. With this in mind, judging by the rules of each religion, the couple might want to consider joining a single religion, just to be on the safe side. However, if you’re like me, there’s a different point of view. Assuming that you you’re your life by the basic guidelines of essentially any religion, you are likely to end up in heaven, assuming there is such a place.  This being said, I suppose that where you spend that one boring hour per week is not as important as some have spent their lives thinking.

How To Forgive A Cheater

This post by guest blogger, Morgan Forester (Letters From the Edge the Platform) is about forgiving a cheater. What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? How have you found your way to forgiveness?


Question: How can I forgive a liar and a cheat? (Answer: By admitting that that liar and cheat could have been you.)


Forgiving seems to be a “good” thing to do. Having been forced to go to church as a child, I heard a lot about forgiveness. It seemed to be Jesus’ pet theme. I think most people would agree, nonetheless, that it totally depends on what you are forgiving. If someone cheated on you, you need to have an opportunity to rant about the asshole at length, telling all your friends in no uncertain terms, what a lying, cheating piece of scum he turned out to be. That’s part of the recovery process. And you sure as hell don’t forget that kind of thing. Ever. No one would expect you to forget, nor should you, because it’s also an opportunity to learn something. Either how not to make the same mistake of falling for the wrong guy again or how not to conduct a relationship so badly that it falls apart.


Forgiving is definitely not forgetting, and in fact, involves remembering in detail what happened so that you can see where you may have been responsible in some way yourself, or even whether that person’s circumstances might have driven you to the same thing. Forgiveness has to be the recovery process to let that anger and pain go for your own sake, not theirs. As far as I can see, the point of forgiving is that it’s not a case of helping the  perpetrator, by ‘letting them off the  hook’, but rather allowing yourself the  release that comes from not allowing that  person to hold any power over how  you feel anymore. As Marianne Williamson  once put it, “once you forgive someone you automatically lose your belief that they can hurt you that bad. If I forgive you, I am automatically released from the way you had such an effect on my life”.


That’s not to  say that forgiving is easy. It seems  to be one of those things specifically  designed with inner turmoil as part of  the deal. The time I discovered my boyfriend had not only been cheating on me but had lied to me when I’d asked him if he was involved with anyone else, I wanted to throw something scalding hot in his face. Luckily we weren’t drinking any tea at the time.  And I’m not the sort of person to lash out anyway. Which perhaps made things scarier for him. It was hard to read me. As it turned out, he had his reasons for not being able to tell the truth at the time I’d asked and I realized that if I had been in his position, I probably would have lied too. I didn’t have to tell him that.  But I did, and it made him feel less guilty and he told me he appreciated my honesty. In the end, there was no screaming, no lashing out, a struggle.  Just a lot of talking and crying and trying to make sense of everything that had happened so that we could both live with the decisions we’d made and the conclusions we came to about ourselves.


That has to be one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences of my entire life. Yet I know I’m not alone in having that experience. It was harder and more heart-wrenching to have to put myself in his shoes and ask myself if I would have done the same and conclude that I would, but it was the quicker route to being at peace with it all. Ranting and raging about it wouldn’t have helped.  I still would have had to do all the self-analysis later anyway, so it was probably best that I took the route of acceptance as soon as I could. Someone once said that it is not the problem that causes the pain; it is the resistance to it. By accepting what had happened (over and over again on a daily basis) and talking it through with my ex, we reached a kind of peace with each other that meant I could even think kindly of his new partner and genuinely wish them both happiness.


It wasn’t a magic pill to accept things, forgive and move on. It took a long time, a lot of boxes of tissues and a total re-think of a number of favorite songs that became newly painful to listen to, but by being honest and fair, I realized there was actually nothing to forgive.  He had fallen into circumstances that lead him away from me and there were things we both neglected about each other.  In the end, I knew that we both might be better off the way things had turned out.

Be Merry, Be Gay

This week’s post by staff writer Frank Friedlander focuses on gay marriage.

So one topic that everyone seems to have a strong opinion on today is gay and lesbian marriage. So strong of an opinion that it often dictates how they will vote in an election, regardless of that fact that they live in a rusted trailer and the candidate they’re backing in no other way benefits them. Others are compelled to protest, and even resort to violence.

While on one hand, I could say that why should it matter to gay and lesbian couples of they are married in the eyes of the government so long as they are together and living the lifestyle of a married couple, there are benefits. Depending on the state one lives in, there are Gay marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions, each offering their own set of benefits. Such benefits include insurance benefits, tax purposes, and in some states, medical decisions, all rights that they should be offered to any couple which chosen to marry.

Personally, I feel as though if two people are in love, and want to be with each other forever, and let the government cash in, more power to them. This being said, my opinion on it really isn’t that strong. Why? Because I’m an American, and it doesn’t affect me either way in the slightest. Nobody gets hurt. The government gets extra taxes from them, and everyone gets to live happily ever after. Perhaps adopt a few children from a third world country that would otherwise live in squalor.

Now what I do not understand is those who have these strong anti-gay marriage stance. Do they not have anything else to worry about? It’s one thing to be against the lifestyle. Everyone has a right to their opinion no matter how bizarre, bigoted, or flat-out ignorant it may be. Another aspect of the American way. Furthermore,  I’m somewhat baffled by these backwoods meatballs who dedicate their entire lives to stopping it. Even those who attempt to “cure gayness.” personally, I’d like to meet the scientists with the “anti gay” operation, or serum or whatever it is and tell them to get to work on curing something more important, like cancer, or AIDS, or stupid.

Let’s be honest, while I’m sure that there are a lot of people with a strong, anti gay stance throughout the country who are otherwise normal people in normal walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Unfortunately for them, the mouthpieces of the movement are those who seem to spend the rest of their spare time preparing for the apocalypse, bottling their own liquor using their own urine, and watching NASCAR on a p 12 inch black and white screen.

Look, I know Jesus said that homosexuality is a sin, despite the fact that there’s nothing on record of Jesus saying anything about that, though his supposed disciples tend to translate his words into whatever they want them to mean. In fact, in Matthew 5:28-30, the basis of those who claim that any pre-marital sex is a sin, all it really seems to disparage is adultery.  Now I’m no Christian, but from what I can piece together from the words that Jesus actually said, the only important thing is how people treat each other. Helping ones brother in any way you can seems to take precedence above all else to him.

I’m not sure to wind this down, but apparently my stance on the topic is stronger than I though. The stance being if something is of no threat to you, just let it be. And to the meatheads missing a noticeable amount I teeth, hair, and sleeves, next time you go out and think that the “gaybird” at next table to tour right is eyeing you up, he’s no more likely to be doing so than is the well dressed woman at the table to your left.