I had no intention of burning down the church.

It was an accident — pure and simple. The fire was small, and Sister Mary-Mark, my teacher, quickly stomped it out. Not to imply she snuck up on me, but nuns are inherently quiet. She startled me and I dropped the match. That’s it. End of story. No real harm done, except perhaps to my reputation.

Although it’s doubtful many of the nuns were saddened when my parents pulled me out and placed me in the public system, I’m thankful for my time with them. In spite of all the traditions and trappings of a Catholic school, they managed to instill in me more faith than religion.

Half-jokingly, I refer to myself as sort of a Christian mutt: raised Catholic, saved as a teenager in the “Jesus movement” of the seventies, walked an aisle in the Lutheran church, then baptized years later in a house-church bathtub somewhere in Berlin, Germany. My gypsy past taught me to seek Christ and love people rather than doctrines.

In reading Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, I’m downright embarrassed to admit that I’ve just now realized how oblivious to the history of Christian antisemitism I’ve been. Likewise, it’s becoming more clear just why so many Jews have a disdain for the very name of Jesus. Which has led me to another realization.

If American culture is founded on Judeo-Christian values, and that culture is crumbling around us, it’s time we understand the true genesis of those values.

Now’s the time to take a good look at our foundation.