What’s Going On?

Every now and then, I will write a post about what is going on in my life. I’ll entitle it “What’s Going On?” If I can’t use the same title for more than one post, I’ll have “What’s Going On?” followed by a number.

Tonight is when I celebrate the Lord’s supper. My family observes it once a year on the night before Passover, which is when Jesus keeps it in the Gospel of John. Because I happen to have a few religion degrees under my belt, I will be leading it. It’s a small, intimate gathering of family and friends.

Am I worthy to partake of the Lord’s supper, let alone lead it? No. That’s why I take it. If I deserved God’s love, why would Christ come down to die? Wherever I am in my spiritual journey, I need Jesus Christ. And the Lord’s supper is a place where I remind myself of that.

In my opinion, contra many Armstrongites, Paul in I Corinthians 11 is not saying we have to be “worthy” to take the Lord’s supper. Who among us is? Rather, he’s criticizing the Corinthians for partaking of it in an unworthy manner. They fight with one another, disgrace the poor, and show up to it drunk. They need to examine themselves to make sure they know what the Lord’s supper is: a symbolic partaking of the body and blood of our Lord. This is a serious occasion.

My focus this evening will be on what Christ did for us, not so much what we can do for him. Christ humbled himself to the level of a servant that he might spiritually cleanse us for his kingdom. He offered his body to be bruised, beaten, lashed, and ultimately killed because he cared so much about our salvation. Just think of the Passion of the Christ! He wants to be with us. And, because he looks forward to fellowshipping with us, he is saving his consumption of wine for the supper at his return.

I’m hoping my dad is taping 7th Heaven, since this one has the dad from the Wonder Years. I’m somewhat of a Dan Lauria fan myself. But I set my timer just in case my dad forgets. He’ll be picking me up at 2, which is when it is on.

As I wait for him to come, I’ll be straightening up my apartment. I desperately need to do the dishes and take out the garbage, for example.

Yesterday, I went to the library. I turned in Stephen Hayes’ book on Cheney and Thomas Thompson’s book on David and Jesus. I actually bought the latter book for a really low price on Amazon. I didn’t really enjoy it, to be honest, but I found it to contain a lot of valuable information. It shows how kings in the ancient Near East are often quintessential sufferers, much like David in the Hebrew Bible.

At the library, I was walking around, trying to see if any particular book grabbed me. Reading a book is a commitment, after all. I found two. One is More than One Way? Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995). It contains essays from such luminaries as John Hick, Clark Pinnock, and Alister McGrath. I’ve always been curious about Hick’s pluralistic stance, but I’ve never felt the motivation to read any of his books. Reading a book is a commitment, after all. So I hope to get a taste of Hick through his essay. God’s relationship with other religions is a topic with which I struggle. For one, I wonder if God loves people from other religions. After all, there are biblical passages that present most of the world as blind and on the path to perdition. And, second, I am curious about whether I as a Christian should appreciate the wisdom of other cultures. Or am I simply supposed to see them as blinded by Satan?

The second book I checked out was Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism, by William Link (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008). I was hesitant to check this out, since it appears to be rather long. But I’ll give it a shot. I’ve always been a Jesse Helms fan myself. I have his autographed picture, as a matter of fact. It doesn’t mention my name, unlike my pictures of Dan Coats, Strom Thurmond, and Phil Crane, but I still put it in the center of my wall when I was a kid. No, I’m not a segregationist, but I liked his firm and often lonely stand for conservatism.

I read Helms’ autobiography a few years ago, and I found it a little too cheery for my taste. He presented himself as someone who likes everyone. I like more depth. Biographies offer a lot more nuance, since they try to gather more perspectives. Consequently, I prefer biographies to autobiographies.

The book is long, but I plan to take my time. I don’t read huge chunks each day, since that can turn me off to it real fast. Rather, I limit myself to a chapter a day, and, before you know it, I’m done with the book. I like to keep my own pace. I remember when I was in junior high school, and I was reading this long book. Someone said, “Are you still reading that? You should be done with that by now.” I think more than one person has told me that. Those are times when I say to myself, “Man, I wish I were the only person on the face of the earth. Life would be fine if I didn’t have to deal with people.” Such a feeling comes over me every now and then, but I don’t really believe that (I think).

Right now, I’m just not going to worry about how long it takes for me to finish a book. I’m not trying to impress anyone with how much I read. Sometimes, I get more out of a book by going through it slowly. Just look at how much I got out of that Cheney book! What did that generate? Three posts? So don’t be too surprised if you soon read some posts here on religious pluralism and Jesse Helms!

Have a good day! And happy Passover!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Bible, Books, Holidays, Jesse Helms, Life, Pluralism, Politics, Religion, What's Going On?. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What’s Going On?

  1. Pascalian Awakenings says:

    I am moved at the thought of your family getting together for the Lord’s Supper. That’s beautiful.


  2. Felix Taylor says:

    I still believe the Holy Days were the best side of the XCG despite there are those who still angrily disagree. I am glad you have an opportunity to celebrate with your family—and not a splinter group. Have a good and memorable time!

    Don’t get me started about Jesse Helms. As an African-Canadian he does offend me (and I am a Republican in “spirit”). For one politician who sees me inferior because of my race—Houston we got a problem. Trust me, I am being nice—go to the Booker Rising blog (a black conservative and moderate blog at http://bookerrising.blogspot.com/) and it’s editor Shay will give you an earful than I would.

    Otherwise, James have a wonderful time tonight with you family and God bless you!


  3. James Pate says:

    Thanks, Yvette and Felix. 🙂

    Thanks for the web site, Felix. The book I’m reading may shed some light on Helms’ approach to race. Helms himself said that he wasn’t ever a racist. Strom Thurmond, by contrast, changed with the times. But I always liked Helms for his anti-communism, opposition to the UN, opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts, and the fact that he was sometimes the only person to vote “no.” I know I just listed things he was against, but those are good things to oppose.


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