Insomnia, The Christian and the Pharisee

I’m having a hard time sleeping right now, and I have four hours before I have to get up. Part of the problem is that I’m thinking of some of the errors I made on my comps, and I’m afraid of the possibility of having to take them over again. The secretary told me that, if I have to take parts over again, then the best time is January, which is before the second semester. Otherwise, I’ll have to pay $1500 (or something like that) for candidacy in the second semester. Plus, I wonder how I’d take the comps in the second semester, when I won’t even be living in Cincinnati then. I can’t afford to stay in a hotel (or even on campus) for three weeks in a row—ordinarily, we have to have a week between each comp.

I say this because my Mom said “Whew” when she read my blog about my last comp, but now’s not the time to say “Whew.” I have no idea where I stand right now on them. And who knows when I will know? I hope I don’t come across as snippy here. I just don’t feel all that secure right now.

Plus, I’m just not sleepy. I slept well last night because I wanted a brief escape from having to worry about my comps. Now that they’re over, I can’t sleep. So worry is keeping me awake, and yet, paradoxically, so is a lack of worry—if that makes any sense.

I’m trying to read a book for fun right now, in the aftermath of my comps—The Christian and the Pharisee, by Dr. R.T. Kendall and Rabbi David Rosen. It’s basically a series of letters between Kendall, a Christian, and Rosen, an Orthodox Jew. I’m having a hard time with the book. For one, Kendall makes no apologies about wanting Rosen to become a Christian, which turns me off, for I wonder why Kendall thinks that his worldview is the only way to see the world. There are different ways to interpret the Hebrew Bible, and that’s one reason that there are different religions—Judaism, Christianity, Christianity’s sects, etc. Kendall also expresses bafflement when Rosen says that Jews don’t think accepting the Messiah is all that important. Um, hello, Christianity is different from Judaism, Dr. Kendall: what Christianity stresses as important (“believing” in the Messiah) is not necessarily what Judaism chooses to stress!

But I’m having a hard time following Rosen, at times. In the letter of his that I read today, he said that Jews enter the World to Come—the good afterlife—through obedience to the Torah. But I wish he elaborated more on the rabbinic belief that the intermediate Jews (those who aren’t righteous or wicked) will go through a period of cleansing in Gehenna, a view I find rather cozy. Maybe he’ll get into that. So far, all he said was that Jews have different ideas on hell and purgatory. So this is a case of me wanting him to say something a certain way, and he chooses to say something else. You’d think that this would make him interesting—he’s baffling my expectations. But that’s where the paradox is: I’m having a hard time getting intellectual stimulation out of this book.

Something I like about the book, though: both sides aren’t extreme Zionists who believe in “Israel, right or wrong.” They’re for peace, and they criticize Christian Zionism.

I see snow outside. I would be nice if I could get a day off from work tomorrow, so that I can sleep and take it easy. But my school only closes when it’s REALLY bad outside. That’s how it was when I was a kid: all the other schools were closing when there was a blizzard outside, but not the school system that I attended.

I’m sorry if I offended anyone in this post. Have a good evening, or day, if many of you read this during the day-time.

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.
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4 Responses to Insomnia, The Christian and the Pharisee

  1. Criticizing someone else’s world view is hardly the same thing as “thinking that one’s worldview is the only way to see the world”, no?

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  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I’m not really for “anything goes,” Josiah. It’s just that Kendall seems to be baffled that someone doesn’t interpret the Hebrew Bible the same way he does, when the Hebrew Bible lends itself to different interpretations. He’s getting better as the book goes on, though. 🙂

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  3. David says:

    Hi James,

    I came across your blog while doing research on the internet & read several of your blogs. I have yet to read the book you discuss above. As a Christian I am interested in Jewish/Christian dialogue. Debate & dialogue sharpens both of us. Pounding the other guy or group with a theological hammer has historically caused a lot of pain and hatred. Keep up the good work. You have a good perspective toward those with differing beliefs while being frank and honest with yours, an attitude often missing on the internet.

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  4. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Thanks for your comment, David! I just looked at your web page, and you look like you have an interesting religious background.

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