the year of living biblically

Yes, I have a lot of book posts lately. But when you have a job that allows you to read when the phones aren’t ringing [and when you’re reading books of a lighter nature], you get a lot of reading done. Which brings me to my latest read, The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. Right of the top, this is a gimmicky book designed to capitalize on North America’s growing trend of ‘spirituality’. What would happen if a writer from Esquire magazine devoted one year of his life to an attempt at living out the Bible to the letter of the law? Well, 332 pages later, you find out.

A man of Jewish heritage but a confessing Agnostic, Jacobs goes all out in his quest, not shaving for a full year and wearing only white clothes while out and about in New York. He traveled from Israel to Lynchburg VA to a snake handling church in Kentucky, and didn’t touch women for fear they were menstruating. It was kind of interesting reading about someone wrestling with OT laws that are pretty out there [ie: you can cut the hand off a woman who grabs the testicles of her husband’s opponent in a fight], but in the end, the book was mostly about his family and Jacobs trying, in surprisingly simple ways, to become a better man. How often do we overlook the commandment to not lie or steal, to keep the Sabbath and tithe regularly, to lend a helping hand to those who are in need? I am guilty of these things quite often; beyond some of the stupefying rules and regulations that the Bible has to offer, there are many beautiful ‘laws’ therein that are incredibly wonderful in their simplicity but are often taken for granted. It did cause me to think about integrity in the little things, and that was a good reminder for me.

Yes, this is a gimmicky book. Is it a coincidence that dude’s twins were born just as his Biblical year was ending or that the book was optioned for a movie before it was even published? I don’t think so. A theological dissertation it was not, but it was an interesting read, often with humorous and sometimes insightful results.

Now, it’s time to read my first Douglas Coupland book. Looking forward to it.

  1. I agreed with you

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