November 5, 2007

Nonrequired Reading: 001: Year Of Living Biblically

So I'm reading a book called The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. For the book, Jacobs (an agnostic-by-choice) devotes an entire year to living out every rule of the Bible. New Testament and Old. And I mean every last law - from stoning adulterers to avoiding contact with his wife for seven days following her menstrual discharge. Okay, the writing is mediocre and it feels a little publicity-stuntish, but it's an experiment I find interesting, especially from someone who seems to be giving it a fair shot. I especially liked the honesty and subtle profoundness of his thoughts after month three:

"As I mentioned in the introduction, one of the reasons that I embarked on this experiment was to take legalism to its logical extreme and show that it leads to religious idiocy...If you actually follow all the rules, you'll spend your days acting like a crazy person. I still believe that. And I still plan on making a complete fool of myself to get this point across. But as with everything involving religion, my project has become much more complicated. The spiritual journey now takes up far more of my time.

My friend Roger was right. It's not like studying Sumo wrestling in Japan. It's more like wrestling itself. This opponent of mine is sometimes beautiful, sometimes cruel, sometimes ancient, sometimes crazily relevant. I can't get a handle on it."

If words aren't a compelling enough reason to pick up this book, maybe a before and after shot of the author will be:


Gary said...

Hey Josh, "A Year of Living Biblically" was part of my October reading. Sometimes "laugh out loud" funny, and sometimes even provoking deep thought. It was a good break between "Everything Must Change" by Brian McLaren and "Nobodies" by John Bowe. Enjoyed reading your review!

Josh Jackson said...

Gary - Thanks for the new book tip. I'll add it to my library list. I think I'll be able to read it in January. :)

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