Saturday, November 03, 2007
The Year of Living Biblically
I came across this book as I was browsing in a bookstore at the airport while waiting to board my flight to Japan. It looked like it would be amusing, mindless brain-candy and it lived up to my expectations.
Author A.J. Jacobs is the editor of Esquire and has written other books that have made the New York Times Best Seller List. Though not a Christian, he took on the challenge to answer the question, what would happen if a modern-day American followed every single rule in the Bible as literally as possible? For a year that is what he attempted to do - seek out the rules of the Bible and live by them.
Jacobs didn't just lock in on the big ones, but many that are obscure to most people. Things like don’t wear clothes of mixed fibers, grow your beard, stone adulterers. He even bound the ten commandments on his forehead at one point in the book.
His journey in "biblical living" took him across the spectrum of the religious world, from the wailing wall in Jerusalem to a snake handling church service in a backwoods country church.
For the most part, I found the book to be amusing. On the positive side, it shows the ridiculous nature of legalistic living, made obvious when it is carried to its utmost extreme. On the negative side, I thought the book was irreverent toward the Bible itself at times.
There are many books a person can read that will help them more than this one. In fact, I'm not sure there's much help here, but the book will cause the reader to chuckle throughout the read and certainly shows the folly of approaching the Bible as a rule book instead of the love letter it is intended to be.