Last night my book group met to discuss A.J. Jacob’s The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. I’ve heard him speak before and wondered where he was going to go with this: would the outcome show his experience to be unreasonable, mocking something I hold dear, or would it reveal some sort of change in him, as I change with exposure to these Words?
I partially read the book with a jealous eye, wondering why I don’t write for a living like he does. And then I read wondering what sort of Year Long Experiment I could embark upon, although I don’t think I’m up for writing the girl version of this book (bleck). Things I took away:
- How much he was bothered by lying. And how much he lies (one of the book group folks mentioned how they were shocked at how much he lied. My comment: “Of course he lies: he’s a writer” 🙂 ). Just little lies, like telling his son that he didn’t have a certain type of food when really he just didn’t want to prepare it for his son. How often do I say untruthes out of convience for me? How relative is my truth to my comfort/laziness?
- He interviewed quite a few “fundamentals/zealots/legalistic/orthodox” folks or sects – going to Jerry Folwell’s church, talking to Red Letter Christians, connecting with the Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses and people who are searching for the Red Heifer so the rebuilding of the Temple can commence. And through all of these interviews, the author seemed genuinely interested and respectful of the folks sharing their stories. He didn’t come in with a lot of presuppositions or looking for folks to reaffirm his position: he simply listened, took it in, reported how things resonated with him. And people seemed to share honestly with him. When I talk with others, I automatically critique/take apart their words, see what I think is right and wrong, and disgard or do not hold the other parts to be worthy. It’s so disrespectful. Christ, the ultimate judge, drew people in, not drawing lines of where they measured up.
- The author came to the conclusion that this lifestyle could not be lived alone. So why do I spend so much time reading Scripture by myself instead of in community?
- Although it was really inconvenient, he said this lifestyle helped him live more intentionally, thinking about all the people it takes, all the actions it requires, all the effort and effect it created. Perhaps if I lived in ways that were “inconvenient” I would more remember how “inconvenient” it was for Christ to suffer.
Just some things to think about . . .