So I was going to post on this tomorrow, but I couldn’t wait (especially after I joined up for the Sunday Salon – thanks, TJ, AGAIN. )
I finished A. J. Jacobs‘ The Year of Living Biblically just a few minutes ago, and I loved it, every minute of reading it. The basic premise is that Jacobs tries to live by ALL the Bible’s (meaning both Old and New Testaments) commandments, including the commandment not to touch, for seven days, a woman who has had her period or anything she has touched. (One of my favorite moments was when his wife, apparently on her period, sat on every chair in the house.) He meets with religious leaders that run the list from snake-handlers, to Hasidim, to Jerry Falwell’s contingent of pastors, to “pastors out to pasture,” all in an effort to figure out what the Bible really means.
As a person of faith who has been raised in the Christian church her whole life (and has, because of various traditions’ rules, been baptized four times, much to many other traditions’ mortification), I found Jacobs’ honest questioning and real, if not conversion-guaranteeing, realizations to be beautiful, complex, and hard – all the things I’ve experienced faith to be. He’s honest about his limitations, and he’s honest about the problems of people around him.
And even if you don’t like the theme of this book – religion just really isn’t for you – then read it for the writing, for the freshness of wit, and for the writer’s ability to paint the human so carefully.
This is a hit, folks, a real hit.