I just finished this book, by A.J. Jacobs, and I must give it a proper ‘The Littlest Winslow Recommended” post.
To sum, A.J. spends a full year taking the Bible as literally as possible amongst a crazy New York lifestyle that includes trying not to piss off his wife and child. From not touching impure women (which leads to him avoiding contact even with his own wife!), to not turning on a television for fear of creating images which God did not create, Jacobs followed both Old and New Testament teachings in order to discover his own ability to sacrifice in honor of a higher spiritual purpose.
*He eats locusts because they are on the Bible’s approved insects list (“It’ll be Fear Factor, Old Testament style,” he writes.)
*He refuses to shave in order to follow the Old Testament’s ban on shaving the beard.
*He leads an honost life, even if it means denying a dinner invite with an excuse to the likes of “…because I don’t really want to make new friends right now.”
He wears nothing but a white robe, prays three times a day, buys a staff, travels to Israel, and tries to get inside the minds of liberal and conservative religious folk everywhere, all with a humorous, agnostic New Yorker point of view.
The book, though funny and extremely entertaining, does make even this born-Catholic-but-kind-of-agnostic-and-secular blogger think. I’ve always been fascinated by religion. Raised Catholic, my mom always tried to hook us into religion, but neither myself nor my brother presently attend church. Sometimes, I’m even more fascinated by faith in the eyes of individual followers and how faith shapes their world. Jacobs provides much of this insight as he meets Hasidic Jews, the Amish, Evangelicals, etc. While reading this man’s accounts of life, love, and spiritual pursuits, it does kind of make one wonder about how the lack of religion affects a secular life, and on the flip side, how the addition of some practices could increase the value of life as well. However, Jacobs’ quest does lead him down some rather awkward roadways and extremely hilarious social situations, yet, he hardly breaks character or backs down from his journey.
Cliffs notes: It’s a GREAT read! For more information, check out the author’s official website or check out Amazon to purchase. I highly, highly recommend this quick, lighthearted read on such a fascinating (and at times, controversial) subject matter.
The author: before and after