The Year of Living Biblically

Bookmobile: The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

We're kicking off our World of Faith month here at CitizenSugar, because as with I'd reckon, a good 93 percent of our presidential candidates, I'm fascinated by religion, spirituality, and its place in our world. I love to see Jesus and Jamba Juice duke it out for our scattered, Tivo-addled attention. So when the author of that book about reading the encyclopedia (more entertaining than it sounds, really) released a new book about living in the age of the internet while following all the rules once chiseled onto a tablet of some sort, I snapped it up immediately.


First of all, I liked it. Wholly entertaining if like me, you'll live anyone's life vicariously as an antidote to fiction. But . . . my complaint is this: he lived by the rules all right, but only as deep as the paper they were printed on. He was trying to see what faithful felt like without religion. It's like he tried to taste a ham and cheese omelet by holding an uncracked egg. Now he does admit briefly that his "lone wolf" method did lack the sense of community usually associated with religion (it even caused him not to mention Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because they were such a blah experience for him alone) but it's more than that — to find out, read more.

It's not just the group mentality (the supporting cast, if you will) that makes practicing a faith, meaningful, it's the whole picture: the set, the costumes — the theatricality of it all. He does go to a megachurch (Jerry Falwell's at that) but it's pretty perfunctory, and it's the only structured worship he attends throughout the entire year. I'd love to have seen him go to a church camp — total immersion (like he tried to do) plus the group dynamic and drama? I bet that would have cracked his egg.

What do you think? Have you read it? Want to?

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