Random projects and biographies are like peanut-butter and chocolate: I just need them in my life. Enter AJ Jacobs who has my dream job. He makes up projects, such as reading the encyclopedia, or getting super-duper healthy and then writes books about them. Awhile ago I read his book “The Year of Biblical Living” in which he spends a year trying to comply with every single rule in the bible. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the bible, but following through with even one book of the Torah is a terrifying prospect. He is at a level of advanced craziness that I have not yet reached. I was raised as an evangelical christian and AJ was raised as a non-religious Jew so it was riveting for me to see the bible through his eyes. During the course of the books Jacobs meets with people ranging from the most Orthodox of Jews to the most liberal, pentecostal Christians. His kind portrayals of very different people and hysterical prose had me laughing for days and I couldn’t help longing for the opportunity to read the bible like he did, with fresh eyes.
Reading the bible has been on my life list for a long time but it was mostly conceptual, kind of like the way you think “I’d like to be more fit’ and then sit down to watch Modern Family. Let’s get real. I wasn’t going to be like “Ooh, after my long day at work, I’ll just sit down and read some Deturonomy” except that now I am. Never in my life did I think I’d be ripping through the book of Leviticus like it was a vampire novel but somehow Jacobs observations breathed new life into the Old Testament books I love to ignore.
For four months now I’ve been sitting in my car with my “Read the Bible in Year” book every morning devouring page after page of wave offerings and all manner of boring chronology and somehow it is fascinating. Everyday I read some old testament, some new testament and some Psalms/Proverbs. I read the Psalms out loud and given the drama of the past few months it’s been cathartic to read the words of the ancient kings begging God for relief and praising him for being the shelter in the storm. I’m not quite as advanced as AJ so I don’t see a year of biblical living in my future, but I’m already into April and the year of biblical reading is going quite well indeed.