Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Year of Living Biblically

I just read A.J. Jacobs' book, "My Year of Living Biblically" and I am pleasantly surprised. I am not surprised that I enjoyed the book. How can you not enjoy reading about a guy who attempted to live one year by taking every command in the Bible literally? From not "trimming the edge of his beard" to not wearing clothes with mixed fibers, Jacobs rises to the challenge. I love the humorous ways he tells his story but I mostly love that he actually did this.

What makes it so encouraging to me is that AJ Jacobs has a normal job, a wife, and one boy with two more on the way, and he still does something so crazy. Granted, it was for a good story and something to write about but most of us do more talking and dreaming than actually "doing". Even more encouraging is that his wife goes along with this. Even when she heard that he would not sit on any chair that she sat on during her "cycle" because it was unclean, she did not get upset, she simply systematically sat on every chair in the apartment leaving Jacobs with no other options. Throughout his antics she reminded me of my wife on how she could be supportive (or tolerant?) of me while offering "eye rolls" as her only commentary.

I guess I identify with AJ Jacobs as someone who wants to experience this life to its full. Maybe reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, like Jacobs did in his previous book "The Know it All", does not seem like living life to its full, but at least it is words put into action.

This thinking is what led me to move my family to Israel, to return and begin a new church, to jump from airplanes, ski off of cliffs, ask my wife out (before she was my wife), eat things like grasshoppers and African Crocodile, and even to apply and now work at a local Starbucks. I see life as a gift from God that is worth living and I am more interested in following where I believe God is leading me than in over-thinking each move only to remain stuck in one place.

Don't worry, I am not on the verge of selling the house on moving to Des Moines, but I do feel the urge to live a radical life where I am today. I am excited to see what will come in the next year at Soma Church of Orange County, I am eager to watch my boys continue to grow and learn how to love life, and I am happy to know that wherever this life leads my wife and me, we will experience it together. (Of course she will mock me and probably even write a book one day called, "My life of Living with a Nutcase" but even that would be a great experience). So my thoughts for all of you (or more appropriately, both of you reading this) is to take some chances, check off some bucket list items, and experience the wonders of this world.

For those of you who follow Christ, quit thinking that His leading must sound rational. Like a New Yorker trying to live Biblically for a year, our faith often is not totally rational and it doesn't have to be. The joy of following and "doing" what you know you should do is worth the effort.


Kevin Klas said...

My wife read that book a while back. She loved it. I still need to get to it.

Oh and by the way I have returned to the blogosphere world and will be back for quite a while.

Sara said...

Ryan I think you should finally come to grips that you have more than two readers - you have at least 4 readers. And I will get started on my book soon.

Kevin said...

Indeed....I am one of the 4. Can I count as 2 readers if I have split personalities some days?

Markchop said...

Good points! Seize the day...biblically speaking of course!

And i can't wait to read Sara's book :-D