This new book will be a diary of my life as I try to obey the Bible as literally as possible. Not just the famous prescriptions, such as the Ten Commandments, turn the other cheek, and the Golden Rule. But the less publicized rules as well: not trimming my beard, stoning adulterers, and bathing after sex, to name a few. The book will be an exploration of what is good about the Bible and what is of debatable relevance to modern times.So, who is A.J. Jacobs? According to his website, he’s been a journalist for Antioch Ledger and Entertainment Tonight, who seems to have a bend towards (according to the NYU Bullpen) “stunt” journalism. He’s written several books, including The Know-It-All, The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis, America Off-Line and What it Feels Like. He’s also an editor at large for Esquire magazine.
So, obviously I haven’t read the book, but Jacobs’ description leaves me a bit, well, peevish—not at Jacobs or his experiment (any delving into Scripture is a good thing in my book), but at something a bit more nebulous and irksome: this type of approach to Scripture is way too common (among Christians as well as without). It’s a choice to look at the Bible as a flat book instead of a story, a book of continuing revelation in which one’s view of what comes before is enhanced and shifted by what comes next—like an advancing kaleidoscope, with all the same elements but moving into an ever more incredible mosaic the more you turn the tube. With Jesus, the biblical kaleidoscope moves into its most perfect mosaic yet. With him comes the Jesus Creed and the explosion of life and love that God's been planning all along.
But then maybe that’s my Anabaptist upbringing—a choice to use the Gospels as the lens through which the rest of Scripture is read. And perhaps Jacobs picks up on this; afterall, I haven't read the book yet. Any-hoo. My .02 worth.
I can’t find much else on this in the Christian media except for Peter Chattaway, who picked up on this news way back in August 2005 on his blog (you rock, dude), noting it in his Newsbites last week as well.
(Image: by Walter J. Pilsak, Wikipedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License)