Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Great Book, so far...

The past couple days I have had my nose buried in the book, The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. Here is the story of an agnostic who decides to live according to the rules (laws) of the Bible. Jacobs draws the reader in on his discovery of his own Jewish heritage and long forgotten ways of life.

Jacobs struggle with not telling a lie and is brutally honest with those he has contact with. At a restaurant he meets an acquaintance of his wife. Small talk is made and a request is made to continue this relationship. Jacobs responds that this is unlikely, he has too many friends now and it is hard to maintain those friendships without taking on new friendships. Brutal!

He cannot touch other women as a precaution to their uncleanliness. Men were not permitted to touch women during their menstrual cycle and for a period of time afterwards according to the Bible. Since life was so precious in the old days, he likens this non-touch time after their menstrual cycle as a time of sitting sheva and mourning the lose opportunity for new life. Interesting!

We read about spiritual matters and the enjoyment received during times of prayer. Is he getting to know God or could the same outcome have happened if he prayed to any other god? He struggles with times of rich spiritually and times where he feels disconnected with spiritual matters. He calls them valleys.

For me the conclusion to the book becomes a question: Why do we do the things we do? Is it metaphoric, is it required, does it draw us closer to God and His creation and hopefully to one another? I hope that as we consider these questions God becomes something that we can all know and understand.

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