Book Review: The Year of Living Like Jesus
By Alan Eggleston, writer, editor, and bookseller
My usual Lent is spent trying to avoid something: chocolate, fattening foods, or something else that I like but that isn't good for me. I usually fail, and early into Lent I give up. Often, Lent is disappointing because I set myself up from the beginning to fail. This year, rather than take something away that I'm destined to give in to, I decided to give myself into something from the beginning: reading something that might enrich me spiritually.
I stumbled into The Year of Living Like Jesus by Ed Dobson on the new books table as I walked into Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, MI. The idea of living like Jesus intrigued me, and I wondered how a pastor of an evangelical wing of a traditionalist Protestant church would approach the subject. I am Roman Catholic, so I was wary of buying a book that might easily spend more time exploring the ills of Catholicism than how Jesus lived, but that's not the way Dobson approached the topic. He really explores Jesus' life and times, and he explores it through the practices of various other faiths including Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox Church, and Judaism. I found I actually had much in common with Dobson that I didn't expect to, and I learned a lot about Jesus, his own faith, and the times he lived through, as well as other faiths and peoples. This is a deeply personal journey made more resonate because of his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).
This book isn't at all preachy, for anyone who might shy away from such a read for that concern. It is an exploration of a man's personal faith through exploring the roots of Christianity. It is full of interesting insights. It is written by a man of amazing wisdom and observation, who isn't afraid to buck convention.
The one fault I found with the book is that the chapter on July is very short. He didn't spend much time exploring the topic that month and I felt a little jilted. Otherwise, I felt The Year of Living Like Jesus was a valued read. I hope to reread it next year, but to read it over a year, month by month, trying to prolong the sense of his experience by spending more time thinking about what he went through instead of speeding through it for one Lenten season.
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Review Disclosure. No compensation received for reviewing this book or author. Link to book above through my online bookstore: commission may be paid for purchase.