I just finished a great read, The Year of Living like Jesus, by Ed Dobson, a prominent evangelical (and recovering fundamentalist) pastor who reads The Year of Living Biblically, by A. J. Jacobs, a secular Jew. Dobson is so impressed that “someone had taken the Bible seriously enough to attempt to live it out” that he asks,
As a Gentile and a follower of Jesus, what if I were to take the teachings of Jesus seriously? What if I were to try to live like Jesus lived? What if I tried to do some of the things Jesus did?
Maybe just for a year.
Since Dobson recognizes that Jesus lived as an observant Jew, he has to learn a lot about Judaism to live like him and he shows a level of respect and engagement that’s encouraging to a Messianic Jew like me. He stops cutting his beard, although not his hair—he doesn’t end up looking like the robed and sandaled, wavy-locked Jesus of Sunday school illustrations, but an older guy with glasses, short hair and a ferocious beard. He starts wearing a tallit kattan, keeps kosher, and tries to rest on Shabbat. He spends a lot more time with sinners than he used to and gets into intense conversations about God, especially in bars. As a former teetotaler he discovers that if he sticks with light beer, he can down a couple of glasses during his stay in the bar without becoming impaired.
Dobson is a sharp and somewhat contrarian observer, and a man of real heart. He’s suffering from ALS, the dread Lou Gehrig’s disease, which he handles with a light touch and much grace throughout the book. I felt privileged to walk with him through his year-long journey with Jesus.