I'm still only about halfway done with A. J. Jacobs latest adventure. A year ago I borrowed but didn't read The Know it All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Man in the World. In that book he takes us through his journey of reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica A-Z. In this one, The Year of Living Biblically, his task is to follow the Bible as literally as possible.
I suppose to some it might seem blasphemous, but I think his treatment of the subject matter is just fine. A bit sensational, sure, but not particularly offensive. I felt the same way when I saw Jesus Camp.
I was rather surprised by some of the things he discussed. I didn't know there was a Creation museum. That floored me. Also the existence of Clean Flicks. What the heck? I guess their practice of editing films was seen as in violation of copyright so now they simply offer "clean" movies rather than try to "clean them up."
Looking back over my church experiences from recent years, one of my biggest regrets, was adhering to a "No R-Rated Movie" policy in order to be a youth leader at a local church. I actually signed a document. My frustration comes from the hypocrisy and legalism such a mandate fosters, that which I witnessed among my fellow youth leaders, that which I participated in. Sigh. I think maybe that is another post altogether. Sorry. Where was I?
Oh yes. Jacobs book is fascinating. Educational. Entertaining. Laugh out loud funny at times. His wife is a saint and also very funny. She has spunk and is good natured and takes her crazy husband in stride. Of course I'm only half done with the book... hmmmm.....
The reason I can't wait to post on this book is because I about a week ago I was directed to look at this site, which is aimed at taking a closer look at Christian culture. I was intrigued by the way the site ended up complementing my reading. How there was crossover. I was thinking Jacobs needed to take a look at that site. Of course I haven't even gotten to the last three months of his experiment yet, when he focuses more on the New Testament.
The website, is worth a browse. I started with Stephanie's first posts back in August and worked my way forward. The site might be perceived as rude. Or mocking. I suppose there is an element of the mocking involved. Still the bottom line is that so much of what I read on that site is true. I could think of examples within the Christian culture I know, on nearly every one of the 55 posts I read. Lest you think I'm pointing a finger and laughing, please realize that I know I've subscribed to many, many of these traits at one point in time. My favorite posts? #12, #19, #25, #27, #39, #45, #56 .... If I don't quit, I'll have marked them all! :)
In case you are curious as to why Stephanie is writing this blog, she addresses that in a number of the comments I've read in which she defends herself and her posts to those who are offended.
Stephy says: "Christian culture doesn't have anything to do with Jesus himself. But people in Christian culture feel that doing many of these cultural things are imperative to relationship with him, and they're not. Also, Christian culture is a way to avoid true relationship and a way to "play house" if you will, little rituals and mandates not decreed by God yet they make us feel like we are closer to God. Anything can be used to avoid relationship of course, we are endlessly creative in finding ways to avoid it, because true relationship is messy and reveals things to us about ourselves that we'd rather not see. Christian culture is a very pervasive thing that isn't clearly addressed and I think it should be. So I'm writing about it."