Book Review: The Year of Living Like Jesus

Written by Ed Dobson
Reviewed by J. Renee Archer –

Ed Dobson committed to living as Jesus did for an entire year. His goal was to do what Jesus the person would have done, not necessarily what Jesus the Messiah would have done. Dobson’s plan was to live in accordance with the Jewish way of life as opposed to healing the sick and blind. A journal tracked his days, progress and struggles.

This book intrigued me from the moment I read the title. I expected a life changing story not only on the author’s part but for myself, as well. It seems to me that a commitment such as this would alter a person’s life in a major way. A highly spiritual experience is what I anticipated. As it turns out, the book was very different then my pre-reading notion. My life was not permanently changed and, as far as I can tell, Dobson’s life wasn’t either.

The Year of Living Like Jesus was interesting reading, especially the first half of the book. In this section the writing is in journal form and more detailed daily living. The second half was more traditional non-fiction writing. I enjoyed the first half more due to the style.

A major theme of the book is Jewish living and tradition. The word Jesus in the title of the book could easily be replaced with Jews and accurately represent the book. Since I knew nothing about the Jewish culture I found the book educational in that regard. Dobson ate Kosher, observed Shabbat (Sabbath) and other Jewish services. The author also adopted prayer customs of several other religions which didn’t make sense to me because it seemed counter to his commitment. (I’m certain Jesus did not pray the rosary.) There were times when he focused too much on living as a Jew. It almost trivialized Jesus’ life. Dobson was so caught up in making sure he followed the Jewish Law that it kept him from drawing closer to God. At the end of the year I didn’t get the impression that he was a stronger Christian or had a deeper relationship with Christ. That was a disappointment.

Dobson set a lofty goal and made a major commitment that took much perseverance to follow through with. I give him credit for sticking with the project for a whole year. I hope it was more of a spiritual experience than I perceived from his writing. And I thank him for teaching me about a culture I have not personally experienced.

About J. Renee Archer

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