Dobson, Ed. The Year Of Living Like Jesus. My journey of discovering what Jesus would really do. Zondervan. 2009
E.D.-pastor emeritus of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ed Dobson shares his experience of trying to live like Jesus for a year. To him this meant to eat like Jesus, pray like Jesus, observe the Sabbath like Jesus, and attend the Jewish festivals like Jesus did. Having to deal with a terminal disease (ALS) during this ‘project’ added a huge challenge for Ed. The example of A.J.Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically) was a motivator for Ed to undertake this project.
A major ‘rabbit trail’ for Ed was his involvement in Catholic and Orthodox liturgies, praying the rosary and the prayer rope, etc. He was being accepting of others as he felt Jesus would have been if he had lived in Ed’s culture.
Another departure from Ed’s evangelical (fundamentalist) life-style was his decision to spend time with ‘sinners’ as Jesus had done and this took him into bars where he joined in with drinking alcoholic beverages and interacting with ‘those in need of a physician’.
Part of his adherence to a Jewish life style was growing a full beard and eating kosher food. Keeping company with followers of the Jewish faith meant attendance at synagogues and important Jewish religious events.
This year long project totally changed Ed’s life-style. He does not say too much about the negative impact he suffered, i.e. loss of friends, how his wife was probably impacted, etc. The limitations that his illness brought to the project were a daily part of life.
Of the many things he learned during this special year he explains that he has grown in his appreciation for past experiences of life. He is thankful for his fundamentalist training at Bob Jones University. He describes Jerry Falwell, with whom he worked at Liberty University, as a mentor and ‘the kindest, most generous person I’ve ever met’. He has grown in his appreciation of the Roman Catholic faith and the Orthodox Church.
In this book Ed has simply shared his experience and he feels no need to be defensive about that experience even though critics have had been harsh. He has certainly demonstrated an unusual attitude of tolerance for others an attitude that is required to be part of our postmodern culture.
Ed’s experience is a striking example of one person’s attempt to live incarnationally (missionally).