The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs

Location: Mr. Borda's Room

Charles Krause
Sam Landry
Colin Guiney
Rebecca Rouda
Sam Keegan
Adam Kennedy
Paul Lamson-Laplume


1. Ten words or less to describe what this book is about(think/share, 10 minutes)

2. Run Through of who the people are in this book (key people in A.J's life/this book)(10,15 minutes)
Mr. Berkowitz
Pastor Richards

3. Whip
1. Favorite part/passage in this book
2. What would you have suggested for him to do on his journey/ general questions you would ask him

4. Discussion Starter: Major events in this book
Jewish Dance Party
Visiting Gil
Enlightened moment on the dance floor

5. A Passage Path

6. Query:
1. Do you think this changed his life and how?
2. Do you think he is more religious and has more faith now?

Rebecca Rouda
Prompt F, Dialogue between two people of differing opinions on the book

The men, both holding the same book, met each other’s eyes. They exchanged a look of solidarity and understanding, as well as a smile, before walking towards each other. Despite the fact that they were at a gym, not a place conventionally used to discuss literature, they were both excited to have someone else to talk, and perhaps debate, with.

“Well, how did you like it?” Started the first man, who had introduced himself as Alan. He had enjoyed the book, his interest in religion driving him to pick it up one day when he saw it sitting on the shelf of a store.

“To be perfectly honest, I thought it was pretty dry, and way too long,” said the other. Despite having the same reasons for picking up the book, the second man, Brian, had barely been able to finish it. The book’s premise was interesting enough, but the small rants, tangents, and paragraphs of exposition had made the book drag on for hours upon hours.

Alan didn’t find himself surprised by this statement. He, too, had notice how much the book seemed to be like a journal or diary, with an endless stream of information about seemingly unrelated things, but he was shocked that this was what had turned Brian away from the book. He expected those who disliked the book to be religious fanatics, who found the book offensive, based solely on the idea of it. He had imagined people covered from head to toe, finding the sights of ankles or shoulders offensive, waving their bibles and their fists in the air, screeching about how the author is a sinner and the book should be burned. It was an extreme idea, and full of incorrect thoughts – ones, he was sure, the A.J. Jacobs was trying to avoid during his 12-month project. Still, as he continued to think about it, he realized the level of respect and care put into Jacobs’ project, and how little criticism he had actually given for fundamentalists.

He brought this up, shifting the conversation onto the actual plot, and Brian agreed with him, for the most part. He had appreciated how Jacobs’, while originally setting out to show the ridiculousness of fundamentalism, had grown with the project and avoided controversial statements. In fact, that was one of his criticisms of the book. He argued that for a book with that kind of message, he didn’t do much to show it. He talked about how annoying it was to avoid chairs that may have been sat in by “unclean” women, and how adding fringe to his (entirely white) wardrobe was a hassle, but he didn’t give much time for the rules with more severe consequences. When it came to stoning people, he barely gave it a paragraph, and only used that rule in context with adulterers. Jacobs’ refrained from speaking about similar rules, including burning people at the stake for certain, or serious, crimes, and several other instances in which you are expected to stone people.

Alan scoffed at this argument, saying that the point of the book is not to show just the evils of religion. Jacobs made a point to show the benefits of it, and became a better person as a result of his project. He had covered all the rules that were relevant to his life, and obviously couldn’t dedicate all of his time to attempting to kill people in ways sanctioned by the Bible.

They continued to discuss the book for nearly an hour, debating, shooting ideas back and forth. After some time, they both realized that they had spent almost all of their time at the gym – usually used for exercising – discussing a book. Sheepishly, they said words of goodbye, and agreed to meet at another time to continue their conversation.

Prompt F. Keegan.
“OH! Joe-bro, what’s up? Fancy seeing you here! Want to spot me this set, dude?”
“Hey Steve-o! No probs, dude. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...3769. Woah, dude, looks like your lifts have upped in biblical proportions, man!”
“Funny you said that Joe, I just finished this book, A Year of living Biblically by A.J Jacobs. I have to say, it definitely put a little more faith in me.”
“Aw, no way, man!? Really? I hated that book!”
“Oh, really? I thought it was excellent! I really admired how we went balls to the wall in his spiritual journey; it showed the commitment.”
“I thought quite the contrary dude, he put minimal effort into the fun stuff. Like, the one time he fulfilled stoning an adulterer was distorted into a covert operation involving a pebble and a senile man. BORING. No goat or child sacrifices either? I mean, come on!And he so ‘daringly’ donned the robe and cane only in the culminating weeks. He obsessed over minute details regarding theological nuances and the pathology of religion. He introduces us to the likes of his journey with topic such as contemplations over wether or not the seas parted before or after the water was entered, or all the different books he bought for research. He dwells endlessly on his guilt about potentially lying about wether or not Starbucks internet costs 8 or 10 dollars, or wether or not his son is eating a bagel or an English muffin. He concerns himself so much with the arbitrary laws that; he hires a Jewish man who has the soul profession of checking clothing for mixed fibers, as to be in concordance with the old testament law prohibiting such clothing, to check his entire wardrobe at his house. He consumed himself with the most irrelevant and boring aspects of religion which rendered the book rather dry. He spent almost the first two thirds of the book building up this wild, mystical, and epic character of Gil, which had the summation of a trip all the way over to Israel to visit him, for the apparent sake of an awkward and meaningless tourist-dinner. In fact, often was I let down. Before each of his excursions he would inform the readers as to the potential chaos that could result, or the bizarre nature of his next subjects. However, each time it appeared to come up short of his foretelling. In one section he alerts us to the potential contradictions and faux-legitimacy a certain gay-evangelical group might hold. It turned out to be a very keen, modest, meeting. Jacobs lured me in with the snake-handlers from Texas, but nevertheless, he barely performed the task himself and spent most of his recap with an all too familiar discussion of the interpretation of God’s word. I went into it expecting him to go in with a fervency and make a fool of himself in an unconcerned manner. I was disappointed in the lack of comedy”
Jesus, dude.”

Adam K.
Lead Me - Sanctus Real
This song fits with my book’s, The Year Of Living Biblically, theme because the mantra of the song is “lead me with strong hands” speaking about God leading the lead singers life, while the book is based on the main character following the bible for a year and letting God lead his life for that one whole year.

Awake and Alive - Skillet
I believe this song fits as well because the song is about the singers spiritual awakening and deciding that he is going to follow God, as is stated in the chorus “I’m awake, I’m alive. Now I know what I believe inside.” While the book doesn’t have a huge spiritual awakening for the main character, it does show his spiritual progress at the end of the year, and his heightened understanding of religion.

I’m Going to Hell For This One - NoFX
This song fits the beginning of the book in my opinion because it is a song making a big joke out of the resurrection of Christ and how he is “coming back to kick Mel Gibson’s ass.” This mocking opinion fits the early parts of the book where he looks at the Bible and Christianity as like one big joke that no one could ever really take seriously.

Feed The Machine - Red
I think there are a couple ways that this book relates more the the theme of the book and less in the actual story. One of the themes that I got out of this book is that it is a good idea to have a better understanding of religion before you go about judging and criticizing it. While this song deals with things like people following this blind stereotype about religion and “feeding the machine” and fueling the stereotypes about religion.

Dancing for Rain - Rise Against
This song fits into the main characters thoughts about religion because while he had a better understanding of what religion means to many people, he still believes that while religion can be a good thing for many people, it isn’t something that we should completely hinge upon to survive day to day or that we should wait around for God to do something that we can do ourselves. Where in the song he takes about people sitting around and waiting for religion to help them. He compares it to a drought in the line “this drought bleeds on and we’re dancing for rain.”

Sam L.- prompt D
Following Something Literally?
Wearing clothes as ancient disciples did
Praying each day as ancient disciples did
Steering clear of women as ancient disciples did
Being faithful as ancient disciples did
Not cursing as ancient disciples did
Not succumbing to sexual fantasies as ancient disciples did
This and more are hard to do in a society that doesn’t consider religion a forefront of life

Sin Mother Lode: Movie Filter Preferences
“Nonsensual/Non crude sex talk; homosexual/lesbian characters; thematic sexual situations; implied marital sex; implied premarital sex; implied extramarital sex; revealing clothing; some suggestive dancing; some suggestive dialogue; threatening dialogue; intense action/ adventure; intense life/death situations; scary moments; nongraphic injury/wound; intense battle sequences; alcohol consumption; rape topic; intense thematic elements; suicide; murder topic...”

I guess that means no movie ever made.......

Levirate marriage: two brothers, two deaths, no other choice

First husband, Err, dead; no children
Second husband, brother of Err, soon follows; still no children
No one else........father in law will do
Strange customs of widows in Biblical

Advice to take away from the bible in the 21st century

  • “Honor your father and your mother”
  • “He who pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor”
  • “Judge not, that you be not judged and kindness will find life and honor”
  • “Give thanks in all circumstances”
  • “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking which are out of place”
  • “Forgive and you will be forgiven”
  • “Whatever you wish to men would do to you, do so to them”
  • “He shall restore what he took by robbery”
  • “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline”
  • “He who despites his neighbor is a sinner”

Charlie Krause
Ms. Lewis
Summer Book Review: Poems

Ex-Uncle Gill
He is very odd and strange
My family told me not to see him
But I had to
He is named Gill
Since I must indulge myself in religion he is the guy to see
He created a cult
Went to hinduism
Became non-religious
Then went back to his heritage of Judaism
He is the most interesting man I’ll ever plan on meeting

A Chicken in Every Pot
I walk in the room with the smell of the stench of death
He said it would be quick and painless like a paper cut
It had to be that way otherwise it would not be kosher
This is the closest thing to a sacrifice that I can get
I never saw anything like this before
There was blood everywhere and on everything
But I had to stay though the whole thing
At least this chicken will feed a family

A Planed Project
My wife will not like this project but I feel it is necessary
It is necessary for my understanding of a spiritual journey
This will be a struggle for my whole family especially between me and my wife
Because I can not touch her or anything she touches for a week of every month
Although this could be used as a tool to though me off my path
Hopefully this separation will help us grow stronger
Because they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder
I just hope this is true

An Illegal act for a Religious Must
What is considered illegal today,
Was taken as a religious staple back in the day
It is risky business to stone an adulterer and get away with it
So I developed a modern method to do so
So now I drop a pebble on their shoe and say,
Excuse me and then go on my way
I am, the most polite person who stones adulterers

Reverse Scene Colin Guiney
Well one afternoon I was sitting in the park and this weird dressed man sat next to me. He was dressed in like a gown and had a wooden walking stick. It perplexed me why he was dressed so weird so I had to ask “Hey your dressed queer, why you dressed so queer?”. I have never seen someone dressed so weird for a second I thought it was Halloween. The way I asked must have offended him because he just had this confused look on his face. All of a sudden the strange man goes on this rant about the bible and says he wants to stone adulterers. He was freaking me out but I wanted him to give me a reason to beat the living crap out of him. So i thought it was a good idea to say I was an adulterer. So I said “ Hey I’m an adulterer” and he replies with “ You’re currently and adulterer?”. So seeing as how this guy couldn’t quite grasp what I’m trying to tell him, I felt the need to make myself clear by over exaggerating. So I told him “ Yeah. Tonight, tomorrow, Yesterday, two weeks from now. You gonna stone me?”. And then his response caught me off guard, I thought he was gonna shy off from the subject next not knowing what to do. Clearly this guy was legit because his response was “If I could, yes, that’d be great.”. This kinda just ticked me off, and it actually sent me over the deep end with the guy. I told him I’d punch him in the face and send him to the cemetery. Then he tires to explain to me he was only gonna throw small little pebbles at me. He pulled some out and I snatched one and chucked it at him. So he fires back by whipping one into my chance. I murmured a few threats and him and we stared at each other for a few seconds. I could tell that this was gonna get ugly..... for him, so I decided to be the better man and walk away from kicking his ass.