More Thoughts From “The Year of Living Like Jesus”


Top Chef is one of my favorite TV shows.  On it, a group of amazing chefs compete in ridiculously hard challenges under pressures of time and budget, all to win the title of “Top Chef.”  One thing that these cooks have sometimes been criticized for in instances of under-performance with beef is that they failed to let the meat “rest.”  As I understand it, after cooking or grilling a piece of meat, the meat needs to sit, untouched, for a few minutes while the juices are sealed in and the temperature evens out.  To “honor the protein”, as Tom says, it needs to rest.

I’ve had to do the same thing after reading Ed’s book, The Year of Living Like Jesus.  To honor this book, I’ve had to let it rest.  I finished it over a week ago and am still sitting amidst a swirl of questions and a shocking reality that can be avoided in my cozy suburban life:  living like Jesus is difficult.  It is counter-cultural.  Sometimes there are gray areas.  And doing so in the most literal of senses is not for the faint of heart.

There are so many things I would like to say about this book and about some of the things that Ed shared, but instead, I invite you to read it for yourself.  I leave you today with a handful of quotes that still. need. time. to. sit.


Pg. 91:  “As we continue to talk I ask one of the men at the table how he manages to live as a Jew in a place like this where everything, apart from the fish, is nonkosher.  “How do you deal with all the lobster and shrimp here?” I ask.  “Oh, I don’t pay any attention to that at all,” he says.  “I eat whatever I want whenever I want to.”  So the thought crosses my mind, “I’m a better Jew than he is!” but I know it’s not true.  I’m not a Jew at all–and he is a Jew whether he eats kosher or not.  After I got over my momentary feelings of superiority, I realize that all of us pick and choose.  While this Jewish man chose not to eat kosher, most of us who follow Jesus also pick and choose.  We tend to do the things that are easiest for us and ignore the things that are difficult.” [emphasis mine]


From the High Holy Days of October: Jewish prayers of Repentance

Pg. 201:  “…We seek forgiveness from ourselves, from others and from God.  In cleansing repentance we seek atonement to be at one with ourselves, with others and with God.  Wholeness and holiness we seek as we enter a new year.  Help us, Lord, to realize the truth that we are as holy as we allow ourselves to be.” [emphasis mine]


Pg. 225:  “I think Jesus wants us to focus on those who are crippled and lame because it requires significant effort on our part.  I think he wants us to focus on the crippled and lame because it forces us to slow down and help them.  I think he wants us to focus on the crippled and lame because when we do, we discover what truly matters in life–and it’s not our ability to walk and move.  These men remind me that what really matters in life is our relationship with God and the time and love we invest in others.”


A Reflection on Mark 1:17-18: “‘Come, follow me, ‘ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’  At once they left their nets and followed him.”

pg. 265:  “Being a follower of Jesus means walking behind him.  We often assume that as followers of Jesus we are supposed to walk next to him.  But the problem with that is that when we get to a fork in the road, we tend to negotiate with Jesus:  “I know you want me to go to the left, but I want to go to the right.  Is there any way that we could read a negotiated settlement and walk down the middle?”  With Jesus, there is no negotiation.  We walk behind him.  We walk in the dust of the rabbi.”


Last thoughts tomorrow…

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