Last year, I bought my sainted Sicilian mother the book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs, and now I'm finally getting around to reading it myself. Mr. Jacobs, a secular man, describes his attempts to follow every bible law to the letter. He wears white clothes that are not of mixed fibers. He doesn't trim his beard. He eats bugs. He carries a cane-chair around so that he doesn't touch unclean surfaces. He visits the Amish and prays with the Orthodox. He shoos a mother pigeon from her nest so he can take her egg, (he gives it back afterwards.)
As a closet agnostic who grew up in an extremely Catholic home, I'm finding Jacob's journey fascinating. He realizes that these bizarre rules and rituals actually give him a sense of peace. The dietary laws of the old testiment may seem strange and strict, but he feels they teach discipline. He grows to love blowing his ram's horn every morning, and paying for the next customer's coffe at Starbucks.
I went to bed thinking about this, and had a very odd dream. I dreamt Amanda (my five year old daughter) said to me, "There is no greater sacrifice than to give your life up for the Lord." I grew furious and told her that no, god just wanted you to live your life and be happy, not to worry about sacrificing yourself. Upon waking, I realized I stil have a lot of religion issues. But that doesn't mean the bible is bad, or that it is not full of good and wonderful rules to live your life by. So I try to think what laws I should have governing my life, because I really need some. I've always loved Kurt Vonnegut's quote, "Please-a little less love, and a little more common decency." I replace "common decency" with "kindness." I think I should just be kind to the people in my life. That's a good start. Does that include myself? I'm working on it.
Any ideas of your own?