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"The Year of Living Biblically" - part II

After a long delay (Sorry, I got distracted), we're moving on to months 4-6 in A.J. Jacob's "year of living biblically:"

The author decides to take the command "Let your garments always be white" (Eccl. 9:8) to heart, wearing, "white pants, white T-shirts, a white sweater, and a white zip-up jacket from the Gap..." like an Hasidic John Travolta.

Though looking a bit like a nomadic pastry chef in his whites, wandering around New York City, Jacobs indicates,

"...the thing is, I'm enjoying it.  My white wardrobe makes me feel lighter, more spiritual.  Happier.  It's further proof of a major theme of this year:  The outer affects the inner.  Behavior shapes your psyche as much as the other way around.  Clothes make the man." 

What do you think?  Is the Christian journey an inside-out life, or an outside-in one?   Is there any truth to Jacob's position on this?  Which one is the New Covenant (new way) Jesus invites us into?

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Reader Comments (7)

Jim, Where do you get your reading material???? Without having read the book, my immediate response in "twaddle".Oh, getting dressed in certain ways does make you feel good. Take putting on an expensive well fitting suite of clothes. It makes you feel like a million dollar man. But... the problem is not on the outside, its the man inside! The man may be still a raggamuffin with nothing. Dressing in white will make you feel light and released for a period of time, but the important issue is, "what is on the inside." The inside will ALWAYS manifest after a time and that white suit is not gonna make a lick of difference.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLennart

Lennart. Believe me, I'm with you. Have no fear.

I'm reading the book because I think the author's perspective is both funny and revealing. His experiment to attempt to live biblically for a whole year is both revealing and misguided. It's simply all he knows at this point. Perhaps he'll come to understand the freedom that really is available. It's also a very entertaining read and provides good jumping-off points for discussion. -- like the one we're having. ;)

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

I have an interesting life experience to share based on the colors around us. Some years ago my daughter, then about 10 or 11, decided she wanted red curtains. It was my routine to wake her every morning for school. All I would do was enter her room, wake her, and walk out. The morning sun used to shine through her curtains and cause her room and our passage to have a bright deep red hue.

Some months later the, for some un-remembered reason we chaged the curtains to blue and green. My wife commented that my daughters sullen moods and my morning moods changed instantly. My morning moods had been of anger and aggression. To this day, some 15 years later I still avoid red furnishings and clothes.

So, yes, colors do AFFECT us, but NO they can NEVER change us.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLennart

I agree. "Affect" but not "change" is a good way to put it. I'm not sure it has as much to do with the color of the author's garments, as much as his conclusion that externals can change internals. I disagree with his conclusions here, but his book provides great discussion material -- and is simply his journey to this point.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

Jim, This post got me thinking over the past week.

We ALL live like this author. We live by our outward feelings. We do things to externally to make 'me' feel good. We eat things (chocolate, sweets, cookies...) to make our innerself feel good. The only difference between that and what the author is doing, is he has formalised it and acknowledged it. The white clothes he is wearing are constantly visible.

I wander how many times we have had that 'pang' in us and we have run to the fridge or chocolate cupboard to satisfy the 'something, only to find out we did not satisfy the 'desire' at all? I wonder how many times that desire was Papa calling us wanting to talk to us and we tried to satisfy it with food?

I just shows that although we acknowledge that we should be living the INSIDE outwards, we still revert back to living outside towards the inner.

Change me Papa!

May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLennart

Since a good appearance may make us feel better, we also may behave better however there’s been no permanent change. Our behavior is still based on how we feel and therefore will be unpredictable. This life in Christ is meant to be lived from our heart so true change is from the inside out and not the other way around. Jacob’s experiment is interesting but he’s definitely made the wrong conclusion.

May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAida

Hi Aida, It is amazing that two people could go through the same set of noble behaviors, but with thoroughly different motives and starting points. Great discussion.

May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbins

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