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This review is from: The Year of Living like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do (Hardcover)
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The process of spiritual formation - the drive to live like Jesus - is becoming a deeper concern among evangelicals, and it is a good thing, too. More and more it is harder to distinguish an evangelical from a typical American atheist. So I was drawn to the premise of this book, wondering how Dobson would take on this ultimate question. If a person is a disciple of Christ, they are, by definition, trying (ought to be trying) to live like their master.
Early on I was intrigued by his attention to odd detail. The beard is just the beginning. His first sets of concerns are with things like kosher foods, clothing, prayer tassels, prayer beads (he even takes up the Rosary), alternate prayer traditions from the Eastern church, and so forth. In and of themselves these are interesting and even helpful things, but as matters of substance in service of his premise, I didn't catch the significance.
A lot of the book was like that for me. By its nature, the premise of the book is a little subjective, so I fully expected to find some of his answers in the book disagreeable. I wasn't disappointed. But I wasn't bothered by those things as much as I was by what was missing.
A serious reading of the life of Christ in the Gospels reveals a Messiah who began his ministry with the sermon, "Repent." His staunch stances on doctrinal matters bothered people, and he didn't put up with much from falsehood. Dobson's focus of attention is on the "good deeds" kind of Jesus. And while it is true that Jesus loved and touched the unlovable, Dobson's final portrait missed a significant and even necessary aspect of the life of Christ.
While there are challenging and even touching moments, the book is a bit laborious and ultimately not all that informative about the life of Christ lived out among us.