The Year of Living Like Jesus
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The Year of Living Like Jesus

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Evangelical pastor Ed Dobson chronicles his year of living like Jesus and obeying his teachings. Dobson’s transition from someone who follows Jesus to someone who lives like Jesus takes him into bars, inspires him to pick up hitchhikers, and deepens his understanding of suffering. As Dobson discovers, living like Jesus is quite different from what we imagine.
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I was curious before I started reading, how is Dobson going to define "living like Jesus"? Does it mean approximating the lifestyle of a 1st century Jewish man, from sandals to tzitzit? Living as closely to the instructions in the Gospels as possible? Actually replicating literal events from Jesus' life, which you would think would be pretty much impossible for a mere mortal? While it seems that the second item would be the most logical one for a Christian to pursue (albeit a very challenging pr...more
I imagine a lot of non-Christians won't read this book, but would benefit from learning about a Pastors struggle with trying to live like Jesus.

I imagine a lot of Christians would read this (if they bothered to read), but they would probably struggle to learn from a Pastor who tried to follow Jesus.
I came across this book after having read The Year of Living Biblically and was really interested in a similar book written from the perspective of a believer. However this book was generally disappointing. Many of the more time-consuming things Dobson does to "live like Jesus" like praying the rosary and other daily prayers are not things Jesus would ever have done. It often felt like he was intentionally finding difficult things to do like 2 hours of daily prayer. The sudden switch in format f...more
The title, The Year of Living Like Jesus, caught my attention as I was skimming shelfs at the library. I decided to see what kind of insights this evangelical pastor, Ed Dobson, could offer on being like Jesus. And I did learn one great lesson from this book!!! I NEED TO READ THE GOSPELS MORE OFTEN!!!

As part of his year project to live like Jesus Dobson decided to read the Gospels all of the way through each week. He was motivated by what a rabi in Israel had asked, "How can you claim to take J...more
I don't feel ed dobson really lived like jesus. I think he was kind of selfish the whole time. It did make me think though. If you want to learn about being a jew, or about praying with beads, read the book.
George Huner
I don't know what Jesus would really do. I'm not sure it's struggling about which suits to give away while driving your red corvette. Not that there is anything wrong with driving a corvette.
This infuriating book shows how way off center today’s Christianity is. This guy is one of those know-it-all flake evangelical Christian pastors who is trying to be really hip and liberal by tossing out traditional Christianity. He refuses to be called evangelical or Christian and wants to just say he is a “follower of Jesus.” That phrase could mean anything—and I would guess he really doesn’t follow the way Jesus dressed, talked, or lived, so he really isn’t a follower. He means he attempts to...more
Willie Krischke
All the way through "A Year of Living Like Jesus," I couldn't get over the feeling that Ed Dobson was talking down to his readers. It feels like he is writing for an audience of 5th graders. He's adopted a journal-entry style and employs a sense of humor that is easy, obvious, and sweet, but also grows tiresome and feels simplistic. Sprinkled throughout are sermonettes on biblical passages that feel aimed at a Sunday school class. Probably some people will find this easy, direct style accessible...more
Adriane Devries
Ed Dobson, pastor of an evangelical church in Grand Rapids for over 18 years and now retired due to complications of ALS, inspired partly by nominally-Jewish/athiest author A.J. Jacobs’ book The Year of Living Biblically, and also by his own yearning to live out his faith authentically rather than according to the expected, American paradigm of Christianity; decided to experience himself how Jesus might live if he were alive today. By following Biblical Jewish practices and seeking counsel from...more

When Ed Dobson, an evangelical pastor truly dedicated to the following of Christ's teachings, learned that he had ALS, a radical idea came to him. He decided to live for one year as Jesus would have lived, and what he learns is chronicled in his new book The Year of Living Like Jesus. Of course, adhering to the values of Christ's life involves eating only kosher foods, reading the Gospels with a certain degree of regularity, and observing the Sabbath, but Jesus had a very distinct approach to e...more
Following the experience of Dobson as he attempts a year of what he calls "living like Jesus" proved to be an interesting look into our American church culture and ancient Jewish culture at the same time. The text is put forth as a series of journal entries describing his successes and trials as he tries to frame every action within the context of how Jesus would respond based on teaching from the gospels. Although at times he seems to wander off focus, I found it a refreshing look at the gospel...more
Ed Dobson is an interesting person. He suffers with ALS (and has now for 10 years!) but he still wanted to live like Jesus would have lived (or at least as close as possible) for one year. The book is intriguing for a couple of different reasons: first, while he does this experiment he talks of meeting with Rabbi's, Priests, other words, he pulls from different traditions to understand Jesus more. He relates historical and contextual realities that shed a little light not only on Sc...more
It took me a while to get around to reading this. I had read A.J. Jacobs brilliant and hilarious The Year of Living Biblically and found it an interesting look at how an otherwise secular Jew could approach the Bible, in part to debunk biblical literalism and in part spiritual exploration (and of course to sell books and entertain). I wasn't sure I wanted to read the Christian spin off version. But I like Ed Dobson and have respected the way he left a public position in the Moral Majority to pur...more
How can I live like Jesus while living in affluent, suburban America? Such a tough question that has me struggling to answer it, and that's on my good days. In that light, I found this book very interesting. While at times Dobson's musings were boring and seemingly irrelevant to his year-long journey (and some seemed to be mentioned just for the reaction they would create among his peers), I can relate to many of his questions. And each question seems to bring more questions. I appreciated his r...more
I enjoyed this book's concept. I had never heard that Mr. Dobson was doing this or that anyone had did this. Mr. Dobson writes most of the book in journal form, but does switch to topic form in the last couple months of the book. I felt it should have been longer and a little more in depth. He stated that he kept specific notes that would have made the book longer and I wish he would have. I guess it was his editor's choice to make it more of a quick read. I enjoyed reading about his dilemnas th...more
Maria M. Elmvang
I wavered between giving this 3 and 4 stars, so consider this a 3.5 star review.

I read The Year of Living Biblically earlier this year, and was really taken by it, so when I heard about this book, I was interested in seeing how it would measure up.

Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It's not quite as interesting as The Year of Living Biblically, and Ed Dobson has a tendency to start sermonizing which is a bit frustrating, when you really just want to read about how his year...more
I saw this book a long time ago, but I didn't have any interest in it because I thought it was just a knock off of A.J. Jacobs' "Year of Living Biblically." I heard good things about it from a couple of patrons, though, so I decided to give it a shot. And I loved it! He admits right away that he got the idea from "Year of Living Biblically," but he has a completely different perspective. For me, it read more like Donald Miller than A.J. Jacobs. I love Jacobs, but it was nice to have a different...more
I found myself frustrated with this book at times with the focus on rituals vs having a heart devoted to Christ (although I feel that Ed Dobson does.) Although, toward the end he summed it up well.."Following Jesus is the total commitment of our lives and futures to Him. This is what it means to follow Jesus. It's more than keeping rules and regulations. It's more than going to church and being baptized. It's more than reading the Bible and praying. Rather, it's the commitment of our life (mind,...more
Years ago there was a book published called "The Year of Living Biblically" and I remember commenting to David that I should write a book called "The Year of Living Like Jesus" and he challenged me on what that would actually entail. Years later I come across this book. Turns out Mr. Dobson was inspired by the same book, and he actually carried it out. It helps that he's a follower of Christ (as he puts it) and a Baptist minister. He had a better handle of what it would entail going in to the pr...more
Bill Ford
I hurriedly grabbed this out of the library stacks last Friday before they closed shop for the night. Because of the plug by A. J. Jacobs on the cover, I thought it would be a fun, nerdy read. Turns out that's not the case. The author's an evangelical pastor from Bob Jones University, living with ALS, who sincerely attempts to "live" as Jesus did, by eating kosher, growing a beard, changing his wardrobe, attending sabot services, and reading scripture each day. Along the way, he picks up hitchhi...more
Carrie F.
I was offended by this book. I don't think the author had any idea of what living like Jesus would be like. He choose to live in a gated community in Florida. Really, Jesus living in a gated community? I don't think that's where he would choose. And then his important choice was whether to eat the shrimp at the dinner party. And whether to turn off his IPOD on the airplane. I'm reading another book, Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster. He speaks of imitating Christ--imitatio christi-- as c...more
Leigh  Kramer
When I heard about The Year of Living Like Jesus, I immediately thought of AJ Jacob's The Year of Living Biblically). Dobson's journey is as a Christian, Jacobs as a Jew. During Dobson's year, he explores Judaism, Catholicism, and a few other aspects outside the Evangelical community. At times, it read as a scholarly book instead of his experience, though I learned from his explanations of various practices. Dobson definitely went outside of his comfort zone for this project with interesting res...more
I thought this was a pretty enjoyable book -- a retired pastor from Michigan decides to spend a year trying to live his life as Jesus did -- following Jewish laws and practices, eating kosher meals, and trying respond to people as Jesus would -- it was written in a simple diary format, observational about successes and mishaps, conversational ponderings about whether he hit the mark or was way off with his words, actions, obedience. The author, who has ALS, had to limit some activities and bend...more
Todd Jenkins
Dobson's journal structure took some getting used to, but I was quite fascinated with this book. I bought it for my wife for Christmas and she finished it within the span of a few days. I really appreciate Dobson's very simple approach to writing about his experiences. He doesn't weigh it down with a bunch of theobabble or pontification, but simply expresses his thoughts and impressions as a humble man of God. It sheds much light on the way that Judaism and the different varieties of Christianit...more
Dave McNeely
After wanting to put this book down for good a number of times, I finally gave up (I think I persevered through three months, or one quarter, of his experiment). On the heels of books by A.J. Jacobs, David Plotz and others who tackled parts or all of the "Good Book" from a non-faith perspective, I was intrigued at the possibility of a Christian daring to do the same, hopefully with inspiring introspection. To the contrary, I was utterly disappointed to find that Dobson, a seminary-trained and su...more
Good read and some good thoughts, especially about apreciating the jewish roots behind our faith. My only criticism is that, although he started the journey to learn personally what it's like to live fully committed to living just as Jesus said we were to live, half-way through the book the committement seemed to wane. Along with all the press he recieved for it, it made me start to question both his intention and the results of his journey. I haven't quite formed an opinion yet about either of...more
Steve Taylor
Interesting concept, and I wanted it to be more than it was. I do not feel he really tried to live like Jesus. I think he tried to change his spirituality.

He did some Jesus like things; he ate kosher, he didn't cut his beard, he observed the Sabbath, but then went off the deep end in some areas. He experimented with the Rosary. That does not seem like something Jesus did.

His life ended up leading him to focus more on doing his own one on one ministry and forsaking more of the local church, whi...more
While it didn't follow through on the premise as much as I would have liked, it had some very interesting ideas.
Kendra Decker
I read this book because I attend Calvary Church where Pastor Dobson formerly ministered. I enjoyed and admired him as a pastor. He is approachable and just plain kind. I appreciate how mindful and reflective he is. And he likes to be outside the lines a bit in a Jesus sort of way. If you enjoy reading books from different perspectives you might enjoy this. I did not find it preachy at all but quite interesting.
I got this out of the library after our Pastor referenced it in a sermon earlier this summer. I really enjoyed reading about Dobson's commitment to "live like Jesus" for a year. He's also a local pastor, so it was neat to read so much about Grand Rapids and how he experienced his journey in this area. I particularly liked that the book wasn't "preachy" at all and Dobson fully detailed the struggles he had with truly living by the phrase "what would Jesus do". This book did inspire me to change s...more
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Ed Dobson, pastor emeritus of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serves as an advisory editor for Christianity Today and consulting editor for Leadership. He holds an earned doctorate from the University of Virginia, was named "Pastor of the Year" by Moody Bible Institute, and is author of numerous books, including Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness. He moved to the...more
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