What comes to mind when you think of the Book of Leviticus?
Christianity Today asks that very question:
… Leviticus often becomes that graveyard where read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plans go to die. Skeptics know it as ammunition for homosexual haters or as a target for animal-rights activists. Many Jews regard it as awkward and outmoded. To slog through it can be unbelievably tedious. Which is why most of us [Christians] don’t.
But what would it look like to take Leviticus as seriously as we take the rest of the Bible? For believers in Yahweh, this is no rhetorical question. Inasmuch as we consider the Bible to be God’s Word for God’s people, we don’t have the luxury to pick and choose which parts to heed.
Pastor Daniel Harrell of Boston’s Park Street Church decided to follow the book (since it’s so often ignored in church) and have others do it with him:
After much cajoling and some well-placed pastoral guilt, I recruited 21 people from our congregation to become Levitical guinea pigs for a month… Our attempt at living Levitically would be done as New Testament Christians in 21st-century America.
It started out relatively easy:
Some people in the group ate kosher and wore linen trousers (in January no less). Just about everyone did a version of Sabbath keeping. Several men didn’t shave. Another went as far as to build a tabernacle in her 600-square-foot apartment as a reminder of God’s presence. One woman remarked how getting dressed each morning suddenly became a very slow and intentional process. “Fast girls aren’t holy,” she discovered.
They don’t really talk about those… even when they say they’re following the Book of Leviticus, they simply ignore the crazier parts. Which seems to defeat the purpose of everything.
If you’d like to read more thoughts on the month-long pseudo-experiment, there is a Facebook group all about it.