How to be Perfect: One Church's Audacious Experiment In Living the Old Testament Book of Leviticus  -     By: Daniel Harrell
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How to be Perfect: One Church's Audacious Experiment In Living the Old Testament Book of Leviticus

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Product Description

Pastor Daniel Harrell spent years teaching the New Testament and telling the story of Jesus, yet he couldn't shake the feeling that he was missing something vital from the Old Testament. Taking an in-depth look at the Book of Leviticus, Harrell recruited nineteen church members to join him a commitment for thirty days to live as Levitically as possible. How to Be Perfect shares their unexpected lessons on the power of obedience, and how grace can fuel it.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: FaithWords
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 044655717X
ISBN-13: 9780446557177
UPC: 9780446557177
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Influenced by A. J. Jacobs's The Year of Living Biblically, Harrell managed to recruit 20 members of his Boston congregation to join him in a month-long effort at living Levitically. Holiness was the ultimate goal, but so was learning.
People who take the Bible seriously never know what to do with the book of Leviticus. And yet Leviticus is historically considered by Jews, and thus by Jesus, as the pivotal book of the Hebrew Bible. It's impossible to fully comprehend such key New Testament terms as sacrifice, atonement, or blood without some understanding of Leviticus. The "second greatest commandment," which Jesus said was "Love your neighbor as yourself," comes from Leviticus (19:18).
As a longtime minister and preacher who had successfully skirted Leviticus for most of his life, author Daniel Harrell wanted to come to grips with all that Leviticus teaches--not just loving neighbors, but the parts about animal sacrifice, Sabbath-keeping, skin diseases, homosexuality, and stoning sinners, too. Yet rather than approaching Leviticus with a view toward mitigating its commands, he decided to simply obey them.
The surprising lessons they learned impressed on Harrell both the power of obedience and the necessity of grace. This book traces the adventures of a group of people eager to understand the Bible by living it.

Author Bio

Daniel M. Harrell is senior minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota. For 23 years he served as a minister at Park Street Church in downtown Boston. He is the author of Nature's Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith as well as numerous articles that have appeared in Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, The Christian Century, and Regeneration Quarterly. He holds a PhD in developmental psychology from Boston College and has lectured at Fuller Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Gordon College, and Boston University. He lives somewhat obediently by grace in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter.

Publisher's Weekly

The often baffling book of laws for Jewish priests known as Leviticus is typically dismissed by Christians as outdated legalese no longer binding on people of the New Testament. Harrell, who served as pastor of the evangelical Park Street Church in downtown Boston for 23 years, doesn’t let that get in the way of his sincere desire to understand God and the Bible in its entirety. Inspired by a secular experiment that became the successful book The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, Harrell proposes a one-month experiment to “live levitically.” Eighteen church members join him in a quest to “be holy because I, the Lord your God, am Holy,” as the text repeatedly intones. The result is a series of reflections by Harrell and his followers--many communicating with each other via a Facebook page dedicated to the project--on keeping the Sabbath, abstaining from pork, and refraining from sexual deviancy as the Bible defines it. The resulting pastiche of responses is, for the most part, generous, compassionate, and thoughtful. This book will be appreciated not for its historical understanding of Judaism but for its attempt at living devotionally. (Jan.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"Thou shalt read this book. HOW TO BE PERFECT is a very interesting examination of commandments both famous and obscure. I'm honored my project helped inspire it."
"I think what I love most about HOW TO BE PERFECT by Daniel M. Harrell is the outrageousness of the idea. If there's one book that Christians most ignore in the entire Bible, it's got to be Leviticus. And yet Harrell and his posse dove in to the deep end of the levitical pool, attempting to live out the 253 commandments therein for a whole month. The audaciousness of the idea is enough to be admired. But the result-this book-is even better, for it becomes a meditation on what it really means to love and follow the Lord."
"Knowing Daniel as a friend, I appreciate the clever way he encouraged eighteen real world, working adults to live the laws of Leviticus. Through their candid, heartfelt, provocative, and at times hilarious journeys, they helped me grasp that wonderful--and sometimes glazed-over--Old Testament book in a more endearing way. What's more, I came to grasp my own faith as a child of God on a deeper level."

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Daniel Harrell
Located in: Minneapolis
Submitted: December 18, 2010

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm Senior Minister at Colonial Church, Edina, MN and previously served for 23 years at Park Street Church, Boston, MA. I hold a PhD in psychology from Boston College and live in Minneapolis with my wife and daughter.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Most Christians skirt Leviticus thinking it to be obsolete, irrelevant, esoteric or just plain boring. I wanted to change those attitudes. The book is about 20 people trying to live by the book for a month.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  An appreciation for holiness, obedience and the way that following Jesus transforms our ethics and attitudes in every aspect of life.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  It was a powerful experience in seeing how Leviticus would have been obeyed by Jesus and how the New Testament is shaped by this centerpiece of Torah. My own understanding of the New Testament was dramatically changed.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  For this project, I was deeply indebted to AJ Jacobs, Allen Ross, Jacob Milgrom, Gordon Wenham, Samuel Ballentine, John Hartley and the congregation of Park Street Church in Boston.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I hope you enjoy the book!

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