Nov 17, 2009

Former soccer coach signs new book

by Amanda Baker

Former Liberty teacher, coach and administrator Ed Dobson hosted a book signing in the Liberty Bookstore on Saturday, promoting his new book, “The Year of Living Like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do.” Dobson’s 365-day journey immersed him in orthodox Jewish culture, from attending synagogue on Saturdays to obeying the commandments Torah (the first five books of the Bible).

Dobson was a Liberty University employee in the 1970s and 1980s, serving as the first men’s soccer coach, Dean of Men, New Testament survey professor, vice president of student life and associate pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Currently, he serves as pastor emeritus at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., and has written or co-written more than 10 books, according to He has also battled Lou Gehrig’s disease since January 2001.

Dobson was inspired to physically live as Jesus did after listening to A.J. Jacobs, a Jewish agnostic, talk about his experience obeying the
rules of the Bible for a year.

“(I laughed) hilariously at his story, and I decided that if someone who’s Jewish and agnostic could take the Bible that seriously, maybe I ought to take the next step,” Dobson said.

Admitting that he jumped into the project “without a lot of forethought,” Dobson enlisted the help of a Jewish rabbi, who he met with regularly, to keep himself on track with the Jewish traditions and customs, including attending synagogue, eating kosher foods and observing Shabbat (the seventh day of the Jewish week that is meant to be a day of rest).

“I tried to live Jewishly. I tried to think like Jesus would have thought, so I listened to the Gospels every week for the year, and then I tried to obey Jesus’ teaching,” Dobson said.

Dobson’s main goal for the project was to understand how Jesus lived life 2,000 years ago, because Jesus’ teachings were surrounded by the culture and customs of the day, including obeying the Torah and participating in the synagogue.

“I didn’t live Jewishly to be a better Christian, because obviously we are not obligated to do that. But what I was trying to do was live more Jewishly to see if by doing that I could better understand Jesus’ teaching,” Dobson said.

Dobson had not considered writing a book about his experience until Zondervan Publishers contacted him several months into the project. Making his year of living like Jesus known to the world was not Dobson’s first priority. For him, it was personal.

“For me, the commitment was something that I was going to do personally, kind of the next step in my journey of following Jesus,” Dobson said. “I do believe, as A.J. Jacobs says, that you have to walk in someone’s sandals. Though I didn’t wear sandals, I did try to walk like Jesus would have walked, and I think it profoundly impacted me.”

People who pick up Dobson’s book will “discover that Ed’s adventure takes him, and us, deep into the heart of grace, mercy and the endless discovery of just what the way of Jesus looks like — which, of course, has very little to do with having a beard,” Rob Bell, author of “Velvet Elvis”, said in an endorsement on Dobson’s Web site,

Dobson hopes that his journey of “living Jewishly” will show the importance of listening to and obeying Jesus’ teaching and will encourage readers to take “the next step,” regardless of where they are in their spiritual lives.

“Several times in the book I talk about my own journey and personal commitment to following Jesus. Hopefully through that, and other stories in the book, if they don’t know the Lord, they will take the step to give their life over to him. And if they do know the Lord, hopefully they will pick up the Bible and get more serious,” Dobson said.

For more information about “The Year of Living Like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do”, visit For more information about Ed Dobson, visit

Contact Amanda Baker at

Printable Version

» Female steps up as president
» Keep Talking
» Getting back to the basics
» Values Voter Summit unites conservatives
» SPC Mitch Roberson Student fights obstacles at home and abroad
» Seeking a safe haven
» Seeing the Unseen
» Clayton King new campus pastor