Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review: Andrew L. Hoy's Eat Like Jesus

So the argument that Hoy presents in this book I don't really disagree with, but there is a lot to talk about that the book doesn't. Most of us have heard of a Kosher diet. It's most popular dietary restriction is no pork, which makes sense when you look at the basis for why it was banned from eating. It has a lot of unhealthy attributes that are garnered from what a pig eats. That basically is the basis of why animals are kosher or not. It depends on what they consume, which negates the health of eating that animal. Now here is where my problem is. How meat is prepared and even raised is a whole lot different than in Biblical times. We have mass factories that feed animals that are cows, chickens, pigs, and more hormones in order to speed up their growth, which has proven to be unhealthy for the consumer. Also if you have watched Food Inc., then you also know that cows are fed corn instead of grass, and corn actually has caused much beef to now be contaminated with E.Coli, since a cow's stomach can't digest anything but grass properly, that has left consumers dead. So if the basis of the Biblical commandment to be kosher is because of the unhealthy things those animals have consumed and the health risk of eating their meat because of that then aren't a whole lot more meats unsafe and perhaps considered banned by a kosher diet?

Summary: Wow! I had a rant there. Anyways, basically the book can be summarized as a Biblical focus on what was the law Moses was given to avoid certain meats. It also is true that Jesus left no accounts where he was eating anything not considered kosher as well. Everything that was accounted for that he ate was kosher. Hoy also explains Peter's vision in Acts that is much of the basis of a non-kosher diet, how the species on the ark weren't always in pairs, and how multiple Bible translations have used certain texts that are the same but in different ways that lean toward non-kosher diets.

Characters: Well everything in this book draws from two accounts. Hoy's and the Biblical texts that he draws from in the book. I think that Hoy does a great job at organizing his argument and presenting it with Biblical passages. I just recommend to have out your own Bible to read the entire text from. I also don't believe Hoy intended to, but I also felt that I was being lashed out at if I ate pork. Now I will admit this book has gotten me to think a lot more differently about eating things like pork, but I also think a person needs to draw deeper into why certain diets were banned then. Did people cook or prepare their food the same? Did their cows have the improper diet of being fed corn, which causes a block in a cow's stomach leading to E.Coli? Were the animals injected with medicine and hormones that weren't natural to the animals' growth process? There is a lot more to consider nowadays in the food world we live in. We even have to think about Kosher hot dogs are prepared nowadays. Unless you are raising and killing an animal for food on your own you have no idea where it came from to get to your plate.

Writing: Well this isn't for the casual reader, or even quick reader. There are lots of charts and graphs that make this more like textbook reading. It could be a textbook had it not had such improper citations.  I'll discuss that in a bit though. While I also think that Hoy makes some great points the tone was just very in my face. I can role with the logic of it, but people want to feel a conversation is happening and questions asked even if they are only reading.

Plot: The book develops to each point great. By the time you read the end of a chapter you're ready to see what Hoy will explore in the next. He does a great job at presenting the aspects of the Bible to back what he believes in, and that gives it credibility. Now there are some things that I personally wouldn't have done. One being I wouldn't use Google Translate to navigate through passages of a Bible in it's original language. I've used Google Translate before, and I've gotten some funky wording. It is usually on path to where I'm trying to get at, but if I was to speak in some of the sentence structures that Google Translate gave me to people who spoke that language, they would be very confused. I would hope someone presenting the Bible in another language to me would know that actual language because while Google Translate might be spot on in what you were aiming to convey in that sentence, it's not 100% unless you can also back it up without the machine. Now Hoy may know the language of course, he does translate other aspects of scripture very thoroughly and well, but that was taken from one snippet when he was presenting different comparisons of how Bible translations appear. Also, I found in the back that Hoy used several Wikipedia pages to credit some of the things he said about pork, and other things. Now while Wikipedia honestly isn't bad, and most likely you can get some good information there I was not allowed to ever turn in a paper in college even using the site. I wouldn't even nowadays use Wikipedia in an argument. It's just not a good source to sway people, especially when there are legitimate sites, and well even encyclopedias, that will discuss some of these things and will get people to listen to you better.

I commend Hoy for bringing up a conversation starter on a very touch topic. It is not easy to talk about food with people, because most people feel very protective over what they enjoy eating, especially bacon! He navigates his own argument for it well, and presents a case that would be hard for any Southern Christian BBQ lover to argue with. (I'm sorry, it's just a really popular thing in the south for churches to have food fundraisers that involve barbecue). The issues though with the Wikipedia sources, and the part where Google Translate pops up though leaves me feeling there needs to be more credibility in that knowledge. The Bible parts are strong, but the outside sources are a little lacking. To be honest though if nothing else comes from this book for a reader than at least being more conscious about what you're eating then Andrew Hoy has done a great thing for someone.

Rating 7 of 10.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for a review.

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