TBR Challenge: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (2003)
Blue like Jazz was a breath of fresh air for me. It has been the best book of the year. Probably one of the best ever. Miller takes Christian spirituality and puts it in a different perspective than mainstream Christianity. He breaks the mold. He takes on the Christian right and introduces us to the Christian left. I am not one to quote huge sections of books; however, the author’s note is worth a large chunk of text. So here it goes.
I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way. I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.
I hope this is true for my life that I can show someone–anyone– that I love God and that it affects my being and my life. Anyway, back to the review. Awhile back, I was sent a link to a review of this book. It was a good review. It made me want to read it. However, I keep coming back to the problem that the review was wrong. The review was based on the fact that the reviewer didn’t consider Miller Christian. This is untrue. Miller is a different type of Christian–but he is one just the same. It is bothersome to me that the reviewer could be so close-minded. Although, it is more bothersome to me that many Christians would agree with her. You see Miller is politically liberal. He lived with dope smoking hippies in the woods. He cusses openly. He is a sinner and not perfect. Many in Christian society find this to be unacceptable. They believe that Christians must act a certain way, behave in a particular manner, and only show the positive sides of their lives to the world. This is the way they choose to set themselves apart in order to bring others to Christ’s love. This is not Miller’s way nor is it mine. I will state it right here for all to see in the great chasm of the internet. I am not perfect. I sin. I have problems. I don’t always do what I believe is right thing. On occasion, I don’t even try. I am human. But. I also love Jesus Christ. I believe in Him. I trust the movements of my spirit and my heart. I trust the answered prayers so prevalent in my life. I love Jesus and not in that bumper sticker way. Miller has challenged me to go even deeper with this love that I have for Jesus.
I wanted to briefly include parts of a favorite passage of mine. This passage follows a time when Miller and a few fellow believers set up a confessional booth at Reed College’s Ren Fayre festival in Portland. They were confessing the sins of Christians against the world to the students.
I felt very strongly that Jesus was relevant in this place. I felt very strongly that if He was not relevant here then He was not relevant anywhere. I felt very connected to God because I had confessed so much to so many people…I had been forgiven by the people I had wronged with my indifference and judgmentalism…I was out of the closet now. A Christian. So many years before I had made amends to God, but now I had made amends to the world. I was somebody who was willing to share my faith.
If you are a Christian, then you should read this book.
If you are a non-Christian, then you should read this book.
If you can read, then you should read this book.
It is funny. It is refreshing. It is honest.