Some of us have a tendency to take life to seriously, while others of us don’t take life seriously enough. In Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller shares his personal journey of sifting through religion, love, and Jesus. His ramblings gave me a new perspective that is a mix between questioning things and not taking life too seriously.
When I tried to explain to my friend what this book was about, I couldn’t. There really isn’t an obvious plot line or structure to the story. In fact, I’m not really sure what it’s about. Miller shares his heart and experiences on everything from love and loneliness to grace and faith. This was the first book I have read by Donald Miller, and I absolutely loved his writings. I am captured by his boldness and honest criticism of religion, the church, and stereotypical Christianity.
As he explains in the last chapter, "This book is about the songs my friends and I are singing. This is what God is doing in our lives. But what song will you sing when your soul gets free?" These two sentences really brought the book together as a whole for me. I get it, the point is Jesus. We each have our different rhythm, but it all points back to Jesus, and part of life is dancing with other people's rhythms.
Written in 2003, the book has now been made into a movie, which comes out April 13th of this year. From Houston, Texas to Portland, Oregon, Miller has lived in the woods with hippies, started a revival at an atheist college, and lived in community with several other men from his church. In Blue Like Jazz, he shares a little snippet of each journey, and God’s faithfulness throughout it all.
The downfall of this book is that most Christians won’t like it. It’s very honest, very real, and almost criticizing to the church. Some people will think this is exactly what needs to be examined in order to leave behind the hypocritical stereotype Christians have accumulated over the years. Others feel judged and misrepresented by Miller’s thoughts.
As God continues to fill me in on how he made me creative and abstract-minded, this book is one of the tools he has given me to learn how to truly embrace the mysteries of life. Instead of trying to confirm to society, I need to be me. If that means crazy, artsy, and a little different, well...that's beautiful to Jesus.
I highly recommend this book to any mature human being looking for raw answers and truth. I am loaning this to a friend searching for God, and I have recommended it to several strong Christian friends as well. I read the book in 2 days. It's a quick read. Very spiritual, very deep, but very refreshing to breeze through. The phrase sugar-coated is not at all coming to mind as I think of the truth revealed in Miller’s writing. The film comes out today. Go see it.
Article first published as Book Review: Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller on Blogcritics.