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"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened." ?Donald Miller

In Donald Miller's early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.

For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture.

For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real.

For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion iná life.

Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.

Topics: Spirituality , Christianity, Jesus, Devotion, Music, Creativity, The Bible, Jazz, Journeys, Inspirational, Philosophical, Portland, and Creative Nonfiction

Published: Thomas Nelson on Jul 17, 2003
ISBN: 9781418529949
List price: $6.99
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While I guess I understand why folks like this book, I found it terribly difficult to get through. The writing style leads one to believe that the author is something of a social simpleton. The work he has done to connect himself to healthy, loving, and open-minded Christian community is good work, but his account of that work is far from profound, and leaves plenty of room for misunderstanding. An example of this is the pervasive "find yourself" / "believe in yourself" approach to Christian faith espoused by Mr. Miller. While there is wisdom and value in "knowing thyself," it is easy to mistake that adage as a tenet of the author's faith, and I'm fairly sure Christian scripture, tradition, and experience counsel caution in a faith formed by what Works For Me.As a fellow Portlander and Christian, and having grown out of a fairly conservative evangelical background to find deeper roots in my faith tradition, I was expecting to love this book, and came away disappointed. Sigh.I hope the author revisits some of the topics contained in this book with a clearer voice, stronger editing, and in a less namby-pamby manner.read more
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Sometimes this felt a little too liberal for me, a little too much about experiences and not enough about truth. A little too hostile to established churches. But only sometimes.Donald Miller is very open and honest, and he does a great job of connecting with the reader. Especially in the later chapters, I really appreciated a lot of the things he was saying and there's a lot of truth to think about, especially where love and friendship are concerned. There are twenty chapters and I read one a day. Some of them build on others, but most are self-explanatory and I found that reading them one at a time helped me remember the point of each. The last few were by far my favorites. Well worth reading again.read more
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Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligous Thoughts on Christian Sprituality makes some very valid criticisms about the Christian community. First, that sometimes Christians are obsessed with outward appearance rather than the condition of a person’s heart. I fully agree with this. I don’t think God cares one hoot what we look like–whether it’s tattoos, piercings, the color of our hair, whatever. He is concerned with where our heart is toward him. That’s all.Secondly, that Christians don’t love “sinners” because all they see is the sin and not the person. I wholeheartedly agree with this as well. Some may be more apt to “look down their noses” at a “sinner” rather than just reach out in love. This is obviously not what God wants Christians to do.Thirdly, that many Christians support right wing causes to the absolute exclusion of any left of center concerns. Guilty again. We do need to give to the poor and take care of the needy, particularly widows and orphans. Jesus taught that as well.I do have some concerns with some of his philosophy, however. He seems to advocate a grace and “acceptance” that go a little too far. I’m not talking here about non-Christians at all. I’m talking about people who claim to be followers of Christ. He lifts up Christians who appear to be following God in one or more areas, but yet are still engaging in practices not pleasing to God. He implies we shouldn’t judge and just accept. Of course God is the ultimate judge of all of us. Yet, the Bible clearly states that we ARE to point out to Christians (NOT non-Christians) areas that are not God-pleasing. Donald Miller himself has actually done that very well in his book!My point is this. Once we are a follower of Christ, God loves us unconditionally and forgives us everything we do. That I believe. His grace does go far–really far! But, just as he forgave David for being a murderer and an adulterer, he also pointed out that there would be consequences to David’s acts. These consequences were the natural result of David’s sin. Yes, we are forgiven, but we still have to face the consequences. So why not try to obey God so as to receive our reward in heaven? I’d rather not just barely “escape through the flames” and be a toilet-scrubber in heaven. Of course, that’s just a figure of speech. What? You say you’ve tried and just can’t live up to what God wants? NONE of us can. Not without his help. That’s the whole point of Christianity. We couldn’t do it ourselves, so God took care of it for us. If you have the desire to please God, all you have to do is ask for his help to do it.In conclusion, I think the Church would do well to examine some of Donald Miller’s points. But we can’t say that it doesn’t matter what we do because God loves us unconditionally and his grace covers all–EVEN THOUGH THAT’S TRUE!!! Because honestly, I wouldn’t want to live with the consequences of my actions if I just did what I wanted all the time. And even aside from the consequences, Christians should love God and WANT to please him.read more
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My first experience with Miller. BLJ is a classic already. Not much needs to be said about this book. It's great, it's an easy read, it's entertaining, and it's thought provoking.read more
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LOVE DONALD MILLER! He, like Edwin McManus, Rob Bell and others - push me into a deeper, more raw understanding of my relationship with God. Blue Like Jazz challenged me to think outside my small, very vanilla, SBC box. I need that!read more
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I don’t know that I have ever read a book like Blue Like Jazz before. Author Donald Miller is a best-selling American author and public speaker based out of Portland, Oregon who focuses on Christian spirituality as “an explanation for beauty, meaning, and the human struggle.”He is also the author of Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.Miller writes,“There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz. And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere. Of course, I had always known He was, but this time I felt it, I realized it, the way a person realizes they are hungry or thirsty. The knowledge of God seeped out of my brain and into my heart. I imagined Him looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, had committed adultery, and yet hopelessly in love with her, drunk with love for her.”Blue Like Jazz is the coming of age story of the author as he struggles with his own ideas of religion and the new world he encounters away at Reed College. This isn’t your parents “Inspirational Christian Reading” book either, this is a visceral piece full of honesty and truth. Blue Like Jazz is easily one of the best Christian experience books I have ever read. Miller is an extremely talented writer.Blue Like Jazz will make you laugh out loud while asking you the toughest of questions.Read with caution! Highly recommended.read more
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I read this book form cover to cover in 2 days! It is an eye opening journey from religion to relationship with Jesus. Don Miller takes you on a walk with him trough the point of being a religious Christian to being a real follower of Jesus. After reading this book you feel as if you have a made new friends. Don shows the reader that you can be a normal person and a Christian. Not the stereo type Christian but a real living Christian. I recommend this book to EVERYONE, Christian or not. Thank you to the friend who sent this to me. This book has opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't know that I didn't know.read more
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I bought this book on a whim. I liked the title. I liked the cover. I liked the description of the author (in one of the blurbs) as "Anne Lamott with testosterone." And I loved the author's note:"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."This book is a bit uneven in quality. Some of these autobiographical essays were less than impressive to me. But others stopped me in my tracks. This is a book with which many Conservative Christians might be uncomfortable. Miller has his complaints about the church, and about the way many Christians view faith and interact with those around them -- especially those who are different from them. He has no use for empty ritual (though its clear that not all ritual is empty to him), or being judgmental of others, or of the kind of morality that is almost obsessed with sexual behavior.He does acknowledge the reality of what traditional theology calls "original sin" -- the fact that all people, and the world, are broken and need fixing (the need for salvation). He zeroes in on the sins of self-righteousness and self-centeredness, and the primacy of the commandment to LOVE. In this, I believe he is a faithful follower of Jesus.He has problems with religion, with Christianity (as an institution), with "religious people," but loves and has faith in Jesus and invites the reader to love Him, too. He does all this with an honesty about his own failings and shortcomings that is refreshing. He gave me some things to think about, so I consider the time spent in reading this book worthwhile.read more
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So I heard this was being made into a movie and since I've had the book on hand for quite some time, I thought I'd read it before the film was released. Blue Like Jazz is about Miller and his spiritual life told in a series of chatty chapters. He keeps things a bit simpler than I'd like, using short sentences and building ideas slowly. I found this a bit annoying, especially since he's dealing with the some charged issues, primarily the difficulty of having lost faith, not in God or Christianity, but in the church. The American Evangelical church does have some serious issues. When the pastor of a megachurch can go on TV and declare that helping the poor is wrong and when a man in a position of leadership of a large group of churches feels comfortable making racist statements about the Trayvon Martin case, there's a problem. And the easiest solution for many is to walk away. It's how to turn around and find a sense of community and not to be angry that's difficult. Miller managed to do this and I was very interested to find out how. He skirts the issue for much of the book, but he's too honest to avoid it. He's extremely careful with his words and his solution is to forgive, move on and find a church that doesn't look at others (gay people, feminists, liberals, etc...) with fear and loathing. Pretty easy for a guy in Portland, Oregon to say, but he's probably right.Miller's a likable guy. Any guy who's had a crush on Emily Dickinson and who was able to successfully navigate moving from a hippie camp site to a religious summer camp job has to be. Blue Like Jazz is, despite the subject matter, entertaining and easy to read. Miller's being dumped on a bit for the mild criticisms he's written, and I'm sorry for that.read more
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I love this book. I haven't read anything from Don Miller before, and I disagree with him on some issues (I won't go into that here. I actually like Bush.) I respect Miller for having his views and that is all. I think his writing is real and I have had many of the same thoughts and concerns about my own faith as he writes about. This book has impacted my life in a very positive way. I am going to actually try to be a nicer, more honestly loving christian.read more
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Blue Like Jazz is a simple read. Don Miller is an insightful guy. He is mindful of the presence of God in the world around him. I appreciate that he challenges the political conservatism of American Christianity and puts a new face on Christian Literature. I enjoyed the read but I can't, for the life of me, figure out how Donald Miller's name has come to be spoken in the same breath as Anne Lamott or Leonard Sweet. Don Miller is a good writer but he lacks the eloquence and depth of Lamott and Sweet. I recommend this book if you are beginning to feel disillusioned with Christianity in America and its celebrated voices. Don Miller will make you stop and think about some things. If you have been working through your disillusionment for some time, you may read this, as I did, and say to yourself, "And...?"read more
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Miller is a great writer, and this rambling memoir of sorts takes you into his head and his world, and helps you understand him better. He offers an honest takes on things, and is worth the read.read more
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Very thought-provoking; helpful in part; engaging to read; but overall too anti- organized church; general disrespect and distrust for the church as an establishment; over-emphasizes the personal relationship with Christ at the expense of the corporate realities of Christianityread more
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I couldn't put this down!read more
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I felt relief that someone elses belief looked like my own. A very open book. I love seeing inside other people. And once inside I liked Donald Miller a lot,read more
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It's hard to know what to make of this book. At first it seems to be a hipster reflecting on Christian ideas in the secular world. Then I learn that the author is a lifelong Christian and it feels like a bait-and-switch and that this is going to be a sneaky evangelical tract. Miller fortunately is none of these things and is blessedly impossible to put in any box. Still I find Miller hard to read, I think because he's so much like me - shy, inconsistent, overwriting and overthinking things. I'm finally won over by the chapter in which Miller and his friends in a small Christian group at a largely hedonistic college decide to participate in the college's annual bacchanalian festival. Miller jokingly suggests setting up a confession booth and the group ends up doing so, but for the purpose of confessing the crimes of Christianity and their own personal failings as Christians to the partying students who come to their both. Miller is much better than Frank Schaeffer at writing about humility, transcendence, and how to lead an authentic Christian life in a secular world.Favorite Passages:My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don't really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don't believe in God and they can prove He doesn't exist, and some guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it's about who is smarter, and honestly I don't care. I don't believe I will ever walk away from God for intellectual reasons. Who knows anything anyway? If I walk away from Him, and please pray that I never do, I will walk away for social reasons, deep emotional reasons, the same reasons that any of us do anything. - p. 103read more
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At times I am in awe of Donald Miller's ability to condense profound thoughts into one or two sentences or a short paragraph. At other times I am annoyed that he condenses such profound thoughts into a short paragraph, as it leaves me wanting more. I want him to explain further.read more
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Loved this book. Donald is so easy to read. I gave this to my husband to read, who is not much of a reader, cause I thought he would enjoy reading this. I love his sense of humor and use of it to keep your attention and keep things light when discussing not so light subjects.read more
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I had been reading the book for a couple of months but finally got “into” the book enough to read it through in just a couple nights.I like reading again.The book is amazing. By amazing, I mean that it is totally different than any other book I’ve ever read. It’s almost like you’re reading a book by a person who decided to write every single word that came to his mind as he sipped on a latte at his local coffeeshop.Donal Miller is a Christ-follower - his words met my heart over these last few nights with the kind of “meeting” that says - “hello, I’ve felt that way before”. There isn’t a lot I DISAGREE with in this book, except maybe the fact that I don’t know how many beers Donald had to drink while he was writing.It still amazes me how “anti-drinking” I am at this stage of my life - I guess I’m just a Wesleyan through-and-through..Anyways - the book carries the subtitle: “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality” - and that is exactly what it is. Don Miller talks like a preacher’s kid - with his insight to the “Christian subculture” and his outrage with it. It’s an exciting book for me to read and it will take another reading to even scratch the surface of what great stuff this book is made of.read more
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I'm sure this book sold a lot of copies and I'm sure it meets an audience. It came highly recommended by a friend. I had lunch with her today and we discussed the book. I simply could not relate to the preaching and what seemed to me to be highly conservative religious beliefs.It was well written in segmented chapters of different catchy titles and subjects. There were some pearls of wisdom, but I can't recommend it.read more
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Fresh, honest, realistic - a book I can really relate too. The tone is sometimes surprisingly simple - but I think this is deliberate as it makes his point that the essence of the Christian life *is* simple - loving ad obeying Jesus. So much other stuff can get in the way.Another LT reviewer said it well: "This might be subtitled, "How to Take God Seriously Without Becoming a Jerk." "read more
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I started reading this book because it was thrust upon me. "You need to read this book, its great' "Have you read this book yet?" so dutifully I picked it up and read it. It was a struggle to start off with; maybe it had something to do with the 'post-modern' memoir structure, where he jumped forward and back through the years in a non-linear structure. It was an interesting read while I had the book open and some ideas Miller brings forward were thought provoking and I must say that I did end up enjoying what I did read. However, after I put it down it was often difficult to pick up again to read. A good read yes, an enjoyable one? Not really.read more
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Not your typical Christian book. Rather a non-linear collection of essays that are linked together for the "non-pretty" Christians who don't seem to fit into the mainline church or, more likely, don't want to fit in. A good book for all.read more
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I really enjoyed this read. The story basically follows Don Miller's exploits as a Christian throughout his college years at Reed College in Oregon. My favorite part of the story was the confession booth setup by Miller and his friends on the campus of Reed College during the Ren Fayre festival. It wasn't a confession booth for non-believers to come and confess their sins, it was a booth for non-believers to come and listen to the confessions of these humbled Christians asking forgiveness for their wrongs of the past and the present misgivings associated with today's Christianity.Miller writes like a masterful storyteller, with a lot of wit and charm. I appreciate Miller's transparency as he shares with us his struggles with shyness, women, love, money, and integrating into community. He shares with us how today's evangelical Christian has hopped on to the conservative Republican bandwagon and essentially scared away anyone who does not share these same socio-political ideologies. How true this is. It took me many years to see this myself as a one-time staunch Republican.I highly recommend this book to both Christian and non-Christian alike. Specifically for those who are seeking and in their college-aged years.read more
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This is hands-down, one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. His refreshing honesty regarding the daily battle with the beast in the mirror made me see myself for what I am...selfish...But I was left feeling a renewed sense of humility. My discovery of my selfishness gave me the deep desire to change, to be a better person. His open and honest style of writing allowed me to received the deep and undeniable truth of his message, without feeling defensive, probably because he spent the entire work searching his own heart, instead of point daggers at others! The feelings of defensiveness that often accompanies the reading of religious works, never reared its ugly head! I was able to accept that I am human, flawed and full of imperfections, but full of potential, too. After taking what would be the deepest look inside my heart ever, I emerged feeling both humbled and desperate to change. Desperate to change myself...because only then would I ever be able to change others...and not change them so that they see things my way (as had always been my motivation before), but change others' hearts and minds in hopes that they will begin to see themselves the way that God sees them. Just as Donald Miller has helped me to better view myself the way God sees me.read more
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Not be best edited book, therefore it is at times a little difficult to follow.When reading the book there were times I thought...I can actually articulate that? You know...those thoughts about life and faith that you felt weird about saying.I liked the book and would consider it a must read.Also...I think the chapter "penguin sex" is based on the movie "march of the penguins".read more
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Donald Miller is beyond incredible. He's prophetic in his siimplicity. Here is a man who has thought long and hard about the life of Jesus. Miller shares anecdotes from his life, but more importantly his thoughts throughout those situations. This creates an album of snapshots dedicated to his coming to know God. Miller is a funny guy and humor is what sucks you into this book, but you stay for the bites of wisdom that could not be said better. Miller writes with a humble honesty that is not meant to impart great epiphanies to the reader, nor ivory tower theology. No 10 steps to getting into heaven here. This book is Don Miller's way of sitting down with you over a cup of coffee and having a chat about what it's like to be a Christian in his experience, imparting commaraderie and companionship to ease the birth of your own thoughts and memories. I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Miller a couple of times and what you see on the page is what you get in person. He's a rare find indeed. Please don't miss this book or any of his others.read more
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I just finished reading a book entitled Blue Like Jazz. And I recently revisited The Ragamuffin Gospel. If you're going to read one or the other, read the second. I think it has more depth of thought than Blue Like Jazz.Anyway, what strikes me most from books like these is how surprised and/or shocked people are that the Christian Church is messed up, empty, or hollow-feeling. The author of Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller, describes how disillusioned he became with the White Republican Suburban Church and therefore with Christianity itself. He stated that the people of the church "withheld love" and only gave it to people who upheld the same ideals. He described how he much rather preferred his pot-smoking hippie friends that loved freely.But my question is, what did he really expect? If you were to read the entire Bible, both Old and New Testament, you will find that God's people have always been messed up, just like everyone else. The only church that loved people properly for a short period of time was the church described in the book of Acts. The later Epistles are warnings to different churches that they need to clean up the spiritual and social messes that they created when they got off-track from seeking God.If you think about it, it makes sense that the Church is dysfunctional. Broken people, sometimes with severe emotional and social problems, seek out God and come to a church to be around other broken people who are also seeking God. People with low self-esteem, terminal health problems, manic-depressive disorders, divorcees, drug addicts, womanizers, ex-convicts, and the power-hungry all gather in the same place to "worship." We initially come because God has been pulling on our heartstrings and we want to come closer to Him. But we all wind up trying to impress one another with hollow self-righteousness, with only moments of sincere worship peppered in the mix. It's truly a miracle of God that we haven't killed each other in the process.Yes, the Church is messed up. Don't be surprised - it always has been. The purpose of the Church is not to whitewash souls; it's to try to seek God together and support each other along the way. And as we sincerely try to come close to Jesus, He is the one who declares us righteous and washes the dirt away.read more
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A really interesting and engaging read. Don invites you into his world and makes you feel comfortable with the way he writes, whilst at the same time challenging your beliefs, behaviour, attitudes and way of life.read more
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interesting perspective. difficult to read at first due to his writing style. great thoughts to ponder about how our christian walk can influence non christians, getting outside our christian life bubble.read more
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While I guess I understand why folks like this book, I found it terribly difficult to get through. The writing style leads one to believe that the author is something of a social simpleton. The work he has done to connect himself to healthy, loving, and open-minded Christian community is good work, but his account of that work is far from profound, and leaves plenty of room for misunderstanding. An example of this is the pervasive "find yourself" / "believe in yourself" approach to Christian faith espoused by Mr. Miller. While there is wisdom and value in "knowing thyself," it is easy to mistake that adage as a tenet of the author's faith, and I'm fairly sure Christian scripture, tradition, and experience counsel caution in a faith formed by what Works For Me.As a fellow Portlander and Christian, and having grown out of a fairly conservative evangelical background to find deeper roots in my faith tradition, I was expecting to love this book, and came away disappointed. Sigh.I hope the author revisits some of the topics contained in this book with a clearer voice, stronger editing, and in a less namby-pamby manner.
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Sometimes this felt a little too liberal for me, a little too much about experiences and not enough about truth. A little too hostile to established churches. But only sometimes.Donald Miller is very open and honest, and he does a great job of connecting with the reader. Especially in the later chapters, I really appreciated a lot of the things he was saying and there's a lot of truth to think about, especially where love and friendship are concerned. There are twenty chapters and I read one a day. Some of them build on others, but most are self-explanatory and I found that reading them one at a time helped me remember the point of each. The last few were by far my favorites. Well worth reading again.
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Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligous Thoughts on Christian Sprituality makes some very valid criticisms about the Christian community. First, that sometimes Christians are obsessed with outward appearance rather than the condition of a person’s heart. I fully agree with this. I don’t think God cares one hoot what we look like–whether it’s tattoos, piercings, the color of our hair, whatever. He is concerned with where our heart is toward him. That’s all.Secondly, that Christians don’t love “sinners” because all they see is the sin and not the person. I wholeheartedly agree with this as well. Some may be more apt to “look down their noses” at a “sinner” rather than just reach out in love. This is obviously not what God wants Christians to do.Thirdly, that many Christians support right wing causes to the absolute exclusion of any left of center concerns. Guilty again. We do need to give to the poor and take care of the needy, particularly widows and orphans. Jesus taught that as well.I do have some concerns with some of his philosophy, however. He seems to advocate a grace and “acceptance” that go a little too far. I’m not talking here about non-Christians at all. I’m talking about people who claim to be followers of Christ. He lifts up Christians who appear to be following God in one or more areas, but yet are still engaging in practices not pleasing to God. He implies we shouldn’t judge and just accept. Of course God is the ultimate judge of all of us. Yet, the Bible clearly states that we ARE to point out to Christians (NOT non-Christians) areas that are not God-pleasing. Donald Miller himself has actually done that very well in his book!My point is this. Once we are a follower of Christ, God loves us unconditionally and forgives us everything we do. That I believe. His grace does go far–really far! But, just as he forgave David for being a murderer and an adulterer, he also pointed out that there would be consequences to David’s acts. These consequences were the natural result of David’s sin. Yes, we are forgiven, but we still have to face the consequences. So why not try to obey God so as to receive our reward in heaven? I’d rather not just barely “escape through the flames” and be a toilet-scrubber in heaven. Of course, that’s just a figure of speech. What? You say you’ve tried and just can’t live up to what God wants? NONE of us can. Not without his help. That’s the whole point of Christianity. We couldn’t do it ourselves, so God took care of it for us. If you have the desire to please God, all you have to do is ask for his help to do it.In conclusion, I think the Church would do well to examine some of Donald Miller’s points. But we can’t say that it doesn’t matter what we do because God loves us unconditionally and his grace covers all–EVEN THOUGH THAT’S TRUE!!! Because honestly, I wouldn’t want to live with the consequences of my actions if I just did what I wanted all the time. And even aside from the consequences, Christians should love God and WANT to please him.
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My first experience with Miller. BLJ is a classic already. Not much needs to be said about this book. It's great, it's an easy read, it's entertaining, and it's thought provoking.
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LOVE DONALD MILLER! He, like Edwin McManus, Rob Bell and others - push me into a deeper, more raw understanding of my relationship with God. Blue Like Jazz challenged me to think outside my small, very vanilla, SBC box. I need that!
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I don’t know that I have ever read a book like Blue Like Jazz before. Author Donald Miller is a best-selling American author and public speaker based out of Portland, Oregon who focuses on Christian spirituality as “an explanation for beauty, meaning, and the human struggle.”He is also the author of Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.Miller writes,“There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz. And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere. Of course, I had always known He was, but this time I felt it, I realized it, the way a person realizes they are hungry or thirsty. The knowledge of God seeped out of my brain and into my heart. I imagined Him looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, had committed adultery, and yet hopelessly in love with her, drunk with love for her.”Blue Like Jazz is the coming of age story of the author as he struggles with his own ideas of religion and the new world he encounters away at Reed College. This isn’t your parents “Inspirational Christian Reading” book either, this is a visceral piece full of honesty and truth. Blue Like Jazz is easily one of the best Christian experience books I have ever read. Miller is an extremely talented writer.Blue Like Jazz will make you laugh out loud while asking you the toughest of questions.Read with caution! Highly recommended.
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I read this book form cover to cover in 2 days! It is an eye opening journey from religion to relationship with Jesus. Don Miller takes you on a walk with him trough the point of being a religious Christian to being a real follower of Jesus. After reading this book you feel as if you have a made new friends. Don shows the reader that you can be a normal person and a Christian. Not the stereo type Christian but a real living Christian. I recommend this book to EVERYONE, Christian or not. Thank you to the friend who sent this to me. This book has opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't know that I didn't know.
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I bought this book on a whim. I liked the title. I liked the cover. I liked the description of the author (in one of the blurbs) as "Anne Lamott with testosterone." And I loved the author's note:"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."This book is a bit uneven in quality. Some of these autobiographical essays were less than impressive to me. But others stopped me in my tracks. This is a book with which many Conservative Christians might be uncomfortable. Miller has his complaints about the church, and about the way many Christians view faith and interact with those around them -- especially those who are different from them. He has no use for empty ritual (though its clear that not all ritual is empty to him), or being judgmental of others, or of the kind of morality that is almost obsessed with sexual behavior.He does acknowledge the reality of what traditional theology calls "original sin" -- the fact that all people, and the world, are broken and need fixing (the need for salvation). He zeroes in on the sins of self-righteousness and self-centeredness, and the primacy of the commandment to LOVE. In this, I believe he is a faithful follower of Jesus.He has problems with religion, with Christianity (as an institution), with "religious people," but loves and has faith in Jesus and invites the reader to love Him, too. He does all this with an honesty about his own failings and shortcomings that is refreshing. He gave me some things to think about, so I consider the time spent in reading this book worthwhile.
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So I heard this was being made into a movie and since I've had the book on hand for quite some time, I thought I'd read it before the film was released. Blue Like Jazz is about Miller and his spiritual life told in a series of chatty chapters. He keeps things a bit simpler than I'd like, using short sentences and building ideas slowly. I found this a bit annoying, especially since he's dealing with the some charged issues, primarily the difficulty of having lost faith, not in God or Christianity, but in the church. The American Evangelical church does have some serious issues. When the pastor of a megachurch can go on TV and declare that helping the poor is wrong and when a man in a position of leadership of a large group of churches feels comfortable making racist statements about the Trayvon Martin case, there's a problem. And the easiest solution for many is to walk away. It's how to turn around and find a sense of community and not to be angry that's difficult. Miller managed to do this and I was very interested to find out how. He skirts the issue for much of the book, but he's too honest to avoid it. He's extremely careful with his words and his solution is to forgive, move on and find a church that doesn't look at others (gay people, feminists, liberals, etc...) with fear and loathing. Pretty easy for a guy in Portland, Oregon to say, but he's probably right.Miller's a likable guy. Any guy who's had a crush on Emily Dickinson and who was able to successfully navigate moving from a hippie camp site to a religious summer camp job has to be. Blue Like Jazz is, despite the subject matter, entertaining and easy to read. Miller's being dumped on a bit for the mild criticisms he's written, and I'm sorry for that.
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I love this book. I haven't read anything from Don Miller before, and I disagree with him on some issues (I won't go into that here. I actually like Bush.) I respect Miller for having his views and that is all. I think his writing is real and I have had many of the same thoughts and concerns about my own faith as he writes about. This book has impacted my life in a very positive way. I am going to actually try to be a nicer, more honestly loving christian.
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Blue Like Jazz is a simple read. Don Miller is an insightful guy. He is mindful of the presence of God in the world around him. I appreciate that he challenges the political conservatism of American Christianity and puts a new face on Christian Literature. I enjoyed the read but I can't, for the life of me, figure out how Donald Miller's name has come to be spoken in the same breath as Anne Lamott or Leonard Sweet. Don Miller is a good writer but he lacks the eloquence and depth of Lamott and Sweet. I recommend this book if you are beginning to feel disillusioned with Christianity in America and its celebrated voices. Don Miller will make you stop and think about some things. If you have been working through your disillusionment for some time, you may read this, as I did, and say to yourself, "And...?"
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Miller is a great writer, and this rambling memoir of sorts takes you into his head and his world, and helps you understand him better. He offers an honest takes on things, and is worth the read.
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Very thought-provoking; helpful in part; engaging to read; but overall too anti- organized church; general disrespect and distrust for the church as an establishment; over-emphasizes the personal relationship with Christ at the expense of the corporate realities of Christianity
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I couldn't put this down!
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I felt relief that someone elses belief looked like my own. A very open book. I love seeing inside other people. And once inside I liked Donald Miller a lot,
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It's hard to know what to make of this book. At first it seems to be a hipster reflecting on Christian ideas in the secular world. Then I learn that the author is a lifelong Christian and it feels like a bait-and-switch and that this is going to be a sneaky evangelical tract. Miller fortunately is none of these things and is blessedly impossible to put in any box. Still I find Miller hard to read, I think because he's so much like me - shy, inconsistent, overwriting and overthinking things. I'm finally won over by the chapter in which Miller and his friends in a small Christian group at a largely hedonistic college decide to participate in the college's annual bacchanalian festival. Miller jokingly suggests setting up a confession booth and the group ends up doing so, but for the purpose of confessing the crimes of Christianity and their own personal failings as Christians to the partying students who come to their both. Miller is much better than Frank Schaeffer at writing about humility, transcendence, and how to lead an authentic Christian life in a secular world.Favorite Passages:My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don't really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don't believe in God and they can prove He doesn't exist, and some guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it's about who is smarter, and honestly I don't care. I don't believe I will ever walk away from God for intellectual reasons. Who knows anything anyway? If I walk away from Him, and please pray that I never do, I will walk away for social reasons, deep emotional reasons, the same reasons that any of us do anything. - p. 103
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At times I am in awe of Donald Miller's ability to condense profound thoughts into one or two sentences or a short paragraph. At other times I am annoyed that he condenses such profound thoughts into a short paragraph, as it leaves me wanting more. I want him to explain further.
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Loved this book. Donald is so easy to read. I gave this to my husband to read, who is not much of a reader, cause I thought he would enjoy reading this. I love his sense of humor and use of it to keep your attention and keep things light when discussing not so light subjects.
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I had been reading the book for a couple of months but finally got “into” the book enough to read it through in just a couple nights.I like reading again.The book is amazing. By amazing, I mean that it is totally different than any other book I’ve ever read. It’s almost like you’re reading a book by a person who decided to write every single word that came to his mind as he sipped on a latte at his local coffeeshop.Donal Miller is a Christ-follower - his words met my heart over these last few nights with the kind of “meeting” that says - “hello, I’ve felt that way before”. There isn’t a lot I DISAGREE with in this book, except maybe the fact that I don’t know how many beers Donald had to drink while he was writing.It still amazes me how “anti-drinking” I am at this stage of my life - I guess I’m just a Wesleyan through-and-through..Anyways - the book carries the subtitle: “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality” - and that is exactly what it is. Don Miller talks like a preacher’s kid - with his insight to the “Christian subculture” and his outrage with it. It’s an exciting book for me to read and it will take another reading to even scratch the surface of what great stuff this book is made of.
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I'm sure this book sold a lot of copies and I'm sure it meets an audience. It came highly recommended by a friend. I had lunch with her today and we discussed the book. I simply could not relate to the preaching and what seemed to me to be highly conservative religious beliefs.It was well written in segmented chapters of different catchy titles and subjects. There were some pearls of wisdom, but I can't recommend it.
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Fresh, honest, realistic - a book I can really relate too. The tone is sometimes surprisingly simple - but I think this is deliberate as it makes his point that the essence of the Christian life *is* simple - loving ad obeying Jesus. So much other stuff can get in the way.Another LT reviewer said it well: "This might be subtitled, "How to Take God Seriously Without Becoming a Jerk." "
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I started reading this book because it was thrust upon me. "You need to read this book, its great' "Have you read this book yet?" so dutifully I picked it up and read it. It was a struggle to start off with; maybe it had something to do with the 'post-modern' memoir structure, where he jumped forward and back through the years in a non-linear structure. It was an interesting read while I had the book open and some ideas Miller brings forward were thought provoking and I must say that I did end up enjoying what I did read. However, after I put it down it was often difficult to pick up again to read. A good read yes, an enjoyable one? Not really.
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Not your typical Christian book. Rather a non-linear collection of essays that are linked together for the "non-pretty" Christians who don't seem to fit into the mainline church or, more likely, don't want to fit in. A good book for all.
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I really enjoyed this read. The story basically follows Don Miller's exploits as a Christian throughout his college years at Reed College in Oregon. My favorite part of the story was the confession booth setup by Miller and his friends on the campus of Reed College during the Ren Fayre festival. It wasn't a confession booth for non-believers to come and confess their sins, it was a booth for non-believers to come and listen to the confessions of these humbled Christians asking forgiveness for their wrongs of the past and the present misgivings associated with today's Christianity.Miller writes like a masterful storyteller, with a lot of wit and charm. I appreciate Miller's transparency as he shares with us his struggles with shyness, women, love, money, and integrating into community. He shares with us how today's evangelical Christian has hopped on to the conservative Republican bandwagon and essentially scared away anyone who does not share these same socio-political ideologies. How true this is. It took me many years to see this myself as a one-time staunch Republican.I highly recommend this book to both Christian and non-Christian alike. Specifically for those who are seeking and in their college-aged years.
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This is hands-down, one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. His refreshing honesty regarding the daily battle with the beast in the mirror made me see myself for what I am...selfish...But I was left feeling a renewed sense of humility. My discovery of my selfishness gave me the deep desire to change, to be a better person. His open and honest style of writing allowed me to received the deep and undeniable truth of his message, without feeling defensive, probably because he spent the entire work searching his own heart, instead of point daggers at others! The feelings of defensiveness that often accompanies the reading of religious works, never reared its ugly head! I was able to accept that I am human, flawed and full of imperfections, but full of potential, too. After taking what would be the deepest look inside my heart ever, I emerged feeling both humbled and desperate to change. Desperate to change myself...because only then would I ever be able to change others...and not change them so that they see things my way (as had always been my motivation before), but change others' hearts and minds in hopes that they will begin to see themselves the way that God sees them. Just as Donald Miller has helped me to better view myself the way God sees me.
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Not be best edited book, therefore it is at times a little difficult to follow.When reading the book there were times I thought...I can actually articulate that? You know...those thoughts about life and faith that you felt weird about saying.I liked the book and would consider it a must read.Also...I think the chapter "penguin sex" is based on the movie "march of the penguins".
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Donald Miller is beyond incredible. He's prophetic in his siimplicity. Here is a man who has thought long and hard about the life of Jesus. Miller shares anecdotes from his life, but more importantly his thoughts throughout those situations. This creates an album of snapshots dedicated to his coming to know God. Miller is a funny guy and humor is what sucks you into this book, but you stay for the bites of wisdom that could not be said better. Miller writes with a humble honesty that is not meant to impart great epiphanies to the reader, nor ivory tower theology. No 10 steps to getting into heaven here. This book is Don Miller's way of sitting down with you over a cup of coffee and having a chat about what it's like to be a Christian in his experience, imparting commaraderie and companionship to ease the birth of your own thoughts and memories. I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Miller a couple of times and what you see on the page is what you get in person. He's a rare find indeed. Please don't miss this book or any of his others.
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I just finished reading a book entitled Blue Like Jazz. And I recently revisited The Ragamuffin Gospel. If you're going to read one or the other, read the second. I think it has more depth of thought than Blue Like Jazz.Anyway, what strikes me most from books like these is how surprised and/or shocked people are that the Christian Church is messed up, empty, or hollow-feeling. The author of Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller, describes how disillusioned he became with the White Republican Suburban Church and therefore with Christianity itself. He stated that the people of the church "withheld love" and only gave it to people who upheld the same ideals. He described how he much rather preferred his pot-smoking hippie friends that loved freely.But my question is, what did he really expect? If you were to read the entire Bible, both Old and New Testament, you will find that God's people have always been messed up, just like everyone else. The only church that loved people properly for a short period of time was the church described in the book of Acts. The later Epistles are warnings to different churches that they need to clean up the spiritual and social messes that they created when they got off-track from seeking God.If you think about it, it makes sense that the Church is dysfunctional. Broken people, sometimes with severe emotional and social problems, seek out God and come to a church to be around other broken people who are also seeking God. People with low self-esteem, terminal health problems, manic-depressive disorders, divorcees, drug addicts, womanizers, ex-convicts, and the power-hungry all gather in the same place to "worship." We initially come because God has been pulling on our heartstrings and we want to come closer to Him. But we all wind up trying to impress one another with hollow self-righteousness, with only moments of sincere worship peppered in the mix. It's truly a miracle of God that we haven't killed each other in the process.Yes, the Church is messed up. Don't be surprised - it always has been. The purpose of the Church is not to whitewash souls; it's to try to seek God together and support each other along the way. And as we sincerely try to come close to Jesus, He is the one who declares us righteous and washes the dirt away.
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A really interesting and engaging read. Don invites you into his world and makes you feel comfortable with the way he writes, whilst at the same time challenging your beliefs, behaviour, attitudes and way of life.
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interesting perspective. difficult to read at first due to his writing style. great thoughts to ponder about how our christian walk can influence non christians, getting outside our christian life bubble.
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