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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
ISBN: 9781418529949
List price: $6.99
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Donald Miller is honest. It sounds really simple, but reading someone who just gives you honesty at every page turn is refreshing. His examples are always cohesive, while seemingly branching off in a million ways. This is my first read from Miller, but it will certainly not be my last.more
i love jazzz.. but its hard to finish read this book, its pretty goodmore
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.more
I just couldn't finish this book (I made it to page 154!). I felt like most of what he wrote was untruthful or just too good to be true. Most of the time I was just waiting for something to happen...some profound thought. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for spirituality...Christian or not.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
Similar to jazz music, the book isn't very coherent and wanders from theme to theme as the author explores his Christian faith and various epiphanies he's collected over the years. However, his musings are surprisingly funny and often irreverent, which in some cases lead to seeing a fresh look at spiritual topics from another point of view. Miller's goal of being completely authentic is realized, flaws and all. I'd like to see the other books he's written but am suspicious that they all overlap a bit, since most of them are philosophical memoirs and this one seems to encompass every crisis of faith Miller has experienced.more
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.more
Miller's writing style takes a little getting used to. It's not unlike stream-of-consciousness. Once you get used to it, though, what he has to say can cut like a knife. I could really relate to a lot of what he had to say about the Christian church today as well as what his experiences were as a single guy. He described many of the feelings of those years in my life like I was never able to.more
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.more
Blue Like Jazz is 240 pages of Donald Miller telling us about Donald Miller. I don't blame him for writing an autobiography. I blame so many Christians for pretending this book is something meaningful.more
Easy read, insightful, perspective changingmore
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.more
After reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years I felt like I had to IMMEDIATELY read everything Don Miller had ever written, so this book was next on my list. I loved it.Miller explains his view of Christianity in such simple, easy to understand (for me) verbiage, stories and examples I think I might have converted even if I were Jewish. His writing just makes sense to me. It felt like coming home.One of the things I love about this book is that Miller never bashed other religions, or people who believe in Jesus or don't. He explains his views, and why he beleives what he does. He also discusses some times in his life when he had questions, he didn't go to church, he had trouble finding a church he was comfortable, and struggles some of his friends had with not believing in God and then reconciling that belief with wanting to and ultimately believing.Miller's writing is so beautiful it's like one long, easy to understand poem. Sometimes I found myself re-reading passages just for the beautiful way he strings words together.I think anyone would enjoy this book -- young to old, devout or curious, and even atheists might like it just for his writing style. This is another book I would give as gifts to everyone I knew.more
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. 103more
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.more
Cool like Jazz. Donald Miller is cool. Or he wants to be. Even when he describes how un-cool christianity is - it sounds cool. I enjoyed the reading of Millers semi-spiritual thoughts and reflections on faith, the church and Jesus - in view of his own life experience. Plenty of laughs which is refreshing in a book about how God touches a persons life. He loves to say things like “I like the idea of..” or “I feel comfortable with this definition” or something like that - If a theological statement sounds beautiful and he has a got feeling, then Miller may admit it contain some element of truth.I sometimes have problems with this laissez-faire, laid-back attitude to faith and dogma. Like when he describes some of his friends that have left there churches and become greek orthodox....and adds something like "I think it sounds very cool”. As if it doesn’t really matter which theology the church are based on - who cares as long as it sounds cool and feels cool. (Oh, yes...I know. It is a very un-cool thing to say).more
It seems like I'm the only atheist that read this book so allow me to present an unchristian perspective on this book.I am an ex-christian and I was loaned this by a family member who wanted to re-convert me. I read it out of respect for her. However the arguments in favor of the Christian God aren't really arguments, they're sentimental appeals. The author talks about how he feels as a Christian and what he thinks he gets out of his take on Christianity/God but he never actually addresses why, other than it feels good, I should believe what he believes. Considering this book seems aimed at people who are either faithless (like me) or having religious doubts I'd have to say it struck out. I suppose if you're someone that's looking for a feel good reason to believe in God or want something to cozy you up to the God you already have this might be just the book you want. As someone that's interested in hard won facts, logic and refuses to scrutinize the idea of God and religion any less than any other facet of life I was unimpressed.more
This one's for you Tom Bombadil. And for anyone else who cares about this sort of thing as much as I do. Or even if you don't. Tom has been recommending a certain book by a certain "Christian" author to me for quite some time now and I have been telling him for quite some time now that I would get it to it. Well, I finally got to it. The book is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I devoured this little 250 page or so book in about 5 or 6 hours, almost at one sitting. It was just so refreshing to finally see a "thinking" Christian, someone who has wrestled with the same issues that I have been wrestling with for so long. If more Christians were like Don, I truly believe there would be more Christians in the world. Donald Miller is basically not your Grandma's Christian. My own mother would probably call him a heretic. For you see he loves Jesus, but he drinks beer and smokes cigarettes, cigars and pipes. He even attended what he termed the most liberal college in all of America, while auditing a few courses, Reed University in Portland, Oregon. To me, Donald Miller's version of Christianity is MUCH closer to that originally envisioned and taught by Jesus Christ himself. I can't really put it all into words, Don did such a fine job of it himself. But... not to rain on the parade, there were still some problems with all that he had to say, things I didn't quite agree with. For one, he says at one point, that the story of the Fall of man, whether viewed allegorically or as actual historical fact, is the ONLY explanation for why man is the way he is, why mankind is so selfish, mean, etc. Hold on a minute, Don. Is it REALLY the ONLY explanation around? I think not. Maybe the only explanation he has ever heard of but certainly not the only one. Maybe the only one that makes sense to him, but certainly not the only one. Evolutionary biological theory explains it all pretty well if you ask me. As does the Buddhist way of looking at the concept of suffering. Even IF the Fall of man in the garden of Eden WERE the only explanation around, where does that leave us? All 3 Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity AND Islam believe this same story. But they each have very different views on the way to salvation, only one of which believes Jesus is the one and only way. So even if I concede that the story of the Fall of Man IS the only explanation around, great, now we have narrowed the field down to 3 different religions, each of whom believes the other two are going to hell. We still haven't progressed much past ground zero, have we? Also, he says that it doesn't really matter if the story is taken allegorically or as fact, it is still the only explanation. But... it DOES matter if the story is allegory or not, doesn't it? Truth matters, does it not? Are we merely subscribing our beliefs to what makes us feel good? If the story is not really true but just an allegory, just myth, then it explains nothing. Some cultures have stories about how the earth is suspended on the back of a giant tortoise and when you ask them what holds the tortoise up, the answer is another tortoise, ad infinitum. This story explains things, does it not? But it's not the truth. There are lots of theories around the world relating to creation, they all explain what is observable, but they can't all be the truth. Another minor point of contention, is that Don at times, resorts to old Christian cliches. You can readily tell that he was raised in a more conservative Christian surroundings. When he was in the mountains at one point in the book, he is staring up at the stars and all of a suddent has an epiphany. He says that God holds the stars and the heavens static in the sky. Apparently, he didn't audit any basic astronomy courses at Reed or else he would have known that nothing in the universe is static, not even the stars which appear to be static. God does not hold anything in the heavens static, everything is in constant flux. Lastly, it all just appears to me as if, not only him but his many friends who were once skeptics but become Christian, do so as a sort of intellectual giving up, so to speak. It's as if they have just given up. The questions were just too difficult for them to bear, and the society in which we live tells us that Christianity is the answer, so after much internal wrangling and fighting, they just gave up and defaulted back to the religion of their youth. His friend Penny had some major issues with Christianity, as far as I can tell from the book, none of them were answered, she just called him one day to say, "Hey, I love Jesus now too." Having said all of that, if I was to become a Christian again one day, this would be the kind of Christian I would be. Don seems like a really cool guy, a really smart guy who loves the arts and is not afraid of intellectualism. I really loved the fact that he once fell in love with Emily Dickinson. Here is a man that understands that just because one loves Jesus does not mean they have to be a monk. There is still much beauty in this world to behold, much to enjoy, and that includes reading, the arts, a good beer, and even watching South Park. I am not saying that this book totally convinced me, as I said, there were some issues that I had with it, but it's come closer than anything in a really long time to showing me that it's ok to be a Christian and that the Christianity I grew up is not necessarily all there is to Christendom. I understand what he means when he says that believing in Jesus is not something he can intellectually explain to someone, but it is just something he feels in his gut. I can understand that. I can respect that. I can relate to that. Even as I have run away from the Church, I have still always found myself believing in God, I have NEVER been able to make the leap to Atheism and I have always admired and revered Jesus Christ, even if I haven't always admired and revered the Church that sprang up after his death.more
Blue Like Jazz, weaves great and genuine stories that leave the reader thinking about what they believe and why. Miller's narrative is well constructed and moved along at a good pace. If you are looking for a book to affirm your beliefs then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book to gain better understanding about the christian faith I am not sure if this is the book for you. If you want to think about faith and stretch yourself a little this is a great book. You may not fully agree with the author, I did not, but I enjoyed the dialogue.more
I have to say that I began reading this with my armor up because of things which I had heard others say about it, but about halfway through, I realized, there are other Christians who think and feel like I do. I know I am not the intended audience for this book, but it has certainly buoyed up my spirits and attitude. It makes me remember that I want to have active beliefs, love others unconditionally and overflowingly, as if they were Jesus, not people I "have" to love, and find my awe of God again. It takes years to sort through all the misconceptions of spirituality that we pick up along the way, it is nice to read that others are on that same path. I am very glad I read this.more
I really enjoyed reading this book. I don't feel, however, that I can adequately describe it in a short review. What I liked about it was its fresh and honest approach to examining the Christian life in the 21st Century. There were plenty of thngs that I questioned or did not agree with Miller about. However, the book made me think and continues to do so long after I finished it. If you want a different perspective and are prepared to be challenged in your Christian walk, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.more
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,more
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 Christianitymore
Revealing, humorous, humble, compelling vignettes in the life of this yong adult as he comes to grips with his faith which is often misunderstood by his culture.more
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.more
This book has something everyone. Although, I didn't understand/(connect with)/(identify with) 75% of this book. The 25% I did understand was spectacular. It just has to do with what experiences you've had, etc.more
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.more
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...?"more
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Reviews

Donald Miller is honest. It sounds really simple, but reading someone who just gives you honesty at every page turn is refreshing. His examples are always cohesive, while seemingly branching off in a million ways. This is my first read from Miller, but it will certainly not be my last.more
i love jazzz.. but its hard to finish read this book, its pretty goodmore
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.more
I just couldn't finish this book (I made it to page 154!). I felt like most of what he wrote was untruthful or just too good to be true. Most of the time I was just waiting for something to happen...some profound thought. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for spirituality...Christian or not.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
Similar to jazz music, the book isn't very coherent and wanders from theme to theme as the author explores his Christian faith and various epiphanies he's collected over the years. However, his musings are surprisingly funny and often irreverent, which in some cases lead to seeing a fresh look at spiritual topics from another point of view. Miller's goal of being completely authentic is realized, flaws and all. I'd like to see the other books he's written but am suspicious that they all overlap a bit, since most of them are philosophical memoirs and this one seems to encompass every crisis of faith Miller has experienced.more
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.more
Miller's writing style takes a little getting used to. It's not unlike stream-of-consciousness. Once you get used to it, though, what he has to say can cut like a knife. I could really relate to a lot of what he had to say about the Christian church today as well as what his experiences were as a single guy. He described many of the feelings of those years in my life like I was never able to.more
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.more
Blue Like Jazz is 240 pages of Donald Miller telling us about Donald Miller. I don't blame him for writing an autobiography. I blame so many Christians for pretending this book is something meaningful.more
Easy read, insightful, perspective changingmore
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.more
After reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years I felt like I had to IMMEDIATELY read everything Don Miller had ever written, so this book was next on my list. I loved it.Miller explains his view of Christianity in such simple, easy to understand (for me) verbiage, stories and examples I think I might have converted even if I were Jewish. His writing just makes sense to me. It felt like coming home.One of the things I love about this book is that Miller never bashed other religions, or people who believe in Jesus or don't. He explains his views, and why he beleives what he does. He also discusses some times in his life when he had questions, he didn't go to church, he had trouble finding a church he was comfortable, and struggles some of his friends had with not believing in God and then reconciling that belief with wanting to and ultimately believing.Miller's writing is so beautiful it's like one long, easy to understand poem. Sometimes I found myself re-reading passages just for the beautiful way he strings words together.I think anyone would enjoy this book -- young to old, devout or curious, and even atheists might like it just for his writing style. This is another book I would give as gifts to everyone I knew.more
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. 103more
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.more
Cool like Jazz. Donald Miller is cool. Or he wants to be. Even when he describes how un-cool christianity is - it sounds cool. I enjoyed the reading of Millers semi-spiritual thoughts and reflections on faith, the church and Jesus - in view of his own life experience. Plenty of laughs which is refreshing in a book about how God touches a persons life. He loves to say things like “I like the idea of..” or “I feel comfortable with this definition” or something like that - If a theological statement sounds beautiful and he has a got feeling, then Miller may admit it contain some element of truth.I sometimes have problems with this laissez-faire, laid-back attitude to faith and dogma. Like when he describes some of his friends that have left there churches and become greek orthodox....and adds something like "I think it sounds very cool”. As if it doesn’t really matter which theology the church are based on - who cares as long as it sounds cool and feels cool. (Oh, yes...I know. It is a very un-cool thing to say).more
It seems like I'm the only atheist that read this book so allow me to present an unchristian perspective on this book.I am an ex-christian and I was loaned this by a family member who wanted to re-convert me. I read it out of respect for her. However the arguments in favor of the Christian God aren't really arguments, they're sentimental appeals. The author talks about how he feels as a Christian and what he thinks he gets out of his take on Christianity/God but he never actually addresses why, other than it feels good, I should believe what he believes. Considering this book seems aimed at people who are either faithless (like me) or having religious doubts I'd have to say it struck out. I suppose if you're someone that's looking for a feel good reason to believe in God or want something to cozy you up to the God you already have this might be just the book you want. As someone that's interested in hard won facts, logic and refuses to scrutinize the idea of God and religion any less than any other facet of life I was unimpressed.more
This one's for you Tom Bombadil. And for anyone else who cares about this sort of thing as much as I do. Or even if you don't. Tom has been recommending a certain book by a certain "Christian" author to me for quite some time now and I have been telling him for quite some time now that I would get it to it. Well, I finally got to it. The book is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I devoured this little 250 page or so book in about 5 or 6 hours, almost at one sitting. It was just so refreshing to finally see a "thinking" Christian, someone who has wrestled with the same issues that I have been wrestling with for so long. If more Christians were like Don, I truly believe there would be more Christians in the world. Donald Miller is basically not your Grandma's Christian. My own mother would probably call him a heretic. For you see he loves Jesus, but he drinks beer and smokes cigarettes, cigars and pipes. He even attended what he termed the most liberal college in all of America, while auditing a few courses, Reed University in Portland, Oregon. To me, Donald Miller's version of Christianity is MUCH closer to that originally envisioned and taught by Jesus Christ himself. I can't really put it all into words, Don did such a fine job of it himself. But... not to rain on the parade, there were still some problems with all that he had to say, things I didn't quite agree with. For one, he says at one point, that the story of the Fall of man, whether viewed allegorically or as actual historical fact, is the ONLY explanation for why man is the way he is, why mankind is so selfish, mean, etc. Hold on a minute, Don. Is it REALLY the ONLY explanation around? I think not. Maybe the only explanation he has ever heard of but certainly not the only one. Maybe the only one that makes sense to him, but certainly not the only one. Evolutionary biological theory explains it all pretty well if you ask me. As does the Buddhist way of looking at the concept of suffering. Even IF the Fall of man in the garden of Eden WERE the only explanation around, where does that leave us? All 3 Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity AND Islam believe this same story. But they each have very different views on the way to salvation, only one of which believes Jesus is the one and only way. So even if I concede that the story of the Fall of Man IS the only explanation around, great, now we have narrowed the field down to 3 different religions, each of whom believes the other two are going to hell. We still haven't progressed much past ground zero, have we? Also, he says that it doesn't really matter if the story is taken allegorically or as fact, it is still the only explanation. But... it DOES matter if the story is allegory or not, doesn't it? Truth matters, does it not? Are we merely subscribing our beliefs to what makes us feel good? If the story is not really true but just an allegory, just myth, then it explains nothing. Some cultures have stories about how the earth is suspended on the back of a giant tortoise and when you ask them what holds the tortoise up, the answer is another tortoise, ad infinitum. This story explains things, does it not? But it's not the truth. There are lots of theories around the world relating to creation, they all explain what is observable, but they can't all be the truth. Another minor point of contention, is that Don at times, resorts to old Christian cliches. You can readily tell that he was raised in a more conservative Christian surroundings. When he was in the mountains at one point in the book, he is staring up at the stars and all of a suddent has an epiphany. He says that God holds the stars and the heavens static in the sky. Apparently, he didn't audit any basic astronomy courses at Reed or else he would have known that nothing in the universe is static, not even the stars which appear to be static. God does not hold anything in the heavens static, everything is in constant flux. Lastly, it all just appears to me as if, not only him but his many friends who were once skeptics but become Christian, do so as a sort of intellectual giving up, so to speak. It's as if they have just given up. The questions were just too difficult for them to bear, and the society in which we live tells us that Christianity is the answer, so after much internal wrangling and fighting, they just gave up and defaulted back to the religion of their youth. His friend Penny had some major issues with Christianity, as far as I can tell from the book, none of them were answered, she just called him one day to say, "Hey, I love Jesus now too." Having said all of that, if I was to become a Christian again one day, this would be the kind of Christian I would be. Don seems like a really cool guy, a really smart guy who loves the arts and is not afraid of intellectualism. I really loved the fact that he once fell in love with Emily Dickinson. Here is a man that understands that just because one loves Jesus does not mean they have to be a monk. There is still much beauty in this world to behold, much to enjoy, and that includes reading, the arts, a good beer, and even watching South Park. I am not saying that this book totally convinced me, as I said, there were some issues that I had with it, but it's come closer than anything in a really long time to showing me that it's ok to be a Christian and that the Christianity I grew up is not necessarily all there is to Christendom. I understand what he means when he says that believing in Jesus is not something he can intellectually explain to someone, but it is just something he feels in his gut. I can understand that. I can respect that. I can relate to that. Even as I have run away from the Church, I have still always found myself believing in God, I have NEVER been able to make the leap to Atheism and I have always admired and revered Jesus Christ, even if I haven't always admired and revered the Church that sprang up after his death.more
Blue Like Jazz, weaves great and genuine stories that leave the reader thinking about what they believe and why. Miller's narrative is well constructed and moved along at a good pace. If you are looking for a book to affirm your beliefs then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book to gain better understanding about the christian faith I am not sure if this is the book for you. If you want to think about faith and stretch yourself a little this is a great book. You may not fully agree with the author, I did not, but I enjoyed the dialogue.more
I have to say that I began reading this with my armor up because of things which I had heard others say about it, but about halfway through, I realized, there are other Christians who think and feel like I do. I know I am not the intended audience for this book, but it has certainly buoyed up my spirits and attitude. It makes me remember that I want to have active beliefs, love others unconditionally and overflowingly, as if they were Jesus, not people I "have" to love, and find my awe of God again. It takes years to sort through all the misconceptions of spirituality that we pick up along the way, it is nice to read that others are on that same path. I am very glad I read this.more
I really enjoyed reading this book. I don't feel, however, that I can adequately describe it in a short review. What I liked about it was its fresh and honest approach to examining the Christian life in the 21st Century. There were plenty of thngs that I questioned or did not agree with Miller about. However, the book made me think and continues to do so long after I finished it. If you want a different perspective and are prepared to be challenged in your Christian walk, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.more
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,more
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 Christianitymore
Revealing, humorous, humble, compelling vignettes in the life of this yong adult as he comes to grips with his faith which is often misunderstood by his culture.more
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.more
This book has something everyone. Although, I didn't understand/(connect with)/(identify with) 75% of this book. The 25% I did understand was spectacular. It just has to do with what experiences you've had, etc.more
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.more
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...?"more
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