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Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality Paperback – Jul 15 2003

45 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (July 15 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785263705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785263708
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.9 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 395 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Miller (Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance) is a young writer, speaker and campus ministry leader. An earnest evangelical who nearly lost his faith, he went on a spiritual journey, found some progressive politics and most importantly, discovered Jesus' relevance for everyday life. This book, in its own elliptical way, tells the tale of that journey. But the narrative is episodic rather than linear, Miller's style evocative rather than rational and his analysis personally revealing rather than profoundly insightful. As such, it offers a postmodern riff on the classic evangelical presentation of the Gospel, complete with a concluding call to commitment. Written as a series of short essays on vaguely theological topics (faith, grace, belief, confession, church), and disguised theological topics (magic, romance, shifts, money), it is at times plodding or simplistic (how to go to church and not get angry? "pray... and go to the church God shows you"), and sometimes falls into merely self-indulgent musing. But more often Miller is enjoyably clever, and his story is telling and beautiful, even poignant. (The story of the reverse confession booth is worth the price of the book.) The title is meant to be evocative, and the subtitle-"Non-Religious" thoughts about "Christian Spirituality"-indicates Miller's distrust of the institutional church and his desire to appeal to those experimenting with other flavors of spirituality.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Donald Miller is the author of several books, including the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He helps leaders grow their businesses at He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
I ONCE LISTENED TO AN INDIAN ON TELEVISION say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jocelyn Tomkinson on Feb. 15 2006
Format: Paperback
I've noticed that Christians today seem to fall into two broad groups: those who feel tied to the "Religious right" and those who really wish that people didn't associate Christianity with that group at all. This latter group seems particularly prone to cynicism, and seem to be the biggest fans and harshest critics of this book. If you love Pat Robertson, you should read this book, but you probably won't.
As a slightly cynical 20-something, this book was right on target for me. It challenged the comfortable groove that my spirituality sometimes hides out in, and forced me to learn from a less didactic and more experiential prose than most Christian books present. I dislike that this book has become, like "Wild at Heart," somewhat of a Christian fad, but only because I truly believe that if Christians got off their high horse or out of their blissful oblivion and truly grasped the refreshing bits of wisdom in this book, they would come away changed for the better.
To paraphrase something Miller talks about in the book, Should Christians be looking for friends (or books) that affirm their opinions... or pursuing the truth and transformation that comes from a dedicated walk with God? This book just might give you some new things to think about that will shake some dust off of your spiritual life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bart Breen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 26 2009
Format: Paperback
1. This is a flow of consciousness type book which offers some very honest and personal insights from a talented writer.

2. A Christian point of view coming more from the left offers insight into both the strengths and shallowness that mirrors and demonstrates the strengths and shallowness of the right. There are many evangelicals who need to consider and question the far or even moderate right point of view that has dominated evangelicalism and this book is one of the better ones. It doesn't require agreement to benefit.

3. A genuinely enjoyable read with some "aha" moments along the way that the author sees in himself that many readers will relate to and grow from along the way.

I enjoyed it and particularly benefitted from the story of the Confession Booth. It's revealing to me that many who dislike and disparage this book apart from coming from some predictable camps, are those who lead with their intellect and lack in the areas of practical compassion and loving people as Christ loved them. That shouldn't be lost on anyone while reading these reviews in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Whitesell on June 21 2004
Format: Paperback
I must admit I found myself growing weary of the author's musings. Okay life is tough and some people are hard to get along with and things don't always work out smoothly. Not everyone writes about it. The book does read like Annie LaMott's Tender Mercies in that both authors are very observant, sensitve, vulnerable and articulate. They also feel free to make numerous derogatory remarks about conservatives and republicans. Seems like everyone is supposed to be tolerant and accepting of one another but those groups are open targets. That got a bit old.
The last few chapters were much better and I acutally found Miller's comments endearing. He truly loves Jesus and wants others to have a REAL life with Him. Those sections made me go back and read a few of the earlier chapters again in a new light.
I recommend the book to anyone wanting to get a glimpse into the mindset of many believers today. I think Miller would be a great guy to hang with over a dark lager and a free-wheeling conversation. On the other hand I'd hate to have to count on the guy for anything! Since he talks openly about his love life let me just say I dread my daughter might be attracted to a guy like this. By his own admission he is self-absorbed. The girl that marries this guy better be made of hearty emotional stock. She'll be carrying him with little help in return.
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By tvtv3 on May 24 2004
Format: Paperback
Several years ago I had the opportunity to read Donald Miller's freshman book, PRAYER AND THE ART OF VOLKSWAGON MAINTENANCE. That book chronicled Miller's cross country journey in an old Volkswagon bus from Texas to Oregon traveling with a close friend, exploring the book of Ecclesiastes along the way. After searching for new material from Miller, I had heard he was supposedly working on a novel. Then at the end of last summer, I happened to discover BLUE LIKE JAZZ at a Barnes and Noble on my way home from a summer of camp counseling. I was so happy to see something new from Miller.
In some ways the book is a "sequel" to his previous work, but that's not really the best word to use. The book references events from PRAYER and both books are pieces of nonfiction. However, prayer was the story of a journey and though BLUE LIKE JAZZ kind of continues the journey, it's more of a collection of nonfiction essays and rambling memoirs than a story.
Miller is an honest writer. His style is also extremely vivid and he is a master of metaphor and poetry. The book is filled with all sorts of colorful people and memorable events (for instance, comparing penguin sex to faith over coffee while chatting with a minister at a coffee house). Yet, the tone of BLUE LIKE JAZZ is completely different than that of PRAYER. Miller seems to have grown in wisdom and maturity over the years, yet lost any childlike excitement and innocence.
I enjoyed reading BLUE LIKE JAZZ. I didn't agree with everything Miller had to say in the book. However, it has challenged me to revaluate the way I have been living my own life. The book is subtitled "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality" and Miller confesses in the book that he has not always viewed "religous" people in a positive light.
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