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Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality Paperback – Jul 15 2003
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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 www.storybrand.com. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The book is a good commentary. I feel like I can't read more than a couple pages without something profound being said. Not a hard read, but a good one.Published on June 3 2014 by Ruth
The book is in great shape other than a few folded pages, which was to be expected by the description. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2014 by sarah hartholt
This is Don Miller's best work. It's essence is relationships- with others and God. It moves away from religious formulas and instead focusses in on what is most essential. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2013 by jim nikkel
Too juvenile a read. It was something I would have enjoy at 16 but not in my years now. I found it elementary and a fast read.Published on Oct. 27 2013 by DoeOrser