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.
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.
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.
After reading this book, however, I also couldn't help but feel that many of Miller's grasp on doing the walk are watered down. Miller replaced Christianity for Christian spirituality as if any of these words were intended to be mutually exclusive. Being a christian means to be a follower of Jesus, to practise Christ's spirituality regardless of the reputation others have given it. Yes in our world of today, where christianity has run a bad rep, I can certainly understand Miller's intentions. But making change comes not in finding a way out of the church, not in distancing yourself from a so called name in order to attract liberals, but walking change from within, advocating the real message of Christ no matter what the world thinks. Christ's message as a matter of fact will always be antithetical to this world. Remember even Jesus ran a bad rep in this world. The world killed him even though he never did a thing bad, but love all people and try to show them the way. Miller paints a picture of Jesus that is all loving and embracing of all people, sinners and saints alike. Yes he was. But he did not paint the picture of Jesus who is also angry towards sin, the Jesus who beat and overturned tables, the Jesus who was a prick on the skins of sinners. Miller failed to expose the condition of sinners in the hands of an angry God.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
At the risk of sounding cliche. I am half way into this book and it's already changing me. That's rare at 55. I feel like Donald and I are kin spirits. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ronald A Lagerquist
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