Book Review: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Author: Donald Miller
Title: Blue like jazz : nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality
Publication Info: Nashville : T. Nelson, c2003.
ISBN: 0785263705


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, love, 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

Rating: ***

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