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

4.1 out of 5 stars 856 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Series: Blu like jazz, nonreligious thoughts on christian spirituality
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785263705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785263708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (856 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Donald Miller is a student of story. He's the author of New York Times Best Sellers: "Blue Like Jazz," "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," and "Scary Close." He co-wrote the major motion picture "Blue Like Jazz" which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival and was listed as one of the top four movies to get you through freshman year by USA Today. He has served on The Presidential Task Force for Fatherhood and Healthy Families, a joint effort between government and the private sector to rewrite the story of fatherlessness in America. Currently, he helps people live a better story at www.storylineblog.com and helps leaders grow their businesses at www.storybrand.com. Donald lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Blue Like Jazz" questions the very notion of what it means to be a Christian. Donald Miller writes about faith with a variety of topics on coming to faith, why to have faith, how Christ can transform, what to do with that faith and how to live a life as a Christian. Other than the last chapter of the book where Miller writes that if Ani Difranco wasn't a lesbian he would marry her, what interested me most was how Miller's perspective on being a Christian did not really come from a sense of organized Christianity as an institution. While he was a Christian and went to church and was even a youth group leader Donald Miller knew that there was something lacking. He believed in his head and he knows that Jesus was God, but he didn't truly believe in his heart. He didn't truly believe with his life. The organization of the church was telling him one thing, but it wasn't quite right for him.

There are several very interesting chapters dealing different aspects of faith that focus on Miller's time at Reed College. Reed is a college that people at his church and other believers declared was extremely immoral and that the college was voted "most likely to not believe in God". That much is true, but it was also a strong intellectual school. When Miller started attending, he met up with some Christians at the school who were essentially an "Underground" group of believers. They talked seriously of what it meant to believe and live for Christ and it was a transformative kind of living, more than just attending church on Sunday it was living as a follower on Monday and Tuesday and every other day.
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Format: Paperback
I've been hearing much of late about a Christian author with a rather plain-sounding name: Don Miller. With my curiosity being sufficiently piqued, I set out to purchase and read a couple of Miller's books over the Christmas holidays, one of which was _Blue Like Jazz_.

I have to say right at the start that I like the format of the book. _Blue Like Jazz_ is an essay-style work, each chapter more or less standing on its own. Yet they all tie into the central theme of "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality," as the subtitle suggests. For these reasons, the book reminds me (ever so slightly) of some of C.S. Lewis' books (e.g. _The Weight of Glory_), which carry a similar format and also deal with Christian spirituality at a grass roots level, sans copious amounts of theological jargon.

I enjoy the way Miller writes. Not only is he readable, Miller often finds the perfect image when describing an event. As one example, he says, "Cusswords are pure ecstasy when you are twelve, buzzing in the mouth like a battery on the tongue." (p. 5) Doesn't that capture the experience perfectly?! And listen to this one: "I am something of a recluse by nature. I am that cordless screwdriver that has to charge for twenty hours to earn ten minutes use." (p. 152) I love it!

For me, Miller is someone with whom I resonate. Being a single guy and living with roommates, I can relate to many of the issues Miller raises (often laced with humor), which are associated with this particular lifestyle. Many times I find myself saying, "I've been there."

Overall, I find _Blue Like Jazz_ to be a fun read, with thought-provoking turns along the way. Miller's self-deprecating manner is effective at these junctures.
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Format: Paperback
I entered into reading this book with a lot of opinions thrown to me from those who have read it. What I learned before I even opened the book is it seemed as though people either loved it or hated it. I have some really close friends who loved the book and thought it was a breath of fresh air, and I also knew some of my friends thought that it's only good was to start a fire with it.

So, because I trusted on both sides, I felt like I could come with no preconceived notions. It was like I heard each debater by themselves but couldn't make a decision until I heard them both at the same time. So, the only way to do this was to read the book. What kind of irritates me is that I landed right in the middle. I can see why people love the book, but I can also see why people hate the book. There are some great discussions in the book but some very bad views on some theology that I feel could hurt those not driven by the word of God for discernment.
Donald Miller is a writer and a poet first, you can see that from the title of the book and in the opening pages. I like poetry when I am reading a poem but find poetry to be distracting when I am trying to read a book. What Mr. Miller does in this writing, in my estimation (although I am no expert) is try and use his poetry skills too much at times as one navigates through his story of redemption. It just isn't for me, that is, his way of writing. But I can get through that, not enough for me to put it down.

The book is really Donald Miller's testimony. It is his writings of how he came to know Christ and how he has grown in Christ, for this it is hard to say, "it is good" or "it is bad." At times, Mr. Miller seems to be scattered in thought and goes from one topic to another without leading the reader to where he is going.
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