Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jazzed


I recently finished Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. This book came to me highly recommended, so much so that I ignored it for as long as possible. (Is there anything more annoying than seeing that over-hyped movie only to discover that the “greatness” of it was tied directly to the specific situation of the reviewer, and not the quality of the movie? Okay, there are more annoying things -- I have siblings who think the height of hilarity is to intercept a phone call using a phony German accent and tell your caller that you are too busy working for the Gestapo to speak right now. But that movie not being great can also be annoying.)

But my friend Nolte (goes by Scott, for those that don’t know him as well as I do) actually gave me the book, so I had to read it eventually.

And it wasn’t anything like what I thought, or what it is hyped to be. In other words, it is a great book. The subtitle is: “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” Don’t be deceived – it is a deeply spiritual book. It just doesn’t read or feel like a spiritual book. And it is a deeply Christ-filled book, which automatically makes it unlike any book you are likely to find in a Christian Bookstore – and certainly a book you won’t find touted by politicians of any stripe.

In fact, I should warn you – any of us who define our religion as “Christ AND …” will be uncomfortable reading this book. So if you define your Christianity as “Christ and Republicanism” or “Christ and Patriotism” or “Christ and Liberalism” or “Christ and Dogmatism” or “Christ and Church Attendance” or “Christ and Tolerance of Everything” or “Christ and Whatever I Can Think Of To Distract Me From Realizing How Uncomfortable It Is In A Room With Just Christ,” there are places where this book will make you look over your shoulder, hoping that no one in the room is reading your soul while you are reading the book. (I know I did; good challenges, good challenges!)

Which sounds heavier than it is – part of the joy of this book is the conversational way that Donald Miller presents his story. It is a journey, a walk through the tea-time of the soul (thank you Doug Adams) as one man tries to figure out if there is a G-d, and if there is, what does that mean?

Here are some of the more challenging and titillating excerpts:

“I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious.”

“Passion is tricky, though, because it can point to nothing as easily as it points to something.”

“And if I would have shared Christianity with somebody, it would have felt mostly like I was trying to get somebody to agree with me rather than meet God. I could no longer share anything about Christianity, but I loved talking about Jesus and the spirituality that goes along with a relationship with him.”

“There’s not a lot of work in the Christian market if you won’t write self-righteous, conservative propaganda.”

“If a person senses that you do not like them, that you do not approve of their existence, then your religion and your political ideas will all seem wrong to them. If they sense that you like them, then they are open to what you have to say.”

“Why aren’t actors in London good looking? And I already know the answer to that question, it is that America is one of the most immoral countries in the world and that our media has reduced humans to slabs of meat.”

Intrigued? You may want to read the book. But I’m not hyping it, honest…

Just my thoughts,

Sean

1 comment:

Alice Bass said...

Thanks for not hyping this book, SG. I just got hyped on it and so was rebelling by not reading it, because I knew I'd be disappointed. But now without the hype, I can finally read it.