Friday, June 01, 2007

what is blue like jazz?

I've been listening to Don Miller reading his book, Blue Like Jazz, and I must say it's a pretty cool read, at least for me to listen to. In it he bangs away against what he views as an empty or wrong-headed, wrong-hearted Christianity, without demonizing other Christians. But he also shows another way that he has learned and is learning. A Jesus way, which ends up wanting to live out, then talk about Jesus and the gospel. And I find myself in agreement with much of what he says.

Above all for me, this is a testimony of what Jesus does for "tax collectors and sinners". It is a book about continued, repeated brokenness and Jesus continually reaching out to heal, redeem and restore a broken human and broken humanity. It's also about people in Jesus gathering to really seek God so as to love him and love all others in practical, down to earth ways.

Some will find this and that in the book offensive. But I like even that aspect of things because we don't have here what M.R. DeHaan would call a sanitized biography, one of which he would not want to be a part of. Instead we have the real Don with real people living in a real world seeking the real Jesus, and seeking to live out the reality of Jesus in this world.

Does this book really connect with me? In some ways, yes, very much so. And for a younger generation, especially those who might be interested in Jesus but have been turned off by the church, this book could be a real God-send. It's a book talking about people Jesus was changing even in the midst of their drunkeness, drugs and sex.

I'm not done with it yet (mostly done I think), but I know of enough friends who've read it to rest assured that it's worth a read, or in my case, a listen. (This way of getting through a book is the only hope I have to get through The Lord of the Rings in the future.)

Have any of you read (or heard) this book? What struck you about it?


Floating Axhead said...

Is it challenging like Velvet Elvis, meaning does it challenge the truth of the Word or does it challenge why we believe what we believe of the Word?

Ted Gossard said...

FA, Good question. I must confess I haven't read Velvet Elvis but would like/intend to.

I'm not sure "Blue Like Jazz" does either. It's more in line with a praxis emphasis: let's practice the truth as it is in Jesus. It's very challenging, I think, on that level, at least a good beginning there, anyhow.


Ted Gossard said...

Finished it, and can say it is well worth the read, or listen!

Ted Gossard said...

Floating Axehead,

On a bit of further reflection today, I'd say in a way what Don Miller is doing in emphasizing praxis (practice of the faith) does end up challenging the way Christians handle and see the Word of truth in Scripture. I would think it would move us towards an ethic in Jesus' teaching and life and work in reference to the kingdom of God.

At the same time Don Miller plainly speaks in the book what evangelicals see as the gospel.

bryan riley said...

Refreshing honesty. Open heart. I loved it. Resonated deeply with me. Most would say, in response to FA above, that Don is true to Jesus, the Word. His questions go to religion and interpretation, not to the Word itself. Of course, I didn't read Velvet Elvis to challenge the truth of the Word itself either. But it has been a while since I read either.

Ted Gossard said...

Bryan, Thanks.

I too found it refreshing and even helpful due to circumstances I've been facing lately. And it resonates with me, one who was a child of the '60's which for its drawbacks did have a refreshing candor and idealism about it.