Monday, February 27, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things”
-Donald Miller

 I just finished reading Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. It's the 3rd book by Donald Miller that I've read now, and I can honestly say he's become one of my favorite writers. There is so much good in this book and his others as well. I found a lot I needed to hear and lot that just made so much sense to me in Miller's words. I find the quote so true that life reveals answers and understanding at a much slower pace than we want it to, but we need to be prepared for it, and be ready see it otherwise we won't grasp it. I feel like there was quite a lot of answers revealed to me through this book.

 Donald Miller has had a really interesting life and I like his writing, it's very simple to grasp and conversational so it's easy to get caught up in and that makes it hard to put the book down. He seems like the kind of person I could listen to just talking about life and stuff for a really long time. I really like the way he seems to be able to find valuable life lessons in everyday life and simple interactions with friends. His words are able to teach me valuable things about Christian spirituality in a way that is more down to earth and straightforward, they are things I need to hear that, like I said, have been learned over the course of everyday life and interactions with people and that seems to make them hit home and encourage change in my life almost more so than any devotional I've ever read.

 It's helped me come to understand things about life and Christian spirituality that I either never understood or never gave much thought to. It's not preachy, it's like a good friend telling you stories from their life and encountering truths that I can apply to my life. It isn't about all the made up rules or lists of criteria or bullet points to success that church nowadays seems obsessed with. It doesn't force anything down your throat or make you feel like a bad person. It concentrates on what's truly important for a Christian.

Miller understand that to say you're a "Christian" immediately makes people look at you in an almost negative light, and that's because there is so much wrong in the church, and so much judging and so many people not acting the way God intended for us to act. We've tainted the view of Christianity, and for that we should be apologizing to non-Christians for all the wrong Christians have done, and if Christians don't look that good it's our own fault. There was one chapter where he tells a story where he and some friends set up a confessional booth at a college not so that other students could come and confess to them, but so that they could confess to the other students apologizing for Christian's behavior. They apologized because as followers of Jesus, they hadn't been very loving, they had been bitter. They apologized for the Crusades, and for televangelists who only want money, and for neglecting the poor and lonely. They apologized because in their selfishness, they had misrepresented Jesus. And they told them that no matter who they were Jesus loved them, you don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to be perfect for God to like you and care about you and want you to have a relationship with Him. This is something we all need to do, it's something everyone needs to hear.

 We should be loving and accepting others even if they're different than us or have different views than us rather that pushing them away or trying to pound beliefs into them that they don't understand. No one ever resolved anything by yelling, or by giving someone the silent treatment or by judging them and accusing them of wrong doing. People are changed when they see our actions. "They will know we are Christians by our love" not by judging or distancing ourselves from them. Read the bible and show me one example of a time when Jesus distanced himself from nonbelievers. Wasn't his whole life spent among those who were not actively involved in the church?
                                                    _____________________________

 Anyways the book is a collection of essays about Christian Spirituality, and yet somehow it's been turned into a movie. Another of his books, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" is about the process of turning his life into this film, and is another great book worth reading. The movie is about Don and the many experiences he wrote about in "Blue Like Jazz." It's due to be released April 13th. Check out the trailer HERE!