Customer Reviews for

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

This book may shake you up!

I am a conservative Christian living in the Bible Belt. Don Miller is basically a hippie living on the West Coast. At first his hippie style irritated me, but the more I read the more I realized he was actually a much better Christian than I am. Like Jesus, he goes o...
I am a conservative Christian living in the Bible Belt. Don Miller is basically a hippie living on the West Coast. At first his hippie style irritated me, but the more I read the more I realized he was actually a much better Christian than I am. Like Jesus, he goes out into the world and lives with people, loves them, and shares the gospel with them. His theology is sound. This book would appeal to a college student or young adult trying to find his or her way in the world. For an older person (like me) it's a little less comfortable to read, but perhaps even more valuable.

posted by 1407674 on May 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Okay, but not great.

When I first started to read this book, I really did not enjoy it. Miller¿s use of short and choppy sentences combined with his rapid idea changes made it hard to see the bigger picture. However, once I got used to his writing style, I realized that there was in...
When I first started to read this book, I really did not enjoy it. Miller¿s use of short and choppy sentences combined with his rapid idea changes made it hard to see the bigger picture. However, once I got used to his writing style, I realized that there was indeed a method to his madness. By writing Blue Like Jazz in this weird way, Miller was mixing background information, so we could get to know him, with his message, and using his personal experiences to tell the reader what Christianity is really about. He tries and succeeds at telling us that Christianity is an individual experience and a priest can¿t tell you how to be a perfect Christian no ore than I can. He is also telling us that it isn¿t about being perfect according to someone else, its about doing it in your own way, an individualized approach to Christianity. My only problem with this book was that I am not a religious person and, although he took an alternative approach to teaching Christianity, I find that I am not quite accepting of the ideals. It wasn¿t bad, but it wasn¿t great.

posted by Anonymous on May 14, 2008

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    World Religions Book Review by Brandi B. Blue like Jazz is a gr

    World Religions Book Review
    by Brandi B.

    Blue like Jazz is a great book for questioning your own religion. For teenagers that are curious and even adults, Don Miller writes about a variety of topics on this very notion. Why do we need faith, how do we live life as a Christian? Even as Miller was a practicing Christian he knew something was missing. He knew that Jesus was God but he didn't know if he fully believed it in his heart. There are multiple chapters in this book where Miller is dealing with different aspects of his Faith, especially at Reed College. Reed is a college that people at his old church would say was extremely immoral. When Miller started attending, he met up with some Christians at the school who were essentially an "underground" group of believers. They contemplated seriously of what it meant to live their life for Christ.
    The aspect of Miller's time at Reed that I found most fascinating was during the college's weekend party. What Miller and his friends decided to do was set up a Confession Booth in the campus. They expected to be harassed and verbally/physically abused but surprisingly people came into confess real things. And change happened after this. Their activities gained more respect and more involvement from other students. This isn't to say that the entire school changed, because it didn't, but that the Christian faith can find a "seed" anywhere. This is a frightening idea though because it is easy to be comfortable and just deal with our own issues. We all have issues. But to move beyond this is a huge step. It comes from a true change and dedication inside and the daring to move beyond the fear and into faith. That's kind of what this whole book is about, but it is also Don Miller writing about a non-religious but highly spiritual perspective on Christian Faith and that this is so important today..

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  • Posted May 8, 2012

    Fantastic!

    Don Miller is an excellent writer! He has a very artistic way of painting a story. I loved the book and it is very inspiring!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller,

    I don't know that I have ever read a book like Blue Like Jazz before. Author Donald Miller is a best-selling American author and public speaker based out of Portland, Oregon who focuses on Christian spirituality as "an explanation for beauty, meaning, and the human struggle." He is also the author of Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

    Miller writes, “There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz. And as I lay there, it occurred to me that God is up there somewhere. Of course, I had always known He was, but this time I felt it, I realized it, the way a person realizes they are hungry or thirsty. The knowledge of God seeped out of my brain and into my heart. I imagined Him looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind had cheated on Him, had committed adultery, and yet hopelessly in love with her, drunk with love for her.”

    Blue Like Jazz is the coming of age story of the author as he struggles with his own ideas of religion and the new world he encounters away at Reed College. This isn't your parents "Inspirational Christian Reading" book either, this is a visceral piece full of honesty and truth. Blue Like Jazz is easily one of the best Christian experience books I have ever read. Donald Miller is an extremely talented writer. Blue Like Jazz will make you laugh out loud at the same time it will ask you tough questions.

    Read with caution! Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    AMAZING!

    Donald Miller¿s book, Blue Like Jazz, questioned about the idea of what it means to be a Christian. Miller wrote about the faith in a variety of topics on coming to faith, why to have faith, how Christ can transform a person, what to do with the faith and how to live life as a Christian. In Miller¿s book, several of his chapters deal with the different aspects of his faith during his time at Reed College. Reed College had people from his church and other believers that said that the school was ¿most likely to not believe in God.¿ When Miller started to attend, he met up with a group of Christians that were strong believers. They talked about the meaning to believing and living for Christ. One of his friends believed that feeding the homeless meant more than just donating money to a homeless shelter, but that it is to actually go out and feed the homeless, to give them food directly, to sit and talk and have a meal with them. I believe that the Christian faith is about living a different life than others, that we as individuals cannot change the world if we don¿t change our attitudes or behavior. I recommend this book to people who are struggling to understand Christ and how they can involve this faith into their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A Captivating Read

    David Miller¿s novel, Blue Like Jazz, was inspirational and a very entertaining read. The author¿s style of writing kept me wanting to read more and I found that I was absorbing his thoughts on his Christian way of life. This novel went through the story of Miller¿s life and how he questioned and sometimes even struggled with his Christianity. Miller was able to dig deep and really open up to his readers in a vulnerable way that made the story much more intriguing. He struggled with being in the world but eventually learned through his struggles how to deal with his faith and make it stronger. I would recommend this book to mature high school students and older. Although this is a book with Christianity throughout, it would still be interesting to follow his life story whether you are religious of not because of the nature of the plot. The readers will be able to go through the trials and doubts that the author had and hopefully in the process be able to evaluate and apply it to their own struggles in their life. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Miller¿s experiences and how he went about thinking and dealing with them. His thoughts caused me to re-evaluate some of the struggles I have dealt with in my life.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    Quite Good

    Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller is, as it says on the cover, nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality. The book follows the author Don through different parts of his life as he struggles with many of the questions that face many people today about God, Faith and spirituality. Miller does an excellent job of keeping the reader interested and in tune with what is happening within his own experiences. What really pulled me in as a reader was the way that Miller, who already has such interesting life stories, uses his elegant writing and reasoning skills to tie it all into religion seamlessly. I went into this book with a lot of skepticism, I¿m not typically drawn to books like this but I theory enjoyed it. To be honest I went into this book thinking it was about a depressed jazz artist. My only complains are that the book started a tad slow and at points it was a bit hard to keep up with the way Miller interjects stories into his stories, other then that a beautifully written book. What really impressed me though was how insightful and different many of Millers views and ideas are. They are all based on experience and almost every chapter has me looking at something differently then I had before. I would recommend this book for Christians and non-Christians alike. Though Miller doesn¿t keep his personal opinions a secret, he does a fabulous job of staying unbiased in his writing. I would defiantly recommend this book to anyone who has questions about religion or wants to dig deeper and look at things at a new angle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Excellent Reflection, Appeals to young Christians

    In Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller reflects on the events of his life as he grows in his understanding of Christianity. The book is rich with experience and even richer with reflection. Overall, Miller presents a captivating and readable piece that speaks to the progression of his understanding of Christianity.
    Miller begins the book by describing his boyhood and how he had a very legalistic view of Christianity and how he mostly saw it as a set of rules rather than something life changing. Following his youth, he moves into his teenage and young adult years where he begins to realize his own sin and gain a deeper understanding of God¿s forgiving grace. Moving into his adult years, Miller describes his experiences with specific aspects of Christianity such as church attendance and relationships, and how these experiences helped him define Christian character.
    The book¿s style is more like an assortment of essays rather than a linear story. The chapters loosely follow the progression of Miller¿s life, but for the most part they have little relation to each other. For instance, in the last few chapters he jumps from relationships to churches to handling money. This style causes the flow of the book to be a bit awkward at times because the reader may try to find a logical sequence when there is not one. Largely, however, the style is readable with its casual and clever writing. Miller fills the book with amusing constructs such as illustrations for his understanding of sin and comical anecdotes of his days at Reed College.
    The entire book is filled with rich reflection that clearly demonstrates how each experience specifically affected Miller¿s life. It is very effective in captivating a Christian audience especially in the teenage and young adult age group. Although it is more of a reflective narrative rather than a concise layout of Christian theology, a young person struggling with religious identity might seek this book to both identify with someone with similar struggles and clarify Christian character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    Really good book

    Blue like Jazz is a personal narrative of Donald Miller¿s life. It goes from his childhood to his adult life. This memoir tells is about how Miller struggles with his faith multiple times through his life. It is his faith journey with everyday life experiences worked in.
    They story has an interesting flow, it does not follow his life from childhood to an adult, it jumps around from all aspects of his life. When I first started reading this book I¿ll admit that really frustrated me because there is no pattern to the age jumps, but after a while I learned to like it and found it interesting how he did not use the typical pattern to write this book.
    I would recommend this book to people who are struggling with their faith and finding where they fit in. I would also recommend this to anyone who has just had a major life change and feel like they have to fit in with everyone else. This book is really effective for college students who are just finding there way into the world, however, it is also a suitable read for adults too. I would not recommend it to anyone younger than high school age and who have a hard time following a book that does not go in chronological order.
    The reader gets Donald Miller¿s biography mainly through the story. What he is currently doing is speaking and still writing. He also created a mentoring program that churches help boys in need. He currently lives Portland Oregon with his dog.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    A Captivating Read!

    Blue Like Jazz, a captivating narrative, is perhaps one of Donald Miller¿s most compelling books. Miller, a best-selling Christian author from Oregon, uses his humor, ideas, and numerous personal stories to take the reader on a journey through some of the most interesting and problematic periods in his life. Not only does this narrative provide a fresh perspective to religion and Christianity, it opens readers¿ eyes to drastically different outlooks on life, love, and relationships. Despite a few downfalls, this book is a refreshing read that depicts the struggles of a man¿s life and his innermost thoughts. There are multiple enticing qualities of this book. For one, Miller provides an open, honest tone and never hesitates to share his views and opinions. For example, there are numerous points when he states his doubts about Christianity, as well as his relationships. He reveals some of the lowest points in his life and openly reflects, allowing the reader to learn from his own experiences. Miller also uses humor to engage the reader. Surprisingly, Miller¿s compilation of numerous short essays never bores the reader because of the lack of a single plot; rather, the reader is always hungry for more. Despite the vast positive aspects of Blue Like Jazz, there were a few areas in which I believe Miller may have improved this book. For one, I was not particularly pleased with his tone in the last third of the book, as Miller seemed to be complaining. Although his honesty is appreciated, he almost seemed to have an attitude of pride. Overall, I believe the cost of Blue Like Jazz to be extremely worth it. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys digging deeper into spirituality and religion or anyone looking for a fresh perspective. This narrative is unlike any book I have read, both thoroughly enjoyable and eye opening.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Beautiful Book

    I was initially drawn to the title because I figured it was a jazz memoir, but I found much more within its pages. Donald Miller writes with exceptional clarity, frankly laying out his journey through the Christian faith and attacking, illuminating, and sometimes criticizing "conventional" Christianity. He is not an ultra-conservative, holier than thou, fundamentalist didact in any way, and everything he writes is said with exceeding humility. A truly enlightening read for believers, nonbelievers, and those of us in between.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Thought-privink Thought-provoking

    Thought-provoking

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    One of my favorites.

    Asks a ton of great questions that need to be asked.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    incredible read for the Christian-curious

    This book changed my perspectiveon religion, and taught me that I can takewhatever path I choose...or need. I would recommend this book to anyone. Miller is funny and insightful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2010

    An Unwilted look at Spirituality!

    Fresh, is the word when it comes to the book "Blue Like Jazz", and fresh, is what you will find. The author Donald Miller invites the reader into his saunter; allowing them to examine; to enter into his story of faith and the questions that come with it.
    This book is in essence many stories within the bigger story. The seam that runs through it all is Don's faith and the journey has more than a few swerves along the way. Don combines curiously drawn illustrations with thought provoking insight; in a simplistic and non-threatening examination of his life and the people he has found in it.
    "Blue Like Jazz" is full of this story telling dialogue with Don; as one hears both sides of the coin, the reader is invited to know Don on a deeper level as he processes his journey.

    This book is candidly void of non-religious or uninhabited thought's; navigating fresh perspective's on a variety challenges in and outside the church. Don incorporates vast conversation of faith, life and beyond that has been experienced since the genesis.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    Great Read.

    At a time where Christianity can become routine and mundane, Donald Miller arrives with Blue Like Jazz. Miller appeals to the reader with his telling tales of his experiences: finding God on an atheistic college campus, sharing Jesus with friends, and everyday struggles. Using a straightforward, sarcastic tone, Miller draws in the reader while showing the seriousness of common struggles. Wit and humor are not hard to find within this motivating collection of stories, making it an easy read. Although Miller seems to write in a relaxed, easy-going mood, he still stirs up life-changing questions, making the reader think and develop ideas for themselves. If you are a Christian looking to live out your faith outside of typical Christianity, Blue Like Jazz is a great way to start your motivation motor. Even if you are not a Christian, Miller's novel is a great peek at what Christianity has failed at doing - not something found in most religious books - and what Christians should be doing to develop their faith as followers of Christ.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2010

    Blue Like Jazz

    In Donald Miller's book Blue like Jazz he use experiences from his own past to explain what helped shape him as a Christian today. Stories that miller told helped to give a strong message that portrayed the struggle he went through as a new Christian and what he witnessed God doing in others lives around him. In addition to his stories, Miller uses effective sentence variety to keep the readers engaged. One poor quality of Miller's writing is that some sentences are choppy and too abrupt in the context of the situation he is writing about. What makes this book so great is how Miller never tries to force his views on others, he simply tells them how he feels and leaves the interpretation to the reader. This book applies to all different types of people because he shows how important it is to love the others in our life that don't share the same views as ourselves. People might want to buy this book if they are looking for a good modern day example of how to love others with opposing views, however those who have no interest in this subject would find no need for this book.

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  • Posted October 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wow!

    Possibly one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Ever. I loved this book and it was so moving. I recommend this book to everyone I know!

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    Blue Like Me

    Blue Like Jazz is a very good, introspective look at Christianity and those who practice it from the perspective of a former outsider looking for something fulfilling in his life. The winding narrative, told via continuous flashback. Donald Miller does a great job of making a clear case, in my opinion, for what is and isn't Christianity. Forgiveness, love, repentance; are you living a life worthy of Christ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    I have read this book three times.

    I found this book to be very interesting as well as inspiring.I have read it three times and find something new to think about each time. As a Christian I too have questioned why I believe and why such horrific things have been done in the name of Christianity. This book addresses what I feel it truly means to be a Christian which is believing that Jesus is the son of God and that he was sent to show us the way to live our lives. He is love, and teaches that we are to love one another even if they are different from us in any way. We are all God's children; does he love one religion more than another or one race, or one class? I don't always agree with what the author says. I feel he is often judgemental politically. However his message of believing, finding and using your faith is enlightening. The characters he uses are people I can relate to as are his experiences with organized religion. This is a very thought provoking read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2010

    One of the best books I have read

    When I first bought this book I was just coming into following Christianity. I had very little understanding of the bible, but my interest was not in just knowing the facts, I wanted somebody's view on God and how they allowed God into their lives. I picked this book at first because it was on TWLOHA website and I must say it has changed my life

    Blue Like Jazz had lead me to such a greater urge to explore the Christian faith. I reccomend it to all

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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