Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality [NOOK Book]

Overview

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened." ―Donald Miller


In Donald Miller's early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller...

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Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

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Overview

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened." ―Donald Miller


In Donald Miller's early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.


For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture.


For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real.


For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion in  life.


Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.

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Editorial Reviews

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. (July 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418529949
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/17/2003
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 58,503
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Donald Miller is a speaker, founder of The Mentoring Project,and author of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts, and Father Fiction. He lives in Nashvlle, TN.
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Read an Excerpt

Blue Like Jazz

Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
By Donald Miller

Walker Large Print

Copyright © 2007 Donald Miller
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781594151545


Chapter One

Beginnings

God on a Dirt Road Walking Toward Me

I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze. I am early in my story, but I believe I will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road, walking toward me. Years ago He was a swinging speck in the distance; now He is close enough I can hear His singing. Soon I will see the lines on His face.

My father left my home when I was young, so when I was introduced to the concept of God as Father I imagined Him as a stiff, oily man who wanted to move into our house and share a bed with my mother. I can only remember this as a frightful and threatening idea. We were a poor family who attended a wealthy church, so I imagined God as a man who had a lot of money and drove a big car. At church they told us we were children of God, but I knew God's family was better than mine, that He had a daughter who was a cheerleader and a son who playedfootball. I was born with a small bladder so I wet the bed till I was ten and later developed a crush on the homecoming queen who was kind to me in a political sort of way, which is something she probably learned from her father, who was the president of a bank. And so from the beginning, the chasm that separated me from God was as deep as wealth and as wide as fashion.

In Houston, where I grew up, the only change in the weather came in late October when cold is sent down from Canada. Weathermen in Dallas would call weathermen in Houston so people knew to bring their plants in and watch after their dogs. The cold came down the interstate, tall and blue, and made reflections in the mirrored windows of large buildings, moving over the Gulf of Mexico as if to prove that sky holds magnitude over water. In Houston, in October, everybody walks around with a certain energy as if they are going to be elected president the next day, as if they are going to get married.

In the winter it was easier for me to believe in God, and I suppose it had to do with new weather, with the color of leaves clinging to trees, with the smoke in the fireplaces of big houses in opulent neighborhoods where I would ride my bike. I half believed that if God lived in one of those neighborhoods, He would invite me in, make me a hot chocolate, and talk to me while His kids played Nintendo and stabbed dirty looks over their shoulders. I would ride around those neighborhoods until my nose froze, then back home where I closed myself off in my room, put on an Al Green record, and threw open the windows to feel the cold. I would stretch across my bed for hours and imagine life in a big house, visited by important friends who rode new bikes, whose fathers had expensive haircuts and were interviewed on the news.

I have been with my own father only three times, each visit happening in my childhood, each visit happening in cold weather. He was a basketball coach, and I do not know why he left my mother. I only know he was tall and handsome and smelled like beer; his collar smelled like beer, his hands like beer, and his coarse, unshaven face smelled like beer. I do not drink much beer myself, but the depth of the scent has never left me. My friend Tony the Beat Poet will be drinking a beer at Horse Brass Pub and the smell will send me to a pleasant place that exists only in recollections of childhood.

My father was a big man, I think, bigger than most, stalky and strong like a river at flood. On my second visit to my father I saw him throw a football across a gym, drilling the spiral into the opposite hoop where it shook the backboard. There was no action my father committed that I did not study as a work of wonder. I watched as he shaved and brushed his teeth and put on his socks and shoes in motions that were more muscle than grace, and I would stand at his bedroom door hoping he wouldn't notice my awkward stare. I looked purposely as he opened a beer, the tiny can hiding itself in his big hand, the foam of it spilling over the can, his red lips slurping the excess, his tongue taking the taste from his mustache. He was a brilliant machine of a thing.

When my sister and I visited my father we would eat from the grill every night, which is something we never did with my mother. My father would crumble Ritz crackers into the meat and add salt and sauces, and I thought, perhaps, he was some sort of chef, some sort of person who ought to write books about cooking meat. Later he would take my sister and me to the grocery store and buy us a toy, any toy we wanted. We'd pace the long aisle of shiny prizes, the trucks and Barbies and pistols and games. In the checkout line I'd cling to the shiny, slick box in stillness and silence. On the drive home we'd take turns sitting on his lap so we could drive, and whoever wasn't steering would work the shifter, and whoever worked the steering wheel could drink from my father's can of beer.

It is not possible to admire a person more than I admired that man. I know, from the three visits I made to him, the blended composite of love and fear that exists only in a boy's notion of his father.

There were years between his calls. My mother would answer the phone, and I knew by the way she stood silently in the kitchen that it was him. A few days later he would come for a visit, always changed in the showing of his age-the new wrinkles, the grayed hair, and thick skin around his eyes-and within days we would go to his apartment for the weekend. About the time I entered middle school, he disappeared completely.

* * *

Today I wonder why it is God refers to Himself as "Father" at all. This, to me, in light of the earthly representation of the role, seems a marketing mistake. Why would God want to call Himself Father when so many fathers abandon their children?

As a child, the title Father God offered an ambiguous haze with which to interact. I understood what a father did as well as I understood the task of a shepherd. All the vocabulary about God seemed to come from ancient history, before video games, Palm Pilots, and the Internet.

If you would have asked me, I suppose I would have told you there was a God, but I could not have formulated a specific definition based on my personal experience. Perhaps it was because my Sunday school classes did much to help us memorize commandments and little to teach us who God was and how to relate to Him, or perhaps it was because they did and I wasn't listening. Nevertheless, my impersonal God served me fine as I had no need of the real thing. I needed no deity to reach out of heaven and wipe my nose, so none of it actually mattered. If God was on a dirt road walking toward me, He was on the other side of a hill, and I hadn't begun to look for Him anyway.

* * *

I started to sin about the time I turned ten. I believe it was ten, although it could have been earlier, but ten is about the age a boy starts to sin, so I am sure it was in there somewhere. Girls begin to sin when they are twenty-three or something, but they do life much softer by their very nature and so need less of a run at things.

I sinned only in bits at first-small lies, little inconsistencies to teachers about homework and that sort of thing. I learned the craft well, never looking my teacher in the eye, always speaking quickly, from the diaphragm, never feeble about the business of deception.

"Where is your homework?" my teacher would ask.

"I lost it."

"You lost it yesterday. You lost it last week."

"I am terrible about losing things. I need to learn." (Always be self-deprecating.)

"What am I going to do with you, Donald?"

"I am grateful for your patience." (Always be grateful.)

"I should call your mother."

"She's deaf. Boating accident. Piranha." (Always be dramatic. Use hand gestures.)

I also used a great deal of cusswords. Not those churchly cusswords-dang and darnit, dagnabit and frickin'-but big, robust cusswords like the ones they use in PG movies, the ones the guys would say only to each other. Cusswords are pure ecstasy when you are twelve, buzzing in the mouth like a battery on the tongue. My best friend at the time, Roy, and I would walk home from school, stopping at the playground by the Methodist church to cuss out Travis Massie and his big sister Patty. Travis always made fun of Roy because his last name was Niswanger. It took me two years to understand why the name Niswanger was so funny.

Words turned to fists by the end of the year, and I was thirteen when I took my first punch. Square in the face. It was Tim Mitchell, the little blond kid who went to my church, and the whole time we were circling each other he was saying he was going to give me a fat lip, and I was shouting cusswords in incomplete sentences; scary cusswords. He hit me in the face and I went down beneath a sky as bright and blue as jazz music, and there were children laughing, and Patty Massie was pointing her finger, and Roy was embarrassed. There was a lot of yelling after that, and Tim backed down when Roy said he was going to give Tim a fat lip. Travis was singing the whole time: "nice-wanger, nice-wanger, nice-wanger."

Before any of this happened, though, when I was in kindergarten, I got sent to the principal's office for looking up a girl's dress during nap time, which is something that I probably did, but not for the immediately considered motive. It's more likely that her open skirt was in the way of something I really wanted to look at, because I remember the age quite well and had no interest whatsoever in what might be up a girl's dress. I received a huge lecture on the importance of being a gentleman from Mr. Golden, who stood just taller than his desk and had a finger that wagged like the tail of a dog and a tie with a knot as big as a tumor, and he might as well have been talking to me about physics or politics because I wasn't interested in whatever it was that I wasn't supposed to be interested in. But everything changed in the summer of my twelfth year.

Across the street from Roy's house was a large, empty field divided by railroad tracks, and it was there that I first identified with the Adam spoken of at the beginning of the Bible, because it was there that I saw my first naked woman. We were playing with our bikes when Roy stumbled across a magazine whose pages were gaudily dressed in colorful type and the stuff of bad advertising. Roy approached the magazine with a stick, and I stood behind him as he flipped the pages from the distance of a twig. We had found a portal, it seemed, into a world of magic and wonder, where creatures exist in the purest form of beauty. I say we found a portal, but it was something more than that; it was as if we were being led through a portal because I sensed in my chest, in the pace of my heart, that I was having an adventure. I felt the way a robber might feel when he draws a gun inside a bank.

At last Roy confronted the magazine by hand, slowly devouring its pages, handing it to me after diving deeper into the woods, off the trail common to us and our bikes. We were not speaking, only turning the pages, addressing the miraculous forms, the beauty that has not been matched in all mountains and rivers. I felt that I was being shown a secret, a secret that everybody in the world had always known and had kept from me. We were there for hours until the sun set, at which time we hid our treasure beneath logs and branches, each swearing to the other that we would tell no one of our find.

That night in bed, my mind played the images over as a movie, and I felt the nervous energy of a river furling through my lower intestines, ebbing in tides against the gray matter of my mind, delivering me into a sort of ecstasy from which I felt I would never return. This new information seemed to give grass its green and sky its blue and now, before I had requested a reason to live, one had been delivered: naked women.

* * *

All this gave way to my first encounter with guilt, which is still something entirely inscrutable to me, as if aliens were sending transmissions from another planet, telling me there is a right and wrong in the universe. And it wasn't only sexual sin that brought about feelings of guilt, it was lies and mean thoughts and throwing rocks at cars with Roy. My life had become something to hide; there were secrets in it. My thoughts were private thoughts, my lies were barriers that protected my thoughts, my sharp tongue a weapon to protect the ugly me. I would lock myself in my room, isolating myself from my sister and my mother, not often to do any sort of sinning, but simply because I had become a creature of odd secrecy. This is where my early ideas about religion came into play.

The ideas I learned in Sunday school, the ideas about sin and how we shouldn't sin, kept bugging me. I felt as though I needed to redeem myself, the way a kid feels when he finally decides to clean his room. My carnal thinking had made a mess of my head, and I felt as though I were standing in the doorway of my mind, wondering where to begin, how to organize my thoughts so they weren't so out of control.

That's when I realized that religion might be able to hose things down, get me back to normal so I could have fun without feeling guilty or something. I just didn't want to have to think about this guilt crap anymore.

For me, however, there was a mental wall between religion and God. I could walk around inside religion and never, on any sort of emotional level, understand that God was a person, an actual Being with thoughts and feelings and that sort of thing. To me, God was more of an idea. It was something like a slot machine, a set of spinning images that dolled out rewards based on behavior and, perhaps, chance.

The slot-machine God provided a relief for the pinging guilt and a sense of hope that my life would get organized toward a purpose. I was too dumb to test the merit of the slot machine idea. I simply began to pray for forgiveness, thinking the cherries might line up and the light atop the machine would flash, spilling shiny tokens of good fate. What I was doing was more in line with superstition than spirituality. But it worked. If something nice happened to me, I thought it was God, and if something nice didn't, I went back to the slot machine, knelt down in prayer, and pulled the lever a few more times. I liked this God very much because you hardly had to talk to it and it never talked back. But the fun never lasts.



Continues...


Excerpted from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller Copyright © 2007 by Donald Miller. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 238 )
Rating Distribution

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(152)

4 Star

(51)

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(19)

2 Star

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 240 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    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 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.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Revolutionary

    I don't know how a person could read this and be the same after. It's like getting an email from God Himself.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    In a day and age where the traditions of organized religion seem to turn off more people than it turns on comes a book reinforcing the values of the Christian way of life, while keeping its base in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Spanning his college years and beyond, Don Miller¿s Blue Like Jazz is a telling tale of finding God in the strangest of places: from an atheistic college to the ordinary, everyday people in the grocery store line ahead of us. Miller writes from an honest, straightforward perspective on the aspects of Christian spirituality¿in all areas of life¿with enough humor and wit to keep even the most laidback of readers entertained.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2007

    Blue Like Jazz

    Donald Miller¿s memoir Blue Like Jazz is an inspirational piece that any reader who has struggled with their faith in God will enjoy. Miller talks about his transitions through his Christian faith in a way that makes it extremely easy to relate to. He creates a sense of friendship with the reader and tells his stories as if he has nothing to hide. One example of Miller¿s honesty is in the beginning of the memoir. He is talking about being a boy around the age of ten and how he started to sin. He goes through an entire conversation with a teacher about a missing assignment. He adds in little side notes, tips for lying to authority. The whole scene is comedic but at the same time, difficult to imagine writing down. Few people want others to know of their deceptive sides, however, Miller shows his with no fear. His tone throughout the memoir makes him a reliable narrator who readers want to listen to. ¿I sinned only in bits at first- small lies, little inconsistencies to teachers about homework and that sort of thing. I learned the craft well, never looking my teacher in the eye, always speaking quickly, from the diaphragm, never feeble about the business of deception.¿ Miller describes his journey through faith in a way that motivates readers. One section from the book that stands out is where Miller is reading the Bible. He is up to the part in Luke where Jesus is being crucified and he describes how he feels. ¿And I remember sitting at my desk, and I don¿t know what it was that I read or what Jesus was doing in the book, but I felt a love for Him rush through me, through my back and into my chest. I started crying,...¿ The feelings that Miller expresses here are so strong, and so well presented, that it made me, as a reader, want to feel them too. I wanted to be this close to Jesus and to love him in a way that needed no explanation. It motivated me to become more religious and open with Jesus. Miller also uses comedy to show how he used to live his life. Many of his conversations with friends are humorous, but they still get across a serious message or point. In other parts of the memoir Miller puts in small comics that he made to describe how he feels. In one part of the story, he is feeling alone. He is secluded from his roommates and the outside world completely. He makes a comic about a man named Don Astronaut. Don Astronaut goes out into space in a ship, but there is an accident and he is cast out into the vast, open universe. He has a special space suit that can keep him alive. Don orbits the Earth for weeks, months, decades. All alone. Then, finally, Don Astronaut dies ¿a very lonely and crazy man - just a shell of a thing with hardly a spark for a soul.¿ The pictures in the comic make this story quite funny, but the ending scene still sends a dark and serious message of what Miller was feeling at this time in his life. Miller¿s Blue Like Jazz is comparable to Anne Lamott¿s Traveling Mercies. Both authors use comedy to reflect emotion or events. They also both show their imperfections. Miller and Lamott do not want readers to pick up their books and think that they are being preached to by someone who believes they are ¿holier than thou¿. They want everyone to know that they went through their fair share of questioning, of non-believing, of shunning God. They did not wish to forgive enemies immediately, or listen to the word of God with open ears and no resistence. They had questions about faith and God and heaven, and that is okay. This is another way that they motivate their readers. They show that it is not a horrible thing to have questions about your faith. The only important thing is to love. Donald Miller¿s Blue Like Jazz is a great read for any reader, in any stage of their life. The ideal audience for this book is a person who appreciates humor to lighten tough subjects but still likes to think about the deeper meaning of things. Miller tackles childhood, college, and adult life and in each sta

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2009

    Read this book if you hate religion but love God

    This book was inspiring and funny but most of all it was validating. For years I have read books that were all about what my relationship with God was supposed to look like and I always felt I ran short of His expectations. This book validated my feelings and my relationship with God as I always thought it was versus what "church" told me it was supposed to look like. I don't have to strive for perfection and always fall short. I was saving the world at the cost of my soul and the sacrifice always felt too much. When you give to others you can drain your own spirit and Donald Miller helped me to go back to enjoying my relationship with God as a friend instead of the idol I created. My daughter recommended this book to me and I in turn have sent it to others. You'll love this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    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 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    In this novel, Miller portrays the majority of Christian America

    In this novel, Miller portrays the majority of Christian Americans in modern-day perspective. He talks about the major controversies
    that religion played during his childhood (porn, magic tricks, first dating experience, biblical stories, etc.) He then talks about his years in
    college, where he met other people that also shared the same experiences about Christianity in a non-religious background. Overall in
    the Miller’s college life, his perspectives and beliefs on Christianity is unbalanced but stabilizes as he matures and meets new people
    that contribute and shape his religious ideals. The author takes the reader on an adventure filled with a mix of comedy, tragedy, and
    memorable experiences that helps get rid of any bias feelings towards Christianity and help other understand what being a Christian is
    like. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Originally posted on my blog: The Bibliophile's Corner If you h

    Originally posted on my blog: The Bibliophile's Corner

    If you have not read Blue Like Jazz, put that on your list of books to read this year. I put it off for far too long and now that I’ve read it, I’m pretty sure this is going to be a book that I re-read at least once a year. I absolutely love reading and hearing of people’s personal, religious journeys. This is by far one of the most honest, funny, touching, and brilliant journeys I’ve ever read.




    This book is split into twenty chapters. Why am I telling you this? Well, because each chapter is specific to a certain step in Don’s journey. And for review purposes, I am going to tell you my favorites:




    Beginnings (Chapter 1): I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water…”As with every journey, the beginning is the most interesting. What spurs this journey? Where does this journey end? This book starts right off with Don questioning who God is to him, the first time he became aware of his sinning, and the guilt that overwhelmed him from the sinning. Quite a beginning.
    Confession (Chapter 11): “We are going to build a confession booth!” I just re-read this chapter because I love it so much. When you think confession booth, you think ‘Oh, I have to confess my sins’. But no! In this confession booth, the people running it confess to you and apologize and ask for forgiveness. This was probably the most touching part of this book.
    Alone (Chapter 14): “And Don Astronaut orbited the Earth for fifty-three years before he died a very lonely and crazy man–just a shell of a thing with hardly a spark for a soul.” The reason I love this chapter so much is not so much for the words as it was for little cartoon bit. Yes, a cartoon bit of Don Astronaut orbiting Earth in a suit that keeps him alive. But Don is alone. In space. Trapped. In space. Um. Sad and scary.
    Jesus (Chapter 20): “I remember the first time I had feelings for Jesus.” I think it is fitting for the last chapter to be about Jesus. Since that is where the journey ends…or rather begins again? New beginnings and things.
    There is so much more that I could share with you, but I don’t feel like writing a SparkNotes version of BLJ at this time. Maybe one day.




    The only thing that didn’t sit well with me when it comes to this book is the subtitle. I know! That’s probably the lamest thing to be picky about. But it says: “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” While I was reading this book, I felt like there were quite a few religious thoughts actually. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just found it a bit misleading and would not want other people to go into this unprepared.




    I still absolutely recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    Hee Jae Y. The book, Blue Like Jazz is a story about Don Miller

    Hee Jae Y.

    The book, Blue Like Jazz is a story about Don Millers' journey of cutting away the distance that he felt with God. Don Miller talks about his thoughts, as well as his experiences as he attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Even as Don Miller zealously followed Christianity, he found that as time passed, he ultimately felt empty and disconnected with God and Jesus. He embarks on a journey to find his way towards understanding both Christianity and God.
    I believe that the book was not very interesting. It also really confused me when he tried to find the solution by helping and giving to others. Although this is a truly great deed, and it is a form of love, the core of Christianity, it makes no sense for me that he went from doubting his belief in Jesus to giving and helping others. It just seemed like a very illogical jump to me. Although helping charities and giving to the poor are good acts of love, I don't feel that these acts are what grounds and founds faith. The one thing I did like however, was the casual way he wrote the book. When he 'spoke' through the book, it was a lot more relatable and less formal.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    "I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve . . . I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened.¿ In the book ¿Blue Like Jazz¿ Donald Miller writes about what it is that happened to change his mind about jazz, but more importantly, God. It is all about Miller¿s unique path to Christ. He uses strong amounts of honesty such as, he knows that God is real, but also knows something is missing. He talks about the issues of Christianity that a lot of people deal with but don¿t actually speak about.
    One of the issues Miller comes across in this book is college life. The college he attends is anything but Christian. Between the high number of atheists, and the extreme party life, I found it interesting that this is where his journey to faith was sparked.
    A constant theme throughout the book was the idea that instead of blaming the world for our problems, first we must look in the mirror. Before becoming a true Christian, Miller makes clear the fact that he must be better from the inside out. This idea could shed a light to many of us today.
    Donald Miller emphasizes the idea of spirituality instead of religion. Toward the end of the book a radio-host asks him to back up Christianity. Interestingly, he refuses and claims that Christianity means something different to everyone. He did say though, that he could talk about Christ and what Christ has done for him. I highly recommend this book, Christian or non-Christian, it gives anyone a new perspective on faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Life Changing

    I read this book with my small group at church my junior year in highschool, and since then ( now freshman in college ) there has still been a lasting impact on my life and the lives of the girls that read it. we, learned so much from this book and i would recomend it for anyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful!

    I absolutely loved Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz! Eventhough I am a fresh confused believer, I enjoyed this book every step of the way. I just finished reading this book as a gift from my teacher, and I don't regret picking it up a random day and deciding to read a book that seemed strage. I loved the Don Rabbit story that I showed it to a best friend of mine! This book wasn't just a Christian-looking book to me, it was one of those reads that had you thinking for hours and you know that if you pick it back up, it won't matter because you won't loose yourself you would just open up more and listen to Don's thoughts. I felt like one with his thoughts because at times I would too understand somewhat. The Book is very open minded and realistic. It is not one of those story books and that's why I enjoyed it! It taught me some good short lessons I opened up to more. I had no idea why I was reading it but it's just one of those things you enjoy reading and understand ,yet you don't know how or why. You should give it a shot and read some...it's actually good, don't let the blue cover fool you. Thanks Don for the wonderful sensation of love and unthought of battles your book portrayed! :D

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow - this is so honest, open and sincere. It shows how God puts people in your life to show, teach, encourage. It's not pretentious or overwhelming but rather encouraging.

    Wow - this is so honest, open and sincere. It shows how God puts people in your life to show, teach, and encourage. It's not pretentious or overwhelming but rather encouraging and motivating. Go slowly through the last few chapters and soak up every word.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Perspective

    I did not start my introduction to Donald Miller with Blue Like Jazz but upon reading fell in love with his honesty, humor, and perspective on Christianity. I highly recommend this book for Christian's and non-Christians. I think believers can all use a raw reminder of the responsibility we are called to as followers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    I saw the movie with my youth group, and had felt deeply disappo

    I saw the movie with my youth group, and had felt deeply disappointed in it and assumed I didn't really like the story. The book however, was a life-changer. It was fantastic and I spent countless hours searching for it after I had read two chapters in a B&N store. This was a book that I didn't just want to read, I wanted to feel it in my hands and have it on my bookshelf. The book was far, far better than the movie could ever have dreamed. It just couldnt capture the essence and thought the way it needed to. Recommending to everyone!

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  • Posted May 13, 2014

    Extraordinary and unique

    I've never given away as many copies of a book as I have this one. It is compelling. It comes at you from angles you do not expect. And, like I think Jesus did to his contemporaries, it grabs you and shakes you til you begin to see things anew. If you think you know Christianity, don't be so sure. Many of your preconceptions and assumptions will be overturned by this book. But that's a good thing. Donald Miller holds nothing back. Coming from a period of intense disillusionment with the Church, he rediscovered his faith by going to one of the least Christ-friendly places in America. The writing is deceptively simple. The stories are powerful in their directness and compelling in how they disarm you, then turn you around. Especially if you feel burned on the whole Jesus thing or assume it's a load of crap, read this one book. It's filled with people just like you. You will be surprised, in a most wonderful way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    Elijah

    U should b with cam cuz u didnt say that when u were kissin him im sorry ull probably b better off

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

     back up and ride the waves of Grace!   watch how simple everyth

     back up and ride the waves of Grace!   watch how simple everything becomes... get off the  the Christian treadmill....experience the intimate journey of a hungry and thirsty soul as its lover leads it  to living water... and  the joy LIBERTY longed for, in  sweet surrender to his GRACE alone... Christ is our goal!  easy breezy in the end....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    A must read

    I heard about this book some years ago but just got around to reading it. It was worth the wait and then some. I don't think I would have appreciated it as much when I was younger. It perfectly typified and answered some of the questions and struggles between maintaining a Christian faith in a nonreligious atmosphere and communicating God's love to others. It also made me feel a lot more comfortable and helped me come to terms with my more liberal, usually Democratic stance in the Bible Belt.

    As I told my friends, it's great to read it now and take to heart the hard lessons Don learned at my current age. I enjoyed the straightforward storytelling style, as if he was talking to a friend, and the countless real-life examples that he used to illustrate his points. There were many times when I felt he was narrating my own thoughts.

    I would recommend to anyone wanting a new perspective on Christian spirituality or spirituality in general.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    The best kind of books are the ones that make you cry and laugh

    The best kind of books are the ones that make you cry and laugh out loud, the kind where the pages are torn and wrinkled from coffee spills that you keep on your shelf and return to over and over again. Donald Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, has been a great edition to the shelf. He takes the reader on his journey from Texas to Oregon, where he along the way experienced living with hippies, attended an atheist college, and lived with a group of men from his church. Throughout this journey, Miller discusses Christianity, love, and faith in a real and raw manner. Blue Like Jazz is no ordinary book; it doesn’t follow the rules and standard book guidelines. This treasure is more of a journal or diary of Miller’s insight and outlook on Christianity as God takes him through the crazy journey that is life. Donald Miller and his way with words had me flipping through the pages where he speaks of his loneliness to his faith in God. Miller and some of his decisions and experiences give the stereotypical hypocrite name to Christians and can catch some Christian readers off guard. I suggest to the reader to be open minded when reading this book and truly dig in and think about what Miller has to say. His thoughts and insight are raw and may be objective to Christian readers, but he answers many questions that we as people ask ourselves on a daily basis. I highly recommend Blue Like Jazz to those questioning their faith in God, and ‘old timer’ Christians as well. Blue Like Jazz is a great book of insight on: faith, love, and God to any Christians no matter where they are on their journey with God.

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