Blue Like Jazz : Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller

blue like jazzMany years ago, while I was a part of a Bible study group, the leader of the group gave all of us a copy of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  Apparently, he was so smitten with the book that he wanted all of us to read it.  I actually read it and fell in love with  Miller’s unconventional journey in his Christian faith.  I wanted an adventure like him too, and to be able to tell the tale in an authentic voice.

After more than ten years of reading the book, with notes scribbled all over the pages and margins, I am revisiting it for a review.  Why did I like Blue Like Jazz so much?  It was refreshing to me after reading many books on Christianity.  Some Christian books feel like books of advice to me, but this one has a narrative, a story to tell, from a different and other perspective.  It has moments that everyone could relate to, for instance:

Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision.  Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.

Now that is something I can relate to, much more than an interpretation on Scripture that another book might do instead.  I am not saying that those types of books are bad and irrelevant –  just that someone young and open like me will most likely appreciate Miller’s open and poignant faith journey more.

However, I do not think Blue Like Jazz is a perfect book, as a review from Challies.com stated that “the great failing of this book is the author’s belief that Christianity is a feeling, and is not something that can be rationally explained or understood.”  I believe it may be best to take this book as one man’s experience with Christianity, not the gospel truth, and get the best out of the book with that in mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book as a memoir; it inspires me to attempt to write my own.

(Stella Oh, Benjamin Branch Library)

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