blue like jazz ... musings and a review

i talked to several people who told me it was a great book, and a really really smart friend who told me that it was a shallow book for shallow christians. as i read it, i found that i identified with a lot of aspects of it, but i could understand how someone could say it was shallow. when i told my really really smart friend that i was enjoying it and was identifying with many of the issues addressed in the book, he told me not to worry; even deep pools had a shallow end. i think i might be shallow, but i'm not losing sleep. if you're shallow, do you even know you're shallow?

anyway, back to the book. i enjoyed it. granted, i enjoy most books, but i did especially enjoy this one. it was nice to read, and offered me several things, i think, that i need to think about. plus, he went camping, and i love to camp. i think i want to find a bunch of hippies in the woods to live with for a month.

there were some issues in the book that bothered me, though. first of all, he drank a lot and smoked a pipe and i think used weed, too. or else he hung out with people who professed christianity and smoked weed. i understand arguments about drinking being okay so long as one doesn't get drunk (heck, i've made those arguments), but i think that, on a grand scale, there's no real reason for a christian to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or especially use any sort of recreational drug if, for no other reason, so as not to give offense to a brother or sister in christ.

but there were some really good things addressed. like, for instance, his discussion about the struggles he had when he got roommates. i never thought about how i struggle with relationships because i want to be the star. i think that miller had a really good point when he talked about a one man show, and how he always wanted to be the star, and didn't want to share the stage with anyone else in the show. yeah, so i'm a bit greedy with the spotlight.

so maybe that's why i struggle with relationships with, well, everyone. i want to be the star. the only time i'm willing to give up the central role is when someone else interests me more than myself (and i do find myself incredibly interesting). so, when i'm in a relationship, and i cease to find the other person interesting, i become disengaged and, ultimately, i bring the relationship to an end.

but i digress. see? even when i blog, i talk about me and not the topic. this is about don miller and "blue like jazz". it was interesting, really. i disagree with a lot of his doctrinal positions (but i knew i would), but it did put a desire in my heart for something more, something different. i want to be part of a group that reaches out, embracing all of the wonderful components of the emerging church, but doesn't let doctrine slide. i want to have a place to go where people can come, where people would want to come, even people who aren't christians, a place where there is coffee and big comfy chairs and a stage and live bands and jars of clay or anberlin or seventh day slumber playing on the PA and pool tables and ping pong tables and foosball and just a mellow environment that people can come to and read and socialize and hang out, sort of a super starbucks, that is christian based. i want to learn to spend time with people, not just because they're christian or of the same theological ideology, but because they're people, and they matter, and they're created in god's image. that's what i want.

so the book was, ultimately, good for me. i want to develop an orthodoxy based on the bible, not on tradition. and i don't want to think about it as an orthodoxy, but i want to live it, to internalize it.

everyone should read it, and be careful, because he's wrong about a lot of stuff (trinity, anyone?). but read it, because miller offers some great perspectives and great ideas. plus, he goes camping.