A decade after the book rose to popularity, I finally got around to reading Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz.
What I liked best was the honest candor he expressed through his experiences. He didn’t speak from a platitude. He talked about his life as though we were having a chat on a ski slope chair lift.
Did I agree with everything? No. But I don’t expect people to always agree with me either. It seemed more like a book where you listen and learn about someone else’s perspective, rather than fighting to be right or convince them of something.
My favorite analogy was in chapter 3 when he described a situation where a military man had to earn the trust of the hostages he was trying to rescue by becoming one of them. Comparing that to Jesus, Miller says, “I liked the idea of Jesus becoming a man, so that we would be able to trust Him, and I like that He healed people and loved them and cared deeply about how people were feeling.” Later, he asked, “Is Jesus the Son of God, are we being held captive in a world run by Satan, a world filled with brokenness, and do I believe Jesus can rescue me from this condition?”
I also enjoyed his chapters that dealt with being alone and being in community. Although he spoke from an introverted perspective, as someone who likes to be around people, I could still relate to the idea that my life is often lived as though each day is a play, and I am the starring actress. It was eye opening and personally convicting.
I do recommend the book for adults who won’t be offended by an author who doesn’t see eye-to-eye with fundamentalist Baptists. I thought it was a great opportunity to understand a perspective that differs from my Midwestern upbringing in a non-offensive way.
Though some of the subject matter isn’t appropriate for younger audiences, I did read portions to my daughters. My boys were drawn-in by the comic book illustrations, and we had some lively conversations about the idea of the astronaut caught in outer space. Do we sometimes replace real relationships with TV Celebrities and social media? How does loneliness and community play into our lives?
Have you read it? Maybe twelve years ago? What do you remember thinking about the book?