Monday, September 10, 2007

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

“What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.” (Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, 110)

I have walked through a life of discovery with Donald Miller in reading Blue Like Jazz – Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality. I have also revisited some of the places I walked in my years of doubting God’s existence and wondering why it is often easier to be with non-Christians than it is to be with Christians.

In the midst of my wandering years I found non-Christians to be more authentic. If they were caring, they were more genuinely caring. If they were angry, they didn’t try to hide their anger. If they were laughing, they were enjoying the laughter completely. It is much easier to be around people who are genuine than it is to be around people who are trying to be something they are not.

The most enjoyable element of being in a group of unchurched folks is that they generally don’t expect anything of others. This, I think, is the most enjoyable attraction to not attending church. Ah, you think that is a cop out?

In my early twenties, I organized a volleyball night at my church. The first few weeks the only people that came were co-workers – several of them unchurched or at least not big into church like me. We had a blast. We didn’t care who won or how well anyone was playing. We just had fun.

Then couples from my church started coming to play. And, well, the volleyball nights didn’t last much longer. The couples bickered with each other, picked on others from the church and pretty much made the fun disappear. It didn’t help that the church leadership blamed our unchurched guests and their children for messing with some stuff in the basement of the gymnasium. Truth was, the unchurched kids didn’t wander away from the volleyball court because they didn’t know the church.

Miller talks about love and community in this book a lot. We all need to feel loved and we can’t experience love without community – it’s impossible. The problem is that for many Christians, “love” means making people behave a certain way or behaving a certain way themselves.

This book has made me look at myself and remember how I used to feel about Christians. Am I what I used to hate? Do I “do” what I say I believe?

Blue Like Jazz is a good eye opener for Christians and an authentic look for non-Christians at one man’s discovery that true Christian spirituality is like jazz music. It’s something you feel. It’s something very difficult to get on paper. “But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful” when it is lived out authentically.

Additional comments at - see blog entries


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog! We seem to blog about similar things. I guess that's why I like yours. I've got you on my blogroll now.

I totally agree with what you are saying. I'm not sure at what point in our walk we begin to fall into a robot mode and forget what being a Christian is all about: loving Jesus and leading others to Him. I know I have experienced what you are talking about. I call it "Country Club Christians." Its where its more about a club than a relationship. I'm sure I've been the unintentional giver of this attitude at times. I hate admitting that.

I am currently reading Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What." I think they are very similar. Its made me think about my walk in a different way. Again, its about THE relationship and relationships that spring out of that.

Thanks for another great post!!

A Life Inspired said...

I have not read this book; it sounds interesting, but I think it sad that Christians seem to have a more difficult time being authentic.

I was reading through your blog and would love to have you join us at, a free site connecting Christians locally and globally. At, Christians connect for community, engage in spiritual growth, and reach out to impact their world for Jesus. We are trying to get the word out to Christians, hope you don't mind the invite.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
Email for reprint permission