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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Donald Miller & Blue Like Jazz

Want to know more about Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz? There's a very interesting article here - not just about him, but also about the emergent church movement that seems to have latched on to the types of things he's saying.

The article's a bit old (Feb 2005), but if you are interested in these things, it's definitely worth reading (it's authored by a non-Christian who writes for his hometown newspaper, so you get a nice, real-world local perspective). You probably won't agree with everything Miller says (I don't), but before we criticize, we would do well to consider this closing snippet on the last page:
At Starbucks, after I close my notebook, Miller looks at me. "So you've been talking to people, working on your stories," he says. "Has anyone explained to you what the Gospel is?"

I say, no, not in so many words.

"I could give you the sales pitch," he says. "Because maybe, who knows, 10 years down the road…"

Then Miller proceeds, in the most low-key and friendly way, to explain that God loves me, wants to have a relationship with me-and, for that matter, everyone. The relationship was damaged in the Garden, but Christ came to earth to fix it. The invitation, Miller says, is always open.

"That's one of the hardest things to do, to share your faith," Miller says when he's done. "I mean, especially with a journalist, someone you know could just hang you out to dry.

"So that's it," he says. "Plus, you have to vote Republican. Did I mention that?"
That to me is very, very impressive. Miller sharing his faith with the reporter who is just there to get his story, and the reporter actually writing positively about it. How many non-Christians would say the same of us?


At 7:21 PM, October 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't some of the theology of Miller way off base?
From what I read of the book he has some serious issues that should be addressed.

At 8:41 PM, October 03, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Hey there!

I know enough of Miller to know that I probably don't agree with everything he says, but I definitely like Blue Like Jazz and think people should read it. Hard to respond beyond that without know more specifically what you object to...

At 2:03 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Kimberly said...

I think that is one of the things I find most challenging about Donald Miller & friends - the ease with which they can share their heart and their lives with others. I think that some of us that were raised on "do you know if you died tomorrow you would go to heaven" and the bridge illustration are having to re-learn how to authentically and naturally share about our encounters with Christ.

At 2:53 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Well said, Kimberly. I just mosied on over to your blog where I found you had written one of the funniest paragraphs I have seen in a while:
I have fallen in love with musicians before (Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Chris Taylor, Rhett Miller, each and every guy in Old Crow Medicine Show), but rarely with an author that I recall. Most of my favorite authors are women, and since I could never be a lesbian because girls are so catty (aside from the whole morality issue), I have not fallen for any of them. I had an infatuation with Fitzgerald in high school, but our values were too opposed for me to fall in love with him. Donald and I, on the other hand, understand each other. Or rather, I feel like I get him, seeing as he has no idea who I am. Realistically, I am sure he sounds much better on paper. I know that I can present pieces of myself on paper that display my wit, my charm and my eccentricities. However, I can refrain from discussing how I clear my sinuses in the shower, or clip my toenails while watching Best Week Ever, or pull into Shakey’s twice in one day. Or I can tell you all of those things and spin them into quirky anecdotes. My point being, my life isn’t nearly as interesting as my writing and everybody poops. I poop. Jesus pooped. Donald Miller poops. But he is also an excellent writer, and I am drawn to people’s words.
Well said again!

The rest of you can read it for yourself over here.

At 8:53 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

"Isn't some of the theology of Miller way off base?"

I am seriously getting tired of we in the Reformed world always going there first. Hmmm, let me ignore whatever this guy might be trying to tell me about life because I'm not sure if he punched all the right holes on my theological talley care. Give me a break.

Miller will reach far, far, more people for Christ than all the Reformed scrabble players who think that being a Christian is about getting all your theological word tiles in the right squares. I for one admire what he set out to do in his books, to be totally honest about his struggles and doubt in a (Xian) world that he knows will take any opportunity to stomp all over anyone who does (see commentor #1 above).

And anyone who's actually read BLJ all the way through knows that sharing his faith with a stranger as he did to this reporter is a huge step for him. I'm inclined to applaud rather than say, "I thank you, O Lord, that I am not like this theologically insufficient publican."


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