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Blue Like Jazz

April 6, 2008 2 comments

I’m reading a book a friend let me borrow called Blue Like Jazz (by Donald Miller).  I haven’t read a lot lately, short of the internet and the bible.  I go on reading binges now and again, mostly the latest Grisham or Crichton novel…but this is a non-fiction account of a man and his realizations about God and how he became a Christian, so it’s a welcome change of pace.  His testimony is so different than what I’ve experienced (growing up in the church and believing that God was real from a young age), that his perspectives are changing the way I think about God.  I learned about God in an institutionalized atmosphere.  Sunday school, Psalty the Singing songbook, McGee and Me, the Bible itself; you get the picture.  It wasn’t as experiential as I would have liked, but I was young.  I do remember a few times that I experienced God in a tangible way as a child, but now that I’m older, I understand the world around me better, why we need a Savior, and what selfishness and “the flesh” really is, so I am experiencing God more now than I ever have.  Especially during these trying times with life stuff happening (Bryce’s heart condition, being married with two kids, ministering in the church, realizing I’m still selfish and needing to reach out to others more, that the Cubs won’t ever win a world series in my lifetime, and that the Hokey-Pokey ISN’T what it’s all about).

What I like about Don’s account is that he didn’t approach Christianity as a get-out-of-hell-free card, like the Gospel seems to be sold so often.  He understood that there was something in him that wasn’t right.  That he was doing things that felt wrong, and he had guilt, and a nagging feeling that the problems in this world were due to people’s self-absorption.  Wars, genocide, racism: it’s all a direct result of sin and people’s selfishness.  He finally equated this selfishness with sin.  This, in turn, pointed him toward God, who forgave his sins and loved him unconditionally.  He speaks of his struggles as a Christian to accept God’s grace (always feeling, like I have at times, that he needs to be self-disciplined in his own strength to be sinless, in order to be loved by God, and if he sins, he feels bad and condemned all the time, not allowing God’s grace to set him free), and to accept God’s love so he can love others.  Sorry for the run-on sentences, it’s late, and I’m a business, not an English, major.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far I like it, enough that I want a copy for myself so I can write in it (I have a bid on a used copy on Ebay right now…”Shop Victoriously!”).  I hope that I can take some of the truth that he found about God and apply it to my life.  I’d like to change my thinking and understanding of God to fit the truth more closely.  I feel I have a partial truth and I know my whole life will be spent pursuing the complete truth of who God is, and what He wants for and from me.  It’s refreshing reading other accounts of how people “found” God.

There is so much he’s covered that I wish I could relate.  I want the book so I can read it again, because I have a tendency to read something, really like it and want to remember it, and then forget it soon afterward.  It’s frustrating!  Wow, long post…gotta get to bed.