02 January 2011
Blue Like Jazz
Miller, Donald. Blue Like Jazz. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003.
Similar to Lauren Winner's Girl Meets God (which I also highly recommend), Blue Like Jazz reads as a spiritual memoir. Miller is very honest in his approach to life and religion, and I appreciate his candidness as he describes his spiritual journey.
I have two "take-away" points from this book. The first has to do with an incident where Miller encounters a woman who is purchasing groceries using food stamps. He recognizes the awkwardness and shame in the situation, and wonders how he would react if he were to need to live on food stamps: "I love to give to charity, but I don't want to be charity. This is why I have so much trouble with grace. . . . It isn't that I want to earn my own way to give something to God, it's that I want to earn my own way so I won't be charity. As I drove over the mountain that afternoon, realizing I was too proud to receive God's grace, I was humbled. Who am I to think myself above God's charity? And why would I forsake the riches of God's righteousness for the dung of my own ego?" (74-85).
The second point involves the author's discussion of what he would be willing to die for, and his ponderings that living for something is harder than dying for something: "If I live what I believe, then I don't believe very many noble things. My life testifies that the first thing I believe is that I am the most important person in the world. My life testifies to this because I care more about my food and shelter and happiness than about anybody else" (111-112).
This is an excellent book, well worth the time spent reading it. I may actually go back and re-read it before I have to return it to the library.