Soul Language on Paper

Blue Like Jazz resonates with readers who grapple with the paradoxes of faith

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Donald Miller
Thomas Nelson, 256 pages, $13.99

Think of Donald Miller as a cleaned-up, Gen X Anne Lamott with testosterone, and this fresh memoir-like collection of essays as his version of Traveling Mercies. Miller (Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance) shares his journey from a self-described "Bible salesman on steroids" to discovering the freedom of embracing a God bigger than he can quantify.

"The more I climb outside my pat answers, the more invigorating the view, the more my heart enters into worship," he writes.

Whether he's musing over his romantic foibles or detailing his frustrations with the church, his stories are permeated with gritty authenticity and humor. Miller poignantly recounts the challenges of sharing Christ with the mostly pagan students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he is active in campus ministry. His disappointment with organized Christianity is balanced by his passion for Jesus. Miller eventually finds that Christian spirituality is like jazz music, "very hard to get on paper … a language of the soul. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful."

Although the book is drenched in pop culture references and clearly aimed at a Gen X audience, Miller's words will resonate with any believer who has ever grappled with the paradoxes of faith.

Related Elsewhere

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The Dick Staub Interview: Why God is Like Jazz | Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, talks about why Christians need writers who honestly deal with their faults and why Penguin sex is an apt metaphor for believing in Christ.

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