It’s hard to say what Blue Like Jazz is about, except that the subtitle says, quite aptly, that it’s about “nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality.”
And Don Miller really is nonreligious about his approach to his being a Christian. None of the annoying jargon or the high-flying theology, no neatly wrapped conclusions and cliche sayings.
I had a hard time getting into it at first because it was almost too conversational for me. There’s nothing beautiful about the language, no artistry and craftsmanship, just a bunch of everyday chatter. But I guess you could say that that’s where Don Miller’s wordsmith skills lie: in putting truth in the ordinary. I’m still undecided though.
Occasionally I get an interesting idea, or a phrase will make me smile. Like the line, “I love to give charity, but I don’t want to be charity. This is why I have so much trouble with grace.”
I’m still not sure whether or not to recommend it. But it is interesting enough for me to recommend that you click on Don Miller’s website (which I really like) and download the first chapter, at least. No, not even that, even just the author’s note, which is:
“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Baghdad Theatre one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music.
“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
“I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.”