Monday, April 26, 2010

Blue Like Jazz

I really, really hate religious books. They're so freaking cheesy and lofty and usually quite useless. I want a book in this category to at least hint at what I'm supposed to do with all that cheese. They usually don't.

I started reading Blue Like Jazz with hesitation, certain it would make me gag. But a friend gave it to us, claiming it really did something for him, so I was determined to suffer through it if I had to. At least I could speak intelligently about how bad it was when I was done.

The poor thing had the disadvantage of immediately following a Bill Bryson book in my reading line-up. No one does first-person narrative like Bryson. Donald Miller uses weird sentence fragments and says, "Well, that's not what I really mean, but you know what I mean" more often than I liked, but I got over it. The sort of silly off-the-cuff style becomes charming. I warmed up to it, liked it, loved it, and got so involved with the words I read the whole book in about a day. It was like a letter from a quirky weirdo who actually has some stuff figured out.

And I like that he smokes and drinks and likes hippies and homos. He even listens to Wilco and Ani DiFranco. This guy is real.

I got pretty teary-eyed, even (page 125, I think). At the end, I was almost teary-eyed, but more excited than anything. My heart was all poofy and wiggly-feeling. It was like closing a letter from a friend -- a letter that has shown up at just the right time.

I'm ready to do some things differently now.

For one thing, I'm apologizing openly now for not loving people enough. I'm sorry for anything I've done to further the bad impression people have of Christians. That's not what I am. That's not what most Christians are.

There's more I want to do to be better at this thing (life, Christian spirituality, love, etc...), but I'm going to have my husband read this book first. Together, we can really move forward and make some important decisions.

Good stuff is gonna go down, folks.


Kara said...

I seriously love Don Miller because of his realness. I've never felt him preaching at me while I've read his books. His latest book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" really pushed me to think about how I act and how I live my life. I'm very guilty of not loving enough and being a poor example of what a Christian should look like/act like. I don't feel like Don condemns me, but enlightens me on ways I can change.

Another book I'd recommend is Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs. She toured with Don this past fall and I really liked her book as well.

Sorry, this was probably better suited for an email, not a comment. :)

Kimberly Pye said...

No, no! Thanks for the comment! Thanks for sharing with everyone!

I was so pleased with this book, I'm quite sure I'll be checking out his others.

Cathleen said...

You captured my thoughts about this book exactly! I really really hate religious books, too, and was given this book as a birthday gift from a much-loved employee. I put off reading it for months and months and months and finally couldn't put it off any longer. I figured I would just suffer through it, but instead I was delighted to find that it spoke to me and moved me to be more loving and accepting of people. Yay! So glad you like it too.