Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t been writing as much. And yes, I’m aware you aren’t hovering over your keyboard feverishly, refreshing the home page every five minutes, but I weirdly feel like I should apologise anyway. Because I’m self-indulgent. And full of myself. And I think the world revolves around me. And I like to think you care.
But to be perfectly, I have been ultra busy. Going overseas for work, getting migraines that felt like my frontal lobe was being attacked by a cheese grater, visiting new born babies in ze familia, (I’m a first time Uncle!)
So yes, the last distraction was awesome, the others not so much – especially the cheese grater episode. Very painful.
But in-between it all I’ve been reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, the novel for Stuck in Church’s first ‘book club’! I thought I’d give you guys a quick round up of what I thought, before throwing it out to everyone else.
I really enjoyed Blue Like Jazz for the most part.
Blue Like Jazz, from what I can see, isn’t the kind of book that will change your life. If you believe in God, it may reinforce those beliefs, but it isn’t evangelical in the sense that it’s trying to convince Atheists that God exists. It’s more of an exploration of what it means to believe in God, starting from that end point. Donald Miller doesn’t waste time telling people why he believes or what he believes, he instead talks personally about his own search for spiritual identity – which sounds wanky when I put it on the page like so, but in practice is quite enlightening.
It’s the honesty of it all that is particularly beguiling, the honesty that makes Blue Like Jazz worth experiencing. Anyone that’s ever drawn a breath can appreciate the search for identity and the utterly hideous mistakes that occur along the way. Most of us would like to burn that history to the ground, but Donald Miller is happy to lay it all out for you – like a parade of teenage polaroids – bad haircuts, rubbish beards, dalliances with fundamentalism.When we ourselves look back at such photos, we’re not cringing at the clothes we wore, or the spots dotted on our forehead, most likely we’re cringing at the people we were, or the person we’ve become. We usually can’t look our former selves dead in the eye, but Donald Miller can. And I really enjoy the fact that Miller isn’t afraid to air that dirty laundry, because there’s common ground in it – I, at least, found a lot to relate to.
I think your own perspective will really affect how you read and enjoy Blue Like Jazz. I found certain sections irritating, specifically the section when Miller attacks the ‘trendy writer’ he visits at the cafe. Also, my blind hatred of hipsters often got the better of me, meaning that every time Miller referred to ‘Tony the Beat Poet’ I had to resist the urge to launch the book into the bath (which coincidentally I actually did with my missus’ copy of ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’… by mistake, kinda).
To an extent a lot of the impact was lost for me. I’ve been married to a Christian for three years now, and I like to think the whole experience has taught me the tiniest bit of tolerance. If you had given me this book when I was 20, however, when I thought I knew better than everyone (and felt the need to shove it down people’s throats) I think I really could have gotten something from this book. As someone who had really never believed in God, and harboured a real twisted dark image of Christianity and all that it had come to represent, I probably could have learned something from Blue Like Jazz. As it is I really enjoyed the honesty, and would recommend it to anyone who wanted to learn something about the Christian experience.
Well, that was what I thought! What did you guys think? Let me know below!