this past semester, the guys in my community group at cru (bible study group) and i were doing a book study on blue like jazz, by don miller. we didn’t get to finish before the school year ended, but i was able to finish it today. definitely recommend it, a lot more attention keeping than many other christian books and a lot of what is in there is very applicable to our lives - on christianity, religion in general, and just thoughts about life.
here’s the book, via pdf if you don’t feel like finding a hard copy. Blue Like Jazz
some parts that stuck out to me:
on not “feeling” God’s presence all the time
And Moses was right. God is not here to worship me, to mold Himself into something that will help me fulfill my level of comfort. I think part of my problem is that I want spirituality to be more close and more real. I understand why people wear crystals around their necks and why they perform chants and gaze at stars. They are lonely. I’m not talking about lonely for a lover or a friend. I mean lonely in the universal sense, lonely inside the understanding that we are tiny little people on a tiny little earth suspended in an endless void that echoes past stars and stars of stars.
for those who have been hurt by the church
So here is a step-by-step formula for how you, too, can go to church without getting angry:
- Pray that God will show you a church filled with people who share your interests and values.
- Go to the church God shows you.
- Don’t hold grudges against any other churches. God loves those churches almost as much as He loves yours.
Tony the Beat Poet says I am finicky, that the longest I have been in love is eight minutes. That really isn’t true. I just get crushes very quickly, like lightning or something, and then they go away. Mostly they go away because I am afraid to do anything about them. I am afraid of rejection, and I am afraid that I won’t feel the same way tomorrow, and I have no faith in the system that God made.
on relationships & love
The problem with Christian culture is we think of love as a commodity. We use it like money … If somebody is doing something for us, offering us something, be it gifts, time, popularity, or what have you, we fill they have value, we feel they are worth something to us, and, perhaps, we feel they are priceless. I could see it so clearly, and I could feel it in the pages of my life. This was the thing that had smelled so rotton all these years. I used love like money. The church used love like money. With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly financed the onces who did.
and finally, for a bit of comic relief
Here’s a tip I’ve never used: I understand you can learn a great deal about girldom by reading Pride and Prejudice, and I own a copy, but I have never read it. I tried. It was given to me by a girl with a little note inside that read: What is in this book is the heart of a woman. I am sure the heart of a woman is pure and lovely, but the first chapter of said heart is hopelessly boring. Nobody dies at all. I keep the book on my shelf because girls come into my room, sit on my couch, and eye the books on the adjacent shelf. You have a copy of Pride and Prejudice, they exclaim in a gentle sigh and smile. Yes, I say. Yes, I do.