Blue Like Jazz

So it has been two months since I have posted. Not too much to update about. Life is good. Loving my husband. Loving my job. Learning alot. Will hopefully have a post soon with some of our anniversary pictures, but lately I have been reading quite a bit and thought I might blog a little about it- and maybe continue to blog about whatever book I happen to be engrossed with on that particular day.

One I just finished up a few minutes ago is “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. Took me about three weeks to finish it. Not because it was particulary long or boring or anything- just a whole lot to soak in. For those who haven’t heard of the book, it’s basically a guys personal thoughts and perceptions on Christianity. I can’t say I agree with everything. I don’t completely agree with any book I read except for the Bible, but I feel the book challenged me in a whole new way about the difference between Christianity as a ‘religion’ and Christianity as a ‘personal spirituality’.

So here are some thoughts, opinions, etc. that I pulled from the book. This first quote, more of a story, is an excellent example of Christ’s unconditional love and acceptance of us- and how He truly is right there with us all the time, always wanting to be our Rescuer if we just simply trust and follow.
“The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend’s team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where hostages had been imprisoned for months. The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified. When the SEALs entered the room, they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them that they were Americans. The SEALs asked the hostages to follow them, but the hostages wouldn’t. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn’t believe their rescuers were really Americans. The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn’t possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALs, the folksingers friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arm around them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started looking at him, finally meeting his eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go.
The story ends with all of the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier.
I never liked it when preachers said we had to follow Jesus. Sometimes they would make Him sound angry. But I liked the story the folksinger told. I liked the idea of Jesus becoming man, so that we would be able to trust Him, and I liked that He healed people and loved them and cared deeply about how people were feeling.” (ch. 3 pgs 33-34)

“Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God’s love will. The ability to accept God’s unconditional grace and ferocious love is all the fuel we need to obey Him in return. Accepting God’s kindness and free love is something the devil does not want us to do. If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His love.” (ch. 7 pg 86)

“A friend of mine, a young pastor who recently started a church, talks to me from time to time about the new face of church in America- about the postmodern church. He says the new church will be different from the old one, that we will be releveant to culture and the human struggle. I don’t think any church has ever been relevant to culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. If the supposed new church believes in trendy music and cool web pages, then it is not relevant to culture either. It is just another tool of Satan to get people to be passionate about nothing.” (ch. 10 pg 111)

Chapter 11 is entitled “Confession”. This chapter was one of my favorites. It’s too much to quote so I will try my best to summarize. The author of this book, Don, took a few classes at Reed college in Portland Oregan. The college is known for being quite immoral. They have a weekend once a year where the college students sleep around, get drunk and do drugs and what not. Don and his group of Christian friends had the idea to make a ‘Confession Booth’- with the idea that the college students would think it would be to confess their ‘sins’ of drinking and doing drugs and what not. But instead, Don and his bible study friends did the confessing. They confessed that Christians as a whole, including themselves, were judgemental, unloving and were not portraying Jesus Christ for who He truly is. What a statement and impact that it made on that college campus.

“It was the affection of Christ, not the brutality of the town, that healed Zacchaues.” (ch 15 pg 183)

Oh, how I could go on and on. Those are just some highlights-some things that hit home for me. I am about to start reading J. I. Packer “Knowing God” next. Quite the contrast in views and writing styles, but learning all the same. My goal is to write a review on each chapter-we’ll see how that goes considering I haven’t blogged in two months- but I think it will help to keep me focused on what I am reading as well as to help process certain thoughts and ideas. And by all means, feel free to comment and put in your two cents worth (or more).