Contemplations

What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blue Like Jazz

I recently read the book, "Blue Like Jazz", Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, at the suggestion of one of the college students in our church. The book was published in 2003, authored by Donald Miller.

I took some notes on what I read and want to share some of the things in the book I found of interest.

I will forewarn you before you read this book. Miller makes steaks out of several sacred cows.

From the author's note: "I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theatre in Portland 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 this happened.

Page 13 - "I believe the biggest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time."

Page 18 - "Just think about the Congress...and even the president. The genius of the American system is checks and balances. Nobody gets all the power. Everybody is watching somebody else. It is as if the founding fathers knew, intrinsically, that the soul of man, unwatched, is perverse."

Page 23 - "...the path to joy winds through the dark valley."

Page 86 - "Our behavior will not be changed long with self-discipline, but fall in love and a human will accomplish what he never thought possible. ...by accepting God's love for us, we fall in love with Him, and only then do we have the fuel we need to obey."

Page 111 - "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 passionate about nothing."

Page 112 - "I am learning to believe better things. I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is the most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe. I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them."

Page 152 - "I think our society puts too much pressure on romantic love, and that is why so many romances fail. Romance can't possibly carry all that we want it to."

Page 173 - "Loneliness is something that happens to us, but I think it is something we can move ourselves out of. I think a person who is lonely should dig into a community, give himself to a community, humble himself before his friends, initiate community, teach people to care for each other, love each other."
Jesus wants us interacting, eating together, laughing together, praying together. Loneliness is something that came with the fall."

Page 181 - "Living in community made me realize one of my faults. I was addicted to myself."

Page 205 - "Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little time allowing our hearts to feel awe."

Page 206 - "I don't think there is any better worship than wonder."

Page 233 - "A guy I know named Alan went around the country asking ministry leaders questions. He went to successful churches and asked the pastors what they were doing, why what they were doing was working. It sounded very boring except for one visit he made to a man named Bill Bright, the president of a big ministry. Alan said he was a big man, full of life, who listened without shifting his eyes. Alan asked a few questions. I don't know what they were, but as a final question he asked Dr. Bright what Jesus meant to him. Alan said Dr. Bright could not answer the question. He said Dr. Bright just started to cry. He sat there in his big chair behind his big desk and wept."

Page 237 - "I think the most important thing that happens within Christian spirituality is when a person falls in love with Jesus."

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