Being back in Georgia, but still a little far from my friends without a car means I’ve had a lot of time for reading. So along with reading The Shack, I also spent last weekend also reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Like The Shack, Way of the Master Radio was not a fan of this book either. They never really explained why (at least, not in the episodes I listened to). Instead, whenever they brought it up, they just called it Red Like Communism and moved on to talking about how Rob Bell is brainwashing kids into donating money to charity or doing service projects. (I have a few issues with Rob Bell, but he and his church have done a lot of selfless things for their community.)
So my sister’s apartment is pretty far from campus, where my friends are. And before I left to stay at a friend’s cottage on campus, I spent a day at the apartment. Alone. So I read. My sister had a copy of Blue Like Jazz, and I knew Jon Acuff, writer of Stuff Christians Like, likes Donald Miller. I mean, if the guy who writes about stuff Christians like likes it, then shouldn’t I? So I read Donald Miller’s favorite book, and I loved it a lot. I could see why Way of the Master Radio called it Red Like Communism, but I really think they were being too nit-picky with that. I think they just didn’t like that Donald Miller is a Democrat. I think Miller brings up his political views a little too much in his book, but I bet if he were Republican and talked about it all the time, I wouldn’t be complaining. I’m just like that sometimes.
Anyway, Donald Miller’s writing style is incredible! I wish I could write like him. His writing style reads like a narrative since he uses dialogue (which, according to Google Chrome, is not a word. I’m gonna fix that) and very descriptive imagery, but it’s also written in an essay format. I also like how he sometimes tells stories that seem to have nothing to do with anything at first, but then it all comes full circle by the end of the chapter.
In addition, Donald Miller doesn’t use Christianese in his writing. He touches on a lot of things that other writers would consider taboo in writing such as his chapter about Ren Fayre at Reed College, an event where all the college kids go absolutely insane getting drunk, high, and even going around campus completely nude. Instead of instantly condemning these actions and calling Reed College an awful place (We all already know those are terrible things to do. We don’t need to be told), he writes about how he shared the Gospel with his fellow students during that weekend.
Donald Miller is an extremely honest writer. He doesn’t hold much back. He shares even the most embarrassing stuff that, if I did any of it, I’d never write for the world to read. Like how he sometimes wakes up in the morning and talks to his pillow as if it were his wife (Miller isn’t married). He shares a lot of stories from his past. Times when he was right and times when he was wrong. He’s also not afraid to make generalizations, like saying how many Christians are Christians just for the image. Just for cool points. Like a favorite author of Miller’s who said Muhammad was one of his heroes just to look more trendy. It can be the same way with Jesus. Sometimes, people will use they’re Christianity just to get with a certain crowd, and I’m guilty of that sometimes, too.
There’s plenty of relatable material in Blue Like Jazz, and there’s a lot of truth. I would be surprised if there’s one person, Christian or not, that can’t find anything to relate to in the book. Donald Miller goes deep. Really deep. So deep that the things I related to in the book, I’m too afraid to share on this blog since they’re so personal. Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz has such a careful balance between depth and entertainment, that I think just about anyone would be moved in some way by it. Seriously, check it out.