Blue Like Jazz


I have never been brainy. But I have always been the perfect student in whatever situation I find myself in. I easily got good grades in school. My sunday school teachers and small group leaders loved me. If I were graded in those situations, I would have a 4.0. Math was a my worst subject by far, but I always got A’s in my classes.

Do you want to know my secret? I never questioned authority. I couldn’t question authority because I never once thought outside of authority. I did what my math teacher told me to do. I was shocked when my classmates would ask why y=ax+b. I didn’t care why, the teacher said it was true and I simply solved the equation in the way my teacher asked us to. Why do you need to know the reason behind something when you can just solve it and move on?

I’ve done this, and do this with most things in my life. I don’t question anything. If that’s the way it was when I first discovered something, that’s the way it will and should always be. In this way, I am very black and white. This is not an admirable quality. Sure, it makes me incredibly easy to get along with because I have no backbone and everyone likes to have someone who agrees with them.

But this morning, as I was finishing this book, all these conversations started running through my head that ultimately, ashamed me. So many times I’ve been in conversation and the person opposite the table from me makes some offhand remark implying an opinion that I in no way agree with and yet I jump to say, “yes, of course, totally”. I have no idea what I’m even saying! I think I’ve been calling it love and reassurance all these years. I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone feel stupid.

I loved this book, first of all, because Donald Miller is incredibly human. He really lets you see into his soul, even though it means you’ll like and dislike him throughout the book.

Often I found myself judging Mr. Miller completely. Thinking to myself, I would have never done that. But ultimately, I found myself loving the true person that he was, one that was “cranky” sometimes, “selfish” and “immature” sometimes (his words, not mine).

This book taught me to think about my surroundings. To think about what I say, what I agree to, what I have opinions on. I’m convinced Donald Miller thinks more in one day than I ever have in my life.

As I read this book, story after story of his thoughts about the events, people, and institutions around him, I was so convicted. I have always been one to follow someone else, without fuss. I don’t challenge anything about my leader, because I simply haven’t thought enough to have an opinion different than my leader.

If I had to guess Mr. Millers purpose in writing this book, it would be that he wanted us, the readers, to experience the journey he’s been on with God. To experience his frustrations, his questions, his joys, his victories. And to that I say, bravo.

This book challenged me not because it made feel guilty or like I needed to change my life in a very specific way, but it challenged me because throughout the story the main character, namely Donald Miller, was challenged.

The English teacher that changed the way I looked at literature and writing always told me, “Show. Don’t tell. Show.” This book is best example of that lesson I’ve ever seen. He simply laid his life (and his friends’) before the reader and showed me what God has to offer.

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