Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened." ―Donald Miller

In Donald Miller's early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal.
Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God.
In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.
For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture.
For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real.
For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion in life.
Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.

A few years ago, I read this quote about the book, "Blue Like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality" and went out and bought the book off a bargain table at a Christian bookstore.  I loved it!

It's a memoir, written in short essays about Donald Miller's growing up in a Christian home, but eventually coming to his own understanding of God and spirituality.  He openly talks about the parts of Christianity that he doesn't agree with, the parts he questions, and the parts that fill his life with grace.  It's funny, clever, and honestly written.

And it made me feel like I wasn't alone.

I love God.  I love Jesus.  I feel led by the Holy Spirit.  But I don't always have all the answers.  I don't always agree with my denomination.  I don't always agree with the most respected of theologians.  I'm liberal.  I believe God loves all people - no matter what. 

I believe God is bigger than we could ever imagine or describe.  And I will never pretend to know all the answers.

And, at the heart of it, I think this book says the same thing.  Which is why I loved it.  (It's not something you hear very often...)

So when they decided to make the book into a movie, I was pretty excited!  Don Miller followed up with the book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," which was about writing the screenplay - and how his journey in helping to write a movie made him realize that life could be so much more!  He realized that all of our lives are stories - and we have the choice to make them stories worth telling!  (It's a great book - maybe even better than BLJ!)

Anyway, shortly after I read that book - it was announced that the movie would not get made.  The Hollywood producers didn't want it, because it was too "Christian" and the "Christian" production companies didn't want it because it wasn't "Christian" enough...  Blah blah blah.  In the end, it meant they couldn't raise the money to make the film.

Till two guys in Memphis decided to start a Kickstarter campaign online!  They put the word out that they only way to get the movie made, was for those of us who wanted to see it, to chip in! 

So I did!

For the small amount I gave, I got a signed poster; phone call from the director, Steve Taylor; a mug; my name in the credits as "Associate Producer;" an "Associate Producer" t-shirt; and two free tickets to the premiere in Portland, OR!


I was invited to a free screening and Q&A here in the Twin Cities.  Very fun.

And yes, we went to Portland.  A funny experience - but once in a lifetime, right?  (I'll write more about that when I post about the trip!)

So...  In a nutshell, if you've ever questioned your faith.  If you've ever felt like you didn't fit in because of your faith.  If you've struggled with how your faith compares with today's views...  Take a chance and read or go see Blue Like Jazz.  I'd love to hear what you think!

(By the way, the movie is very different from the book - it had to be, to translate the message to film.  I'd suggest experiencing them both.  The one scene that makes both of them worth every penny and every second is the "confessional scene".  Amazing.)

For more info on the movie, check out the website here.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Awesome youth group kids.
2.  Getting through another sermon!  Phew!
3.  Very nice responses to the sermon - even better.
4.  A wonderful Sunday nap!
5.  Reading several good books at once.  Ha!
6.  Anne Lamott.
7.  Paying off debt!  Woo-hoo!
8.  Ephesians 2:19-22.  I bet Don Miller likes this verse...  Just a thought.
9.  Authors who make us think, and inspire.
10.  Being part of something bigger than myself!

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