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Blue Like Jazz
Blue Like Jazz

My wife and I just went and saw the movie, Blue Like Jazz. It peaked our interest, since we both read the book.
I agree with some of the other reviews that I’ve read. It’s hard to capture Don Miller’s stream of consciousness that he uses in the book, and then translate that into a movie. I liked the movie, although I would warn that this isn’t an overtly “Christian” movie.
It does tell the story of Miller’s life. It focuses on some of the dysfunction in his family, and some of the elements that are unhealthy in the church. This possibly leads to some stereotyping of Christians, but it is Don’s story. I felt like that was key for me to keep in mind when I was reading the book, and watching the movie.
Kathryn Frazier shares a helpful summary,

Steve Taylor’s trademark satirical humor shined in his screenplay through snappy dialogue and clever imagery, with an over-arching feel that –as the character Penny put it–“We all have our crap.” We sure do.

I loved the resolution. I suppose in part, because there was a positive ending. There was transformation in Miller’s life. After being very bitter, and frustrated with the church and God, he repented. He might not describe it that way, but he recognized his own shortcomings. He realized and confessed that he was ashamed of Jesus, and of being associated with him. He recognized that there are unhealthy elements in churches, and that he was part of the problem. Then he began to confess his sins, his shortcomings to the other students. In doing so he was professing the gospel.
I liked the way he confessed to being afraid to admit that he loved Jesus. He thought of Jesus as the nerd that you know, but don’t want to associate with, because it makes you look bad. I think this is something many Christians struggle with. We are ashamed of Jesus, because we live in a culture that is increasingly hostile towards Christ and Christianity.
Obviously, this is my take, and I’m in no way a professional movie critic. I do like the message of recognizing our sins, even the sins of the church and then asking forgiveness. This is a better option than getting defensive. The world needs to see the difference that the gospel and grace makes in our lives. A good place to begin is with repentance. As Luther states, “all of life is repentance.”
Here are some other reviews that you might want to check out:
Blue Like Jazz the Movie FTW
Blue Like Jazz: A Movie Review
Blue Like Jazz: Thoughts of a Christian Viewer
I’m curious to hear other’s views. If you’ve read the book or saw the movie, what do you think? Did you like it? Did you have concerns about the way they portrayed Christianity and the church?
In His Grip, Dave


  • By Eugene C Scott
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Well said, Dave. I like it that you are not a professional. Then I got to hear what you really thought. I too was moved by the confessional scene. I also appreciated the resolution but also some open endedness there that allowed the room for hope or seeing the story continue.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Good point – the story goes on.

  • By Jeremy
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I liked the book, and I hope to see the movie. Thanks for the review!

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      I think you’ll like it and I do think it helps having read the book before you see the movie.

  • By Chris Jordan
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for the post. I have read the book, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. I wasn’t a big fan of the book – in fact, I didn’t like it all – because I found that rather than being a helpful book to point people towards Jesus and give them answers, it rather helped solidify in the minds of his readers some of their reasons for not liking Christianity and the church. like many within the emerging church ranks, I found that he asked more questions and never really gave any answers. So – why write a book? And, as a Christian, I LOVE Jesus and His church, and don’t care too much for authors who bash the Bride of Christ… I know the church isn’t all that it should be – or all that it one day will be – but I won’t speak against the bride that Jesus loved and gave His life for… just my two cents!

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Yes, I can see your point and think I understand what you are saying. It helped me when I was going through the book to remember that he was sharing his journey, and being very vulnerable in the process. I didn’t get the impression that he was trying to bash the church, although I can see how you can come away with that impression. I mean he did speak of some bad experiences he had. I think in part, too I just saw that as part of his story, and that there are some things in the Evangelical church in the U.S. that could use improvement.
      In the epistles Paul exhorted the church in areas where they were sinning, or where they needed to improve. Obviously, this book isn’t on par with the Apostle Paul’s writings, but I feel it’s okay to take a hard objective look at the church while still loving the church. I think the problem with some is they are critical of the church, and they don’t love the church. They don’t see that it is Christ’s Bride and that it is worth defending.
      Thanks for your comment. I enjoy the dialogue!

      • By Chris Jordan
        Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm

        Thanks for your thoughtful response to my comment (and for approving the comment, even though I disagreed with you!)… I appreciate your reply. I do understand that Blue Like Jazz was Donald Miller’s story, but I’m not sure if he needed to / should have included all of the sordid details that he did?
        And regarding your comment about Paul and his exhortation of the church where they were sinning: I agree that there are times where sin in the church needs to be confronted, but we need to do it in the manner that Jesus prescribed – go to that person first (in confidence), and then if they don’t listen, take 1-2 others etc. then bring it before the church. However, it seems like what Donald has done is rather air the dirty laundry of the church with the world… rather than dealing with it within the church.
        I agree with your statement that we (as members of Christ’s church) should take long and hard objective looks at the church, and realize that we are a work in progress and have a long way to go before we become that bride without spot or wrinkle that Jesus died to redeem. Let’s find areas where we have fallen short of His glory and work on becoming more and more like Jesus, absolutely yes and amen!
        I believe that as the church, we have the answer that the world is looking for – it’s Jesus. And the answers are found in the Bible. And if I’m going to share my story with the world, I want them to know that both Jesus, His Word, and His church are the hope that they are looking for, and encourage them to trust Him, love His Word, and love His family, too. Amen?

        • By diasolifeontheborder
          Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

          Good thoughts, Amen.
          Also, although I liked the book, and probably didn’t feel as bothered by it as you did, that’s not to say that I agree with everything he says. On the other hand, I enjoyed his honesty, and found parts of it refreshing and humorous. It made me examine my own heart, and think how am I coming across to those outside the church? Am I being a good witness for Christ? So in some ways I felt like it challenged me.
          Amen to your last paragraph and many blessings to you.

        • By diasolifeontheborder
          Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm

          Chris, I welcome the dialogue. Even dissenting views are helpful. I like to look for common ground as we engage, and I think the Lord uses it to help us grow through the process. Thanks!

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