Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blue Like Jazz

So I am currently in the middle of reading a book that many of you may have heard about, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. According to the title, it contains nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality. According to me, it's a look into the real-life account of a guy who is trying to find himself spiritually in a world that is seriously lacking in the love department. 
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something real. I also recommend thinking and praying over what you read about, as I have recently become very aware of the importance of not taking on the thoughts and beliefs of others before figuring out what is God's truth (Rob Bell, anyone?). 
That being said, the book is incredible. For me, it has shed a huge beam of light on the subject of love and how very, very important love is. I know... you would have never guessed that by reading my recent blog posts.
I want to share some parts of the book I've dog-eared (the book is not mine, so making notes would be rude and, technically, vandalism of personal property). These are not all related, so they may seem somewhat sporadic, but if you read them as separate thoughts then I think you will discover their impact.
1. In the book, there is a girl named Penny--long story short, she was raised in a hippie commune and found Jesus in college. And when Penny was describing how she found Jesus and asked for forgiveness and gave her life to him, the phrase she used to sum up the experience was, "It was pretty simple." Simple. Not complicated and not chaotic and scary and ritualistic. Isn't that how it should be? Giving over your life to Christ is such a natural, simple thing--and we make it so complicated. But it really is so simple. Life-changing and a complete 180 and mind-blowing, yes...but simple.

2. It also talks about how hard it is to love light and how easy it is to love darkness. This is called sin. It makes us "self-addicted...our affections prone to love things that kill [us]." It's shameful that it's true, but it is, and I couldn't let myself disagree with that even if I wanted to. It is Jesus who gives us the ability to love the things we should love, who leads us to love things that are not only not bad for us, but really, really good for us. Why I ever stray away from that, I have no idea...

3. "Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is like making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon."
Enough said.

4. Andrew comes into the picture about halfway into the book. He is a political activist, a protester, a liberal. When Miller (the author, whose real life I like to believe this book is about) is asked what he would die for, he can only come up with the gospel and three of his best friends. But Miller knows what Andrew's answer to this question would be. He would say that "dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. Living for something is the hard thing. Living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition. We live for what we believe." 
...aaaand my heart just broke a little bit.

5. Here is the part about love that I just can't stop thinking about. Miller is talking to his friend, Paul,  about his doubts about love. Paul's response: " be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people. That is why God tells us so many times to love each other."
If I got nothing else from the book, I would be satisfied with this realization. Love everyone--those who hate you, those you love you, and yourself. 

I will stop here, so maybe you will be spurred to read the book if you haven't already done so. 
Also, school is going a little better today. I am actually in the SLC--blogging, mind you--but I really am about to do real work. God answers prayers! (aka desperate requests for motivation)

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