Monday, September 14, 2009

#37-Having an opinion about Donald Miller and Blue Like Jazz

Who is this man? I thought you would never ask.

"His name is Donald Miller and he is an author. I like him as a writer, I don't like him as role model for my children..."

You're likely to hear this or one of a few other possible answers when someone begins telling you about Donald Miller.

Donald Miller wrote the now infamous Christian book "Blue Like Jazz" as well as a few other books which I, nor most other half-hearted Donald Miller fans have ever read.

Blue Like Jazz (and Donald Miller as well since the book is basically an organized diary of Miller's thoughts about Christianity) is one of those books that you can't just tell someone about what the book is about without giving your opinion of it.

It smacks of amateur prose at times, offensiveness at other times, and conviction-that-leads-to repentance at even other times.

One scene you're hearing him quote a friend on how the book of John is best read while smoking a cigarette and eating chocolate, and another you are hearing him boldly claim that some gay people he knows are more Christian in their behavior than many people who claim to be Christian, and then yet in a different section you're seeing a line that stops and makes you develop a kind of admiration for the guy with lines like, "The most difficult lie I ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me"

Needless to say he is very polarizing on forcing you to develop an opinion on him. You won't find someone saying, "I am not really sure how I feel about him."

The people who love him will call you overly judgmental and too narrow-minded to understand Miller if you hate him.

The people that hate him focus too much on the fact that he is constantly referencing how much of a smoker he is and completely miss out on what his actual message is.

So if you haven't read Blue Like Jazz I recommend you do so ASAP so you can join almost all Apostolic 20 somethings in having an opinion about about the book.


  1. I love, love, LOVE Don Miller. He is officially my husband-in-my-mind. I hereby challenge anyone who would dare criticize him to a duel.

  2. As the person who gave Rabbi Riley my copy of Blue Like Jazz I feel ordained to share my opinion on Miller.
    When I first read Jazz I was enamored with it. It became my second bible. I became somewhat of a Blue Like Jazz apologist to all the Miller haters.
    However I have read several "angry Christian manifestos" since then (which is basically what this book is), and I have come to see a new reality. Miller's thoughts are great, but there is nothing, NOTHING unique about them. He wrote the same things that are being published and preached by every young pastor and author in Christianity today. He presented the thoughts prolifically, clearly and concisely, however he did not present any unique or revolutionary thoughts. What's unique about this book is the controversy. He casually mentions alcohol and cigarettes which garner his book a place on the "favorite picks" section at your local B&N because things like that don't fit the traditional Christian book profile. This is intelligent on Miller's part because he recycles the same old ideas that all of us dissatisfied young Christians are saying, however accompanies them with some shallow "controversy" and since society is a sucker for controversy: boom, best seller.
    Read Mike Erre, and Craig Gross and listen to Steven Furtick. Much better writers and preachers but they don't drink beers with "beat poets" so most people have never heard of them.
    Maybe Donald Miller wouldn't be rich if Christians weren't so easy to figure out. Just sayin...

  3. Hi there,

    I wanted to invite you to a webinar hosted by Donald Miller next Thursday morning on the subject of his new “Convergence” DVDs for small groups (mostly). Convergence is Miller at his best: doing honest talk about faith. On the first dvd set he talks to Dan Allender, Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner. He just recorded the next set with Randy Alcorn, Henry Cloud, John Townsend. You can listen in Thursday, Dec. 17 at (11 am PT, 12 pm MT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET). Go to to RSVP for the webinar & we'll be sure to send you a reminder.
    You can learn more about Convergence at If you have any further questions please feel free to email Monique@Lovell-

    Monique Sondag