Sunday, January 27

A difference of opinion has an interesting article about Donald Miller and his book Blue Like Jazz. It's very interested. You can read the full text of the article here.

To me, the most interesting part of the article is the discussion of the different kind of reactions that people have to Blue Like Jazz. These reactions allow you to really see a division in mindset that exists among followers of Jesus in our society today.

On one hand, the article relates experience like this:

Brad Jones, a 30-year-old youth pastor at a conservative Southern Baptist Church in South Florida, said he felt alone in his desire for more authentic dialogue about God.

"My thoughts on faith aren't really going along with everyone else and then I read this and said, 'That's what I've been thinking the whole time,"' he said.

Miller's book embraces cultural relevance, not cultural dominance, he said.

"The typical judgmental, hate-filled, bigoted, more people knew what we were against than what we were for," mentality has little to do with the real God, Jones said.

It also generalizes this further by saying:

Some experts say Miller and authors like him are in sync with a generation of young adults who very much believes in God, Jesus and the basics of Christianity, but are struggling to balance their conservative Christian upbringings with a culture that embraces a go-along-to get-along philosophy.

"People like Donald Miller are speaking almost like a prophet of a new age and describing the landscape in a way people who feel comfortable in that landscape really couldn't articulate before," said David Kinnaman, a researcher for The Barna Group and author of "Unchristian."

On the other hand, Miller and Blue Like Jazz have critics. For example, the article says:

Critics call Miller's works casual and glib and that he strays from biblical truths when he downplays homosexuality and other sins.

One such critic, Shane Walker, says Miller presents Jesus as a "nice fellow who meets one at the campfire and swaps stories." He forgets to remind readers that Jesus is also a judge and avenger who "wants to save you from his just wrath," according to his review for "Blue Like Jazz" , an organization designed to help local churches re-establish their biblical bearings.

These two types of responses are relatively typically. I don't think that I have encountered anyone who takes just a middle-of-the-road, I-could-take-it-or-leave-it response to Miller and Blue Like Jazz. Either you think that he hits the nail on the head and points out many of the flaws and problems in present-day Christianity, or else you think he is part of the problem with present-day Christianity. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground.

Personally, I fall in the first group. But that's a thought for another day.

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