Notes on Blue Like Jazz


Blue Like Jazz begins with this Author’s Note:

I never liked jazz music because jazz doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.

I bought Blue Like Jazz at my favorite used bookstore, and while I had read about it on someone’s blog, it was the author’s note that encouraged me to buy the book—specifically the lines: Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I often pray that I can do that for others. That they can see my love and what my relationship with Jesus looks like and that this love can lead them to knowing and loving God, too.

I finished reading Blue Like Jazz about 11:30 last night. It closes with a few, satisfyingly beautiful lines, which I won’t share with you here, in case this book is on your reading list. I will, however, share a few sections I marked in the book, sentences that resonated with me and got me thinking.

There is a time when every person who encounters Jesus, who believes Jesus is the son of God, decides that they will spend their life following Him. Some people, like the Apostle Paul, make this decision the minute they meet Him, the minute they become Christian. Others, like the Apostle Peter, endure years of half-hearted commitment and spiritual confusion before leaping in with all of their passion. Still others may enjoy some benefits of God’s love and grace without entering into the true joy of a marriage with their maker.”

My own story is more like Peter’s—years of half-hearted commitment and confusion before passionately jumping in. I am just happy to be where I am today, happy to have discovered what a relationship with Jesus looks like. And I’m still discovering … every day. This journey I’m on is full of joy, faith and anticipation.

Some of my friends who aren’t Christians think that Christians are insistent and demanding and intruding, but that isn’t the case. Most Christians have enormous respect for the space and freedom of others; it is only that they have found a joy in Jesus they want to share.

It keeps coming back to love, to sharing the love you feel and experience so that others might want a taste of it.

And more on love, from a conversation the author, Donald Miller, has with his friend Paul, in which Paul says the following:

… To 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 from other people. That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.

And a good reminder of what faith looks like:

All the wonder of God happens right above our arithmetic and formulas. The more I climb outside my pat answers, the more invigorating the view, the more my heart enters into worship.

And finally, a few sentences that encouraged me in my own journey, especially in reference to the seasons of waiting we all experience:

It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.

One thought on “Notes on Blue Like Jazz

  1. christy says:

    i love this book. i read it a few years ago when i was going through some challenging times. i love how you mentioned the part of the book that talk about non-christians who have christian friends … it is SO TRUE that this joy i have is something i want the world to know, because i want them to feel it too. thanks for sharing!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s