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March 11, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

We recently discussed (at BTC) the idea from Peter’s letter that we should be prepared to give the reason for our hope as believers. This came to mind as I read a book by Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz –an unusual book in the sense that he is a Christian author, but many things in the book you might find irreverent. But so much in the book speaks, or sings, of his love for the Lord. The climax of the book is how love for Jesus –our relationship with him, is like jazz, as more felt than understood. At the end, he tells of Laura, one of his good friends coming to know Christ, a triumph after her difficult journey. He was amazed at her new found confidence in her love of Jesus. But, he said: “People do come to know Jesus. This crazy thing really happens. It isn’t just me.”

Then he relates how jazz music was invented by the first generation out of slavery. “While it is music, it is very hard to put on paper; it is so much more a language of the soul. (You know, jazz can be set to musical score, but it will only be a guide, it is meant to express the soul of each musician.) I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. It is something difficult to get on paper, but it is no less real, no less beautiful. Jazz is a music birthed out of freedom, and that is the closest thing I know to Christian spirituality, our ‘music’ birthed out of freedom. Everybody sings their song the way they feel it, everybody closes their eyes and lifts up their hands.”

“I want Jesus to happen to you the way He happened to Laura and to me. I want you to know Jesus too. My friends and I are singing songs about what God is doing in our lives. But what song will you sing when your soul gets set free? … I think it will be something true and beautiful. If you haven’t done it in a while, pray and talk to Jesus. Ask him to become real to you. Ask him to forgive you of self-addiction (self-absorption), ask him to put a song in your heart.”

When we have that song, it will be easy for people to see, as Peter wrote: “the reason for the hope we have.”