like I said yesterday, I read the book about 3 years ago for fun & now I'm reading it again, of course for fun, but also strategically to take some good stuff away. If you've never read it, you will really enjoy it (I promise) and can buy Blue Like Jazz here. Donald Miller is probably one of the most "easily readable" & fun to read authors I have read. He's just an amazing storyteller.
so, not in any professional sort of way, here are some of my personal takeaways from the 1st half of the book - as well as my own thoughts regarding them...
- "my Sunday school classes did much to help us memorize commandments and little to teach us how God was and how to relate to Him..." - man, we've (the church) gotta do something to fix this! we'll jack up the generations after us if we don't.
- "Some people skip through life; some people are dragged through it."
- "if he [satan] can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God."
- not really a takeaway here, i just love this. it made me laugh = Donald on never owning a television... "however, I visited a church in the suburbs, and there was this blowhard preacher talking about how television rots your brain. He said that when we are watching television our minds are working no harder than when we are sleeping. I thought that sounded heavenly. I bought one that afternoon." [that's gotta make you smile]
- this ending to a poem by C.S. Lewis and Miller's question made me put the book down & think introspectively:
Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love -- a scholar's parrot may talk Greek --
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
"I sat there above the city wondering if I was like the parrot in Lewis' poem, swinging in my cage, reciting Homer, all the while having no idea what I was saying."
[wow, we definitely do this in the church! we talk pretty big & half the time I bet we don't know what the heck we're saying...]
- "Nothing is going to change in the Congo until you and I figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror."
- "The elements of story began to parallel my understanding of Christian spirituality." [setting, conflict, climax, resolution...]
- here it is, straight from the heart of an "outsider", how they interact with the gospel = "I was judging the idea, not by its merit, but by the fashionable or unfashionable delivery of the message." - we have SO got to realize this! it's a fact. the gospel is the most relevant thing in the world, so if we make it irrelevant or "unfashionable" as Miller puts it, aren't we defaming God's name? not to mention the fact we're turning "outsiders" away unecessarily.
- "Interacting with these guys showed me how shallow and self-centered my Christian faith had become. Many of the students [at Reed College] hated the idea of God, and yet they cared about people more than I did." - isn't this the truth? that's pretty messed up. without loving each other people have absolutely NO REASON to believe there's anything different or good about us (John 13:35 - read it the next time you're hanging out with your Pharisee homeboys & you think your right belief is ok instead of your right actions).
- from an unbeliever = "Don, I can't explain how freeing that was, to realize that if I met Jesus, He would like me." - OK, that's pretty jacked up that we [believers] have portrayed Jesus in a way that makes peeps think He wouldn't like them. man, we jack stuff up... when are we gonna change?
- Miller on his fundamentalist days = "I believed that if the word got out about grace, the whole church was going to turn into a brothel. I was a real jerk, I think." - HAHAHA... LOL. I seriously laughed out loud when I read this stuff on this page because I can totally relate.
So, maybe I'll share the rest after I finish the book again this weekend. Gotta go now though. I'm 'bout to beat my wife really bad in some rummy...