Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Like Jazz

I gave this book to my son for Christmas (I didn't overdo this Christmas--socks, underwear, regifts, and used books for him) but I had to read it first, of course. I had heard or read that is was great and life-changing and all that. But I am a cynic; if everybody loves something, I approach it guardedly, as opposed to with high expectations.

I should say that right now I am also reading Calvin's Institutes I and The Seven Storey Mountain by the Catholic monk, Thomas Merton. Those are pretty high standards of spiritual writing, so reading Donald Miller's book at the same time and in some ways in comparison is really not fair.

In short, some of it was good, some of it was fair, and some of it was just silly. I liked his ideas more than I think I liked him. I want to say to him, "don't you think it's time to grow up?" He strikes me as childish, and the book's target audience is not middle-aged women, even those who would go see Star Trek or Avatar. It's a good book for people in their twenties who have had bad experiences with legalism or religious institutions and haven't worked through it yesterday, or for nonbelievers, or for people who just feel like reading it.

Some of it is quite insightful and it does resonate and stay with you. We are all self-addicts, as if the world is a play about us, we are the main character and everyone else is a flat, subordinate character. Some of it seems whiny, especially the "I've grown past being a Republican isn't it cool I am a Democrat now and someone who really cares for the poor because we know that Republicans and conservatives don't care about poor people" (he needs to read the research on who actually gives to charities).

Life-changing, no? Good writing? Maybe. But my son is reading it, and I'm glad. Long live McKay's books!

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Attention, Ego, Spirituality, and Drugs

This title may seem really odd coming from me, but this article has some interesting things to say.