Donald Miller is one of the more popular ‘postmodern’writers of our day and was born in 1971. It is a series of short postmodern reflections on faith, culture and the church. The title reflects the idea that jazz has a lack of clear resolution( this is not wholly true) and he takes this to underscore the fact that much in our understanding and experience of the Christian life lacks clear resolution also. Like all postmodern writings you have to weather the constant and subtle sniping against society in general and the church in particular, some of these ceaseless jibes are doubtless necessary but much is not. As you read, bear in mind that these are personal reflections of the author or else you will become wearied with the repetitious ‘I’. Having mentioned these negatives there is much to be gained as this man ponders and wrestles with being a Christian in the USA in the twenty first century. The mystery of faith along with its paradoxes and the Persons of the Godhead are handled in witty and refreshing ways. Life, love and redemption are considered with fresh and original perspective but there is the usual notable absence of any section dealing with sin and repentance. The subtitle of the book ‘non religious thoughts on Christian Spirituality’ is actually apt. Obviously the author is clever and that comes through. However, his genuine commitment to God also comes through as well as his personal honesty. If you are looking for scriptural exposition then you will not find it here, much of what he writes is by way of personal anecdote but it is a book that could be given to anyone over sixteen years old who is beginning to seek after God and is searching for answers as to the meaning of life.
However, remember that this book includes some of the unscriptural ideas that are flourishing in the Emerging Church and that fact should be made plain to anyone to whom you recommend the book. Don Miller may be a 'cool' writer but some of his ideas lead away from the Jesus of the Bible into the grey areas that are more 'new age'.
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