The book is written more as a stream-of-consciousness collection of “nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality” (that’s the book’s subtitle), but the movie creates an adapted narrative.
The movie was in Tyler last week only; it moved out of the theater Friday, but I still wanted to let you know about it. Relevant Magazine called the book’s author “the voice of a generation,” so this may be a good DVD to keep an eye out for.
In the movie, Donald Miller (named after the book’s author) leaves his hometown in Texas after he discovers his mom is having an affair with the married church youth minister. He heads to Oregon to attend Reed College, where most of the students have no use for God. He hides (loses? ignores?) his faith to fit in there. The rest of the movie is about him finding faith for himself.
“You are OK.”
The movie conveys that same message.
To children raised in evangelical households, the “don’t watch ‘The Simpsons,’ don’t take a brain-washing philosophy class” kinds of household (like me), “Blue Like Jazz” is a sigh of relief.
“The Simpsons” makes me laugh and I can happily talk philosophy for hours (the jury’s still out on if I’ve been brainwashed). Did that mean I was losing my faith?
To have a book from someone who was raised the same way and manages to still have a deep faith says maybe the best of both worlds is possible.
In the movie, Don loves the friends he makes at Reed, even if they’re questioning everything and party and don’t go to Bible study. He really loves them — he hangs out with them and laughs with them and comforts them when they’re sad. He’s not friends with them because he’s trying to convert them, he’s friends with them because, well, he genuinely likes them.
It’s one of my favorite things about the book and the movie, the way Don and his friends love each other, even though they’re all so different.
Sometimes there are no easy answers with pretty bows. Sometimes, like jazz, it’s complicated.
“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve,” Miller wrote in the book. “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 …
There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing. (They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.)”