Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blue Like Jazz, The Gospel, and Heart-softening Stories

Yesterday I went and saw the motion picture rendition of Donald Miller's spiritual autobiography Blue Like Jazz. Needless to say, I had been anticipating this for some time now. Blue Like Jazz was the first spiritual book, besides the Bible I had ever read, and it quickly became my favorite read for a number of years. Now while Don, Ben and Steve Taylor did a tremendous job at creating a compelling story out of a set of memoirs on Christian faith, which I heartily encourage everyone to go and see, this is going to be less of a movie review and more of a reflection on how to share God's story in a post-Christian world.

The film has been critisized by some, including a few of my friends for "not having a clear Gospel message", to which I replied, "Maybe, but that was not its job; that's your job."

You see, we always want to outsource evangelism to something or someone other than ourselves. Now, whether that be a movie, Christian television, or God forbid, a brochure featuring cartoons of people burning in hell, we secretly hope that these things will do the hard work of gospel proclamation for us The problem is, these things cannot and will not talk back. They can't ask questions, can't know what someone needs to hear, and they certainly can't offer up prayer. With all the good things movies like Blue Like Jazz can do, they can never replace a real person in sharing God's story with those who don't know it.

Blue Like Jazz did magnificently at answering common objections to Christian faith, and I think that is, in some sense, what it was meant to do. My hope is that Christians see that, and when they invite their friends to see it with them, they would use Don's story to share God's story as well.

Find Blue Like Jazz at a theater near you.

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