Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Blue Like Jazz: Live
The Blue-Like-Jazzers spent last night with the author of our current study book, one Donald Miller. Em and I got there first to save seats, and we were peering at the men in the front of the room curiously, trying to decide which of them was Donald Miller. We found one gentleman who seemed to fit the part- he was in his 30s, had funky, blonde hair, wore flip flops with his blazer and T; Yes. This, we decided, was Donald Miller. Because this author is "cool," and this blonde trendy guy looked like a Donald to me! As it turns out, trendy blonde guy was not our guy at all, but rather one of the worship leaders. It figures the trendy guy would be a music person. I should have known better. Donald Miller ended up looking not at all what I would have pictured. He's a "Fatty Mcfunny!" Em and I exclaimed once we discovered the author's identity.
(sidenote: the term Fatty McFunny term is meant to be endearing and not offensive. It denotes my personal preference in guys who have a great sense of humor and are built like a Teddy Bear or a football player- they have some stock and meat on their bones. I think it stems from my desire as a girl to feel protected and safe with a guy she is dating. Also my dad is not a small man, so take that Freudian philosophy as you will. end sidenote)
So Donald ended up being this 6 foot 3-ish jolly, 34 year-old, happy-go-lucky guy, and of course, he did not disappoint us in the humor department. Yet he was able to command the audience's attention and bring home poignant thoughts on the lack of our fundamentalist Christianity. He espoused beliefs on adhering to a set of principles or following these amount of steps in this number of days to be considered a Christian. Instead, he proceeded, it is all meant to be about relationships. The metaphors in the Bible, he said, the shepherd to the sheep, the father to the son, the bride to the bridegroom, all describe how we are to view our relationship with Christ. To Love, Donald reminded us, is to give up everything to be with that person- in life and in death. Anything less than that kind of love cheapens love altogether. So it forced me to think. Here in Postmodern America, where I have never experienced any kind of threat to freely practice my religion, have I really died to self? Have I really given up everything to be with Christ? Have I really given up anything at all?
I know the answer is yes, I have made sacrifices along the way to deepen my relationship with God, but they have been small in comparison to many. I long to figure out the so-called reckless abandonment that comes with fully loving God, and living my life with an eternal perspective.
Then Donald Miller got to the crux of his talk. He started drawing all these religious parallels between Romeo and Juliet and the struggle of Shakespere's day between the Catholics and the Protestants, also Christ's relationship to the church- but I'm not sure how much I buy into all that. At the very least, it gave me something to research further for myself, and really made me want to go home and watch Baz Lurhman's Romeo & Juliet!
Lisa, Mary Anna and I stood in line afterwards and got our picture with him. He seemed genuinely surprised that we would find his book worthy of a Bible study topic, and was really a nice guy to meet.