To be honest I don’t read a lot of nonfiction because I can’t get into it like I can get into a story. It takes me weeks, sometimes months, to finish a nonfiction book, while I can read a really good novel in a couple of days. A novel takes me out of my world and catapults me into a completely different reality. That said, I’ve read several nonfiction books that have had a lasting effect on me. The one I’m choosing for today could also fit with Day 17: Favorite Spiritual Book.
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This book tells this story of a young man working out his faith. He attends Reed College, known for its wildness, it’s non-religiousness, but he carves a place for himself there as a Christian. This book is an authentic look at wanting to believe in Jesus and wanting to be cool and accepted in the world. It spoke right to me. Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:
“I don’t think you can explain how Christian faith works either. It is a mystery. And I love this about Christian spirituality. It cannot be explained, and yet it is beautiful and true. It is something you feel and it comes from the soul.”
I really love this because it reflects so much of the Orthodox Church, where many things are explained as a mystery. I really like the idea of not having to explain God or spirituality down to a T.
“My faith was about image and ego, not about practicing spirituality.”
This hits me in the gut. I am guilty of this. Doing little spiritual activities or crafts with my kids just because other super Orthodox moms at my church do. Writing about prayer on this blog, but not actually praying.
“I suppose what I wanted back then was what every Christian wants, whether they understand themselves or not. What I wanted was God. I wanted tangible interaction. But even more than that, to be honest, I wanted to know who I was.”
I think we all want to experience God in a real, close, and tangible way. Growing up in the Nazarene Church there were many times that I felt God. I still think some of those times were very real, but others I think may have been brought on by an atmosphere created by the music and the praying and the altar calls. In the Orthodox Church, I have not had as many mountaintop experiences, but when I do feel God, I am sure it is real and not manipulated. Also, I think sometimes finding God has is connected to finding ourselves and vice versa. God is always a part of me and my life, no matter how hard I try to shake Him (and I’ve tried). I am spiritual. I love God. (Well, most of the time, anyway). That is not going away.
“I was wondering the other day, why it is that we turn pop figures into idols? I have a theory, of course. I think we have this need to be cool, that there is this undercurrent in society that says some people are cool and some aren’t. And it is very, very important that we are cool.”
This is so true. I read People magazine; I want to know what celebrities are doing; I imagine myself as one because then I would be ultimately cool. I struggle with wanting to fit in and be liked and be cool and wanting to stay true to myself and my faith.
P.S. This book has been made into a movie.
What is your favorite nonfiction book?
Check out Karla’s choice.