Who is Donald Miller, what is Blue Like Jazz and are they part of the heretical emergent church movement? Read this article by Ken Silva, posted on Slice of Laodicea.com from August 28, 2006.
We have received quite a few questions here asking whether Donald Miller, author of the book Blue Like Jazz, is involved with the Emergent rebellion against sola Scriptura. Yes, and Miller’s BLJ has fast become a classic in Emergent circles and his popularity even rivals that of one of his own favorite authors potty-mouthed “Christian” and New Age advocate Anne LaMott.
Some of you may recall a post Ingrid wrote about Miller last year called Donald Miller: Rising Emergent Star. In it she said. “One of the Emergent church’s rising stars is Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, sort-of comedian and one cool, postmodern ‘Christian’.”
Miller, “grew up in Houston, TX,” but is now a member of an emerging church in Portland, OR called Imago Dei Community Having left home “at the age of twenty-one,” Miller “traveled across the country until he ran out of money in Portland, Oregon, where he lives today.” Unable to launch “his own publishing house”:
his hobby of writing became a career. Harvest House Publishers released his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, in 2000. After his first book came out, Don spent a few years auditing classes and hanging out with students at Reed College, a college often identified as disintrested in spirituality. It is from this and other experiences that his second book, Blue Like Jazz, was born. The success of Blue Like Jazz ensured Don a writing career for a long time to come,…
Miller is just another of the Emergent new school of so-called “Christians” who feel that because they are the “missional” and alleged true “followers of Jesus” they are somehow excused from having to watch their language and Christian character. Last year Zach Dundas of the Willamette Week Online, “a weekly in Portland, Oregon,” did a piece on Miller called “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”
And as Ingrid introduced it she informed us that it would: “have to be bleeped. (Yes, you do have to bleep out language frequently with these Emergent types, in this case, one who is part of the ‘loose network of evangelical thinkers’ with a toilet mouth…)”
The article does go on to point put that Miller’s church is one of “a new breed of churches often labeled ’emergent’ “:
Locally, the author is part of a loose network of evangelical thinkers who are trying, as another says, “to talk about faith without sounding like ****oles.” In Portland and nationally, a new breed of churches often labeled “emergent” is carving out an alternative to the suburban megachurch.
For example, there’s Miller’s own church, Imago Dei, founded by an ex-college football player named Rick McKinley. The pastor calls people “bro,” sports a goatee and talks in a drowsy, stoned-frat-boy drawl. His church, which has gone from meeting in his living room to holding three crowded services a day at the Old Laurelhurst Church, emphasizes art, music and social activism. Like many emergent churches, it draws a young, hipster-flavored crowd.
“The emergent church is the product of a bunch of people coming to similar conclusions at the same time,” says Bob Hyatt, the 35-year-old pastor of the Evergreen Community, an emergent church that meets every Sunday at the Lucky Lab pub in Multnomah Village. “We’re not going to ignore 2,000 years of Christian history, but we’re not going to do what our parents or grandparents did just because.”
However, a much more accurate way to describe this sorry bunch that Miller belongs to would be the “network of people very loosely thinking about evangelicalism.” There’s nothing of lasting value for the true Christian in this Emergent rebellion against the Bible, and there’s no reason for us to waste our time on Blue Like Jazz.
For the Christian who does have extra reading time beyond God’s Word, at this late hour one would be much wiser spending it reading something by a MacArthur or a Tozer.