“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” ―Donald Miller
It’s hard to believe that the book Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality is 10 years old, but here we stand—1,000,000,000 copies, and 40 weeks on the New York Times best sellers list later.
Let me just say that I am a big fan of Don, all of his books, and his blog—so I may be a little-bit prejudice. Because of it’s meandering and stream of consciousness feel, Blue Like Jazz is hard to define—and that’s OK. In it’s pages Don shares honest and blunt feelings on his faith journey, the religion of his childhood, growing up without a father, and trying to live out his faith in the postmodern context of college. Blue Like Jazz is in my top 50 books of all times—where in the top 50 I don’t know, but it’s in there!
So, When I first heard about the movie I was incredibly excited, and the preview has me even more excited!
I am reading through Blue Like Jazz again in preparation for the movie release later this month, but I am fully prepared for the movie to be different than the book. I think the book is more like a framework for the movie and not designed to be exactly like it.
Have you seen the movie yet? Have you read the book? Are you going to see the movie in theaters?
“the executive producer of Courageous, Fireproof and Facing the Giants has declared that no one who worked on Blue Like Jazz would ever be allowed to work on one of his own movies. Taylor also wrote that a studio exec requested that the Blue Like Jazz trailer not be shown prior to another Christian film opening this weekend.” Christianity Today 3/21/2012
If this claim is true it would be really-really sad!
LAST CHANCE to win a copy of Frank Peretti’s new book—ILLUSION! Click here to enter!
Check out these two great videos, a passage from Luke, and my Palm Sunday request at the end of the post!
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Ok, I know it’s not the same, but in order to not let the “rocks cry out” take 30 seconds and write “Hosanna!” or “Hosanna in the highest!”in the comments section below!
What does Hosanna mean? The word Hosanna is both a cry for help/salvation and a deceleration of praise!
Ain’t No Rock Gonna Cry In My Place!
HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!
My Interview with author Frank Peretti
In my Junior year of High School, having only been a Christian for a year, I was given the book This Present Darkness written by author Frank Peretti, which I simply couldn’t put down. It was the first Christian fiction I had ever read, even before I read The Chronicles of Narnia or The Screwtape Letters, and to this day I believe that This Present Darkness, along with several other books, shaped the way I think about the craft of writing/storytelling and spiritual warfare. Of course, I am not the only one who was gripped by the writing and story in This Present Darkness, which went on to sell more than 2.5 Million copies.
In all, Frank Peretti has written 19 books selling more than 15 million copies, and so you can imagine how flattered I was when I was approached to interview Frank for his new book, Illusion, and to be a part of his “Ask Frank” Blog Tour—please check it out!
ME: Two of my passions are coffee and writing, so tell me what kind of coffee do you drink and when? Do you have a favorite mug? Can you be productive writing in a coffee shop?
Frank: You know, I never was much of a coffee drinker until a few years ago when I discovered I liked cafe mochas, especially the ones you buy at Starbucks – pardon me for the commercial. Sweet Barbara makes a great latte and a great mocha; I have the latte with breakfast and the mocha with lunch, and get this: now I’ve learned how to run our coffee machine, something I’ve never made a priority until now. Generally, I like the big heavy mugs we have, the ones that make a really nice clunking sound when you set them on the counter. As for being productive in a coffee shop, I’ve never tried it and I don’t want to. Too noisy.
ME: Can you tell us the story behind Illusion?
Frank: As with all of my stories, there is no single source or spark of inspiration. Every story comes together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spilled out on a table. Lots of little ideas float around looking for partners, and then they connect, and then they find other pieces, and ideas lead to other ideas, and before long I start to see a story appearing. I suppose the love story in Illusion reflects my own marriage, my own love story in how love can endure, deepen, and take on such a transcendent meaning over time. I guess the love that Barbara and I have for each other can only be expressed by writing a story.
ME: Can you describe your writing process?
Frank: Basically, 4 steps:
Brain spilling: just letting ideas flow out of my mind whether they are good, bad, dumb or clever, like pouring the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the table. Ideas bring about more ideas and eventually the ideas find each other and start to make sense, start to take form as a story. The point is to create them in the first place and get the creative juices flowing.
Outlining: once the ideas begin to take form, I lay out a foundational story structure and start hanging the ideas on that structure like clothes on a clothesline, sorting, shifting, replacing, organizing according to the rules of fiction until I have a working plot line broken down into acts and scenes.
Writing: now that the hardest part is over, now that I have sketched out my painting in pencil, I get to play with the paints and fill it all in: I get to write. This is the fun part, fantasizing, visualizing, playing pretend on paper.
Editing and rewriting: every day I rewrite the stuff I wrote the previous day and then continue forward from there, so essentially every 1st draft is actually a 2nd draft by the time I get to the end of the book. But the editorial process doesn’t stop there. I might go through the book again before I send it to the editorial staff at the publisher to go through it and edit it two or three more times. Finally, once all the polishing is done, it’s time to let go of it and send it out. Maybe that’s the most unsettling part, sending your newborn child out into the world to see how she’ll do.
ME: What advice would you give to upcoming authors?
Frank: Know what you’re doing. It’s not enough to want to write a book. You have to devote yourself to learning the writing craft, knowing all the nuts and bolts, rules and fundamentals of good fiction writing. I’ve often heard would-be writers advised to “never give up,” but that’s the worst thing you can tell somebody who has no skill, no knowledge of how it’s to be done. That person can never give up, and consequently waste his/her whole life producing unmarketable material. Know what you’re doing.
ME: Can you talk about the success of This Present Darkness and how that positively or negatively affected your career?
Frank: The success of This Present Darkness got my career started, and not only my career but the career of many other fiction writers once the Christian publishing world realized that fiction was a viable product. It’s worth noting how, after 26 years, no matter what other books I’ve written, This Present Darkness is the first and foremost thing that people associate with me and want to talk about. It is still selling very well; new generations are still discovering it.
On the negative side – if I can even say there is one – the fame of This Present Darkness is continually generating the impression that the Frank Peretti of today is still the Frank Peretti of 26 years ago, that I’m the guy who writes about spiritual warfare, when that’s no longer the case. Like anyone else, I’ve continued to grow and learn and change and my books have reflected my journey through life. I have had many other things to write about since This Present Darkness, but it seems the Frank Peretti of 1986 is someone I will always be to many people. Oh well, if they keep reading my other stuff I’m sure they will catch up to who I am now.
Please take a minute to check out Frank’s new book, Illusion, which you can find on his web site—here.
Also, I am also thankful to be able to give away two free copies of Frank’s new book—Illusion! To be illegible to win, please post or tweet this blog post on twitter or facebook or linkedin, and then leave a comment in the post below telling me that you are interested in a free copy of Frank’s new book—and that’s it! I’ll pick two winners on Monday, and post the winners on the blog.
Not convinced? Take a look at some of these great reviews! 4 1/2 stars on Google!
last week I planned on getting together, in DC, with a friend for a cup of coffee and some good conversation. So, when the time came to leave, I got in my car and took a few moments to enter the destination address into my iPhone (my portable GPS was stolen a little while ago) and started merrily on my journey towards our nation’s capitol.
Now, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was at least 15-20 minutes into my trip before I realized that I had entered the wrong address in to my phone, and I was heading in the completely wrong direction.
So, I pulled the car over, put the correct address in my iPhone, and started heading in the right direction—East—Duh.
The truth is, I don’t have a great sense of direction, and advances in technology have made me pay even less attention to direction than ever before. Unfortunately, I have grown very “directionally-comfortable” by blindly following “the voice”—wherever she leads me. And, even though I don’t have a great sense of direction, I feel like I have always had a highly developed sense of “lostness”— probably because I am usually going the wrong way.
As I mentioned before, with all the advancements in technology, I wonder If I am loosing my ability to “sense” when I am heading in the wrong direction.
My trip also made me think about my life-long-journey as a follower of Jesus, and trying to stay “on course” while navigating in the fractured culture that we live in. As disciples of Christ, are we (myself included) loosing the ability to determine when we are heading in the wrong direction?
For example: Have I allowed the culture, through the vehicle of the media and entertainment, to become too influential in my life with movies, music, clothing, professional and college sports, video games, and television—just to name a few?
Very few people would argue with the fact that the culture has given us some serious distractions (some would say detours) as we attempt to navigate this spiritual-life-journey. It actually reminds me of the scene in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin and John Candy are oblivious and dismissive to the clear warnings, from a fellow traveler, that they are “going the wrong way!”
If we are in agreement that the culture that we live in, at times, can severely scramble our directional signal, then how do we make sure that we are going in the right spiritual direction? What choices can we make, at the forks in our journey, that will help us remain on course? Or, at least, help us to recognize that we are wandering off course and we should start finding our way toward home.
Here are a few important traveling tips to keep us on track:
1. Make sure you have people in your life that you trust, love, and respect that will tell you that you are “going the wrong way.” These are people that aren’t afraid to tell you the HARD TRUTH—with respect and love.
2. Listen to those people. It’s great to have truth tellers in your life, but it’s another thing to actually listen to them!
3. Make sure you have the right destination in your GPS. Take a minute to reflect about what direction your life-GPS is leading you? What does the destination on your life-GPS read? Money? Comfort? Entertainment? Family? Power? God? Self? If you are looking for good, life long GPS coordinates I suggest you start with these: Matthew 22: 34-40
4. Recognize the competing voices in your life! Are you blindly following other “voices” that may be leading you astray? Are there other voices in your life that have your attention more than God has your attention?
5. When you realize that you are going the wrong direction—Turn Around!
Listen, all of us get off course at some point during this journey, but the trick is recognizing your direction and getting back on track—even if you have to pull the car over to ask for directions.
Why Do We Have Leap Year?
Have you ever wondered why we have leap year? Take a look at this awesome video!
Take a look at this ministry, called “Leap Forward” (Sponsored by Hope International) that is trying to make the most out of this “extra day.” It’s a pretty cool video and their ministry was recently featured in USA Today.
Special Leap-Year Birthday “Shout—Out” to my friend Harry Pettyjohn!