I should preface this by saying I haven’t ever read the book, Blue Like Jazz. I know it’s a tremendously popular book, and apparently, it’s been made into a movie. A writer at World Magazine has written a review of the new movie. She is concerned that:
While the movie successfully explores themes of forgiveness, authenticity, and the question of God’s existence as it follows one man’s journey to find God, it struggles to offer a clear explanation of the gospel.
She goes on to write:
While the film’s Don character is able to finally face his own hypocrisy and learn the power of forgiveness, the film fails to offer a clear vision of the hope of the gospel. Instead, it places more emphasis on the failures of the church and the broad question of whether or not God exists. The film refers to Jesus but it never explains who Jesus is or what He did.
Miller admitted he left the resolution murky on purpose, saying that he wanted to “show, not tell” the gospel, but vague scripting and ambiguous theology might leave the audience with more questions than answers.
Both Miller and director Steve Taylor insist the movie isn’t a Christian film. Instead, they emphasize that it is about “real people in a real world and one of them happens to be a Christian.”
Miller said he hoped the movie would explore the conflict in which many Christians live: balancing their desire to be a follower of Jesus with being intentionally present in the lives of the nonbelievers around them.
Does anyone know if the book does a better job of presenting the Gospel and describing what Christ has done through His death and resurrection?
2 thoughts on “Blue Like Jazz Movie Misses the Gospel?”
It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember it being an interesting discussion on the day-to-day Christian walk. I don’t think the gospel message of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were specifically and clearly addressed, but they were also not contradicted or negated, if that make sense. I would say his focus was not wrong, but merely incomplete if you are looking for the whole gospel message. Again, it’s been a while so please take what I just said with a grain of salt. 🙂 I do remember it being a fun read, and it got me thinking.
Is it necessary that every book, film, song, or other display of creativity explicitly explain the work of Jesus on the cross. While Jesus death and resurrection are central to Christianity, the gospel is quite big and reaches into every area of life in an infinite number of ways. A movie, or book, which explores the effects of the gospel on particular individuals with particular challenges in our particular American culture is extremely valuable. This is not an incomplete or watered-down presentation of the gospel.
I am looking forward to the Blue Like Jazz movie. I hope it challenges us and stirs new discussions about the challenges of the Christian faith.