Last Friday I had an adventure with my former writing professor Judy. We went to Macalester College to meet Donald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz, one of my favorite books, and watch a special pre-screening of Blue Like Jazz: The Movie.
The movie was very well done, a fictionalized account of Miller’s time at Reed College in Portland, Oregon– a story about a young Christian who is stepping away from his faith and trying his hand at life. I loved that it didn’t shy away from any tough issues. The movie was gritty and raw and real, and I encourage everyone to go see it on April 13th.
Steve Taylor, the movie’s director, was at the event as well, and he introduced the film by saying, “Since when did ‘Christian’ come to mean ‘family-friendly’?” He pointed out that the Bible itself contained stories that kids might not be old enough to hear.
When I think of Christian movies, I think of cheesy, overdone movies with bad acting and fairytale endings. When I think of Christian books, I think of poorly written, G-rated romance novels with unbelievable, over-the-top conversion scenes and lots of scenes where the protagonist “happens to” come across a Bible verse directly suited to her situation. No thanks.
Writing about Jesus is tricky, let me tell you. How do you write about an eternal God who supernaturally reaches into people’s chests and grips their hearts without sounding insane? How do you write about spiritual experiences in a way that people who do not love God can come along for the ride?
I think this movie is going to be a big step in the right direction. Check out the trailer here. Let me know your thoughts on all this!