Blue Like Jazz movie presents a murky message to viewers

By Tiffany Owens, World News Service

(WNS) – A film adaptation of Donald Miller’s New York Times bestseller Blue Like Jazz is headed to the big screen April 13 and debuted March 13 in Texas at Austin’s “SXSW,” a music, film, and technology festival.

The movie explores themes of forgiveness, authenticity, and the question of God’s existence as it follows one man’s journey to find God, but it struggles to offer a clear explanation of the gospel.

The film is a revised version of Miller’s life in which Don (played by Marshall Allman) appears as a 19-year-old Texan with a Baptist background who tries to ditch God by attending liberal Reed College in Portland, Ore.

Fueled by anger at hypocritical church leaders and his semi-absent father, Don embraces the pluralistic, hedonistic lifestyle at Reed and intentionally makes an effort to identify himself as a nonbeliever.

Miller is faced with unexpected conflict when he befriends Penny (Claire Holt), a Christian student whose friendship causes Don to wrestle with his doubts, his faith, and his responsibility to love his neighbor.

Filmed mostly in Nashville, Tenn., the film incorporates the effective storytelling aspects of Miller’s book to create a well-structured narrative.

Quality cinematography and a complementary soundtrack make the film fun to watch. It is rated PG-13 due to profanity, sexual references, and scenes that show the debauchery of life at Reed College.

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. 

Chick-fil-A faces opposition

for support of Christian groups


(WNS) – The student senate at Northeastern University in Boston voted to end negotiations to bring fast-food chain Chick-fil-A to campus after students protested over the company’s affiliation with several Christian organizations the students say have an “anti-gay” agenda. 

The Atlanta-based company, dogged for months by accusations of homophobia, insists it is “not anti-anybody” but instead simply wants to “graciously serve great food and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” 

Students from at least 10 campuses, incensed over the company’s Christian values, say they opposed new franchises and lobbied for the removal of existing restaurants on campuses across the country.

With about 1,540 restaurants in 38 states and annual sales figures topping $3 billion, Chick-fil-A still has plenty of fans.


Oregon library bans Christian group from meeting there


(WNS) – In a new federal lawsuit, a public library in Ore-gon denied a religious-liberty law firm access to one of its meeting rooms because they’d be discussing issues from a biblical perspective.

Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization that conducts biblical education seminars for employees and volunteers all over the country, was hoping to hold one of those seminars in a meeting room at the Seaside Public Library in late 2010. 

Though the library allows all other community groups to use its common room, the board of trustees flatly denied Liberty Counsel, citing a policy against allowing “religious services or proselytizing” on its property. 

The library denied Liberty Counsel again last December when the organization sought to hold a similar educational discussion in Seaside. A library spokesperson said, there was no point in Liberty Counsel making any further requests to use a common room for any of its meetings, because the group speaks from a religious point of view. 

“They picked the wrong organization to discriminate against. But that’s exactly what his library did,” said Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Council.