In Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller's provocative and funny new book, he shows readers that the greatest desire of every person is the desire for redemption. Every person is constantly seeking redemption (or at least the feeling of it) in his or her life, believing countless gospels that promise to fix the brokenness. Typically their pursuits include the desire for fulfilling relationships, successful careers, satisfying religious systems, status, and escape. Miller reveals how the inability to find redemption leads to chaotic relationships, self-hatred, the accumulation of meaningless material possessions, and a lack of inner peace. Readers will learn to identify in themselves and within others the universal desire for redemption. They will discover that the gospel of Jesus is the only way to find meaning in life and true redemption. Mature believers as well as seekers and new Christians will find themselves identifying with the narrative journey unfolded in the book, which is simply the pursuit of redemption.
some great stuff, but gets a little ranty in parts I love Donald Miller's style, and this book has plenty of excellent questions and ideas that challenge the way I think. I do believe though that he goes on too many bitter rants and sounds more like a ranting columnist rather than a thoughtful question-poser....more info
Keep it up, Miller! Miller has done it again! I like this one even better than Blue Like Jazz. He takes what I learned in Sunday School (the Fall) and puts reason to it. This is the book I'll give to anyone who wants to know "Why am I here?" and "What is the meaning of life?" It's a great "de-formulizer" for legalistic Christians (if you could get them to read the thing). This book is one of my all time favorites, in spite of the liberal soap box Miller likes to get on (on occasion; it in no way detracts from the point of the book). I'm good at spitting out bones though, and also understanding where democrats are coming from. Miller has shown me that I have more in common with liberals than I thought. I love his heart! I could so be friends with this guy....more info
Like Dude Man, It's Like A Relationship, Not a formula, Dude! If you precede each chapter with "Like dude man, this is what I like think about Christianity." You'll get the general gist of Miller's book. Interesting, irreverant, but don't look for any depth. ...more info
Donald Miller I loved the way Donald Miller thinks. He is good at laughing at himself and us in our ways of seaching for the divine.
Searching for God - in the church! I bought this book after being impressed with Miller's "Blue Like Jazz." This was even better. Having grown up in "the church" I had grown disenchanted with the institution, but didn't know what to do about it. Miller takes us back to the beginning, to the relationship with Jesus - and how it is to mirror His relationship with the Father. Then we are to turn around and offer it to others. Miller shows with humor how a dedication to doctrine and dogma over lives has led us away from a fulfilling relationship with Christ, and that instead our doctrine should flow out of that relationship. For those worried about doctrine, Miller seems to hold pretty closely to an evangelical doctrine, but is more "liberal" in his social views. An excellent, enjoyable read. I am going to make my teenage daughter read it as soon as my husband finishes it. Then I am going to read it again with my highlighter....more info
A good book that made me cry Yes, sometimes the criteria for a good book for me is one that will elicit emotion. Which this one fit the bill. I am a big fan of Donald Miller, and this book at first I wasn't too thrilled with. It took a bit of time before I warmed up to this. However, after getting through the 1st three chapters, it really began to move. Sometimes funny, sometimes pulling at your heart strings. I would recommend this to any Christian who is still wondering, what exactly am I supposed to do?...more info
Amazing, heartfelt book Miller wrote this book with complete Divine intervention. It spoke to my heart and was written in an easy to read fashion. I went on spring break with my family and I could not put it down! I highly recommend this book....more info
Fun Theology Donald Miller writes in a conversational style and shares his own explorations of God and the world. He makes you smile and and go, "Aha, that's right." He helped me think about a few aspects of God more deeply....more info
Awesome book! I am about half way through this book. It's a slow, deliberate read, written in a conversational tone. This is a book you must spend time with to digest. I can feel God using this book to change me. ...more info
Enlightenment for the Religious Right. I have come from a Conservative Christian background. Miller's readings are spirit filled and humbling to the right sometimes "elitist" point of view. Mind you, Miller is not against fundamentalism in the slightest, he is rather, against our current mentality used in approaching such topic. I credit Miller's books for my recent conviction to remove myself from a political way of thinking which had engulfed my entire being during years past.
"Searching for God knows what" was sincerely the best book I have ever read (in terms of its life changing value). Not only does Miller make a compassionate case for a relational God, but he condemns many actions (i.e. political rifts) as being mere replacements for God's love which deplited after the fall of man. Once man sought God's approval, know he seeks the approval of his fellow humans, essentially, winning a popular position in the "lifeboat).
My abstract truly does not do the book justice. This book has changed my life in so many dimensions. I would recommend Christians of all kinds and those interested in said faith to partake in Donald Miller's true gift to the world....more info
A Must Read What a great book... Miller is a mastermind with words when he talks of "religion", "spirituality" and God. So well written and very well thought out with his philosophy. I would call him a "C.S. Lewis contemporary". If you're a follower of Jesus, I would consider this a MUST READ for you. And for those of you who are searching for God knows what, give this one a try. Miller may just help you find what you've been searching for, after all....more info
A Wonderful Book that provokes thought This was one of the best books I have read. This was a well written book by Donald Miller, whose writing in this book provoked thought about reading the bible, God and our relationship with him. His views on the bible and God are more unconventional, but very refreshing and in the back of the book he has an endnote about his beliefs the bible, as a kind of note to critics who may think his ideas about the bible and God are way out there. This was a brilliant read and he was often humorous at times, his writing reminded me of how Garrison Keillor writes, I think he even mentions in a footnote in teh back, that he read Garrison Keillor before writing the first chapter.
His main point of the book is that it is a focus on the relation aspect of our faith in Jesus Christ and their is no formula for it. After liking his book so much I can't wait to read, Blue Like Jazz, which I have heard is a really great read. Even if you do not agree with his views, it will provoke thought and questions about your relationship with God to evaluate it in a different way perhaps. Defintely a book you should pick up and read!!!!...more info
Great Read This book is great to just sit down and read a little bit at a time. It works really well for me because I never know how much time I'm going to have to read during the day. It is a very enjoyable book and I would recommend it to any of my friends, Christian or Non-Christian....more info
Not as good as "Blue Like Jazz" I purchased this book because I was impressed with "Blue Like Jazz," Miller's preceding work. BLJ is meandering and not especially well organized, but as I read it, every 5 - 10 pages some incredible bit of wisdom and/or experience would explode off the page at me. (It's unusual for a young writer of contemporary Christian literature to "register" with a sixty-something person still trying to get a handle on God and spirituality.) Consequently, my copy of BLJ has MANY pages that have been dog-eared for future reference.
However, as to "Searching For God..." no explosions at all, at least not for me. This one reads more like someone thinking aloud on paper, with no real focus or direction. "...for God Knows What" is a pretty descriptive title....more info
A Beautiful Read When reading this book, I must admit that the "mushy" writing (as Miller puts it) was very much needed. He goes very in-depth in the heart of relationships between man and God and deauthorizes the religion we've made Christianity to be.
From lifeboats to Shakespeare, I believe Donald Miller's writing has one of the best ways to capture the human spirit at its rawest form that I've ever seen. Miller grabs you through his writing and pulls your heart to show you that you're not alone in trying to understand Jesus. There's no formula to understand Him. Each and every person was designed uniquely to love and worship God, and to be free in Him all at the same time.
It goes without saying, if you've read Blue Like Jazz, you will not be able to decide if that or Searching for God Knows What appeals to you more, or that you might just become a fan of Donald Miller's writing altogether.
And the thing also is that, even though he writes with such beauty and honesty, he knows the writing was not his to deal with. He knows it as a gift from God and that the ideas he's collected were through the people God has brought before him.
Anyone and everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, should make this in their top books to read. Over and over....more info
A Great Book This book was suggested to me by my daughter. I have now bought 3 more to share with other family members. It is easy to follow and gives some new and creative insights that cause you to examine your beliefs in an innovative manner. I will re-read this book....more info
An Apologetic for a Relational Faith I won't go on at length here on what a number of other reviewers have already said but try to merely add my impressons from my perspective.
I've been looking for a book like this for a long time: an apologetic that argues for a faith that is based on relationship rather than rules. While there is much here than some readers may find objectionable in terms of theology, it is the general overarching theme of the book that is startling, breathtaking and, ultimately, deeply liberating.
For the last couple of years I've been wondering what the "message" of the Emerging conversation/postmodern movement might be. While no single book can capture all of the layers and complexities of the conversation, I think Miller does a wonderful job putting forth a summary of what may be the main point: that we are created for relationship with our maker and restoring and living in the relationship is what we should strive for as human beings.
While some of the theology of the book by put some readers off, the greater message of the work is more than worth the time it takes to read it. I strongly recommend this book to all who are searching for a deeper faith. I plan to buy copies for a lot of people that I know are asking the types of questions this book speaks to....more info
A worthwhile read Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" is a worthwhile read for dedicated followers of Christ. Mr. Miller has an unusual way of making Christians think outside the common culture of modern Christianity. He does this with a confrontational and non-traditional style, as well as a non-conservative social/political perspective, which are considered irreverent by more pious members of the Christian community. All and all his style and sound biblical interpretation have inspired me as he presents many profound truths and inequities that are common in the modern Christial community. I recommend this book, as well as his first big hit, Blue Like Jazz.
Discovering Our Future in Faith This is a powerful paperback book that many churches are finding refreshing and insightful to provide a new look at the community that has developed around them while they were sleeping in their comfortable Modern Rationalist religious homesteads. They find themselves unable to talk to their non-Christian neighbors about anything meaningful.
Miller writes out of his own experience of discovery in his own spiritual pilgrimage. This is a hilarious book, that often had me bursting out unexpectedly because of his splashes of off-hand delights as he expressed an experience or described a situation. He also has a healthy ability to laugh at himself and in this way puts his own limitations in perspective! This helps the reader approach deep challenges requiring change in our attitudes as we discover that there are whole areas of reality out there that we did not yet know about!
Millions have read his delightful book Blue Like Jazz and other books about his trek through through life. Here he is more reflective and presents a more analytical survey of what he sees in current society and how the message of Jesus might address it.
This is one of the volumes in which Miller has addressed the changing and changed culture many churches are puzzled to see around them. The current western American culture is not based in Christian religious traditions, has no knowledge of Christian or biblical stories or basic concepts and is oriented to a world very different from that of the traditional educated rationalist culture of abstract established doctrine.
They find the current generation asking questions about life and reality and truth that many churches find themselves unequipped to answer, largely because they have accepted a pre-packaged faith that was handed down in the cultural forms and language of the past. The church speaks a language no one else still speaks. Often they cannot express their faith themselves, other than in religious cliches and traditional terms.
Many Modern Christians (also called Modernist, including liberal and fundamentalist ways of thinking) are unable to express their faith in common terms of speech used outside the church. This increases the sense among the society at large that "Christianity" is irrelevant and outdated and "Christians" as uneducated and unaware.
This further blurs the distinction between Christianity as a religion or religious institution and real faith found in the the teachings and life of Jesus and the New Testament writings. Non-Christian society usually does not even know what "Christians" believe. There is little communication going on. Miller addresses this situation.
The current generation is now usually referred as Post-modern, indicating they have moved past the rationalist and naturalistic assumptions of the Enlightenment foundations of the Modern worldview. They are seeking spiritual values beyond the empirical, scientific categories that are established only through the human senses and their technological enhancements.
One thing I liked about this book by Donald Miller was that he was so intent on referring everything back to the Bible, bypassing the inherited cultural traditions that are the real basis of much of what we see in Modern Christianity. He wants to focus on the faith of Jesus and the concepts of the New Testaments more than the developed western cultural traditions.
I got this book at a small rural Methodist Church in Pennsylvania, where the church was providing these free to members and visitors. It was good to see a rather traditional church in a very traditional Allegheny village providing this resource. This would be a way to learn more about the larger swift-flowing American secular culture, and perhaps help these folks of faith understand differences they were observing in their work in larger urban areas and in their TV news.
I recommend this and other books by Miller. This is one author who is wrestling to understand his society with its exciting multi-cultural challenges and opportunities, and discover how God is working in today's world just as others historically discovered God working in their life and times.
As the previous eras of western culture discovered, learned and adapted, let's do that by accepting the challenge to know and understand the cultural stream flowing around us and step out to communicate. Miller is one strong resource for that trek....more info
Life Changing Search The basic thesis of Miller's book is that Christianity should not be reduced to a set of principles, regardless of how true, necessary or helpful they might be, as to do so detracts from the relationship with God that is central in the Scriptures and thus by far more important. He examines the relational aspect to Christianity from various angles using real life examples that drive the point home all the more because they are situations most readers today would have experienced either first-hand or second-hand at some or other point in their lives. Miller answers the question, What Do we Really Want?, in the light of his own rejection of the small god of his fundamentalist background...he uncovers the passionate and personal Person of God by looking at the Fall of Man in a very real and heart-wrenching manner by comparing God's reaction to Adam and Eve's sin to the reaction of his friend who overheard his wife tell another man how much she loved him. Miller's disarming manner brings new meaning to old truths and challenges the reader to re-examine his own relationship with a God Who is real and not the boxed-in god our formulas have made him to be. His discussion on the five-fold stress on "nakedness" in Genesis 1-3 is an excellent example of this. He suggests that the reason we all have various forms of insecurities and a need for external affirmation is because of the Fall. Man was made to gain security from God and once that relationship is marred, Man begins to look elsewhere to fill the vacuum created by the absence. This is perhaps the most valuable part of the entire book as it addresses a major need in today's society...that the hole we keep trying to fill with stuff can only be truly filled by God. Only in Him can we find true fulfillment and contentment and security and cease to feel ashamed due to the realization of our "nakedness". This relationship, Miller argues, can only be begun and continued once the reader falls in love with Jesus, rather than trying to relate to Him via some form of recipe. Loving God and knowing that we are loved by Him, and that we gain our value and self-worth by this relationship of love, will set us free to be able to love as God loves without feeling the need for barriers to protect and defend us from attack caused by rendering ourselves vulnerable. Miller also tackles the thorny issue of the overly politicized Church...and argues that if we left the fight for the political future of the country and rather concentrated on the battle for the hearts and souls of the lost, the Church would flourish and the Kingdom of God would grow...this is something I feel needs to be said over and over again. Change will not come by means of political power - it never has. This was the same mistake the 1st Century Jews made in their thoughts regarding the Messiah...they wanted a political figure coming in power and might. No, change must come through relationships as one heart is won for Jesus at a time. In the final chapter, he uses the balcony and death scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to demonstrate his thesis that to follow Jesus is more like falling in love rather than baking cookies. This is a book that is potentially life-changing and should be read by all Christians who are serious about living out their Christianity before a world that has become weary and suspicious of neatly pre-packaged reasons and recipes for following Jesus. I have highly recommended this book to my parishioners and others because it challenges the way in which we relate to a God we have all too often confined to a box of our own making. Miller exhorts us to look beyond our formulas to truly meet the God Who is there and here and Who desires to be known for Who He is and not what He is. ...more info
some beautiful truths in here but... If you can get past the 1st chapter, which is extremely silly and irrelevant, and beyond the author's "dude" style of writing, designed to appeal to the younger shredder set, which is also extremely silly (I cannot imagine sitting down and having an adult conversation with this man) there are some beautiful truths in this book about what a real relationship with God is and how organized religion falls short and in fact often subverts Christ's true message. My main contention with this author (apart from the above) is his continued referral to homosexuality as depravity. This, following long passages about Christ's love for the marginalized; the "lifeboat" mentality of man who are always trying to feel superior by finding failings in others, the wrongness of the western mindset of us versus them in God's eyes, really dilutes his message and is at odds with the message I believe he means to convey. I found this a beautiful book but cannot share this with my marginalized friends, because Miller, while pointing out many of the shortcomings of evangelical Christians and the disparity between the modern church and what Christ taught about God, has a log in his own eye when it comes to homosexuality. This is a genetic predisposition, not a depravity. Christ never speaks of it- why must Miller? This is not Christ's message. He himself falls prey to the evangelical formulas he says he is against by invoking abortion and homosexuality again and again. Not neccesary for this text; dilutes the message, but perhaps Miller ultimately needs to pay his own rent and felt he needed to appeal to the evangelical market after pointing out their failings. A pity, since he does such a good job of otherwise pointing out how off base they are from Christ's message and why people like me have been turned off by the church. You had me up to then... ...more info
Such a neat perspective . . . I borrowed this book from a friend. I think it has a great perspective on living a christian life. I took many ideas from this book. The biggest one is that we don't need to worry about what anybody thinks of us, because God is the only one who matters in the end. I think it would be a great book for a teen to read that may be struggling with peer pressure. He is a good author.
So-so Miller After reading Blue Like Jazz, I was looking forward to another fresh look at Christianity from Donald Miller. I can't say I was completely disappointed, but I also wasn't as impressed as I was with his first book.
"Searching For God Knows What" is a good book. It's got a lot of wisdom in it, and it's obvious that Miller spent a lot of time writing out his thoughts. Overall though, I thought a lot of it read repetitiously. I think he had a good concept - and really, a good message - but probably could have been done in about half the pages. A lot of this reads as filler.
If you're a fan of his other books I think you'll find this an enjoyable read. His writing style is fresh without being condescending and it's chock-full of material to sit and think about. I found his chapter about communion to be the highlight, while the last chapter on Romeo and Juliet left much to be desired.
Overall, Miller once again causes me to think about my walk with Christ and my relationship to other people... even if he is a little wordy. ...more info
Confused Rambling Presentation of Christianity I found this to be a rather confused rambling presentation of Christianity where the author frequently wanders off into areas barely even tangent to his topic (like his strong personal opinions about the war in Iraq) and often engages in massive unwarranted speculation about the things we read in the Bible like his detailed description of how the people close to the Apostle John supposedly must have "felt" and reacted when he died (there is no Biblical or historical evidence to substantiate the detailed account he gives of this) or his speculative account of how long Adam spent naming the animals before Eve was created (the Bible is clear that this all happened on the sixth day of creation - no long period of time here). He seems to be pandering to the confused modern thinking so common in Christianity today and in my opinion ends up just adding to the confusion....more info
A very challenging read - essential Miller writes in a very engaging and challenging style. He asks very important questions and leads you through the process of resolving them - or at least thinking through them honestly and carefully.
I was amazed at how much this book impacted the way I think about things and the way I approach my faith. I feel that for anyone who is serious about their faith, who is serious about helping others know God and grow in him, should read this book. As a missionary and church worker for the last 12 years, I have found in this book much that I wish I had discovered years before....more info
Insightful and inspiring This book has changed my perspective as a Christian and as a human being. Miller's universal quest for truth, however, is universal; this work is appropriate for ANYONE. I believe this book has the power to move people. Miller treats life and faith with humor and sincerity. He is earnest and insightful, yet refreshingly raw and thought provoking. Most importantly, one can easily relate to his experiences and writing. I recommend this poignant work to anyone....more info
Great Book Another great book by Donald Miller. He brings us insight into the Christian faith and by the end of each chapter has you thinking about what you really believe in....more info
Searching for the point of the book... This is the second book I've read by Donald Miller, and I can't really put my finger on what I like about his books. Something keeps me coming back to his work (maybe it's the deficiency in Christian authors - just kidding). It might be the way he explains things in modern day language, or the way he makes analogies to help clarify complicated points. When Miller tries to explain the way current day evangelicals have alienated the masses, for example, he summarizes his point by stating, "In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage."
But sometimes his books are somewhat unstructured, and I find that very frustrating. I'll read a chapter, for instance, and then pause to reflect on the point (his message), and the message seems too elusive to grasp or too unstructured to understand. Not all his chapters, just some of them seem like this. His conversational tone and his sentimentality can add and also detract from his books. Sometimes it works; other times it is overdone.
Having said all this, would I recommend the book? Absolutely.
Getting to know God right ...or maybe it's getting to know myself right. I learned more about my relationship with God in the first 50 pages than I have in years. It's been an incredible ride. Donald Miller writes clearly and openly and to the heart. What I treasure most is his vulnerability, it makes me realize that I am not the only one who has felt this way before and there is life, there is a BETTER life to be had with a big "G" God who loves me very much....more info
Lifeboat Mentality and God I saw this book on the shelf and grabbed it based on the title alone. The cover was pretty cool, though you know what they say about judging books that way. Anyway, the title was something I could relate to, so the book got my attention.
Miller takes the scenic route through some of the concerns of life and how that all relates to God. He particularly focuses on what humanity lost in the Fall through Adam and Eve and the importance of gaining our sense of worth and value from God. If not, we end up with the "lifeboat mentality", as he refers to it. It is the implications of this that he deals a lot with, and how Jesus responded to the same thing.
Unlike some reviewers, I found the book a ceaseless pleasure to read, and one that had a remarkable level of honesty about things. It was this candid look at life and Miller's own personality that really appealed to me. It also made the book that much easier to relate to, in the sense that it was clearly written by someone who is as messed up as I am, (or was).
Perhaps, for me personally, was Miller's "life is a fine wine" comment quoted from one of his friends. I really appreciated the insights into accepting reality as it is, and not having unrealistic expectations, (something I am prone to). While not everything is deep and profound in the book, much of it surely is.
This is a book that will suit people wondering just what they are looking for in Jesus Christ, I think. For those who know something is missing, but not really sure what, I think this would be a valuable read. While it may not supply the answers for the individual situation, it definitely clarified a lot of issues for me. Recommended to the hilt....more info
Makes you think After reading Blue Like Jazz I had high expectations for this book and it didn't disappoint. While the book does have a tendency to ramble a bit there are many parts where I had to put the book down and think about what I just read. Most of it I agreed with and some I didn't, but even in those parts it is well constructed and his points are said in a way to engage you, not offend you. Overall a very good book and I wasn't disappointed....more info
As Good As "Blue Like Jazz" This book surprised me how it was actually as good as Blue Like Jazz. I absolutely loved BLJ, so I was not really anticipating this one being able to measure up. It did, and I commend Miller for it. As with BLJ, this book doesn't really take off from the beginning, but picked up tremendously after a couple chapters. So never give up on Miller after only one or two chapters. His real genius shines through later. The one chapter on Jesus' personality traits alone was well worth the time spent reading the entire book. The one thing I really didn't care for was the chapter about Shakepeare, but it was not enough to detract me from loving the book as a whole. After reading BLJ, pick this one up. You won't be dissappointed....more info
Some good thoughts, and a lot of muffled ideology A lot of the imagery used in this book is either crass or cobbled together and dissonant If your fan of writing that consist of other people's ramblings and essentially goes no where, have at it, this is your kind of book, if your like me and run on sentences bother you, ignore this book, it's essentially a run on sentence about him getting back to the garden, and his dreams of being naked with aliens or something....more info
searching for God knows what Not well written. Miller can't stay focused. He tries to position himself as a somewhat liberal Christian. Don't be fooled Miller, you are a Conservative Christian. Talking snakes and golden streets are embraced in this book. If you are looking for something different than the Conservative view, don't purchase this book....more info
Couldn't put it down A phenomenal book. Reading Donald Miller is like eating a piece of gourmet chocolate cake - you try to eat it slowly because you think you should, to savour all it's richness, but you end up scarfing it down quickly because - you just couldn't help it! I stayed home for 3 nights in a row just to "cozy up with Don" and read this book. I seriously felt like I was hanging out with an old, funny, deeply insightful friend. That's why we read, isn't it? To feel like we're not alone? Don put into words things that have been knawing at me for the last few years but i didn't quite know it.
And he did so beautifully.
The overall point of the book is that Christianity is not a formula, or a list of facts and ideas that you intellectually agree with. Instead, at its core, it is a complex group of narratives (written about in the Storybook called the Bible) that illustrate the basic idea that God is a person with whom we were created to have an intimate, personal, mysterious relationship with. It is this relationship alone that gives one true, lasting security and validation as a beautiful and lovable person. This relationship was broken a long time ago in a garden far far away, and as a result we are all messed up and have been trying for the last few thousand years to get people to love us so that we will feel less insecure and more lovable. Only a Reunion to beat all reunions, a heart-felt reconnection with our Maker can give us the security, love, and ultimate freedom to really love others without expecting any sort of "redemptive love" from them in return. We can be loved like we were meant to be loved, and thus we can love like we were meant to love.
So thanks, Don, for copying all my sub-conscious insights and writing a book about them. You beat me to it. But i'm glad, as i'm sure thousands of other people are, that you did....more info
New thoughts for an "old" Christian I thought I had heard every angle, every "sermon" topic in my 40 years of being a Christian and growing up in the faith. Miller managed to make me see things in a new light...from an undiscovered angle. I was moved and awed by many of his insights. As I read, my family was in the car together on a trip. I found myself reading many of his anecdotes outloud to my 10 & 13 year old children. They enjoyed his story about "Pete", the totally dorky kid Miller knew in school. It led to a great discussion about nerds that my own kids knew, and what really makes a person popular, and is it really so important?
Miller's answer is an emphatic "NO". The world sees us all in a lifeboat..who is most valuable...looks, talent, money, etc. People hated Jesus because he was living and teaching the idea that there IS NO LIFEBOAT. I have been challenged to quit comparing myself to others and ranking people on some invisible ladder created by our own misguided illusions.
Witty and Wise I like this book better than his more popular "Blue Like Jazz." I read BLJ asking, "Why is this book selling so well?" and "Will Donald Miller become a leading voice for a new generation of Christians," and "I wonder if Donald Miller and I could like, hang out." This book is both more engaging and more theological. What Miller is doing is translating orthodox theology into the language of people who watch South Park and who wish they were popular and who don't like formulaic religion. In other words, most Christians under 35.
Miller's humor is warm and inviting, just like Jesus. He makes you feel like he is not the teacher sitting at the front of the class, he is the guy sitting in the row behind you whispering smart remarks in your ear. Jerry Falwell is teaching the class, but you're not listening because of Donald Miller.
His metaphors are modern-day and out of the ordinary. That his faith was shaken when he saw the mall Santa in the bathroom is priceless. The idea that social acceptance works like a lifeboat that we need to be rid of is profound.
The drawback is that Miller divides himself. He writes for Christians who are too intelligent to adhere to four spiritual laws, and yet he underestimates the questions that Christians are going to have about orthodox theology. Things like the Mosaic authorship of the Torah, the historicity of Adam and Eve, and his position on same-gender relationships go unchallenged and assumed. He's writing for recovering fundamentalists as much as anyone, people who already get his background. Of course, seekers coming from the other direction, new to the church and wary of fundamentalism, will find this relieving too.
I'd recommend this over BLJ. It's a fun read. And I'm hoping maybe Miller is as concerned about his image as he says he is and actually reads these reviews. Call me....more info
Decent work, but no Blue Like Jazz The first chapter in this book reflects the witty writing and good narrative that Blue Like Jazz (Miller's Bestseller) has from cover to cover. However, as a whole this book is not nearly as good.
I think the major change that lowered the books appeal for me was that in Blue Like Jazz, Miller consistently used his 20-something experience as the running story. His relationships with roommates, his trying to make it as a writer, his involvement and struggles with the Church, etc. With this book, Miller reflects on theological and philosophical concepts--and while that's all well and good (I have a Doctorate of Philosophy, I should be able to deal), it's just not that interesting of a read.
Miller spices it up all he can: witty metaphors, writing with rhythm. It's just the subject matter isn't quite as compelling as Blue Like Jazz...more info
A good, long talk... Here's what happened. I set out on a two-day road trip with Donald Miller and all I did before he started talking was to was ask him, "So how do YOU think a person becomes a Christian?" If that didn't happen, it's the way it seems.
He starts by making sure I understand that a person really doesn't "become" a Christian, but that we are always in process of "becoming" followers of Christ. Now he never really says that, in those words, but that's how it seems. By explaining that the Bible is not a how-to manual but a love story, Miller rejects formula salvation in favor of an ever-deepening, personal, and unique relationship with God. Miller describes a relationship not unlike a marriage, one that is to be nurtured and cherished.
After several coffee stops and a couple of sandwiches while driving and riding, some pauses to re-direct the conversation toward what Jesus is not, and a few questions as answers to questions, we rest in sleep for a while only to begin the same conversation again at breakfast. Isn't that the way this seems?
I don't know if Miller is in love with Jesus - I think he is - but I know he is in love with his relationship with Jesus, and that's almost the same thing. Or, at least it seems that way.
The best parts of Donald Miller are the acknowledgment of the continual search for the mysterious Lord that he can't "pin down" with a few descriptive words and the wacky sharing of the trip - even though he insists on doing the driving. That's the way it seems....more info
Paving the Way for Other Books Donald Miller's term, "searching" is a good word for this book. My generation resonates with this theme because we all are searching for God in unexpected places. This book paved the way for other books that dive deeply into the things of God.
I wish Donald had engaged the Bible a little more in this book. He meanders from topic to topic without offering much hope for the reader. A good read, though.
Shameless plug--check out my new book Sex, Sushi, and Salvation: Thoughts on Intimacy, Community, and Eternity ...more info