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.
**Better than Blue?** I found that this book was not as fun or light hearted as Miller's earlier work: Blue Like Jazz.
However I believe this book had more meat and substance to it.
The life boat analogy is very insightful. The way we too often turn spirituality into a formula is also true.
Ultimately I would recommend anything by Miller, this book included....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
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
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
Great Read! Enjoyable easy read with so many great insights to ponder. Highly recommend it!...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
Seconds are better I thought this book was a lot better than Blue Like Jazz, which upset me a number of times. I came away from that book thinking, "I wouldn't want to recommend this book to any searching soul, since it leaves me with the feeling that Mr Miller still feels that dope-smoking free-lovers/free-thinkers are the coolest people he has ever met." He seems to have settled reluctantly for the less likeable church people he has to be around cause God makes him. His books are thought-provoking, enjoyable at times, even revelatory here and there, but over-all I wonder if he has really met God personally. He seems like he is still searching (which isn't a crime)....more info
See Also: "Blue Like Jazz" This is a good book. Maybe even a great book.
It's hard to tell because Donald's earlier work "Blue Like Jazz" set such a high standard for himself and his writing that I doubt anything could have lived up to my expectations.
For that reason if you have not read anything by Miller I would actually steer you toward "Blue Like Jazz" first. It is definately his best book, to date.
However, if you have already read "Blue Like Jazz" and - like I did - am now searching for more Miller to read, then I would recommend this title to you as well.
It may not be quite as good as "Blue", but to criticize it for that reason would like criticizing Da Vinci because "The Last Supper" doesn't quite measure up to the "Mona Lisa".
Donald Miller gets it right...sometimes It took me a while to get used to the author's cozy stye of writing, but eventually I grew to enjoy it. It's messy and all over the place - just like life and very conversational. I've been reading some heavy theological stuff lately and this was refreshing. I loved the 'lifeboat theory'. His explaination of how the 'lifeboat' relates to the fall of man was probobly one of the greatest things that I've ever read. It really makes a lot of sense. I think everyone should read that chapter.
I was able to read the Bible like I used to after reading this book. And it's been months, maybe closer to a year since I was able to do that. The text was fresh to me. I saw a few things I hadn't noticed before. Since he eluded to the fall in the book, I thought I would go back to the beginning and read those chapters for the billionth time. I wasn't really expecting to see anything new. But I did. And it was real again.
I have to say I was cringing through a good part of the book. I know Donald Miller has had bad experiences with religion or the church in general, and with conservatives and republicans. I can certainly see why he holds those views. There are enough people in all of those camps whose examples could drive him away. I get the sense that the author feels that most Christians who are conservative republicans are less than intelligent and have been brain washed. That makes me sad. I can speak personally and say that I care about people living in poverty and under oppression. I care about the environment and about peace and about healthcare. These are important issues to me. And I *still* have to go with conservative views on just about everything. To me, conservative views and economic policy just make the most sense and it's not because I care less than liberals do. I can see how people who also care about these things hold to a liberal world-view. I don't think they are crazy or demented.
I agree with saying "NO" to excess govenment funding for programs to help the poor and needy and the oppressed. How does it make things right to steal money (via excessive taxation) from other people - wealthy people who have worked for their money and success - and give it to somebody else? How do handouts solve the problems in our society? I actually think it makes things worse for everyone involved, because it encourages dependancy and laziness. BUT... just like these problems will not be solved or helped with government funding, they will also not be solved by doing nothing! There are millions of broken, needy people in this country - in the world. How can we as Christians, who are called by Christ to feed and clothe and care for others, say no to plans for government funding and then not do anything else to help these people? We need to ask ourselves - "what am I *personally* doing to help them?" It is easier to say that we believe rich people should be responsible for taking care of poor people than it is to 'get out in the trenches' and do it ourselves. The Church -Christians, liberal and conservative alike, should be the ones ministering to the broken and needy. Jesus didn't give that job to Ceasar and the people of Rome. He entrusted that responsibility to his followers. The church needs to step up and live out their faith in this way. Once they start doing that, maybe the government can back off. I might start a speaking tour at local churches to get the word out. I'm very passionate about this. :)
Okay, enough of my rant....back to the book...(my previous thoughts actually do tie in to what I am going to say next - I just don't have a clear segue).
It seems to me that the problem is not with religion or today's church or conservatives or republicans or liberals or democrats, but it is with the need to understand the scriptures BOTH from a theological point of view AND from experience.
Without theology, the experience or relational aspect of Christianity is not grounded and is even dangerous. There is no expectation of an absolute truth and so all of faith is relative. Thus God becomes not who scriptures say he is but who I want him to be. It is particularly difficult to study the scriptures this way. Theology in the form of bullet points and fomulas (i.e. creeds, the articles of religion, the catechisms and things like the five points of Calvinism) is good and necessary. These things exist to give focus and steadfast understanding to our fickle feelings and experiences. In studying these things, the worshipper can stand on the shoulders of giants instead of presuming that he alone is a giant who can figure everything out himself.
Conversly, I would say that religion without relationship is dangerous in that it misses the point. Certainly God does not desire this. Scripture makes so many references to the act of offering sacrifices versus the offering of the heart. And yet He did not do away with sacrifices in the Old Testament - He required that his people sacrifice as well as call upon Him. In the new testament when Christ came to be the final propitiation for sin, He said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Clearly the law (or religion) is important but it is not fulfilled nor has meaning without Christ.
Christianity does not work in an 'either-or' mentality -either religion or relationship. It is 'BOTH-AND'. Why is it that it is so hard to find a church that embodies this 'both-and' principle? It seems that they love to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The formulas, church history, tradition, creeds, systematic theology are all important. Much more important, in fact, than Donald Miller acknowledges. But without a true, ongoing, growing relationship with Christ, theology just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I think this was one of the author's main points and it is definately one I needed to hear. It is the responsibility of the worshipper to maintain an understanding of both at all times. This is such a difficult task. It seems to me that our finite minds just were not created to focus on all of that at once, but fortunately, God makes these things possible. I am constantly in this desperate struggle to remain focused on both. I have been concentrating almost exclusively on only one aspect of my faith. I needed to be reminded of the 'both-and' argument. That is why I loved reading this book.
Better focus then Blue Like Jazz, same great style What Miller's musing about in this book is how we have a tendency as Christians to look for formulas and checklists in scripture and completely miss the point of it all which is the ideal of relationship. He suggests that we tend to look to scripture as a self-help book that gives us the steps to a better life or the steps to God and when we do that we are disappointed because the bible is void of formulas and instead talks mostly in terms of relationships (between us and God and us as humans). Bringing out this point, he mentions how we can tend to look to doctrinal statements and gospel tracts to give us the steps or bullet-points on how to know God when Christ was always talking about how to know God in metaphors of relationship like sheep to Shepherd or child to Father.
The book is not written to be a conclusive biblical study or position statement, he even states at the end in an appendix that he while he believes whole-heartedly in the value of doctrine and theological study, he intentionally deemphasized those things in the book to focus on his point regarding the need to understand the relational aspect. So there were times I thought he took things a bit far and certainly did not agree with all he said. However, there were many times when I just stopped and said "man I have never thought about _____ like that." Miller has a way of simply and casually being quite enlightening.
I walked away from "Searching..." thinking a lot about how I sometimes allow my walk with God to be a 12-step program instead of the relationship its meant to be and how I can look at scripture as a self-help book instead of a love letter. I'd recommend this book to you for that reason; its an encouragement to remember Christ wants a relationship with us and when we just approach the bible for formulas, facts, dogma, systems, and steps we miss the point....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
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
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.
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
Right on the mark! I just loved this book! This book is much more biblically oriented than "Blue Like Jazz". I would suggest reading "Blue" first... especially for non-Christians. I enjoyed "Searching for God Knows What" even better than "Blue". I felt as though I connected with Donald Miller's heart and in the process I felt a deep connection to God. Don has a way of writing that is brutally honest and gets to the core of the situation without all the non-sense and rigidity that usually comes with organized religion or from cookie-cutter Christianity. This booked will change your life if you will let God open your heart and speak to you. ...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
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
Powerful Christian writing with a new slant Last night I stayed up late finishing Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz. This man has quickly become one of my top five authors. His fierce honesty and devotion to the Lord shine through on every page. Often he clarifies or forces to the surface thoughts of my own I hadn't been able to put to words. Miller makes it so clear that what Jesus gives us unconditionally and freely is love, and that love is what He requires from us in return, not just for Him, but for the whole world. There's a lot of angry rhetoric out there about them against us be it fundamentalists vs evangelicals, Democrats vs Republicans, or Protestants vs Catholics, there is always a "we're better than they are" attitude that Christians are very guilty of propagating in the world. Much of Miller's writing in this book address that our message in the Church as the bride of Christ needs to be one of love for the world. Comparing ourselves to other people and judging their sins only keeps us trapped in a cycle without love or God. Miller is a powerfully affecting writer who has the potential to change lives. God knows that he's changed mine. Read this book and Blue Like Jazz and anything else Miller writes (including his new book To Own a Dragon)....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
eh... This book was soooo slow starting out. It was definitely not what I was expecting from Donald Miller after having just finished Blue Like Jazz. ...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
Where's the angst? While Searching for God Knows What lacks the angst of Blue Like Jazz, the first half of the book has close to the same feel, other than the angst I mean. My favorite chapter is titled "Imposters: Santa Takes a Leak." If anything, this title should give you an idea of what Miller is about. He opens the book by sharing a personal story of a Christian writer's conference he once attended where most of the ladies at his table were preparing to writing formula books. One, a daily devotional while drinking coffee, another a daily devotional book to read while enjoying tea. Miller dropped his diplomatic covert nun that saves the world idea and set out to write his devotional book to read while eating ice cream, but he just couldn't cram the complexity of the Biblical narrative into three or five or ten simple bullet points.
Miller also presents a reality-show type model of existence in a lifeboat where one person must be tossed overboard. To avoid that terrible fate, he says we all argue our worth and form alliances. It's a great model and explains society well. The author even goes so far as to argue against placing morality above Jesus and His message. And he does a sound job making this point.
The second half of the book seems to slow down. It's a little more preachy than the first half. It's not bad; it's just not as consistent, not as raw, and not as funny.
Whether he's embracing it or not, Donald Miller is becoming one of a few spokespersons for the emerging church movement. Because of this new hat he wears, he may have been more cautious with this book than he was with some of his previous work. (But this might not be the reason.)
I enjoyed Searching for God Knows What. It's well written, and almost as funny as Blue Like Jazz. Miller argues for some sound ideas. If a reader were only going to read one Donald Miller book, I'd still recommend Blue Like Jazz; but if they were going to read two Miller books, I'd say Searching for God Knows What is worth the time....more info
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
Interesting thoughts, but little knowledge Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" is an interesting follow-up to his (more) profound book, "Blue Like Jazz". "Searching" is overall a good conversation about spirituality and moving away from the lists and formulas of organized religion, but Miller is deficient in biblical and theological knowledge. I found myself agreeing with many of Miller's points regarding the overall message of the Bible and the Gospels, but was highly frustrated with Miller's incorrect use of biblical criticism and theological reflection. As a person with undergraduate training in Christian religion and theology, I found that Miller incorrectly labels and misinterprets much of the biblical basis for his conclusions. Several times Miller employs the phrase "many scholars agree..." when, in fact, the material he presents is highly refuted in the academic world. While many of these idiosyncracies will not affect the average layperson or spiritually-interested reader, those with solid and credible religious education will find it difficult to meander through Miller's work. While "Searching" should certainly be praised for contuining the conversation concerning the move toward a more loving, intimate relationship with God, Miller should have done better research concerning the more technical aspects of theological and biblical interpretation....more info
Searching for God Knows What This was the best Christian Book I have read in a long time. I gave 7 copies of this book away for Christmas because I loved it so much I wanted to give it's message to people I care about. I will buy other books by Donald Miller just because this one impressed me so much. Cristi...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.
wonderful followup I felt like this was a wonderful continuation for Blue Like Jazz, but I felt like some of it was a little over my head at some points. I did, however, feel as if it went even further into the relational aspect of Christianity, which is so poinent and beautiful. Again, Donald Miller really hits home with his personal stories that reflect how he knows and loves God....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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
a must-read You'll find yourself putting this book down frequently so that you can just think about some of the mind-blowing content that Donald Miller is pitching. Great stuff....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
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
Following Christ is a Relationship not a System THANK YOU Donald Miller. This is one of the most important books you can read as a Christian. It inspired me to do an about face. That is look for the face of Jesus, not his rules, not his rewards, but ENJOY THE PRESENCE of our God. After reading this book, I actually laughed and played with Jesus. I petted the Lion's mane and He licked me back. We hugged after that....more info
Thank you Miller If you liked Blue Like Jazz, you'll love the book. Thank you Mr. Miller for another great one, can't wait for the next....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
Not doing it for me...again I am wading through this book for the second time. I am about twenty pages past where I fell off last time, and things aren't looking good.
Don't get me wrong. I like Miller. I thought "Blue Like Jazz" was an inspiring and important book. "Searching for God Knows What," however, is doing just that - searching. And searching. And searching.
The writing here is nowhere near as good or engaging as BLJ. Miller seems to harp a lot on certain themes, repeating his theses over and over throughout the pieces rather than letting the pieces support the theses through good writing. And the points that he is making aren't revelatory. When I read BLJ, I would finish a chapter before going to bed, and all day the next day I found myself pondering what I had read over and over. It was the best kind of writing: that kind that takes a while to simmer and sink in. This book, however, only makes broad and shallow points, never daring to go very deep. And sadly, Miller already sounds like he's trying too hard to be himself. I've read pieces from "To Own A Dragon," and found them very entertaining and well-written. In my opinion, Miller is best when he writes little vignettes and more memoirish stuff rather than these essays. SFGKW is too meandering, too unfocused and poorly written. At times it honestly reads like a [...]paper.
I hate to sound so negative because I really do think that Miller is a good writer, and an important one. I just think he dropped the ball on this one. I'm looking forward to reading "To Own a Dragon."...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
Better than Blue Like Jazz I love Don Miller, and he is head and shoulders above any author out there as far as i am concerned. This book has so many amazing spiritual aspects that make you realize just how big God is and how small we are. And how if we use others to define us and not God to dedine who we are than we are missing the boat completely. Amazing book, you will love the chapter on the "Children of Chernobyl"...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
Another Stellar Work from Donald Miller If you read my review of Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality you know how much I adore Miller's writing. This book is a continuation on that theme, and suprisingly manages to surpass it. His writing is pure poetry, with hidden depths and insights. It will make you think. It's at the top of my all-time favorites list.
The most interesting concept here to me is that (whether literally or figuratively) at the fall of man humankind lost its identity. In Eden we knew our inherent value and place in relation to God. Since the fall we have lost our sense of worth and our relationship with Him. Everything God has done since has been an effort to restore that relationship. Almost everything we do since then is an effort to establish our own worth and status. It is a fascinating concept of human motivation and my summary doesn't do his writing justice.
Much religion is ostensibly an effort at a relationship with God but typically denigrates to an ego-based identity. How many true seekers do you know? And how many self-righteous people that claim superiority due to their religion? Ironic, isn't it? That the very people who claim superiority for having higher values than others settle for the value of the identity rather than the actual relationship.
Miller manages to discuss the implications of all of this with refreshing humility. This is the kind of rare resource that can not only help mature Christians to grow in faith, it would also be appropriate for those new to the faith or of other faiths alltogether....more info
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
Donald's Diary The first three chapters draw the reader in with witty and humerous prose. Many of Miller's ideas are refreshing. Especially the overriding theme that our relationship with God is relational and cannot be "cloaked in formulas." Miller does an excellent job of driving home the point that jumping through hoopes and going through motions is not how a person should "act out their spirituality."
After chapter three, however, the book turns into a rambling of Donald Miller's opinions on everything from God to politics. The book turns into Donald's diary of rants against radical televangalists and overzealous Christian ministries. The witty conversation soon turns into pure opinion based only on observations from his personal experiences.
Donald's analogies prove to be helpful, although very long-winded in their explanation, and his understanding of Romeo and Juliet in a Christian context is very impressive and insightful.
This book is not for those looking for an objective perspective on Christianity but may be entertaining for those that share the same passionate frustrations with certain Christian groups that Donald does....more info