Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Nelson Books 2004
Readability: An easy, but sometimes rambling read. I guess it depends on what you like.
Impact: Really made me think hard about a lot of things. I certainly hope it helped change me.
Read it Again: Yes...
Recommend it: Yes (read review:-)
What to Expect
In a style now associated with it's author, Searching for God Knows What wanders through the problems of identity and an improper view on just who our God is.
It focuses on Christianity being relational.
Who is God? Who are we? And what is our relationship?
I have mixed feelings. Sometimes he really made me wary. He writes extremes and I don't think he would always hold to them. Some of the iffy things he implied, you certainly could take them to mean something you wouldn't want them to. Perhaps in his exuberance to get across a point he goes a little off into the other ditch.
I'd love to discuss it with someone a lot smarter than me and get their perspective!
He denounces war terminology in any use. This seems pretty narrow. He never even attempts to address all the uses in the Bible. For a girl who loves The Son of God Goes Forth to War and Rise Again Ye Lion Hearted this was pretty bothersome. :-) It's also disappointing since he is normally pretty careful about only pushing stuff he thinks he can back up with Scripture.
On the whole, it is an amazing book and really gets you thinking and evaluating yourself. He points out some extremely interesting (and mostly really sad) things about how we seem to imagine God.
He bases a lot of his book against "the lifeboat theory" and shows how our identity is not "being ourself" but being defined by something else. We can try to get people to define us by their words or actions, or we can acknowledge and accept our identity in Christ. To be defined by our Creator is the only way to be secure and satisfied.
He is direct and frequent in his criticism of modern Christians (mostly conservatives). Most of it is well deserved, but could use some spice and humor. Blunt railings could be more effective if replaced with satire. :-)
It was actually very interesting that I was reading Searching for God Knows What while I was also reading A Serrated Edge . They both touched on identity and how it effects our relations so drastically with others and with God. It also gave two different angles on some of the very same passages from Jesus life. It was pretty interesting...
Identity is already something I've been thinking about a lot. (You know already if you remember my post on Survival in Auschwitz.) I picked up Searching for God Knows What and A Serrated Edge without knowing anything about them except my interest in both authors. It was very providential that they both addressed identity.
Donald Miller also gave an interesting perspective on Romeo and Juliet in the last chapter... That's a Shakespeare play I'm still very much trying to figure out...
I've extremely glad I read this book.
From the Book
If man was wired so that something outside himself told him who he was, and if God's presence was giving him a feeling of fulfillment, then when that relationship was broken, a man would be pining for other people to tell him that he was good, right, okay with the world, and eternally secure. As I wrote earlier, we all compare ourselves to others , and none of our emotions-- like jealousy and envy and lust-- would exist unless man was wired so that somebody else told him who he was, and that somebody was gone.
The second chapter of the book of James tells us, specifically, not to take a wealthy person and seat him in the place of honor and leave a poor person in the back. I take this to mean that in church the rules of the lifeboat don't apply, that church is a refuge, where the kingdom of God is emulated, not mocked.
Thanks for reading,