Searching for God Knows What

February 4, 2006

searching_for_god_cover.jpgToday I finished Don Miller’s Searching for God Knows What.  I had read one of Don’s previous books, Blue Like Jazz, and was rather looking forward to this new volume.  I have to admit that I like Blue better than Searching; however, do not assume that I did not like the latter.

Don has a unique writing style.  He has been compared to Anne LaMott and Frederick Bueschner, which may be helpful for those familiar with their writings.  Don is extremely honest.  His honesty about his own short-comings and sinfulness humbles me as I read.  It is not that Don is more of a reprobate than the rest of us, it is just that he is willing to admit it.  It brings me to the point of confessing that I am like he is, only probably much worse.  You cannot mistake Don for the hypocritical one who prayed, “Thank God I am not like….”

Searching is a collection of stories and analogies.  Many of them are from Don’s life and others are historical.   Don may be a theologian, but this is not a systematic theology.  In the afterwards, he admits that he was not heavy on the theology, and that lightness was not for lack of concern; rather, he hits you more where it hurts…everyday life.

What Don has taught me through these two volumes is to…
…not be afraid to ask questions.
…don’t assume I am always right.
…question the why as much as the what .
…as well as many other lessons.

Some highlights for me include chapter 10, “The Gospel of Jesus: It Never Was a Formula.”  Within this chapter he tells a story of a presentation made to a group of seminary students.  He went through multiple aspects of the gospel with the class, only to come to the end and say “Have I missed anything?”  The students could not think of anything he had overlooked.  “None of the forty-five students in the class realized I had presented a gospel without once mentioning the name of Jesus.”  Why is it that He is so often left out?

“The hijacking of the concept of morality began, of course, when we reduced Scripture to a formula, and a love story to theology, and finally morality to rules.” (pg. 184)

“I realize there are people reading this who will automatically dismiss me as a theological liberal, but I do not believe a person can take two issues from Scripture, those being abortion and gay marriage, and adhere to them as sins, then neglect much of the rest and call himself a fundamentalist of even a conservative.  The person who believes the sum of his morality involves gay marriage and abortion alone, and neglects health care and world trade and the environment and loving his neighbor and feeding the poor is, by definition, a theological liberal, because he takes what he wants from Scripture and ignores the rest.” (pgs. 193-4)

Finally, the final chapter, “The Gospel of Jesus: Why William Shakespeare Was a Prophet,” was a tremendous conclusion.  He took many of the pieces presented and brought them together as a whole to create a beautiful mosaic.  Furthermore, he brought historical context and a theological eye to the story of Romeo and Juliet in such a way that you would consider Shakespeare a prophet.

This was a good read.  I recommend it.  It would never make one of my top ten lists, but it was certainly not time wasted.  If you are looking for something more challenging than traditional fiction, or a break from thick theology, you will find relief in the pages of a Don Miller book.

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