Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Searching for God Knows What

by Donald Miller
Nashville, Tenn. : Thomas Nelson Inc., c2010.

What if the Christian church is so focused on theology that it's lost sight of what really makes one a Christian? Miller contends that the American church has reduced a complex relationship with Jesus Christ to a formulaic gospel of steps to becoming a Christian. In Searching for God Knows What, he seeks to emphasize the relational nature of the gospel and demonstrates how different a worldview this would be from mainstream American culture.

A friend of mine lent this to me months ago because it related to a conversation we were having at the time. Of course, I've since forgotten the original impetus, but it didn't really matter in the end. Miller's style is extremely conversational and not particularly well-written, with a few over-the-top analogies to make his points. At least once, he got his facts wrong, as when he says that King Herod had the children of Israel murdered (according to Matthew 2, he ordered that boys under the age of 2 in Bethlehem and the vicinity be killed, not the entirety of Israel). Despite these flaws, from time to time a sentence or a paragraph would make me stop in my reading tracks. He would manage to crystallize an idea or use an illustration that was truly thought-provoking. I didn't always agree with Miller, ultimately. He clearly does not "get" sports, for example, and his politics clash with mine. But I enjoyed the challenge to think about exactly what I believe about my relationship with God, and how this necessarily affects my relationship with others.

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