Sunday, January 09, 2005

Review: SEARCHING FOR GOD KNOWS WHAT

I finished Donald Miller's quite engaging book this afternoon, and I just wanted to post that I'm better for having read it completely through. Many books challenge me - few keep my attention long enough to get to the last page. In Searching For God Knows What (coppyright 2004, Donald Miller; published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.), Miller confronts what he calls "lifeboat theology", where only a few certain people who do the right things or look the right way will be rescued in the end, and that all others will be voted out of the lifeboat for the survival of the fortunate few. If this is the typical cultural outlook on life, then it had deceptively infiltrated the church to create a place where people try harder to show that Christians are cool than to show the love and servant heart of Christ to the world around us.

I first read BLUE LIKE JAZZ last summer, discovering Miller as a writer from someone else's blog, I'm sure. I was struck by his honesty, his storytelling and his life that seemed to mirror mine in its search for identity and worth. I think I liked this follow-up book better, though - more than being about "me" or being about Miller's story, it's about God and Christ's Story and how we interact and connect in there. That intersection of our little stories and His big Story is where real change and challenge are born, and I think Miller has picked it up convincingly.

The biggest thing I'm taking away is that where we've reduced the gospel to five bullet points in a flashy and attractive pamphlet for public dispersion, we need to re-think our viewpoints and perspectives and ask ourselves if we even really know Christ, if we really love Him more than His stuff. We can't describe love or mystery without getting into metaphors and story and imagery - how can we talk about the gospel in such scientific and lifeless terms as we do? I've been one who's been overly mental about finding "hidden truths" in the Bible, thinking things that no one's thought of before - when I should probably be about finding out what others have thought first and trying those things on in my life instead of being a lone ranger and making it up as I go. I find myself right now wanting to make sure the relationship is right - the obedience will flow from relationship, not vice versa, and we cannot please God without loving Him first as He has first loved us.

The last chapter nailed it for me (and will be a big selling point when I tell Vicki to read it, too) - how Shakespeare brought Christ/Church imagery to life in Romeo & Juliet. My hope is that my life, challenged as it's been by this book and others I've read lately, will be as poetic a story of Christ's love as this play is used here.

Searching For God Knows What is worth the time, worth the questions, worth the late nights and double lattes to read. We discover that there is no lifeboat, that there is no hierarchy or favoritism, that there is nothing but love and acceptance and freedom and forgiveness being offered by God as we fellowship with Him. For me, it's time to get out of the boat, to let others wrangle over who they think should survive to the next round, and I'll just swim and surf with the Savior, thanks very much.

4 Comments:

Blogger Liberal Chrystie said...

I'm glad you finally found that God is about love, kindnesss, acceptance, forgiveness and freedom. My grandpa use to say, "Keep it simple, stupid," respectfully with a smile.

Simply put, "God is love." Hope you keep that close to your heart and share those thinkings when viewing the entire world, not just our own here. God loves all of his children and we are all just that, regardless.

10/1/05 10:04 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

well, it's "simple", but it's not - isn't it? because the idea that "God is love" must also incorporate His justice and His mercy together. the problem as i've seen it is that we can get to fundamental about judgment and punishment and too far away from the mercy side - but then when we get into love and mercy we swing too far away from the obedient and servant-heart side. there's a balance there, and i think that's what miller was doing in this book - at least for me, bringing a balance to the whole of God's presence with us.

how's that? thanks much for stopping by :)

11/1/05 8:33 AM  
Blogger MaryAnn M said...

ok ok...i suppose i need to read yet another book!! LOL (just got 3...have 2 more ordered and in the mail...now i need this one too?)

currently delving into my beliefs about what the Bible says about HELL. i admit i am afraid of Brian McLarens newest book (the last word and the word after that)

this whole journey has really torn apart my religion and now i am slowly finding my faith...and love.

11/5/05 10:10 PM  
Blogger MaryAnn M said...

me again...months later...
i just finished this book.
glad i did.

there were many points i was saying YES out loud to.

There was one section (the whole deal about living vicariously thru the circus) I was laughing so hard with tears I could hardly breathe and i was expecting my son to tell me to knock it off and be quiet since we were trapped in a hotel room together while reading it.

this is yet one more of those faith deconstructing/reconstructing books.

Makes me look at my motives...are they just to stay in the lifeboat or are they to serve Jesus?

Makes me look at my relationship with Jesus...is this all just knowledge ABOUT Him or do I really know Him????

I could write albums on my husband and talk about him incessantly. You could even read his personal journal if he kept one. You would have alot of information to make you FEEL like you knew him...but until you sit and talk with him, go to a game with him, watch movies or whatever...spend some time with him...you dont know him at all!
Challenge: do I really know Jesus or just about Him.
Reality: there will be those who know alot of stuff and DO alot of stuff for the Kingdom of God but they have no relationship with Christ and will hear those awful words: "Depart from me..."

i wanna hear the "well done..."

1/8/05 4:18 PM  

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