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Book Review: Searching For God Knows What

June 4, 2010

Searching was originally written before A Million Miles. This revised edition includes Don’s personality theory – which I agree with in part, an introduction – which I regret reading, and a game – which I can’t seem to figure out.

The rest of the book, the part that I assume was there before someone decided to tweak and re-release, is fantastic.

In Searching, Don strips away the garbage that builds up around the fringes of our faith, and reminds the reader that this whole thing is about a relationship. The whole book is a beautiful adventure that made me to want to go read by Bible.

Seriously. A book so good it made me want to stop reading it, and read my Bible instead. No one but Donald Miller can do that.

From Genesis to a lifeboat, Don exposes the lies you are living by. Yes you, the one who, for whatever reason you like, does not fall for that kind of thing.

He exposes the lies in everything. Every. Thing. We think that we’re free of it, that we figured out marketing strategies in college and are now no longer subject to them. The truth is we’re all petty high school students a lot of the time.

Don details the system that rules our hearts and explains how it got there. He also creates a masterpiece out of what it might be like if we really could reject it. As usual, the whole thing is decorated with poignant stories, sharp insight, and beautiful language.

If you call yourself a Christian, this should be required reading. If you’ve ever wondered what “real Christianity” might be like, without all the BS of religion, you should check out Searching. And if you do check it out, don’t read the Introduction.

Here’s the thing about the introduction: I think he’s trying to come right out and say what he means to illustrate in the book, and it seems to muddy the issue. I understand that he’s trying to divorce religion and theology from the saving relationship that is offered in Christ, but he uses a broad brush on a fine line.

Because theology is how I think about Jesus. Similarly, my relationship – since we’re preferring that language – is based on my understanding of someone. Do you have to get a perfect score on a theology test to be a Christian? No. But neither can you totally divorce theology from relationship.

I think Don might agree with that. And I know that he values and emphasizes having right ideas about God – because he follows the Introduction with a whole book full of … ideas about God.

It seems, after having read the rest of the book, that his idea of “theology” is the formulas and checklists and steps that institutional religion degrades our faith/theology to. (Whereas I think of “theology” as the collection of ideas and understandings I have about God.) If you just start with the Introduction, though, that’s not very clear, and for several chapters afterward I wondered why he kept correcting wrong theology and presenting ideas about God.

Summary: Great book. Rip out the Introduction. And if you can figure out the game/website, fill me in please.

Quotes after the break.

“I wondered if when we take Christian theology out of the context of its narrative, when we ignore the poetry in which it is presented, when we turn it into formulas to help us achieve the American dream, we lose its meaning entirely, and the ideas become fodder for the head but have no impact on the way we live our lives or think about God. This is, perhaps, why people are so hostile toward religion.”

“The hijacking of the concept of morality began, of course, when we reduced Scripture to formula and a love story to theology, and finally morality to rules. It is a very different thing to break a rule than it is to cheat on a lover.”

“This battle we are in is a battle against the principalities of darkness, not against people who are different from us. In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 11:46 am

    heyyyy I just read this book two weeks ago! I actually based a decent part of one of my sermons on what I learned from it =]

    • Lex permalink
      June 8, 2010 12:01 pm

      Pretty amazing stuff. I like his Genesis Theory … except the naked part. Not sure I agree with that, but everything else is pretty fantastic. Love Mr. Miller!

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