Monday, February 2, 2009

Searching For God Knows What

I am a list maker. I do better with the structure of having a piece of paper remind me what I need or want to accomplish. My brain isn't what it used to be. Much to my frustration, it forgets WAY more than it used to. Thus my recent list of things I hope to accomplish in 2009. Thanks to my list, I'm making progress.

One of the items on my list is to read at least one book each month. That probably doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but for me it really is. Due to all my Precept preparation and the distractions of t.v. and the internet among other things, I get little time for recreational reading. I was an avid reader as a kid. Long Montana winters and two static-ridden t.v. channels left LOTS of time and little else to do but read. I poured through books. Even as an adult, being a night owl, I used to read books at night when I went to bed - lots of books. But now due to my advancing age, I read two pages at night and I'm gone. Takes a long time to read a book that way. I usually manage to get through a book or two on vacations that allow for reading time. Those vacations are few and far between. Therefore, I have to PURPOSE to read books. With that said, here is short review of my January 2009 book (even though I actually finished it today, Feb. 2).

I just finished Donald Miller's "Searching for God Knows What". He is the author of "Blue Like Jazz" which was huge on the best seller lists a few years ago. For some reason I never got around to reading that one, but Whitney left this one at our house over Christmas break and I decided to take advantage of the fact that I didn't have to "find" something to read for my first book of the year. And with THAT said, I am left pondering the quirky, out of the box approach to Christianity that Miller portrays. Like "The Shack" it challenges the box I have put God in. It tells a great deal about our human condition and how in many ways, our attempt to be "religious" has gotten it all wrong. I don't agree with every point he makes, but many of his points challenged me to take another look at WHAT I believe and how I LIVE OUT what I believe. Good stuff.

Though lengthy (my apologies), I will share one quote from Miller that I have read over a few times:
The Jesus on CNN, the Jesus in our books and in our movies, the Jesus that is a collection of evangelical personalities, is often a Jesus of the suburbs, a Jesus who wants you to be a better Yuppie, a Jesus who is extremely political and supports a specific party, a Jesus who has declared a kind of culture war in the name of our children, a Jesus who worked through the founding fathers to begin America, a Jesus who dresses very well, speaks perfect English, has three points that fulfill any number of promises and wants you and me to be, above all, comfortable. Is this the real Jesus?
Is Jesus sitting in the lifeboat with us, stroking our backs and telling us we are the ones who are right....that we are the ones who are going to survive and others are going to be thrown out because we are Calvanists, Armenians, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics; because we are Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals: because we attend a big church, a small church, an ethnically diverse church, a house church, or is Jesus acting in our hearts to reach out to the person who isn't like us-the oppressed, the poor, the unchurched- and to humble ourselves, give of our money, give of our time, our creativity, get on our knees before our enemies in humility, treating them as Scripture says, as people who are more important than we are? The latter is the Jesus of Scripture: the former, which is infinitely more popular in evangelical culture, is a myth sharing a genre with unicorns.

I would recommend this book as one that challenges the "norm" in our churches today. I like Miller's way of thinking and the questions he asks. He titles a few of his chapters, "Fine Wine", "Naked", "Children of Chernobyl", " Adam, Eve and the Alien", and "Lifeboat Theory". A good book for those who think outside of the box, and for those of us who tend to live within it.


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