For August, I’m participating in Read My Own Books Month, hosted by Michelle at That’s What She Read.
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Source: I’ve owned a copy forever
Rating: 9 out of 10
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Synopsis (from the product description): In Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller’s provocative and funny book, he shows readers that the greatest desire of every person is the desire for redemption. Every person is constantly seeking redemption (or at least the feeling of it) in his or her life, believing countless gospels that promise to fix the brokenness. Miller reveals how the inability to find redemption leads to chaotic relationships, self-hatred, the accumulation of meaningless material possessions, and a lack of inner peace. Mature believers as well as seekers and new Christians will find themselves identifying with the narrative journey unfolded in the book, which is simply the pursuit of redemption.
Overall Impression: The title Searching for God Knows What is really applicable to Donald Miller’s writing style — he sort of meanders and wends his way around everyday thoughts about Jesus and God, as well as deep theological ideas — which he manages to approach in a very accessible, self-deprecating, somewhat winsome style. It may not be for everyone, but I find it beautiful in its searching simplicity and humility.
A lot of what he talks about in this book has resonated deeply within me, and is related a lot to some of the things I’ve been writing on this blog. His love for people and knowledge of his own imperfection are both so real. Even though this book is the same thing people have been writing about for thousands of years, none of it feels scripted, cliched or tired — it’s fresh and new and very relevant. You can tell his heart is for people to just know that they are loved and valued by God, and that their acceptance in life is not based on the things they do or how many people like them — it’s based fully on the fact that they are loved and valued by God:
“Imagine how a man’s life would be if he trusted that he was loved by God. How could he interact with the poor and not show partiality, he could love his wife easily and not expect her to redeem him, he would be slow to anger because redemption was no longer at stake, he could be wise and giving with his money because money no longer represented points, he could give up on formulaic religion, knowing that checking stuff off a spiritual to-do list was a worthless pursuit, he would have confidence and the ability to laugh at himself, and he could love people without expecting anything in return. It would be quite beautiful, really.”
Positives: Something about Donald Miller’s journey and the way he seems to write directly from his soul connects with me in a way that few other writers can. I really recommend him for anyone who tends to dive more deeply into their faith, instead of treading water where it is safe.
Negatives: I’m not sure why, but this took me a long time to get through — longer than usual for one of his books. I’m not sure if that’s a negative, per se, but I didn’t want to devour it with quite as much fervor as usual.
Other books I’ve read by Donald Miller:
Other blogger opinions:
Reaching Hurting Women: “True to form, Donald Miller, in his unmistakable story-telling style, tackles important subjects like faith and theology.”
A Bunch of My Nonsense: “I don’t think it’s the actual message that is a turn off for me but just the writing style.”
Lantz Howard: “Donald’s narrative genius makes this an engaging read, not a theological textbook.”