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Searching for God Knows What

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  14,588 ratings  ·  623 reviews
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. Typically their pursuits include the desire ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 13th 2004 by Thomas Nelson Publishers (first published February 29th 2000)
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chris tierney
Apr 14, 2008 chris tierney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
These days I am afraid and ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian. I'm afraid because I know as soon as the word leaves my mouth I'll be associated with people who hate homosexuals and science classes, people who cast every vote as though abortion is the only issue, people who think God wants us to drop more bombs in Iraq because He only loves America. I'm ashamed because I don't do enough to counteract that stereotype. I don't explain that it doesn't matter to me whether homosexuality is sinful ...more
Amanda
Where do I begin... First, this is the first Donald Miller book I've read. (It seems like every other reviewer has read Blue Like Jazz, so I feel obligated to admit I haven't.) Secondly, I really expected to -- and wanted to -- like this book. And I did like it, but only 3 stars' worth. Here's why.

The first thing is the writing style. I totally get that Miller wanted to be informal and conversational, but he spent so much time meandering around whatever topic was at hand that it drove me nuts. I
...more
Kaysi
In Searching for God Knows What, Miller unpacks why the Christian faith cannot be whittled down to a three-step self-help program or some simplistic mathematical formula comprised of a few mere propositional beliefs. I was amazed, honestly, at how deftly this book laid out so much of the thinking God has been instilling in my own life this year...in Miller's understanding (and I agree), everything goes back to a time before the fall, when man was still living in peaceful, right relationships wit ...more
Austin
"It seems nearly heresy to explain the gospel of Jesus, this message an infinitely complex God has delivered to an infinitely complex humanity, in bullet points." Yet, as Miller explains with insight and humor, is all too common in today's society. People of all beliefs and agendas try to use God and Jesus to fight for their point of view and against all others, polarizing the world. This is not what Jesus taught. A true relationship with God is just that, a relationship, not a list of morality ...more
Matt
Lately I've found trying to argue for/against a God with my atheists friends to be pretty challenging. After reading this one, I get the feeling that one of the big reasons why it's hard to argue propositionally for a God is because it's a relationship. You can't measure it with a Cosmo quiz. Trouble is, modern Christianity (and heck, the Pharisees... nothing changes) are obsessed with checklists and rules and spelling everything out.

Isn't love about a sort of loose interplay on each other's beh
...more
Giedra
Themes/things I gleaned:

We want the Bible to be formulas, but it's not.

Everyone wants to be validated, to feel important and valuable. Most everything humans do it about trying to get this kind of validation. But human love/validation has to be given again and again to give us a sense of security. God’s love, on the other hand, in the ideal state, would instill our souls with such affirmation we would need ntohing more and it would cause us to love others so much we would be willing to die for
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Elizabeth
The main premise, repeated ad nauseum, in Donald Miller’s Searching For God Knows What is that the Bible is relational – that is, not to be broken down into cheap bullet points and formulas. As one who’s long been frustrated with the fill-in-the-blank worksheets passed around at most of the church services I’ve attended (I rarely fill them out, preferring to get lost in the sermon and the atmosphere of church itself, as much as possible) I was intrigued by the theme and anxious to see what Donal ...more
Kristi
This author annoys me.

I like his focus on the relational -- specifically, that it's all about having a relationship w/ Jesus. His love for Jesus shows.

Unfortunately, that love hasn't permeated his heart for how he writes about "the religious right" and FOX news and various strawman conservative views that he self-righteously bashes and knocks down. He caricatures these views (maybe from reading the NY Times . . . he doesn't seem to know a lot about conservative philosophy) while claiming that
...more
Joshua Weichhand
Ehh, this seemed to be Donald Miller's moment of "I'm a christian lit. superstar and here's my new book to prove it." Poor writing -- not that most evangelicals would notice -- yet again, but I suppose in retrospect, it served a purpose in my life (though now, I forget what it was).

Truthfully, I might just feel that this is when Donald Miller chose to permanently stifle himself by allowing some evangelical publisher to brand him as the "cool" christian author who "pushes the boundaries" by talki
...more
Karson
He has a long section about Jesus that I remember liking. His lifeboat theory is what i remember most from this book. Basically that people feel more accepted when they are leaving someone else out. Your not in unless you can point to who is out. It makes you feel extra smug when there is some outcast you can concretely point to. Erik Erikson's theories of identity are in line with this. When you are forming your identity you need two things. A group of people you identify with, and a group of p ...more
Josh
Donald Miller represents the worst aspects of religion. His stories are entertaining until he begins to preach about Jesus, then this book turns into a lesson in intolerance and looking down on others. The worst part is there's an entire chapter on not judging others, which Miller effectively undoes through his comments and attitudes towards other religions.

Matt
A different tone than Blue Like Jazz- which was a surprise hit when it came out. You can see the increase in maturity and thoughtfulness as he handles this one; not so careless with volatile subjects as he used to be. He's obviously experienced many complicated things since then. His thoughtfulness and honesty are what made Blue Like Jazz good, and this one's just as strong in regard to both those qualities.

The thing that bothers me when I read Donald Miller, is that he seems to assume non-follo
...more
Teri Peterson
I'd forgotten some things about Donald Miller's writing...namely, that he uses so much exclusive language (man, He, etc), and that his style is so casual as to sometimes be boring and repetitive. The concept of the book--that God wants us to be in relationship, not to follow a formula for faith--is, I think, pretty much right on. Near the end of the book he says "When Jesus gets inside somebody, the first thing that starts happening is the person starts loving people regardless of their race, th ...more
Anne
I've discovered that even Donald Miller has his limits. Okay okay okay, the book wasn't bad. Truth, I did enjoy some parts of it, and even strongly considered underlining some passages before remembering that I was borrowing the book from my brother and he might not appreciate that, then I figured maybe I should just write down the quotes I liked, but that would've required a lot of work at the time (getting up, finding paper, a pen, etc., then actually writing it all out..) and it just didn't s ...more
Laura
I can't remember how old I was when my school teacher presented "the lifeboat" scenario, but I do remember the discussion I had with my mom later that day. She said, "We don't throw anyone out of the lifeboat. We work together and figure out how everyone can live."

Donald Miller suggests that the lifeboat rules our lives. We are all desperate to prove that we deserve a seat. But Jesus, "had no regard for the lifeboat politics you and I live within every day. He believed a great deal of absurd ide
...more
Becky
I love Donald Miller's writing style and the honesty and candor he expresses in his books and blog. Overall I have to give this just 3 stars, just because there was some inconsistency throughout. Some parts were wonderful, but other parts, like the circus and Romeo and Juliet, I thought extended too long and stretched certain metaphors. However, there were a lot of amazing moments in this book, and it helped change the way I think about the Gospel and my relationship with Jesus.

I think I was ex
...more
Cori
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 s
...more
Lisa
Donald Miller is not content to follow the masses in regards to the Christian faith. He wants to help repair the broken views of our religion and bring believers back to a meaningful relationship with our true love, Jesus. Searching for God Knows What conveys the importance of this life-changing relationship while trying to expose what Christianity isn’t.
When I read Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, I devoured each page, excited to unexpectedly read thoughts so similar to mine. Searching for God Knows Wh
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J. Allen
I particularly liked this book because the author does not hold back on his willingness to go out on a limb then wrap it up in an easily comprehensible package that makes not good but great sense! I tripped out on the fact that he writes in a manner that my mind frequently operates in, different and bold about it. At times I was at the verge of skepticism, thinking that he may be a bit "out there", then Mr Miller would drive his point home beautifully. He is not held hostage "inside the box", th ...more
Lisa
I was in college when this book was published and it was very influential. I wanted to know if it still held value, 10 years later. I was glad to find it does. I found myself underlining and noting new things. There's one line, near the end of the book where he mentions that he has begun viewing his life as a story. 10 years later, he has written another book, began a blog, and a business all upon that idea. And 10 years later, I'm still a fan of his writing, his impact, and his story.
Jen Shank
This book was very insightful. Very Miller-y feel to it. However, did dip in to interpreting the scriptures which is not my personal fav. I could have done with out a lot of this book. There were quite a few things I did love though.

My favorite passage was all about validation and how we seek it most within our closest group of friends. I even blogged about this. Good, important lesson.

Some memorable quotes:

"...we are, perhaps, even more obsessed, in the church, with the stuff culture is obses
...more
Erin
Nov 16, 2009 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Bonnie
"I get this feeling sometimes that after the world ends, when God destroys all our buildings and our flags, we will wish we had seen everybody as equal, that we had eaten dinner with prostitutes, held them in our arms, opened up spare rooms for them and loved them and learned from them. I was just another stupid child in the flow, you know; I didn't know any of these things. I didn't know it didn't matter what a person looked like, how much money they made or whether or not they were cool. I did ...more
Christen
This is not Miller's best work. What was most interesting to me about this work is that he points out how much time we spend judging other people. Also, he makes the observation that many Christians have narrowed Christianity down to accepting propositions of theology instead of accepting a relationship. I will probably continue to ponder those two ideas, but the rest of the book, meh. Romeo and Juliet -- rolling my eyes. I recommend Blue Like Jazz or What I Learned While Editing My Life as far ...more
Blake
I would suggest this book to any of my Christian friends for the sheer comical genius of the author Donald Miller. Not only does he somehow hit a home run with this whimsical humor, but it's almost like talking to my friend Christopher, or Mark while reading it.
With his vivid imagination, and the scenario's he makes from his imagination, they had me laughing out loud while reading it. And at the whole time, still getting his opinions of God out there as cement as his humor.
Amy
Once again, what I really want to say is 4.5 stars. I loved Miller's Blue Like Jazz and was really excited to grab this one on sale. While some of what Miller talks about in this book is less than original, I loved his ideas about Jesus and politics. It was refreshing to hear someone speak so candidly about the misuse of the Lord's name in politics. A great read for anyone looking for some down to earth Christian living advice.
Bob
I'm just starting to read this one again, giving it a second chance. The first time I found it too 'out of the box' for my more fundamentalist/republican thinking at the time I read it. I'm a different kind of person these 4 years later...I'm sure I will understand it better this time around.....

update; this book rocks. Like Dion, I have a man crush on Donald Miller. Oh and i must have been a jerk the first time I read this.
Chelsea
Here. Let me save you 250 pages of tedious and often self-satisfied pontificating: "Faith is relational, like falling in love. Theology is the roadmap, not the actual relationship." Got it? Great, you don't need this book.

The humor is as contrived as the forced folksy conversational tone, and sometimes downright offensive, and I thought if he said one more thing was "beautiful," "quite beautiful, really," or "quite meaningful, really," I was going to throw the book across the room.

Instead I cl
...more
Brad Blackman
Fantastic read. It gave me a lot of validity to my "creative" approach to Jesus, in that our relationship to Jesus is exactly that, a relationship and not a series of steps to go through. It really underscores our human need for _story_ in a deep way. This past few months I have come to learn my own story better, and I see a great need for more people to understand their own story as well as God's story.
Elijah Berry
I stole this book from a friend, read it, finished it in the Borders bookstore my friend worked at, and then walked up to him and said "hey, I stole your book, here it is back."

I remember crying while reading this one. It is very good! Donald Miller has a very personal/down to earth way of writing and so it is so easy to just get lost in his work!
Melinda
After reading Blue Like Jazz, I was ready to read anything by Donald Miller. This really took that book to the next level of how Don has wrestled with his faith and challenges us to understand the younger generations who have grown up in this culture. Highly recommended if you are serious about loving people as Jesus taught us to.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Donald Miller grew up in Houston, Texas. Leaving home at the age of twenty-one, he traveled across the country until he ran out of money in Portland, Oregon, where he lives today.

Harvest House Publishers released his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, in 2000. Two years later, after havin
...more
More about Donald Miller...
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance: Finding God on the Open Road

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“I do not believe a person can take two issues from Scripture, those being abortion and gay marriage, and adhere to them as sins, then neglect much of the rest and call himself a fundamentalist or even a conservative. The person who believes the sum of his morality involves gay marriage and abortion alone, and neglects health care and world trade and the environment and loving his neighbor and feeding the poor is, by definition, a theological liberal, because he takes what he wants from Scripture and ignores the rest.” 172 likes
“I have sometimes wondered if the greatest desire of man is to be known and loved anyway.” 73 likes
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