Donald Miller is someone I found intriguing, then challenging, then unsettling, then annoying, and ultimately inspiring. Blue Like Jazz (Miller's mostDonald Miller is someone I found intriguing, then challenging, then unsettling, then annoying, and ultimately inspiring. Blue Like Jazz (Miller's most popular book) is responsible for the first two emotions, a lecture he gave at a university is responsible for the next two, but the final emotion comes from A Million Miles...
The book has an immediately engaging premise. Don Miller is asked if people can make a movie about his life, but when he says yes, everyone discovers that his life is really pretty boring, sending him on a self-reflective journey about what makes a good story and how to turn his life into one.
The moments of Donald's life range from humourous to quite touching, but what I enjoyed most about this book was the lessons Miller learns from looking at his life through the lense of "Story." I won't spoil any of those wonderful observations for you, but I will simply say that if you have ever wrestled with the what-in-the-world-am-I-doing-with-my-life syndrome, you owe it to yourself to give this book a couple of hours of your time. You may not find your answers, but you'll almost certainly walk away challenged with a clearer direction on how to find those answers. A wonderful book well worth your time....more
Would make a great sermon. Way better than it made for a book because the points are extremely simplified. More based for persuading a non-believer thWould make a great sermon. Way better than it made for a book because the points are extremely simplified. More based for persuading a non-believer than for enlightening a believer. Good, but not great....more
The book is highly poetic, which increases its resonance but it is still very much a book for Christians. I wish I could recommend it to non-believersThe book is highly poetic, which increases its resonance but it is still very much a book for Christians. I wish I could recommend it to non-believers as an example of unique and intelligent progressive Christian thinking, but so much of his language depends on at least a cursory knowledge of the faith for the impact to fully set in.
That having been said, I am a believer and it resonated tremendously with me (I only killed that fifth star because of the crossover difficulty for non-Christians). His thoughts are challenging, yet hopeful; they are provocative, yet inspiring. What I most walked away with, however, was the sense that I wasn't crazy for thinking there was more to it all than what I had been taught for so many years. There are deeper places to go and deeper things to experience.
This notion, above any other in the book, was most worth hearing and makes the book a touching and beautiful journal of unique reflections, insights, and beliefs worth reading....more
For those of us who read Velvet Elvis, we may expect almost too much from Sex God. Velvet Elvis, while not without its shortcomings, was a wealth of iFor those of us who read Velvet Elvis, we may expect almost too much from Sex God. Velvet Elvis, while not without its shortcomings, was a wealth of ideas in wide variety. But again, Bell was exploring the whole of faith as opposed to a specific aspect of it.
In Sex God, Bell confronts human sexuality from a unique perspective - neither justifying sexual tendencies nor analyzing sexual appetites. Rather, he strives to help us see sexuality as an essential element to our humanity. The cornerstone chapter for this thought is called "Animals and Angels," which is one of the finest discourses on spiritual humanity I've read in recent years. If you are curious about the book, don't start at the beginning - read this chapter first.
Some of the staples of Bell's writings are all here - the study of ancient language that colors modern interpretations of certain key phrases; stylistic writing that punctuates certain phrases over others by isolating them from the rest of the paragraph; and a poet's sentiment for profound moments of beauty in common things (after "Angels and Animals" read "Under the Chuppah." You'll buy the book based on those two chapters alone)
The only distinct criticism I have for the book is in its premise. The title seems to imply that we're about to have a discussion about sex, when really Bell is talking to us about human connectedness (and disconnectedness); human value (and ways we betray that value); and eventual divine reconciliation. Sexuality is more the vehicle for that larger message than the message itself. However, once this is grasped, the book has some wonderful moments of insight and leaves the reader with several new thoughts on how to view ourselves and those around us....more