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Searching for God Knows What

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  24,485 ratings  ·  746 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 fo ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 11th 2004 by Thomas Nelson (first published February 29th 2000)
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Sean Larkin Not sure if the photo on GR has changed in the last 3 years since you posted this question, but this is the cover of the edition that I have.

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chris tierney
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: god-stuff
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
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
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 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
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me that we serve a God who is wildly passionate about relationship with us. I always feel refreshed after reading Donald Miller. This book was no different. A good, lighthearted reminder of the character of God and the beauty of walking with Him.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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-foll
Mar 01, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!
Donald Miller has once again written a book that brings you into a personal understanding of who Jesus is and the deep importance of loving everyone as He loves them. I personally resonated with his description of "life boat" politics and how Jesus never wanted us to be in the lifeboat. He constantly reminds the reader that Christianity is not something that can be understoof in a list of steps or through doctrinal "formulas." A look at scripture and how Jesus interacted with those around Him sh ...more
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Joshua Weichhand
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jason Lilly
Loved it. Don's honest and transparent questions about faith and love and life and existence are refreshing because every Christian has them, even the most hard-nosed devout theologian. Don is a great writer, and even when I don't agree with him (which is less often in this book than in BLJ) I feel like if we met we would talk about these things respectfully and lovingly. That's what I love about his books. It feels a lot like having a really profound conversation with a good friend.
May 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.

Maggie Lowe
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
I first encountered this book in an ad in a magazine in the early 2000s. I was intrigued by the title and bought it the next time I was in a store. I have sat on it since then and decided, God's timing and all, that it would be my first book of 2018.

I was blown away. Miller's writing style suits me fine with the sarcasm, the blatant honesty, and the dry, yet spot-on, hilarity. The things he learns from the various experiences in his life point toward a way of understanding even the most mundane
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, five stars shouldn’t mean perfect. That’s for the true critics to discern. This book gets five stars because it’s that good and if you picked it up, you will be given loads of insight and you will likely recommend it to someone else!
Fellow Christians, this book will make you do some deep inward reflection about how you view Jesus, your church, and how you love others.
Fellow Agnostics, I don’t think this is the book for you. We Christians need our faith to encounter challenges that help us
Katherine Lee
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
truly one of the most transformational books I’ve ever read. shifted my thoughts on how God views us and how the Gospel is much more relational than we often consider
Claire Nolan
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting overall, feel it would have made a better article than book.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chapters 5-8 were some of the best words I’ve ever read.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will re read it several times. Unlike any spiritual book I’ve ever read. Thank you for reminding me of many ideas presented and helping me think of new ideas. A fun, thought provoking read.
Ruby Bisson
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gift from long ago. The second Christian book I have ever read and, funnily enough, 3 years after leaving the faith. More Christians should read this book.
Teri Peterson
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: church
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
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
J. Allen
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Joffre Swait
May 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wasn't able to finish it, although I gave it the old college try. Unfortunately, Donald Miller is the first writer I've run across who writes exactly the way I would write if I were parodying him.

The first chapter was interesting enough, but by the second chapter he was beginning paragraphs with the phrase "You know..." My reaction to that? "Don't call me buddy, friend."

The cover had an endorsement from The Oregonian comparing Miller to Annie LaMott. Annie LaMott is beautiful. This book read
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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

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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.” 193 likes
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