Elizabeth's Reviews > Searching for God Knows What

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
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's review
Aug 31, 2010

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 Donald Miller had to say about the subject.

Ultimately, Searching For God Knows What is my least favorite of Donald Miller’s books. That said, he does a decent job of fleshing out a number of Biblical characters and illustrating the timeless truth that the Bible is primarily a story about man’s relationship with God. In particular, I credit Miller’s book with getting me to reconsider, entirely, the Book of Genesis. While I still believe in evolution, Miller’s take on the story of Adam and Eve was lively and invigorating and got me to see the controversial first book of the Bible in a new light.

However, Searching For God Knows What annoyed me on several levels. One of my top complaints about the book are its gratuitous historical inaccuracies. Among other things, Moses didn’t write either the books of Job or Genesis. And the Gospels themselves are not eyewitness accounts of Christ’s ministry. While these mistakes don’t necessarily detract from Miller’s analysis of the material, I found them both distracting and off-putting.

Also irritating are Miller’s opinions on women and homosexuality. At one point, Miller disses the Religious Right to task for making unnecessary hay out of homosexuality and abortion rights. I credit him for that.

However, he frequently asserts that homosexuality is a sin and makes a number of derogatory comments about women, as well. In particular, there was one quote, on page 50 “I like Paul the best he said the hard stuff about women in ministry and homosexuality” angered me. Yet, this is neither the first, nor the last time that Miller harps on these issues.

While Miller is welcome to these opinions, the constant repetition of these views became both annoying and offensive. Even worse, it seemed to contradict his primary assertion that the Bible is a story about a God who ultimately wants a relationship with everyone. But that is not to say that Searching For God Knows What is not worth reading.

Searching For God Knows What contains many beautiful passages. Worth noting are Chapter 9: Jesus: Who needs a boat? which is one of the most eloquent and relevant explanations of Jesus that I’ve seen in years and Chapter 14: the Gospel of Jesus: Why William Shakespeare Was a Prophet. While I doubt that Shakespeare’s intention was, in fact, to portray Christ’s relationship with the Church in the love story of Romeo and Juliet, Miller’s analysis of the text was simply gorgeous. That chapter is my favorite part of the book as well as the one I remember best after reading it. Sections such as these might do wonders to win over a skeptical reader, provided they can overcome Miller’s more offensive remarks.

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Cait I completely agree with your points and I saw this book for what it was. Miller is a pompous misogynist, and acts like women are second class citizens. In Blue Like Jazz it comes through but I was really really annoyed when he said what he said about homosexuality in this book because he masked his latent homophobia so well in Blue Like Jazz. I don't like him at all anymore, and this book was just really annoying and off putting to me.

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