searching for god knows what

November 6, 2004

I just finished Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve had a few people tell me that didn’t like it as well as Donald Miller’s other books, and I must in all humility say that they are stupid. 😉

I read The Purpose Driven Life a few years ago. Now, I know people have loved this book, and I know people who’s lives were literally changed by that book. It just didn’t work for me. It was too many formulas, too many lists, too many steps and reasons and propositions. Searching for God Know What is the anti-Purpose Driven Life. It approaches faith from the perspective of what it truly is — a relationship with Jesus. How refreshing to look back over the Scriptures through a lens of relationship rather than action-steps. In light of that, I’m eagerly anticipating the “40 Days of Searching” church program, and the “Searching for God Knows What Deluxe Journal”.

Below are a few thoughts from the book worth passing along. Forgive me if it seems too long (lest I be called the rambler)…it is almost a shame to group all these together in a list(!), because each has much to say. Maybe you can read them one at a time to ponder them and then come back later for more. You obviously have lots of free time anyway if you are reading my blog. 🙂

• Pg 58 – “I wondered if when we take Christian theology out of the context of its narrative, when we ignore the poetry in which it is presented, when we turn it into formulas to help us achieve the American dream, we lose it’s meaning entirely, and the ideas become fodder for the head but have no impact on the way we live our lives or think about God. This is, perhaps, why people are so hostile toward religion.”

• Pg 138 – Napoleon on Jesus: “I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest creations of our genius? Upon force! Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

• Pg 146 – “At the same time, however, we are at a disadvantage because the Jesus that exists in our minds is hardly the real Jesus. The Jesus on CNN, the Jesus in our books and in our movies, the Jesus that is a collection of evangelical personalities, is often a Jesus of the suburbs, a Jesus who wants you to be a better yuppie, a Jesus who is extremely political and supoorts a specific party, a Jesus who declared a kind of culture war in the name of our children, a Jesus who worked through the founding fathers to begin America, a Jesus who dresses very well, speaks perfect English, has three points that fulfill any number of promises and wants you and me to be, above all, comfortable. Is this the real Jesus?”

• Pg 155 – “Perhaps the reason Scripture includes so much poetry in and outside the narrative, so many parables and stories, so many visions and emotional letters, is because it is attempting to describe a relational break man tragically experienced with God and a disturbed relational history man has had since then and, furthermore, a relational dynamic man must embrace in order to have relational intimacy with God once again, thus healing himself of all the crap he gets into while looking for a relationship that makes him feel whole. Maybe the gospel of Jesus, in other words, is all about our relationship with Jesus rather than about ideas. And perhaps our lists and formulas and bullet points are nice in the sense that they help us memorize different truths, but harmful in the sense that they blind us to the necessary relationship that must begin between ourselves and God for us to become His followers. And worse, perhaps our formulas and bullet points and steps steal the sincerity with which we might engage God.”

• Pg 201 – “In the context of my relationship with God, I know the temptation to bank on knowledge all too well. It is true that you can get a little buzz off knowing a couple of smart theological ideas. My friend Ross is a former seminary professor, and we were driving back from lunch one afternoon and I was telling him what I thought about a particular passage of Scripture, really going off about it as though I were the first of all men to understand what it meant. When I stopped to allow Ross space to tell me how smart I was, he just sat there in silence. ‘What do you think, Ross?’ I asked. ‘Well,’ he said quietly, ‘I think knowledge puffs up.'” — This paragraph could pretty easy describe me if I had a friend named Ross. Those of you who read this blog regularly, feel free to let me know when I appear to love knowledge more than God or people.

• Pg 217 – “It strikes me, even as I type this, how distant and far out formulaic methodology is from the artful, narrative sort of methodology used to explain God in Scripture. It makes you wonder whether we can even get to the truth of our theology unless it is presented in the sort of methodology Scripture uses. It makes you wonder if all our time spent making lists would be better spent painting or writing or singing or learning to speak stories. Sometimes I fell as though the church has a kind of pity for Scripture, always having to come behind it and explain everything, put everything into actionable steps, acronyms and hidden secrets, as though the original writers, and for that matter the Holy Spirit who worked in the lives of the original writers, were a bunch of illiterate hillbillies. I don’t think they were illiterate hillbillies, and I think the methodology God used to explain his truth is quite superior.”

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