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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review: A Million Miles In a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

I had my first Donald Miller experience in early 2009 with Blue Like Jazz (I know, I know, a little behind the curve, Jared). I loved the narrative-style theology that was described as "non-religious thoughts about Christian spirituality". There was enough depth and orthodoxy that I could loan the book to my mom, but not so much that I couldn't loan it to my coworkers.

The same could not be said of Searching For God Knows What and Through Painted Deserts. While the narrative was still there, the theology and simple, deep humanity was markedly absent. And while the story-telling was good, it was not strong enough to carry the books alone. So I ended 2009 one for three in the Donald Miller book category and looking for redemption.

And I found that redemption in A Million Miles In a Thousand Years. The book takes shape as Miller is approached to make a movie out of his stories in Blue Like Jazz. So as they try to craft the slightly disjointed chapters into a more linear story arc for a movie, Don begins to see the life he has lived in the common elements of storytelling.

While Miller's primary point seems to be that we should stop being mere observers and start taking steps to write a story worth living, I was struck with other thoughts that he perhaps did not intend. Like the fact that a steady, faithful life is as good a story (if not so glamorous) as a bike ride across America or hiking the Inca ruins. Or that our stories are written for us as much as they are written by us.

Don't expect the same theological depth as Blue Like Jazz. I have a sneaking suspicion that Donald Miller would feel like that was cheating, like he was using the same angle. But A Million Miles is a satisfying offering and a worthy shelfmate by Donald's first opus.

This book was a free review copy provided by Thomas Nelson.


Anonymous said...

So is this blog only going to be book reviews now?

Jared said...

Ha ha, no. Though I asked myself the same thing recently. I have a new post coming as soon as I can get around to editing it, but I have this bad habit of only wanting to make original posts when I feel they are truly original. It's a crutch and I need to get over it. :)