I finished A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller a few weeks back. I was given the book for being a part of the churchcrunch community at the end of last year. It was a gift given to say ‘thanks’ but it also was given to remind us that while some goals we have are met, we shouldn’t stop. We should always be ambitious for Christ and His calling on our lives. This blog post is not meant to be a review of the book, although I will say that I enjoyed it. While Rob Bell’s jacket cover praise for the book would indicate that “maybe I didn’t read it” since I’m saying that I enjoyed it… I really did read it. I’ve chewed on it for a few weeks now. I read through the book very quickly and would like to go back and read some of Don’s other books. His writing style is very easy to read. It is funny and witty.
I’ve had a couple conversations with some folks that have theological problems with Don. I don’t really want to go there. But as you know, I am always open to discussion 🙂
This book is a story about Stories. It tells us what stories are. How Stories affect us. How we live stories. How we could live better stories. How we can influence the stories that others experience. Story telling is as old as Adam. Good story tellers understand the basics of good story. They will masterfully describe the scene. Introduce the Characters. Present the characters with a desire to DO something… likely overcoming some sort of conflict to get that something.
It was a reminder to me that part of our story should be the sacrifice and serving of others. God tells us that our service of others equals serving Him. Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
In researching a little more about Donald Miller, I came across this interview in Christianity Today. I liked this question posed to Don and his answer.
So you wouldn’t want readers to over-spiritualize what you’re trying to say.
I would beg them not to. I think that because I’m a Christian they’re looking for doctrinal statements, and I don’t give doctrinal statements. So this is a book in that category: this next year you can live a much more meaningful life. Christians might say that you can’t live a more meaningful life without Jesus. Well, that’s absolutely not true. You can. You can enjoy a sunrise whether you know Jesus or not. It’s not wrong for us to take something to somebody who doesn’t know the Lord and show them the sunrise and say, “Isn’t this beautiful?” I think that your audience is going to be the audience that does not understand this book. I apologize for that. There’s nothing wrong with writing a book that’s not overtly spiritual.
I didn’t want to abuse Scripture. I didn’t want to have a really great idea for a book and then go, okay, now how can I bring the Bible into this so it has a spiritual feel? Because we’ve all read those books and we just go you could have left all the Scripture out of this and it would have been fine. In fact, by putting Scripture into it, that’s really not what that specific text is actually about. They’re just making it serve their purpose. So I didn’t want to do that with the text.
Those quotes are kinda tough. Some might think that Don is straddling the line in the sand, and I’d agree to a point. However, it would appear to me that he is living a life with ambition for Christ. He seems to know his calling and is actively engaging in the story to fulfill that calling.