Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"A Million Miles In a Thousand Years" book review, part 1 of 5

Donald Miller's new book, A Million Miles In a Thousand Years, is a fascinating read so far. I've just started the fourth and final section of the book and highly recommend it already. Miller has an incredible way of writing with candor, humor, and depth all at the same time. The book isn't necessarily short (about 250 pages) but is a quick read and one you'll get absorbed in. I'm going to do a short review on each of the four parts of the book.

Part One: Exposition

Much of the beginning of the book is more of a story about his life than it is the meat of the book. Basically, after one of his books got popular some movie producers wanted to do a documentary on his life. What they quickly discovered, however, is that Miller's life was not exciting or meaningful enough to really make a movie. So they decided to go ahead with a movie about a guy named Donald Miller but reconstructed it in such a way that it didn't represent Miller's life at all. In this process Miller begins discovering that there are many similarities to what goes into a great story and what goes into a great life. Miller convincingly describes most people's lives as boring stories. We are bored because we are not living any kind of worthy story that should be told anywhere, so we tend to get caught up in TV shows that tell good stories or movies - but of course some of these aren't even good stories, they are just somehow more interesting than the stories we are telling with our lives.

Throughout the book Miller goes back and forth between describing his life experience and then pulling back to reflect on what he's learning about life and story. On page 31-32 he writes, "Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller." Just think of almost every "great movie" ever made - they always center around a conflict that the protagonist must conquer, push through, or whatever in order to succeed. And even though some great movies end with the hero still failing or dying, they are great stories because of the courage they showed in the face of adversity. I'm beginning to get a clearer picture on how God is a "master storyteller", both in Scripture as well as individual believer's lives. But we MUST be willing to greet adversity when it comes and trust that God only allows it into our story to make us more like Him, the great Character of all characters, and also to display the glory of his grace, hope, justice, and so on.

Just some thoughts.

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