Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, part 2 of 5

Part two: A Character

In the second part of his book, Donald Miller continues to describe how he and the other guys were creating a fictional character named Donald Miller. He also begins analyzing what it means to be a character in a story. He opens the section talking about the difference between believing life is remarkable and believing life is unremarkable - that it isn't a big Story we are in. He says this on page 59: "We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage." I love the way Miller puts responsibility on us as characters in a story. Our lives tell stories and also are participating int he grand Story of God, which he has been telling since he started it all. However, many people (myself included at times) spend very little time thinking about our lives and just let life happen to us. There are no set out goals to accomplish, no seeking God's will in specific directions in life - instead there is just a "hope all works out" that can aid us in playing the role of victim. If are not willing to engage in a story, to build relationships and risk something and perhaps fail at something big, it would be easy to believe the lie that life is not meant to be important, not meant to be captivating and provocative.

In part two, Miller describes the growing awareness that he needed to search for his dad. Miller had not seen his dad since he was a young boy and didn't know for sure if he was alive or not. Yet as he was "editing his life" as he calls it, he realized that one huge story that he had to pursue was the story of his father - who was he, where was he, what did he think of his son, and so on. And while Miller wanted to just write his dad off and forget about him for good, he knew that he was being invited by God into a deep part of his past, something unfinished that needed to be addressed. And because a character in a good story is going to confront difficulty with courage, Miller decided he would begin searching for his dad.

Miller refers to God as the Author of our stories, the One outside of ourselves who is inviting us into better stories, stories that center on him and bring him glory. And while calling God the "Writer" is sort of weird, I don't think it disrespectful nor altogether un-biblical. After all, God is referred to as the "author and perfecter of our faith" in Hebrews 12:2, and there is a sense in which God has scripted salvation as the Master Author. The more I reflect on Miller's writing, the more I see his point of view of life as a story and myself as a character in it. Will I try to write my own story - pursuing my own fame, fortune, health, and what not - or will I pursue God's story that he is telling the world about himself, about meaning in life, and about his extremely relational nature?

More to come.

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