What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blogging as I read...

I read the first chapter after church and after Deb and I had Sunday dinner at Olive Garden with my oldest brother Richard, his wife Sandy, and their only daughter Rachel who were visiting from Nashville. Then I took a nap.

Began reading chapter two of this book after my respite and wanted to jot a few thoughts down for future reference...then I thought...I will blog some of the stuff that I want to remember.

You will remember Miller for his best-seller Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. I laughed and cried through that one. Then I read his Through Painted Deserts, which was actually his first book, and To Own a Dragon; all pretty good stuff.

Searching was published in 2004, but I just found a copy last week at the thrift store. Our son Brandon will get this copy in Indiana when I'm through because when I asked him what volumes I could find at the thrift stores among other things he said he wanted to read anything by Donald Miller.

Quote, P. 17 - "...we would rather have a formula religion than a relational religion. If I could, I probably would have formula friends because they would be safe. I have this suspicion...that if we are going to get to know God, it is going to be a little more like getting to know a person than practicing voodoo. And I suppose that means we are going to have to get over this fear of intimacy..."

Why that hits me at this point in time - As a pastor I do church in my mind and heart every day of the year, not just on 52 Sundays. One of the huge obstacles to reaching and growing people in Christ is fear of intimacy. That is one of the lures of formal religion. In formalistic religions you can be surface-deep and get by. Yet it is only relational religion - a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus, and growing relationships with other Christ followers - that meets the need of the human heart and mind. It's tough going sometimes - this relational religion whereby we open up to God and to one another and show our warts and blemishes and hurts and habits and hangups - but it is wise although arduous. I long for people to do church with their hands, arms and hearts open to God and one another.

Quote, P. 19 - "I realize a lot of people don't like Jesus, or just ignore Him or have no use for Him, but I think the best thing a person can do is to read through the Gospels in the Bible and really look at Jesus, because if a person does this, they will realize that the Jesus they learned about in Sunday school or the Jesus they hear jokes about or the skinny, Gandhi Jesus that exists in their imaginations isn't anything like the real Jesus at all."

WTHMATPIT - That's good stuff. I won't tell you what he says about Santa Claus in this chapter. You'll have to find a copy of the book and read that for yourself. I cracked up. It was a little like the wry humor of a Janet Evanovich novel. (Yes I read her first novel. Just like I read one Louis Lamour novel and one Stephen King novel...actually I think I've read 3 of his.) Miller does a good job of showing how God is not an imposter even though some televangelists muddy the waters with their half-truths about God in order to fleece people of their money.

At this point Miller begins to get honest about his personal struggle with God's existence because of the misrepresentations of God he witnessed as a younger man.

More later...


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