Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

1 December 2009

'Story' my book review of "A Million Miles in a thousand years by Donald Miller

I have the privilege of receiving quite a few books and albums to review from a number of different publishers and record companies. Right now, I'm part way through Donald Miller's latest "A Million Miles in a thousand years" from Thomas Nelson.

I won't be the first or last to say that I love Miller's style. He writes books that make me want to be a writer. They are real and introspective, a touch on the snide-side and legitimately funny. How can you not like a guy who's always smoking a pipe? Have you ever NOT liked a pipe-guy? His books also mean something and are written in a way that resonates in Gen X'ers who, like me, have grown up with 'negative' and 'skeptical' as the default settings far too often and are looking for footholds on the mountain of 'belief'.

I've stalled my reading in chapters 9 and 10 because, as often happens to the analytical, Miller's created a point around which my mind/spirit is still formulating the right way to process. The book revolves around how Donald Miller, author of "Blue Like Jazz," edits himself into the character of "Don" in the Blue Like Jazz movie. During that process... he begins to learn about how to really write a story. In chapter 9... Miller tells about friend whose daughter is going down a dark path with a boy who was very bad for her. He says, nearly as a reflex action, that she's trapped in a terrible story. One that doesn't have a meaningful plot line and as a character that doesn't have that anything she's working to overcome. Just a bad story.

Miller's friend thinks about it and realizes that HE hasn't provided the right scenario for his daughter to play a better 'role' in her own story. So he changed it. He actually committed his family to BUYING an orphanage in the third world. His daughter began to get caught up in her new role as a hero. She dumped her boyfriend because he was "too fat. The dad's quote at the end of the chapter is terrific:

"No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her. She knows who she is. She just forgot for a little while."

Amazing. This is what Miller writes at the end of Chapter 10:

"I've noticed something. I've never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless. I only thought the movie I walked out of was meaningless. I wonder then, if people say life is meaningless, what they really mean is THEIR lives are meaningless. I wonder if they've chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable, and are projecting their dreary life on the rest of us"

So I've been thinking about how 'story' deserves to be lived in response to a God who created us in His image and released into His creation to bring renown back to the Name of author of GOOD itself! On Saturday night at our Santa Clause parade I had a few quiet moments with my son. Me dressed in a big red costume as "Captain Kindness" and he in a small red costume as Captain Kindness Jr. I thought about the story of the Dad and his daughter. I know that my son enjoys 'doing' but I want to make sure I help create every opportunity for him to become the hero of a story. I asked him if he understood why we take time to share Jesus with our city via the message of kindness. I actually wasn't sure what my answer was going to be to his inevitable "No".

He surprised me by replying, "So that our whole city knows that it's important to be kind." I thought that was an excellent answer. Because it's big enough to be a meaningful story. It's long enough to be a feature presentation. It's deep enough to make an impact. It's fulfilling enough to fuel the fire of the protagonist in the coming acts of antagonism that make for a worthwhile story. Even as a 7 year old... I want his story to be an intriguing one.

"The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination."
Shane Claiborne

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I wanted to invite you to a webinar hosted by Donald Miller next Thursday morning on the subject of his new “Convergence” DVDs for small groups (mostly). Convergence is Miller at his best: doing honest talk about faith. On the first dvd set he talks to Dan Allender, Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner. He just recorded the next set with Randy Alcorn, Henry Cloud, John Townsend. You can listen in Thursday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. Pacific time (11 am PT, 12 pm MT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET). Go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/543081489 to RSVP for the webinar & we'll be sure to send you a reminder.
You can learn more about Convergence at www.allthingsconverge.com. If you have any further questions please feel free to email Monique@Lovell- Fairchild.com.

Monique Sondag

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