I read this book a few years ago and LOVED it. My friend Emily loaned me her copy of Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller's first book), and it was a revelation to me. I wish i'd written about it back then, because i've forgotten a lot of my specific thoughts and feelings and reactions, but i remember thinking that if that book was a church, i would become a member immediately. I then bought my own copy (i actually bought three or four, because i kept loaning it out and not getting it back), and when i found Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, i devoured them.
About a year ago, i tried to re-read Blue Like Jazz, and i found myself immensely annoyed by Miller's writing style. It's too deliberately whimsical, like an outfit from Anthropologie. I couldn't even finish it, and finally decided to just give it away. I was never going to read it again, and i didn't want it taking up space on my shelf.
But i remembered liking Searching for God Knows What even better than Blue Like Jazz, so i decided to hang on to it for a little while longer and see what happened. I'm still mildly annoyed by his writing style (everything is "quite, actually"), and he's gotten some heat lately for sexist remarks, but i'm trying it anyway.
"I returned home and began poring over the Bible, looking for formulas I could use for my book of daily devotions. And I have to tell you this was much more difficult than you might think. The formulas, in fact, are hidden. It seems when God had the Bible put together, He hid a lot of the ancient wisdom so, basically, you have to read into things and even kind of make up things to get a formula out of it. And the formulas that are obvious are terrible." (pg. 9)
I enjoyed reading that after coming off of Year of Living Biblically and Year of Biblical Womanhood. It's true: there are not that many obvious outlines for behavior in the Bible, except for loving people. But we don't get a bulleted list of how to love them, so. Tricky.
". . . the more you let somebody know who you really are -- the more it feels as though something is at stake . . . I feel it in my chest, this desire to dissociate . . . If I could, I probably would have formula friends because they would be safe." (pg. 17)
Oh, this is me.
"The very scary thing about religion, to me, is that people actually believe God is who they think He is." (pg. 20)
"If you ask me, the way to tell if a person knows God for real, I mean knows the real God, is that they will fear Him. They wouldn't go around making absurd political assertions and drop God's name like an ace card, and they wouldn't be making absurd statements about how God wants you to be rich and know if you send in some money to the ministry God will bless you . . . It seems like, if you really knew the God who understands the physics of the universe, you would operate a little more cautiously, a little more compassionately, a little less like you are the center of the universe." (pg. 38)
I'm just gonna let that sit there on its own.
"If I were a girl today in America, I would be a feminist for sure." (pg. 65)
MEN CAN BE FEMINISTS TOO.