I finally read it. The book has been on my shelf for 2 years. I have heard the author quoted, the stories retold, and the book reviews. I finally read it on the plane from Nashville last week.
I like it. I mean I really like it.
Not for many of the reasons that I have heard that have made the book successful. I think it does reflect the Northwest. I think it does show that God's love penetrates people and accepts them how they are. I think the story at Reed College and the confession booth was truly awesome. I think that the stories of acceptance and patience show us that people can move forward. I think his point that many Christians have been judgmental and caused others to reject the church is well taken. But that is not what spoke to me in the book.
What spoke to me in the book is how Donald Miller grew. He didn't make excuses for his behavior. He acknowledged that getting drunk with a youth group leader was sin. He acknowledged that his time with the guys in the house illustrated his self-centeredness. He showed that when he practiced sacrificial giving God blessed him. He repeatedly mentioned that his struggle with dating and finding a female mate was due to his selfishness. Yet, as the book progressed he dealt with his issues and worked to change. Even more, "Pastor Rick" was the voice of one who challenges him to step outside himiself. Throughout the book he struggled with accepting God's love but was willing to repent. This, to me, is the definition of faith.
Rather than being a book that gives us the excuse to be radical, cussing ministers, and critical of traditional churches Miller seems to illustrate how faith in a loving mysterious God calls us to move forward, let the past go, and surround ourselves with people who call us to bear the fruit of Jesus.
Now, on to the Shack. Lori got it for my birthday in June but I just now got it back.