Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned while editing my life (250 pages, Nashville, USA: Thomas Nelson), 2009.
I have to admit that i was rather sceptical about this book when i first received it. Donald Miller is known as an ’emergent guy’ and that somewhat put me off immediately. I know, it speaks particularly bad of me, but hey, that’s just the way i felt – i’ve asked for forgiveness.
With that said, i didn’t really know what to expect of this book. Coming from a Christian publisher and somewhat hinting at a biography of sorts i suppose i was thinking this would be a journey through Don’s life. And that is what it was, a journey through Don’s “Story” as he put it, but in a very unusual but yet captivating way.
The book is a story of his life over a particular period in his life which spans about a year or two. That i think is the gist of book. I have to admit that i am still a little uncertain as to what the point of his book is, if it is just to tell a story then he has achieved that. However, if he has wanted to purvey some sort of point regarding God, Jesus and the Christian life then he has left a little to be desired.
Toward the beginning of the book (the first 50 pages or so) the implication of what he says is that one should always be looking out for a better ‘story’, choosing to make a better ‘story’. That use of the word ‘story’ simply meant adventure to me. The illustrations that Don used were adventurous and the choices that he and his friends seemed to make were more adventurous ones than other ‘options’ (read: life choices) available at the time.
The way Don writes is attractive, he sucked me in to his “story”. I must commend him for that. The way in which he told illustrations from his life and the way in which he moved ones emotions up and down kept me wanting to keep going. He is a brilliant writer and storyteller and many of his experiences seem like great experiences to have.
However, i do have a few problems with the book:
First, to me it was a book without a point, as i’ve said previously. It was a good book, but just so fluid that i couldn’t work out what he was trying to say to me as the reader. When looking at the short reviews by big names in Christian circles like Rob Bell, Max Lucado etc. i had the impression that it was going to be a really life-shattering and “disturbing” (Rob Bell) book. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. I was 50 pages in and didn’t know where he was going, what he wanted me to take away from it etc. and this continued until the very last page.
Second, choosing a better “story” implied that one should take more risk and be more adventurous in the choices we make from day-to-day. I thought this could lead down a path which could actually be destructive to some people rather than bringing them life changing transformation. I wondered why we wouldn’t make choices more in-line with what Christ would want rather than a bigger and better ‘experience’. That is not to discount that a life with Christ is not adventurous by any stretch of the imagination, however, if our choices are simply based on what we think is more adventurous then we may indeed not be doing what God wants us to. It just seemed a little selfish to me with no consideration for what the Spirit may be saying to us and how God may want to use us.
I would still come to the conclusion that it is an OK book. It is an easy read and as i said, written really well. I would recommend it to people if they’d like something of a moving ‘story’. Overall, 6/10.