October 06, 2006

Donald Miller @ Erskine

Needless to say, I was a bit surprised to see a flier for "Donald Miller, This Thursday at 11 am" when I was on the Erskine campus. First off, why wasn't it posted at the seminary? And second, how on earth did they get him to come?

To the first question, I'd say that the average Erskine Seminarian would have a tough time listening to Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz. If your first contact with him was a lecture, you'd probably never want to hear him again if you were above the age of 39. But I think they all should be interested in what he's saying because the upcoming generations are reading his books, or at least they think in a lot of the same ways that he does.

To the second question, he was in Atlanta and someone from the board of trustees was able to get him to come up.

So what did I think? Well, when I first read Blue Like Jazz, I would have lumped him into the emergent church movement. His postmodern/mosaic take on everything would fit quite well with them. His follow up book, Searching for God Knows What, shed a different light on his thinking, specifically that he cares about doctrine. In his lecture, he dissed on every mainstream church movement, including the emerging church, so he finally took that nametag off himself that I had placed squarely on his chest (to the right, not the left, because then you can read the nametag when you're shaking his hand).

He talked about church architecture. He cussed, but at the right times. He told great stories about soap commercials and two-year-old temper tantrums. He understood how to communicate with college students better than the previous two big-time guest speakers I've heard there. More than just making them laugh, he gets how they perceive the world because he isn't as far removed chronologically from their generation as the other speakers, who are at least old enough to be their parents.

I appreciate what Don Miller is saying. He's saying things, mostly close to what I believe, but is saying them in ways that others aren't. He and Derek Webb have a podcast together. It's worth a listen. And his books are worth a read. At least your college friends tend to think so.

No, not that Donald Miller!

1 comment:

Brian T. Murphy said...

I read blue like jazz. about 2/3 of it. I really did not like it.