Alright I am going to be honest, I’ve read this book 3 times. The first time I read it I didn’t really like it. I remember thinking that I didn’t like Don the main character/author and so I didn’t get into the book. I know that the reason was I was being religious. I didn’t understand how a christian could have questions, drink beer, or smoke a pipe. Therefore I dismissed it and thought that all the hype was just hype.
But I came back to a couple of years later at a different place in my life. (I want to say I was more mature, but I was just in a different place) This time I was enamored by the main character, it felt like he was going through all the same things I was going through, and I devoured the book in a couple of days.
The tagline of the book is “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality” and it delivers just that. Donald Miller has a fresh approach to writing about Christianity that is missing in a lot of writing done by Christians. It is challenging, troubling, and deep. But, at the same time, it is light and sarcastic.
The 3rd time I read it was as I was teaching it as a small group curriculum. It worked very well for this purpose. I found some great resources on the author’s site if you are thinking about small group or Sunday School type teaching of this book.
The most moving story in the book to me was about the confession booth. It is truly an american missionary story of finding a way to present the truth in a way that people of a particular background can relate to. Missionaries call it a “redemptive analogy”. In this case the group being reached was a well-educated college campus that was not a fan of Christianity and viewed Christian theology as outdated and silly. So a small group of students decided to build a confessional booth during the annual party of the year. But instead of taking confessions they were going to confess to people. They apologized for Christians who didn’t act like Christians. They apologized for the crusades, wars, etc. And what happened was beautiful.
Another highly entertaining part of the book was the adventures of an animated rabbit called “Don the Rabbit”.
You should definitely add this book to your reading list.