Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reflections on the Million Miles Tour

A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller
I really enjoyed hearing Donald Miller at Eastside this past Sunday night.

As I have begun reading this book and have been thinking about his talk, I offer you the following questions for your consideration:

1. What is your story? Where are you in the epic that God is writing?
2. The metaphor of story was a good tool for explaining suffering and disappointment. The fact that conflict is always part of act two and resolution will not take place until act three (when we are with Jesus), is accurate and cannot be overcome by faith or by doing all the right things.
3. What scenes of your story are embedded in your memory?
4. Do these scenes define who you are? How? In what ways?
5. Do you ever create drama to make your story more interesting? Do you feel that your story is too boring or too exciting or just right?
6. Some writers do not know the end of story even though they are writing it. Does your theology see God as having written and edited your life down to the last detail or is it being written as you go along?

I like my own story. Maybe it's arrogance, pride or self absorption, but it's better then not liking it. I'm curious to see how it will turn out. What do the future scenes have in store? How will I hold up when future conflicts knock me off my feet? Will the dreams of my youth and the dreams of my calling be fulfilled? I can't wait to see, because I think it will be exciting. I don't feel destined or doomed to boredom. I don't see myself existing in slow motion like another character in a small town from "Napolean Dynamite". I don't assume it is going to be painless and I am intrigued to see how the promises of God will be fulfilled, particularly that one about how God can and will do more than we can possibly ask or imagine. Sometimes I create drama - heading out to the mountains in search of another tale of survival, or going on a mission trip for the purpose of confronting the world's greatest sicknesses.

When it comes right down to it, I just want to cooperate with the author. There is a wonderful outcome even if there are painful scenes ahead. I don't want to run. I must trust Him. Act 3 is for sure. Act 2 is still being written.


Bob Horn said...

This was my favorite book I've read this year. And I've read a bunch. As someone who enjoyed a fairly epic adventure this summer (cycling 4000 miles across the US), this book really resonated with me. Here's my favorite excerpt:

"the thing you'll realize when you organize your life into the structure of story... You'll get a taste for one story and then you'll want another, and then another, and the stories will build until you're living a kind of epic of risk and reward, and the whole thing will be molding you into the actual character whose roles you've been playing. And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time."

I absolutely am hungry for another story! And to know that these stories are molding me into the character whose role I've been playing, makes me consider that I'm being molded into the character that the Master Author ("the Writer who is not me", to quote Miller) envisions.

cora leach said...

so long status quo, I think I just let go, You make me want to be brave....(yes from a song)....I heard it today while driving and it brought back thoughts of sunday evening and things I heard. It goes right along with what you and Bob have both said. We need to let go and trust; we need to risk and be brave; we need to wave goodbye to statue quo...

Matt said...

Agreed. I sometimes create my own fictional stories -- by subjecting myself to relatively superficial challenges. In the "big story" of life there are greater things at stake - our greatest loves, our calling, stewarding our lives and following the God of the Universe. It's the big story that both makes me nervous and thrills me with implications. Thanks Bob & Cora for you comments!

Matt said...

Today in our conversation around this comment, we came up with the following keys to a significant story:
1. Keeping hope alive.
2. Make your story interesting (don't get stuck in a rut) - allow for plot change.
3. Learn from other's stories.
4. Cooperate with the author as your story is being written.