Story Lauren Stouffer
Photo SJ Harmon
"God is more interested in your maturity as one of His children than He is in pleasing you."
Donald Miller's chapel address on October 6 challenged the Gordon community. Miller spoke about the need for Christians to be subversive, suggesting that the church should offer positive alternatives to the spirituality of consumerism that he identifies in the contemporary American evangelical subculture. Instead of packaging Christianity as a product to meet people's needs, Miller suggests, Christians should speak of their spirituality as a relationship with God; instead of expecting the Christian life to be carefree and exciting, Christians should expect to experience periods of painful growth. Christianity, asserts Miller, should not be marketed as some kind of a pill that will fix people's problems. Being subversive means acknowledging a God who is more interested in helping people to become mature than in making them feel good about themselves.
The A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel was filled to capacity for Miller's visit. In addition to speaking in chapel, Miller was available for a book signing and a lunch with a small group of men on campus. Miller is a favorite author among many young evangelicals. His books include Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts, and To Own a Dragon.
Tim Lewis '08, the student director of the Campus Events Council (CEC), was instrumental in coordinating Miller's visit to Gordon. Lewis comments: "One of CEC's goals is to develop programming that is not just entertainment based, to be a part of creating and shaping culture on campus. Don has a candid, beautiful and poetic way of articulating his faith. I've wanted to bring Don to campus since I read Blue Like Jazz last summer. His belief that our interaction with God is not formulaic resonates with a lot of people."
Lewis noted that during a small-group discussion after chapel, Miller suggested that it was possible to have bad theology and be a Christian, and to have good theology and not be a Christian. "This statement was immediately challenged, and a constructive discussion ensued. Hopefully it is a discussion that will move out of that room and to the rest of the campus."
Miller's books (at right) have focused on Christian faith as a relationship, and on the history of God's involvement with humankind through friendships with biblical characters like Adam, Abraham and Moses. Visit www.donaldmillerwords.com for more about Miller and his books.
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Searching for God Knows What
Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road
To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father