I’ve finished (not so long ago) “Searching For God Knows What” – the latest book from Donald Miller, the “Blue Like Jazz” guy. It’s a good read, and it’s certainly very easy to read. He takes a while to get warmed up, there’s not much of the first few chapters that I can really remember, but once he gets going, there are some great analogies in there. Highly recommend having a read.
And it certainly reads as a fairly solid example of “narrative theology” in action. (For a little background – have a look at my previous post on narrative theology) Miller’s ideas aren’t conveyed through propositional truths, instead he expands on his thoughts through stories, both of his own and those of others, to communicate meaning. He’s not interested in providing a list of statements of truth, but instead only offers his ideas as concepts that have been distilled from each narrative.
My initial reaction was one of excitement and, to a certain extent, relief. Relief that these ideas can work, at least on some level. I came away from reading “Searching For God Knows What” with a better understanding of what makes me tick, what makes others tick, and relating to God in general. The system works. The narrative structure of Miller’s theologising made it much easier to relate to what was being said, and there was definitely a feeling that this is how ideas like these should happen.
But…. (and there’s always a but)
I was also left with just an underlying feeling that it didn’t quite go deep enough. As much as I enjoyed reading it, and certainly “got stuff out of it”, there was a feeling that it almost became an exercise in “pop psychology”. I might have some post modernity in me, but it just felt like there wasn’t quite enough solid underneath it. To a degree, it felt like there is only a certain depth to which stories can travel, after that, you’re left with either going there on your own thoughts, or waiting for propositional truth.
And maybe that’s the poit of doing your theology in a narrative model – that it forces you to push to the depths yourself, rather than having someone do all the work for you. I’m not sure, but there was a slight feeling of dissatisfaction on finishing this book. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this – particularly if they have read the book themselves. Sorry that the post is a little dis-jointed and non-sensical.