I’m a big fan of Donald Miller.
He’s an author. He writes about spiritual things from a normal human being perspective, which (sadly) isn’t the norm for Christians. They tend to write from positions of “success” which can make their writings inaccessible to the average Joe. They usually cause the reader to feel like a failure or set an unreasonable bar of expectation which will cause “failure.” Not so with Donald Miller.
He is currently promoting a book titled, “To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father.” For obvious reasons, I was hooked.
Suffice to say that the book won’t ring true with the majority of his past audiences. It’s definitely written to a niche market. Don’t get me wrong. If you like his writing, you’ll like the book. If you’ve got a father, then you won’t “get it.” I mean, my father died when I was 13. Apparently, those 13 years were more influential than I thought, because I didn’t relate to some stuff…I mean, I never felt abandoned. I was loved and knew it.
But I did relate to defining manhood without a man in the house…stuff like feeling less than a man because you couldn’t change the oil in your car or do basic house repairs or whatever.
But I read the book in two sittings.
And chapters 8–12 should be required reading for every young man (about making good choices, girls, sex & personal integrity). Those chapters are VERY strong.
A couple of quotes:
From chapter 8: “I am not somebody who believes people in prison are worse than I am just because they are in prison. It is true some of our character faults stem from social dynamics, not individual responsibility. What I mean is, folks in prison or who’ve made messes of their lives have truly made bad decisions, but what if they made bad decisions because nobody taught them how to make good decisions? I used to believe the idea that some people are born into families and get their college paid for,a nd others are born into poverty and don’t get such benefits in life–the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And this is true, generally. But suppose what is also happening is that the successful get successful because they make good decisions and, far from being a genetic legacy, the art of making good decisions can be learned.”
From chapter 9: “And I’ve started to wonder if what I was really lacking in my understanding of relationships was humility. I don’t mean to sound mushy or weak, because that will kill a relationship, too, but I wondered if love stemming from the ego and love stemming from the heart were very different things…”
From chapter 10 (addressing college fraternity guys on the topic of pre-marital sex): “We’ve said maturity doesn’t stay up all night playing video games and doesn’t sleep with ten women. Maturity practices self-discipline, and points a person’s character toward a noble aim. And I think, even in your early twenties, there is this need for guys like us to grow up, to sort of usher other boys into manhood, into commitment, into self-respect and an understanding that actions matter to more people than just ourselves.”
From chapter 12: “The latest statistic is that the average American watches 1,456 hours of television a year but only reads three books. So, if it’s true that readers are leaders, and the more you read the further you advance, then there isn’t a lot of competition.”
So, granted, the main topic is not one many people will relate to, there is definitely thought provoking material in every chapter…especially for younger guys.