I’ve seen Don Miller speak a few times here in Nashville. One time he came to my church, the other was at a Blood Water Mission dinner thing. I’ve read every one of his books except his new one, and follow him on Twitter. You know the normal “fan” but not obsessed, creepy weirdo stuff. In fact, I think he’s probably one of the only authors that I’ve read multiple books multiple times. I’m not sure if that makes me less literate than others, or whatever, but all this to say, “yep, I’m a fan”.
Now, I will say this. I’ve stayed away from his new book. Not because I’m not a fan for sure. More because of the hype. The hype of people blogging it, talking about it, shouting it from the rooftops, and my sneaking suspicion that Don himself has fallen into that “cool kid” crowd. And I tend to unintentionally shy away from that crowd. You know the one that I’m talking about don’t you? At least in the Christian ‘hipster’ Nashville scene. It’s the “Mat Kearney, Jeremy Cowart, Brandon Heath, and (sometimes) Jars Of Clay” scene. It’s not a bad scene. Just a “you will never be cool enough to find yourself in this scene” scene.
Now before I get a bunch of nasty comments saying that I think I’m cooler than the “cool Nashville scene”, allow me to clarify. I think all these folks are awesome. Much ‘cooler’ than me. They don’t look lame in fedora’s, shop at G-Star, wear mostly black and gray, and live in The Gulch. All that is really cool stuff. They even make cool music and show up to all the cool club Nashville shows looking like they belong there. I show up there, and feel like I’m wearing a shirt that says, “Shouldn’t Be Here” on it. Not a bad scene, just not my scene.
Anyway, back to Don Miller. I felt like Don sort of ended up in that scene. And this made me shy away from his new book. I liked the old Don. The Blue Like Jazz Don. The one that I felt like I could relate to. The one that was out of shape, questioning his faith, constantly doubting his ‘coolness’. You know, like me. The one that I felt like I could sit and have coffee with and actually relate to. Not this cool new, hipster Don. Even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a fedora.
So, Kristin, knowing that I’m a big fan of his books got me his new book, “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”, for Christmas. She said she assumed I wanted it and just had never mentioned it. I explained my hesitation, but was excited to check it out. Later that night, when the kids were in bed, I cracked it open and read through the ‘Authors Note’. The next thing I knew, I was finishing out chapter ten. Funny thing was, it was the same Don that I remember from his previous books. The same insecure, honest, brilliant writer that manages to somehow say things I’ve always felt. I found myself reading portions of it out loud expecting Kristin to somehow understand the context in which I was reading it and at the same time understand how clever it was.
So it seems, at least for now, the Don Miller, I’ve read, seen speak a few times and gave a brief ‘hello’ to once in passing, was back. And this book proves it. Now, obviously, I don’t pretend to know Don Miller. I’m in no place to say what ‘scene’ he’s in or if his personality has changed from the time he wrote Blue Like Jazz or anything else, but what I will say is that this guy can write. He can somehow communicate things in a way that make you want to hang out with him and grab some coffee. Maybe that’s why the ‘cool crowd’ does. Maybe he is the guy that we read. Maybe he’s not. Maybe we aren’t to even know what type of guy he is.
Either way, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick up “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”. I’m only about half way through it, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be another book of his that I read several times. And Don, if you somehow end up reading this, let’s grab some coffee next time your in town. I promise to not wear my skinny jeans.