Miller (Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance) is a young writer,
speaker and campus ministry leader. An earnest evangelical who nearly lost his
faith, he went on a spiritual journey, found some progressive politics and
most importantly, discovered Jesus' relevance for everyday life. This book, in
its own elliptical way, tells the tale of that journey. But the narrative is
episodic rather than linear, Miller's style evocative rather than rational and
his analysis personally revealing rather than profoundly insightful. As such,
it offers a postmodern riff on the classic evangelical presentation of the
Gospel, complete with a concluding call to commitment. Written as a series of
short essays on vaguely theological topics (faith, grace, belief, confession,
church), and disguised theological topics (magic, romance, shifts, money), it
is at times plodding or simplistic (how to go to church and not get angry?
"pray... and go to the church God shows you"), and sometimes falls into merely
self-indulgent musing. But more often Miller is enjoyably clever, and his
story is telling and beautiful, even poignant. (The story of the reverse
confession booth is worth the price of the book.) The title is meant to be
evocative, and the subtitle-"Non-Religious" thoughts about "Christian
Spirituality"-indicates Miller's distrust of the institutional church and his
desire to appeal to those experimenting with other flavors of spirituality.
(July 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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