Monday, October 19, 2009


I know that it’s been WAY too long since I’ve written, and that likely speaks to a lack of intention and discipline. Not a happy declaration, but candid, and honest. There has been a significant amount of busyness in my life over the last six months, and I think I’ve been wallowing in it, using it as an excuse for accomplishing little… oh, well sure, I’ve been busy at work, and busy at church, and busy at home, and busy… well… busy, but the lack of focus has netted very little of perhaps, lasting consequence.

On the bright side, I believe I’ve just completed one of the most powerful, and therefore impactful books it’s been my privilege to read: Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. This book is a consequence of an effort underway to make a motion picture about Blue Like Jazz, which was the precipitating element in Miller’s study of story. The book’s subtitle, “What I Learned While Editing My Life,” speaks of what happened when the formal principles of story, in narrative, books, and more significantly in screenplay, are applied to life… how thinking about and striving for a better story as we live makes for a better life. Don Miller shares better than two-hundred fifty pages about story, characters, (and character!), and positive and negative turns, and inciting incidents, and… and how to cast our lives as story and perhaps craft them more (much more) intentionally. When I teach about planning, one of my favorite expressions is, “There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” The obvious choice is the first, but I confess, it’s often all too easy for me to fall into category two… you see, I was busy, and all this stuff just kind of happened…

I read another book recently, about Presence Centered Youth Ministry by Mike King. Good reading if you have teaching or pastoring, or encouraging, or coaching students. In Chapter 11, "Rule of Life," Mike talks about a tool/principle espoused by Benedict of Nursia who lived in sixth century Italy – a rule of life developed to govern monastic communities in Christian formation, but left room for individual differences that were not detrimental to the whole. When I read the passage about “rule of life,” I really felt inspired to develop my own. (What an amazing coincidence that I should encounter these two books sequentially and proximally!) I did so, and crafted it with the help of a trusted brother. But… I’ve been busy… and not intentional… and not significantly productive.

I’ve not read Don Miller in a while, and I’ve really missed him. He’s brilliant (in a very humble and humorous, subtle, and insightful way) and I really enjoy him. With wit and wisdom, and some amazing characters (who exemplify solid character… sterling character, even), Don’s convinced me I can do a much better job with story… my story. What about yours? Read Don’s book.

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