Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Father Fiction by Donald Miller

My brother, knowing that books are a sure path to my heart, gave me Donald Miller's recent work, Father Fiction (Howard Books, 2010), for Christmas. I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years early in 2010 and felt like that book played an instrumental role in my year. It seemed fitting, then, to begin 2011 with Father Fiction. I wasn't disappointed.

Father Fiction seems to specifically target young men who, like Donald Miller, lacked a strong father figure in their youth. With this qualification in mind, I found much of Miller's wisdom in this book both profound and refreshing, regardless of the status of one's parental relationships. With wit and a clear, readable style, Miller practically and candidly advises young Christians on everyday issues like dating, money, peer groups, and work ethic.

Miller's breakdown of the metaphor of God as a father-figure and Miller's discussions of forgiveness, wisdom, and patience were especially poignant. My only quibble with this book is that, occasionally, Miller's discussions of his issues with his father seem to stray a bit heavily into the "inner-child" territory.

Overall, though, Miller's approach to issues that young men and women face every day are both surprisingly simple and refreshingly realistic. His examples are poignant and his words are inspiring. Ultimately, Father Fiction helps readers navigate the often tricky path of young adulthood with maturity and grace.

Favorite quotes from Father Fiction:

"Relationships, while rewarding, actually make life harder. They will bless your life, but they will bless your life through sacrifice. you are going to get more muscle out of it, and that's the attitude you have to have going into it in the first place."

"Love acts out of faith,which rarely involves feelings. Love is action; it's deciding something is true and living out that belief."

"We work to participate in the God life, to imitate God. That's also why we take a Sabbath. Work is one of the ways we engage in life, one of the ways we participate. . . . Work, the idea of work, is God's invention, and it is part of our spirituality to do it."

"When you forgive, you bear the burden somebody has given you without holding them accountable."

Miller, Donald. Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation. Howard Books, 2010.

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