mccormick


bookshelf

Scary Close by Donald Miller

When it comes to Christian authors, Donald Miller definitely possesses a unique voice. He rarely quotes verses and he never references the detailed meaning of some Greek word in the New Testament. He simply speaks from the heart; the heart that God gave him to use, to learn and explore with. Unique voices always attract noisy critics, but they also appeal to an often overlooked and deprived audience looking for something different. I am definitely the latter.

Back in college, I picked up a copy of Blue Like Jazz. The book was burning through my Christian college campus like a wild fire. I did not know what to expect from a book subtitled Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, but I was not disappointed. Donald Miller spoke with a boldness and sincerity that I had never seen before. It was the most refreshing book I had read.

Donald Miller’s newest work Scary Close is another great work from the authentic author.

Like his other works, Scary Close is written with a flow-of-consciousness/train-of-thought style that makes his books so easy to read and even more relatable. Simply put, Scary Close is about relationships and how it is so ridiculously difficult to remain honest and authentic.

Throughout the book, Miller walks us through a few of his own personal relationships, mostly focusing on the relationship with his fiancée, Betsy. He explores how fear, judgment, pain, suffering and every other nasty thing between have made all his relationships so toxic. He goes to retreats and conferences to explore trust and openness. He calls up some of his closest friends to find honesty and authenticity. His fiancée helps him open the door to deep and meaningful moments which typically scare us all.

Christians really have an obsession with relationships. Christianity is basically defined by relationships. If you walk into (or log onto) any book store right now, you will find a seemingly endless supply of Christian relationship books. Most will share verse about love or exegete a passage from the Gospels, but most will make you feel incapable and incompetent because these works – though good and valuable – approach the subject of relationships so intellectually and not socially or personally.

That said, Scary Close is probably one of the best “relationship” books I have read, though I would not define it as a “relationship” book. There is no “how-to” guide or accompanying workbook. Instead the book is a deep dive into our real selves, the part of us we are afraid to show even to our most loved friends and family.

Relationships are not about being perfect. They are not about making each other perfect. Donald Miller states in perfectly, “I don’t know if there’s a healthier way for two people to stay in love than to stop using each other to resolve their unfulfilled longings and, instead, start holding each other closely as they experience them.”