Monday, October 25, 2010

Chasing the Dragon

I recently finished reading Don Miller’s To Own A Dragon: Reflections on growing up without a father. Generally, I enjoy Miller’s writing but this book was different; perhaps that is owed to the subject matter. Miller makes the expected correlation that if you didn’t have a father or if yours was emotionally absent or abusive then that is how you will view God.
I have read most of Miller’s other books; Blue Like Jazz, Through Painted Deserts and Searching for God Knows What. I gained some insight for how Miller himself was able to navigate the journey to spiritual enlightenment, but in Dragon, I didn’t have the same feeling upon completion of the book. I felt as hopeless at the end of the book as I did when I started. Miller writes:
Sometimes human life can seem no more meaningful than a fish flopping on a shore. Writhing. Out of its element. And I would love to tell you my spirituality battles this perspective, that the real problem in life is wee believe we are writing when we aren't, but it isn’t true. My spirituality, that Christian spirituality, does not tell me to close my eyes and pretend life is beautiful ant there are not problems to confront. I am told instead, I am out of water, and finding water again will require a different kind of water. I am told something happened a long time ago and you and I and everybody else were washed up on shore. We will have issues.
paul-jan-crouchThe problem I have with Miller’s metaphor is the same one I have with the idea that your Dad is God… my Dad was a sadistic bully and strangely enough, I have found God to be the same. When I was drinking the evangelical Kool-Aid I tried all the magic combinations of walking the talk and speaking the languages (including the mystical AG-ese Bought a Mazda, shoulda bought a Honda). Instead of reaping the blessings of Paul & Jan Crouch, I saw God as a cosmic Mad Scientist and me the laboratory rat. God/Dad watching me race around the maze as he laughed maniacally and moved the cheese, the walls, changing the whole fucking game. Not only did they hook me and land me, but they’re standing by as I flop about on the shore gouging myself on the sharp rocks without having the mercy to either put me out of my misery or tossing me back in the water. And some would say I just need to adjust my sights to LOVE and my world will transform… sorry, Paul & Jan… I’ve already tried that strategy.


  1. When folks declare that God saved them, or their prayers saved their relative or a miracle was preformed - I always think about the folks out there for whom no amount of prayers saved their loved one and the miracles did not show up.

  2. To that people say "God moves in mysterious ways". Personally, I like the contradictions. It's a miracle how New Orleans has been rebuilt over the past 5 years (pay no attention to the vast tracks of the 9th Ward that are still abandoned). Wouldn't it have been more miraculous if Katrina had dissipated harmlessly in the Gulf?