Donald Miller Million Miles Book Tour at APU

by Karla Shirvanian '10

Author Donald Miller stopped by Azusa Pacific University on September 25 during his Million Miles in a Thousand Years Book Tour.

As part of his visit, Miller spoke at APU's Friday morning chapel for students. A highlight of the chapel was the parallel Miller made between the balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, along with other scenes, with a person’s relationship with and love for God. After chapel, he signed copies of his new book for students.

"Don's passion for mobilizing the church to address the problem of fatherlessness in America is inspiring and something we believed our students would want to know about. We offered to be a book tour stop as part of an overall plan to include him in our fall chapel schedule and expose our community to his mentoring project," said Tim Peck, director of chapel programs.

That evening, author, actress, and comedian Susan Isaacs opened the event with an entertaining monologue based on Angry Conversations with God, a book about her tumultuous relationship with God. Isaacs honestly and comically portrays her "marriage" with God that took a wrong turn, forcing her to take Him to marriage counseling.

In her story she explores the back and forth between her and God. She discusses her struggles to find a church from those who have a passive view on speaking to God to the more legalistic. The problem was that she spent so much time waiting on God she lost her life. She lost her career, she lost sight of her purpose in life.

Following an intermission Miller then spoke to introduce his new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and discuss storytelling and the role of stories and storytelling. He discussed the idea that everyone’s life is made up of a series of events but they are all part of the bigger story.

Central to Miller’s message was the importance of plot in storytelling. In order to move the story along, to capture interest, the main character must have a goal. Miller said, “In any movie, there is a moment when the hero looks toward the horizon and decides he wants something. He has a goal. And there has to be conflict to get there. He’s going to have to fight for it. It has to be a goal worth the fight.” Miller compared this to our goals in life, and the importance of choosing to pursue those goals in order to advance our story.

"Every life is a story. Whether it is a story worth telling and talking about is up to you. People set out with grand dreams of changing the world, falling in love, doing something amazing. But the drift toward the merely acceptable happens without notice. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years shows how one man found meaning and direction and how you can too." - From A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

His book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is a book about when movie makers approached him about turning his bestselling book, Blue Like Jazz, into a movie. The process forced Miller to adjust to editing his life to make it more interesting for it to be on screen and finding.

"I spent this whole last summer really diving into Miller's books and enjoying his unique style and humor so when I heard he was coming with his book tour, I got my ticket as soon as I could," said Kaitlin Schluter, sophomore journalism major. "I liked his message about the elements of a story and how in our life, we are always going to have the literary element of conflict. Conflict will always exist, but it's really up to us how we deal with it. The message was a good wakeup call that although I'm positive, I have to recognize that sin won't take a break."