NYWC – Donald Miller on Story

Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles


A movie was made out of Blue Like Jazz which was about his life – the screenwriters told him his life was boring – and Don realized they were right – he learned a lot while making this movie…

  • Every story is about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it
  • We approach the Bible looking for what we can get out of it, not simply getting to know God
  • A perfect character in a story makes people uncomfortable
  • To tell a good story: the character has to sacrifice of themselves for other people
  • We think if we succeed, our story/life will matter
  • But story teaches us that’s not true – we must sacrifice of ourselves
  • A character is that they do, not what we wished we were, or what we want
  • All about their actions
  • We have to want something
  • A character must be clear on what they want of they’re pulled from the film
  • If we want things that aren’t important, our story won’t be important
  • Every great story has to have conflict
  • By staying safe and not moving forward into conflict, our stories/lives are uninteresting
  • God intends there to be conflict in life
Conflict
  • Only way a character changes is through conflict
  • Only way they get better is through pain, not joy
  • Our stories are uninspired & boring if we avoid conflict
  • The true great character dives into conflict
  • Act 3 climax: one action makes everything okay
  • There’s no climax in our human experience – no point where the conflict ends
  • As Christians, we’re taught that there’s a hole in our soul that only God can fill
  • It’s not true
  • That says Jesus is the act 3 climax that will make the conflict go away
  • Not true
  • We got this idea from 3,000 commercials a day that instant gratification is possible
  • We turned Jesus into a product
  • The Act 3 climax in Scripture is at the wedding feast of the lamb – after we die
  • In life, we’re in the middle of act 2, right in the middle of conflict
  • “I’ve learned the secret of being content…hope that will be revealed”
Other Thoughts
  • The Danish are the happiest people on earth – they have low expectations
  • We go on such an emotional roller coaster in life
  • “This will fix my life, I’m so excited” and then it doesn’t work
  • Contentment is our goal – being emotionally even-keeled
  • The number one way we understand stories is through each other (not always music & movies)
  • Conflict doesn’t mean God hates you
  • Many of the reasons we’re depressed are because we think we can get to a climax and it always falls short
Addressing conflict in the church & youth ministry
  • Don’t jump into conflict unless it has to do with your story/life
  • Biblical wisdom on confronting authority
  • The fall of man happened…and it happened to the church too
  • Don’t create conflict for the sake of conflict
  • Be very discerning in the conflict you enter into
Don is very passionate about helping the fatherless generation
  • Where’s the answer to this generation with absent fathers?
  • In a wide survey, people were given the choice of government, schools, etc.
  • 85% chose the church
  • 70% atheists chose the church

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