The New York Times best-selling author on the importance of mentorship and his appreciation for his mother
New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller grew up in a world of women—his mother, sister, and a nearby aunt—and recently spoke with TCW about the unique challenges of a fatherless boyhood. The voice behind Blue Like Jazz, To Own a Dragon, and more is thankful for his mother, aunt, and father-figures brought into his life at various points, and is currently sharing the blessing of mentorship and guidance with fatherless boys across the country through advocacy and training organization The Mentoring Project.
“Eighty-five percent of the men in prison grew up without fathers,” Miller says. “I'm convinced America's hope lies with the church stepping in to mentor the fatherless.”
The Mentoring Project is a nationwide movement to support single moms and their children by providing practical support for single moms, providing basic needs including help with household repairs, for example—and other resources. Here’s what Miller had to say to TCW about the project, and his thankfulness for his mother’s influence in his life.
How the church can help debunk myths surrounding schizophrenia
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity for all of us to learn more about mental illness, mental health, and how we can offer support to one another. Within the Christian community, this is also a time of unprecedented attention on the topic of mental illness, after the tragic news that Matthew Warren, son of high-profile pastor Rick Warren and wife Kay, died by suicide after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.
In honor of this month’s focus on mental health, we spoke with Amy Simpson, author of the brand-new book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.
The message much of the church gives women—and what we should do about that.
When I became an adult, I realized the church must have been talking to the boys in the youth group. Because joining the ranks of grown women meant I stopped hearing those challenges, stopped having church-sponsored opportunities to reach out to others, do something difficult in the power of Christ, and ask myself tough questions about what it means to follow Jesus in this brilliant and terrifying world. I received a new set of messages from the church.
This is how the church challenges women: Attend the Christmas tea. Keep quiet. Being a mother is your highest calling. The best way to serve your neighbors is to indulge in shopping for fair trade items you don’t need. Enjoy spa day, frequently. Be modest. Be sexy in a Christian way. Lose weight by praying and eating foods grown in ancient Palestine. Breastfeed or else. Your greatest accomplishment is being weak enough to be rescued and protected. Stay in the background. Spend all your time with other Christian women. You’re too busy; let us make life easier for you.
We can and should do better than ministry that pampers women.
“This letter is from John the Elder. It is written to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth, as does everyone else who knows God’s truth—the truth that lives in us and will be in our hearts forever. May grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God our Father and from Jesus Christ his Son, be with us who live in truth and love” (2 John 1–3).
As you may know, these verses inspired our name, Kyria. In Greek it means “honored woman.” The epistle of 2 John is addressed to one such “kyria,” translated here in verse 1 as “chosen lady.” You may recognize the similarity of this word to kyrie, which is the masculine form of the same word, usually translated lord. We chose this name because, just like the biblical kyria, we feel it conveys something about the place of women in the life and ministry of the body of Christ, his church. We are chosen, called, and gifted for life in service to him.