By: Shenelle Wallace
He’s an actor, a poet, he sings, he writes, and has landed movie roles alongside Denzel Washington in the hit film “American Gangster.” With credentials like that, one might expect such a person to be somewhat pretentious. But Warner Miller is by far the opposite. I met with Warner on a warm day in Brooklyn at an organic sandwich shop. We chatted, we ate, and I have to say that this is one of the most unrestricted interviews that I’ve done. Without my probing, Warner freely opened up and let me into his world, sharing poignant details of his life. He was ever so humble and exuded a spirit of gratitude. Born in Brooklyn and Raised in New Jersey Warner released his first book “Diary Of A Mad Christian”, with hopes that this gospel that changed his life will be articulated to those who have yet to hear of the good news.
Shenelle Wallace: I’ve heard a lot about you. I’ve seen you perform –
Warner Miller: Really?
Shenelle Wallace: Yes. I’ve heard you sing, I’m hearing all these things about you from other people. How about you fill me in on Warner Miller.
Warner Miller: What did you hear?
Shenelle Wallace: All good things!
Warner Miller: Oh! (Laughs). That’s a great thing. Being recognized makes me feel like family. It makes me feel like I belong.
Shenelle Wallace: You have an interesting journey on finding your way in faith and Christianity…
Warner Miller: My mother was a Christian. She went to church and so did my father. Most kids go to church because their parents go to church. But my parents didn’t go every Sunday. However, I did go to church every Sunday with my grandmother. My grandmother said when I was a baby she used to read the bible to me. Kids, when they’re small, are like putty. You could put your finger on them and that imprint will stay there. What I believe is that because she did that so consistently at such a young age, that truth never left. When I got older I started forming my own opinions about things, and did my own thing. But that truth that was planted there when that soil was young, fertile, and ripe, it was still there. I remember thinking, when I was in college, I didn’t know why I believed what I believed, or why I was a Christian. So I was very hesitant to call myself a “Christian”. I knew there was a God, I believed that much. The world is such in order that it would be moronic not to think that someone or something orchestrated it. I always believed He was real. It was just the identity of that person. I didn’t know who “He” was. So I kind of dabbled in other religions. I think a lot of people who have been brought up in Christian households, to some degree, if they come to a point where they are searching, they search every single place except Christianity. Because they think they know. I thought I knew. But I found that every religion that I looked into had something to say about Jesus. So I said let me study about Jesus. And the more I studied the more Jesus revealed himself in spite of my reluctance, in spite of my rebellion. He began to reveal Himself and who He was. But even when I accepted that Christ was who He said He was, I was still reluctant to call myself a Christian because of what I thought of Christians. I thought pretty much that they were a bunch of hypocrites, a bunch of this, a bunch of that. It wasn’t until later that I became comfortable with calling myself a Christian. But God, through his grace, revealed me to myself. It occurred to me that hypocrisy and faults are not exclusive to Christians. There are hypocrites in every philosophy, and every faith. Once I got over that, it opened up.
Shenelle Wallace: Sounds like you had a lot of love for your grandmother.
Warner Miller: My grandmother passed away almost ten years ago, and I still talk about her like I saw her yesterday because I’m so grateful for her. I would not have been the person I am – It sounds cliché but it’s the truth – without a praying grandmother. She did more than just pray. She actually planted word in me. And I’m a product of her being obedient to God and reading the bible to a child, who didn’t even understand a word she was saying, but I’m living it today and that’s the biggest truth.
Shenelle Wallace: Speaking of truth, this book is basically your story. You said you never thought of yourself as an author. What compelled you to write a book?
Warner Miller: I never thought of myself as a writer either. The book is a collection of things that I’ve written when I first came to Christ and what I experienced. I didn’t know how to communicate a lot of things so I wrote it down. I had this beat up blue note book that I wrote all this stuff in and I just called it Diary of a Mad Christian. I had a lot of question, like why do preachers do this, and why do Christians claim to be so loving, but are the most segregated? There were a lot of times I was upset, like why is this this way? I wrote it all down. I would share some things that I wrote with a few people, and they would say “Man, this is so good. When is the book coming out?” I started believing what they were saying to a certain degree, and as soon as I made up in my mind that I was going to do it, doors started opening. Dr. King said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the entire staircase.”There’s a quote that says “Peace is the umpire for knowing God’s will”, and I had peace throughout this whole process. It was as easy as writing a book could be, and getting it into the hand of the right publishers was seamless. So I took that as I guess this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me, and the things I can’t do, I don’t know I can’t do. So I’m just going to be crazy and try almost everything.
Shenelle Wallace: I love the cover. Whose idea was that? What’s the concept behind it?
Warner Miller: It basically documents the growth from boy hood to man hood but within the faith. It’s an interpretation of my walk. Boy-hood to man-hood and all these things in between. Even though I’m mad, I’m secure in my faith.
Shenelle Wallace: I was reading an excerpt from the book, and the scenario was of you falling back into something that you struggled with and finding yourself at the same place again, and at repentance yet again. Its like Paul said, the things I don’t want to do, I find myself doing, and the things that I want to do, I don’t do. Why do you think that happens?
Warner Miller: Disobedience. The flesh. Our humanity. Pride. Thinking we know what’s best for us. Our weakness. A whole lot of things. If people understand that more people than just themselves are going through something they won’t be so reluctant to be honest with themselves. There’s a scripture that says confess your sins to one another. If you would confess to someone, and not for the sake of having everyone know your business, but there’s encouragement there; there’s accountability there. It’s like, oh, you too brother? Alright we’re going to overcome this together. God already knows, so you’re not keeping anything from him. More than just encouraging and giving people insight to who I am, especially some of the personal things that I’ve gone through, I found that that’s what helped me grow. Not someone saying this is what you’re supposed to do, this is what you’re not supposed to do. I heard someone say that you being unwilling to forgive yourself is a certain branch of pride; because you think your sin is so big that no one can forgive this, not even God. With Grace, it allows us to live freely. But also, because of our imperfections, we can misinterpret grace as a free ride to do whatever we want. So there’s a balance in it.
Shenelle Wallace: For anyone who reads this interview and may be struggling and falling into the same trap, what does it take to break that habit?
Warner Miller: Someone said, you will continue to do what you continue to accept. There has to come a point where what you are doing is unacceptable to you. If you keep ramming your head against a brick wall, and it didn’t hurt the first time or the second time or the third time, eventually it going to start hurting and it’s going to hurt so much that you’re going to want to stop. That’s the first thing. You can stop doing something just because you want to stop, if you begin to see that what you’re doing is not benefiting you ultimately. David said, I have sinned against you and you alone. I don’t want to sin against you God. You’re my Lord, you’re my King. I think for us as believers, when we get to repent and reject those things. Until we reach that point that point you’re going to do it again. This is one of the ways that God shows us that he loves us, he gives us a choice. He gives us a choice to love him. Or reject him, or to obey him or not. And it’s not do what I say because I say it. It’s do what I say because the other way isn’t good. You will hurt yourself. I found that for some people it’s going to take them hitting there head a couple of times for them to stop.
Shenelle Wallace: You wrote your book to be read by everyone. Christians, Non-Christians etc.
Warner Miller: I did.
Shenelle Wallace: What are you hoping people gain after reading it?
Warner Miller: I want it to be relatable which is why I had no problems being transparent in it. Ultimately I want the Gospel to be articulated. It seems so general, but that’s what I Want whether it’s from my life, the things that I do on stage, singing, I want my life to reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ. If at the end of the book, you have an understanding of who Jesus Christ is, that is my objective. That’s the legacy I want to leave. The legacy of faith. I’ve been blessed, so I’m thankful that other people can be blessed by it.
Shenelle Wallace: Will there be a Diary of a Mad Christian part 2?
Warner Miller: I didn’t know there was going to be a part one! So if there is, I’ll be marginally surprised. A year and a half ago, I didn’t have this one book planned, and here it is. So I don’t put any limitations or shackles on what God is able to do.
To purchase Dairy of A Mad Christian Click HERE.