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Published:February 28th, 2012 16:37 EST
Laity Lodge Celebrates the Life of its Founder Keith Miller

Laity Lodge Celebrates the Life of its Founder Keith Miller

By SOP newswire

Leaders and staff of Laity Lodge marked the death and celebrated the life and national impact of Laity Lodge`s founding director John Keith Miller, who died Jan. 22, 2012 at the age of 84. Howard E. Butt, Jr., president of the H. E. Butt Foundation and Foundations for Laity Renewal and founder of Laity Lodge, called Miller "instrumental in introducing the open, candid philosophy that made this the `safe place` it is today." 

Miller`s "new kind of honesty," Butt said, encouraged clergy and laity alike to share spiritual struggles as well as victories. Miller helped make Laity Lodge one the first Christian retreats to integrate the small group concept into regular programming. 

"Keith`s work marked a decisive change in American Christian culture, cutting across a broad swath of church life," Butt said. 

Miller`s first book, The Taste of New Wine, was published in 1965 while at Laity Lodge, selling more than a million copies. He wrote or co-wrote 24 books on subjects from Christian living, addictions and codependence, to spiritual transformation, and business. His writing with Bruce and Hazel Larson influenced the Christian world`s practical understanding of "relational theology." "Keith`s commitment to the adventure and the story gave many others a way to know Jesus and to live their faith," Butt said. 

Miller, a native of Tulsa, Okla., and resident of Austin, Tex., was born April 19, 1927. He served in the U.S. Navy, then entered Oklahoma University in Norman and earned a B.S. in business. Following 10 years in oil exploration he studied theology at Berkeley Divinity School (Yale) and Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind. He earned a divinity degree in 1964 and, in 1971, a master`s in psychological counseling. His tenure at the new Laity Lodge was from 1962 to 1965. 

Set in the Texas Hill Country, the Laity Lodge retreat center was founded in 1961 to bring creativity and faith building to Christians of various denominations across the U.S. and abroad. With a rare convergence of speakers, theologians, and artists, Laity Lodge welcomes and revitalizes 2,500 guests per year.