Pre-Shack

  • I have read the book, the “Shack”, with mixed thoughts and feelings.  I was very upset with  Sophia until I realized that Sophia represents wisdom and the Bible does refer to wisdom as a woman.  I was very uncomfortable with God as a Black Woman.  Yet, I realized that Jesus as a European Man is the same issue, we like to create God in our own image.  –History shows gods as all kinds of irreverent, demonic and animalistic creatures. There is only one true God, and that God no man has seen.

We know from the Bible, which I believe is TRUTH.  It is the only standard for truth.   I believe it and practice.  The Bible shows us God as a Father figure to Jesus.  So we see him as paternal.  The book shows the trinity God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  It is a hard concept for any of us to understand.  They have different but equal roles and we see this from the very beginning when Genesis says, “Let us make man in our image”.  That is plural.  Creation was a plural adventure with all three members of the trinity.

I also puzzle at the heresy police getting so involved in a “novel”.  It is a novel, fiction by definition.  And the same people who condemn the unbiblical novel, gladly set themselves down for an R rated sexual afront or an enraged crime movie and justify that–how?  We are told to: “think on these things: what is good and pure and true and lovely”.  But the world around us tries to pull us into its mold–the fleshly, worldly, sensory focused world and it ain’t pretty. (Excuse my french).

We protestants are the “Reformers”.  I am on that journey along with my ancestors.  I go beyond that religious institution with a personal relationship with the one True Messiah.  Was the Jewish Messiah that some call Jesus a handsome  European man?  Some churches refuse to have any images (graven or otherwise) in their churches.  For many years, most protestant churches eliminated all references to God other than the cross in their art work.-And some of those same churches have huge photos of their dearly loved founding Pastor-a human man-created in God’s image but whom sinned just like everyone of us.

Yet, God was the greatest artist ever.  Look at the mountains and hillsides and oceans and trees and birds and flowers–deep rich, vibrant colors, all a refection of the Creator-God who created us in his image–to be small “c” creators.

Prior to seeing the movie, “The Shack”, these are some of my thoughts.  After I see the movie, I may add more “thoughts” –human and fleshly as they may be–If the movie makes us think, makes us dig into the Word for Truth, if it causes us to have conversations that force us to think, to interact, to consider faith questions, is that not a good thing?

Could God the Father actually use something as worldly as a fiction movie to bring people toward Himself?

In the book, God, a black woman called papa may be implying that God is neither man nor woman.  Human Christians are God’s image bearers, hopefully others see a part of God in us–that can leave a distorted view of God if we do not also have a strong understanding and knowledge of the Word of God, the Bible.  We perceive life and God, for that matter from a collage of our own experiences and clip-its of the lives of others around us UNLESS we are grounded, disciplined and purposeful to read, obey and live the Word of God.

Post Shack Review

The main character, Mac, went to the altar as a child to ask for help from a God He didn’t fully understand.  He  had been physically abused.

Mid-life, he is married to a sound Christian woman who knows God personally.  Three wonderful children and a wonderful life–until the unthinkable happens.  His little daughter is killed.  Mac is faced with a myriad or emotions, conclusions, fears, and thoughts that keep him “stuck”.

We watch as Mac walks through a journey of embracing one aspect of himself and of God at a time.  It’s messy.  It’s painful.  It can be confusing.  Each nugget of understanding that Mac receives opens his heart and mind up to being in sinc with the God-head.  The Biblical God and the experiential God mesh in his dream(s).

I find no theological heresy in Mac not being able to understand Father-God after being beaten as a boy by his Father–so he even struggles with God as a black woman, but love and gentleness win over.

Mac experiences Messiah-Jesus as a friend and brother and learns to “walk” through the hard places in life through him and with him..

Mac continues to struggle with concepts that only the Holy Spirit can reveal, and I love the scene where he is washed in the water, overflowing with joy and peace and all that the Holy Spirit can offer-we  accept and understand.

Oh how hard the journey for Mac when God shows himself as a male-Papa guiding him through the really hard places with a wonderful image of pushing through the stone wall. We all have strongholds that have been built in our lives to protect us–but we can overcome if we let God go with us and lead us through.

Then, we see Mac, gaining understanding from Lady Wisdom which the Word of God refers to in the female tense.  Wisdom is beautiful, gentle, airy but condemnation and judgement have to be let go. Straight from the book of Romans 8:1 “THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong)  for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and} walk not after the diectates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit”. “There is no condemnation.

The casket scene represents coming to a place of peace with God in HIS sovereignty. but also that we all must die to self, die to our child-like misconceptions of who God is.  We must let go of our anger, and let healing flow.

I see “The Shack” as a great allegory of a man walking through life’s journey and finding peace along the way, finding the TRUE God, not the one the world, the flesh and the Devil have characterized for us.  We see Mac set free from “religiosity” and embrace relationship.

I love that Mac had a Christian friend.  No doubt,  his friend walked along with him and prayed for him-even though he himself is very human.

I trust that this movie will bring about questions, discussions and searching for those who see the movie.  For those of us who are a bit further along in our own journey, we need to be there for them, along the way–Because HE/God/Papa/Abba/Messiah/Holy Spirit  is (is, not are)  not willing that ANY should perish.  Will some go to Hades, the nether world?  No doubt, but it will be their choice and not Abba’s.

(Photo: ScreenCapture/Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment)A still shot from “The Shack,” a movie based on William Paul Young’s New York Times best-selling novel.

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One thought on “Pre-Shack

  1. Yes, working through our heartaches and growing in our understanding of God is messy. Thanks for pointing out the allegorical nature of The Shack. I enjoyed reading this book, even though it challenged some of my theology. Look forward to seeing the movie.

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