The Shack – Missylaneous Thoughts and Ramblings

March 5, 2017

timothy-eberly-311459-unsplash

This archived post talks about the movie, “The Shack.” No matter what this fallen world has dealt you, God is a good, good Father. He is willing to meet you where you are, and His love is unending, no matter how distant you become. He never stops pursuing you.

HoneyLine

{my first shack encounter}

The Shack, written by William Paul Young, was a book I accidentally discovered in 2008 while I was working as an orthopedic nurse. A colleague mentioned the book to me and, since I was staying at the hospital’s hospitality house between shifts, I decided to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart after work to purchase my own copy. I had to do something to pass away my time in that little room, didn’t I?

When I returned to my room, brand-new paperback in tow, I couldn’t wait to crack its spine and begin reading. Oh. My! I found myself still reading after midnight and not wanting to quit! Not many novels can capture the reader right away, but The Shack did exactly that! I finally had to force myself to lay it down and get some sleep. After all, I had patients to care for the next day and couldn’t afford to begin the day as a zombie!

I absolutely engulfed myself in that book, recommending it to everyone I saw and even buying copies to give away. The mailman doesn’t particularly like to read (as in HATES it), so I bought it for him on CD. He did exactly as I had in print, finishing it in record time.

Today, the mailman and I went to the theatre to see The Shack on the big screen. It did not disappoint. In spite of the controversy which has resurfaced upon the release of the movie, the basic message of God’s unfailing love is being presented to all who have ears to hear.

Click here to see the official movie trailer.

{Papa}

What I loved about The Shack is how it makes the Trinity so relatable and approachable. My perception of God the Father was much like that of many other believers. I envisioned a larger-than-life white man in a white robe with a long, white beard sitting on a big golden throne with a scepter in his right hand. This version of the Almighty was not someone I felt comfortable with. I was fearful of him, as in afraid, not just having reverence for him. In this book, however, God being portrayed as a black woman named Papa helped me to see Him in a different light.

Having grown up without a father figure in my life, I found it extremely difficult to imagine a father who would love me unconditionally and NEVER leave me. I guess I could relate to Mack in that respect. God meets us where we are. That’s all this is about!

I’ll be the first to admit, though, thinking of God the Father as a woman of any color was a huge stretch for me, but I didn’t get hung up on it. Why would the Creator of the Universe be limited in how he could present himself to his children in order that we may relate to him? God (aka Papa) presented himself to Mackenzie in a way that Mack could feel at ease with him. Didn’t this same God reveal himself to Moses as a burning bush (Exodus 3: 1-15)? Who says, then, that he can’t show up as an African-American woman? He’s GOD!

{Jesus}

As I read the book, Jesus became so much more a friend to me. Jesus has always been the most relatable member of the Trinity to me for whatever reasons, but when I read about his tenderness with Mack, I could relate even more. I loved the part when Jesus and Mack lay on their backs, looking up at the stars! Can you imagine that?!? I mean, I know Jesus is always with us, but to physically lie on the ground looking up at the stars with their very Creator?!? Whoah!

{sarayu}

Holy Spirit has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I know Holy Spirit dwells within me, but I’ve never quite been able to get my head around this part of the Trinity. In The Shack, Holy Spirit is “personified,” if you will, by an Asian woman named Sarayu.

{disclaimer}

I am NOT a theologian.  (Please reread that sentence.) I do not claim to have dissected the message of The Shack or examined it beside Scripture. I DO, however, believe that the foundational message of this book/movie are Truth. God is love (1 John 4:18). Jesus is with us always (Matt. 28:20). Holy Spirit was sent to teach us and guide us (John 14: 26). As I read The Shack and watched the movie, these were the things that stood out to me.

With so much controversy about the message, whether overt or covert, of The Shack, I am a bit reluctant to even post this. In doing so, I know I’m opening myself up to criticism and scrutiny, but whatever. I’m just as entitled to sharing my opinion as the scholars.

{in my opinion}

Here’s my heart…The Shack is a work of fiction containing a message about the love and forgiving nature of God. Nowhere within the pages of the novel, nor the opening or closing credits of the movie, does it say “based upon a true story.” It is simply one man’s parable (remember how much Jesus loved parables?) illustrating the Trinity in a way that modern man (and woman) can identify with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Take it at face value. It’s a STORY!

Is it great theology? NUPE! Do its principals line up perfectly with Scripture? Negative, Ghost Rider. The big question, though is this…does the author, publisher, producer, or any of the actors ever claim that this book/movie is the Gospel? The answer is a resounding NO! Could it even be that all the controversy being presented by Christians is stirring up even more confusion about the nature of God than the actual movie itself?

{a grain of salt}

Please. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. That’s about all it’s worth. But no matter what, use your brain and listen to your heart. If you see the movie, remember that it’s not a documentary. And then go home and get out your Bible. Measure the story against the Greatest Story Ever Told. Discernment, people. It’s priceless.

Also, if you see the movie, allow God to speak to you through its message. God can speak to us and reach us even through the most secular things. I’ve seen the heart of God in some of the weirdest places – like a subway in New York City. (Now that’s about as close to the belly of Hell as one can get!)

Whether you choose to see the movie or abstain, please don’t judge those who do partake. There is no limit to the ways and methods through which God can reach our hearts. Love them as God loves you. Pray for an awakening in them. Pray for Holy Spirit to reveal himself to them in a way that would otherwise be impossible. Be prepared to answer any questions, without judgement, that they might have. I’m telling you, even movies like Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks, and Disney’s Toy Story are FULL of spiritual messages!

In a pivotal part of the movie, Mack is given an opportunity to act as judge of God, his daughter’s killer, his father, and others who have inflicted pain upon him. In the process of this, he discovers that judgement belongs solely to the Lord. My son, Eric, has a tattoo across his shoulders that says, “Only God Can Judge Me.” This is so true, and its placement is quite ironic as the responsibility of judgement rests solely upon the shoulders of our Sovereign God. Don’t judge. Our job is to love.

{what the shack taught me}

As I mentioned, I didn’t have a daddy in my life who modeled the love of the Father. I’ve already dealt with a lot of that hurt, so I’m not dredging up any bad mojo here. I’m simply stating this fact to underline what I learned from The Shack, which is this – no matter what this fallen world has dealt me, God is a good, good Father. He is willing to meet me where I am, and His love is unending, no matter how distant I become. He never stops pursuing me. Although my sin and my rebellion cause him pain, he is never disappointed in me. He loves me enough to give me free will. He is the ultimate gentleman, never forcing himself upon me. He wants me to want him. I am his beloved.

So are you.

Be blessed!

After The Shack

Not the greatest pic, but this is the mailman and me after the movie.

 

 

 

MissyLewis_Logo_Mailing_opt

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.