I just read a rather interesting article concerning the book and movie, The Shack. I have read this book several times and will eventually see the movie as well. The multitude of commentary about the book, it’s supposed “message,” lack of correct theology, Christian doctrine, along with all the insight of so many who feel qualified, is significant. Is it correct?
I fully understand who God is, the message of salvation, Christ on the cross, and my relation to all of it. I also understand how over the years, the Church has put itself in place of God. None would ever admit that, holding the various religious institutions as above such a possibility. Yet when challenged to demonstrate their dependence of God, they fall miserably short.
One single example would be building programs. The entire congregation is put into debt to finance a bigger and more ostentatious building. God is charged with providing the finances to pay for it. So much for dependence on God to provide the finances BEFORE building. That’s the same as making a choice about anything and then telling God to bless it!
The Church is no more perfect than the humankind it serves. Perfection does not exist in our world at any juncture. There may be the exception of birth and a new life. I would be hard to argue the perfection of that. However, the conception is all in God’s hand.
While God and Jesus determined we are redeemable, it comes at a cost. Mainly that of belief, of knowing that God does not live in a box, or have a human form. For multitudes, myself included, smashing that “God Box” is one of the greatest challenges on the road to unlimited belief.
Over the years we have seen many stories created with the intent to bring us into a closer understanding of our mortality. Frank Peretti, Jerry Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, C.S. Lewis, among 100’s of others. This must necessarily include Lynn Vincent and Todd Burpo, Dr. Eben Alexander, Anita Moorjani. Just a few of those who have had life after death experiences, that so many are ready to disavow as not matching up to what look like Biblical standards. What is more believable than an account of verifiable, clinical death, where life has come back into the body? Accounts of being in the presence of a bright light, immeasurable peace, and not wanting to return.
Akiane Kramarik is a gifted painter that at an extraordinarily young age of eight years old, painted a four foot tall oil of Jesus titled, “Prince of Peace.” Young Colton Burpo, of “Heaven Is For Real,” who claims to have been in the presence of Jesus during an emergency appendectomy, claims Akiane’s painting is the Jesus he saw. Who dares to argue?
It is not the Bible, nor does it pretend to follow the Bible. What this book does is make one think. Plain and simple. It goes against all that we have been raised to believe, which is perfect. As mentioned earlier, most live with a “God Box.” It is this physical image of God who most would have a hard time relating to otherwise. So see God without an image, that He exist in everywhere and everything, is part of what this book will cause readers to do. The reader cannot maintain the concept of who or what God and the Trinity are as they read through the chapters. They will be challenged to let go of preconceived concepts, and perhaps for the first time consider who God really is.
The beauty of Young’s book and story is it also allows those of us who have no problem with who God is or what He is, and can easily see God throughout this story. For those who only want to pick it apart Biblically, well have at it. You are the loser in the process, as you can only see through blinders.
The Rock Opera, Jesus Christ Super Star, was responsible for leading me to discovery of the truth of salvation. How has that musical been condemned throughout the years. If I am the only one who ever found salvation because of that, it served it’s purpose. No one person, critic, theologian, pastor, learned scholar, can claim to know the mind of God. In the same sense none know in what strange and beautiful ways He works.
Just as many were impacted by the movies Left Behind, Heaven Is For Real, and now The Shack. None know what lives have been impacted for eternity. The same can be said for The Passion of Christ, Spartacus, or The Robe. I’m no movie critic. Knowing what I like and why is what matters. Just thoughts.
Think I’m gonna go watch Wizard of Oz again!