Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Shack - in review

I just finished "Loving on the I Am - Part 3" and posted it below. This was actually written a few days ago, but I decided not to post it until the "I AM" series was finished. So here goes...

Everybody's doing it, ya'll. And since I just finished reading the very book that incites so many diverse opinions, I decided to go ahead and throw in my 2 cents.

To begin with, here are the things that I really like about the book:

While I don't consider this book a life-changing eye-opener, I do love some of the pictures of God that are portrayed by the author. And these portrayals did provoke some interesting thoughts and questions in my mind:

I recognize, in The Shack, the Jesus that I know as my best friend. I love that he is portrayed as a man, that he discovers the wonders of creation through a man's eyes. I have never thought about Jesus, as a man, enjoying the wonders of a world that he had created for man.

I also love the picture of Papa God, leading us through difficult places in order to dig out the roots of bitterness and give us the gift of forgiveness. Like the God I know, the God in The Shack allows his children to crawl into his lap and bawl their little eyes out. I really love that picture.

Time and time again, I saw pictures - snapshots, if you will - of the God that I know and love and walk with.

I also think that, for those who are really hurting, this books offers a good shot at answering the question, "If God is so good, why is there so much pain in the world?" I can absolutely think of people in my own life who are struggling with this very question, and for them, I think this book could be a good move in the direction of understanding and, ultimately, healing.

But as much as I love those things about the book, here's the bottom line, ya'll: It's a good book. A good fictional book. It's not the Bible. It's not absolute truth. It's fiction.

And just as with any piece of religious literature that a Christian reads, we are called to weigh any written words against the written Word of God.

There is definitely some questionable theology, as Eric's Wife points out so very well. I won't go into all those details because, quite frankly, she said it all a lot better than I ever could.

So, read the book, and if you like the flavor of it, then take the meat and spit out the bones, ya'll.

Eat up the wonderful reminders of God's unconditional love, 'cause that part was quite tasty. But weigh it against the Bible, and if any of it causes some indigestion, I suggest you throw it out.

Just don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Ok, I think I've driven my over-cliche'd metaphors into the ground.

You get the point.

If you have read it, what do you think about it?

2 comments:

Heather @ The Striving Wife said...

I like how you said, "take the meat and spit out the bones." That seems to be great advice for this book, because, as you already said, there ARE great snapshots of the God we (hopefully) already know!

Thanks for the review!

Keep on Striving,

Heather
TheStrivingWife.com

James said...

You said

"I recognize, in The Shack, the Jesus that I know as my best friend. I love that he is portrayed as a man, that he discovers the wonders of creation through a man's eyes. I have never thought about Jesus, as a man, enjoying the wonders of a world that he had created for man."

That is because Paul Young believes that Jesus is just a man still. If Jesus is just a man, then He is unable to save anyone. I quote from Paul Young himself

"Hi guys,

I believe the crux of this question has two elements: First, Jesus came to live a truly and fully human life. The book of Hebrews describes him as the first one to do this to the utmost, fully and completely. The human life was created to be dependent upon a union with God, and a life of faith. Jesus constantly said things like, "...I don't do anything unless I see the Father doing it...I don't say anything unless I hear the Father say it...I do nothing of my own initiative." The second element is this: if Jesus drew occasionally upon his 'God' capabilities, then how could he qualify as my representative and substitute, let alone model a dependent human life - I can't do that? He would have ceased being a truly human sacrifice.

Again, I believe the temptations in the wilderness were in part a temptation to move from dependence upon "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" to independent power, from the uncertainty of trust to the seeming certainty of control.

So when Jesus talks about '...the works that I do', it is spoken within the context and understanding of his absolute dependent life on the indwelling Father/Spirit, and that now we are invited into that same union in the same helpless dependence. (Read John 14-16 and watch for who is dwelling in whom).

I am personally convinced that Jesus was born, lived, died, was raised and now reigns as a fully human being, and has not drawn upon his deity ever in that process.

Hope that helps,
'Willie' "


you can read it for yourself at
http://theshackbook.com/discuss/index.php?topic=25.msg93#msg93

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood