Saturday, May 16, 2009
A Yak about “The Shack”
It’s hard enough on any given day to make sure I’m spending regular time in The Word – to commit to a work of fiction is rare, to say the least. I still haven’t started my “The Busy Epidemic” DVD series and I’ll get CEUs for that!
A couple months ago a colleague of mine recommended the book “The Shack” to me. It’s mighty rare in my office for someone to even approach a faith-related topic, so I took it as an opportunity to engage in a spiritual conversation through a book discussion.
My colleague’s recommendation of the book was, for the most part, because it helped her “gain greater perspective and understanding of the Holy Trinity” as three, but also one. This was certainly intriguing … yet concerning to me. I have no expectations that my limited earthly brain is capable of understanding the full mystery of the Trinity and approached the book with caution. It seemed unlikely that a piece of “Christian fiction” should be the proper medium of greater understanding – shouldn’t scripture be the first resource?
Refocusing on the opportunity to have a spiritual connection with someone outside the church, I started on this book “the Shack.” Remarkably, I got a lot out of it, but not what I expected.
Yes, it certainly offered a unique perspective of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as One. It got me thinking about it and it created a desire to dig through scripture to find references that validated or invalidated the concepts. If it inspired half the people who read this “best seller” to open their Bibles, I think this great fiction could have great spiritual value. My fear would be that the other half, with no other authority to draw upon, might take the explanation at face value and it become a “truth” for them that is repeated and reinforced as fact (Da Vinci Code anyone?).
The richer message I took away from it was about hope … hope for healing and the comfort of God’s loving hand in our lives during the trials of life. It was a well articulated sermon on how God does not “cause” the bad things to happen - our sinful nature and fallen world does that – nor is it His role to prevent them all, but rather that God can and does use those hardships to demonstrate his unconditional love for us.
If you’ve experienced a tragic loss or trial in your life and asked the big “why” … if you know someone who’s personal trial has put a wedge in their relationship with God, rather than drawing them closer to Him – buy them a copy of “The Shack.” It is certainly no replacement for scripture, but it may be just what they need to lead them back there.
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