Let’s Talk About The Shack

Because barely a word has been written on it right?  Kidding of course.

After seeing the movie The Shack today my first thought was to blog about it. My second thought, was to immediately shut down that first thought.  Surely, I am the least likely qualified person out there to write a post dissecting a popular film’s  spiritual message and whether or not it stays true to Christian doctrine.  A theology expert I am not and I would certainly be made a fool by anyone choosing to debate me on it.

My third thought came several hours later and it was that my unsureness about what being a “real” Christian is all about is exactly why I should share my thoughts about The Shack.  The film  (and the book it was based on ) was not created for those who are confident in their beliefs and have things all figured out; it’s directed at people like me who believe in God but struggle in really knowing His all  encompassing love and perfect nature.

The book  came to me at a time in my life several years ago when I desperately needed divine guidance and healing and it opened a crack in my heart to the possibility that God really does exist, really does love me unconditionally and really can be trusted to act in my best interest.  This was, you might say, an unexpected gift from God given at the most perfect time.

The way the story portrayed the Trinity, God’s continual process of redemption and renewal, the presence of evil in the world and His absolute devotion to working bad in to good in a very fallen world really made sense to me in ways traditional Christian materials could not.

Was that God’s way of introducing Himself to me? I can’t say for sure of course, but I can tell you that reading The Shack put me on a path of spiritual exploration that involved doing crazy things like actually studying the Bible, checking out local churches and eventually becoming a Christian.

The movie I think does a pretty good job at following the book and is even able to exude God’s supernatural nature without falling in to parody, which often happens with films of this nature.  Its explanation on why God “allows” bad things to happen is also very well done and comforting.

There were many striking scenes, but the most potent for me was when the main character Mack is in a boat and finds himself quickly being taken over by a black sea of ink  until he finally heeds Jesus’s call to look at Him.  The importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus instead of our own sorrow and loss has never been so powerfully portrayed in my view.

Does the movie touch on themes that will upset doctrinaire Christians?  Yes, without a doubt, the most prominent probably being its universalist view of everyone getting in to heaven.  Yet even that’s not so straightforward because the movie also strongly focuses on a God who is madly in love with His people and constantly pursuing them to return the favor.

Being a Buddhist, Muslim or atheist for example does not mean God won’t meet you where you are and accept you if you’re willing to follow His ways. Salvation comes from a loving God, not from religious institutions, a notion this movie does not contradict and which Peter infers in  Acts 10:34, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”

The movie’s portrayal of God in different genders and races also did not set off any red flags for me, as it’s obvious He is showing up as characters Mack could most easily relate to and is not some sort of silly token social justice stunt.

Like I said, my point here is not to dive in to the weeds of theology. Those that have reservations about The Shack certainly have every right to speak out about why they feel Christians’ shouldn’t support it. I’d challenge them though to actually see the movie or read the book before doing so.  It’s themes are more complex than you might think and hold appeal for many spiritual seekers who feel turned off by traditional Christian avenues towards finding Christ.

We all know God’s ways are not ours and it’s impossible to discern with any certainty how and why someone finally comes to Him. The Shack offers a way for some and knee jerk reactions against it in my view are a mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well Played

Amid all the hoopla of today’s Day Without a Woman, I’d like to focus on an underreported story involving actual injustice and the rebellion of two remarkable women that speak to real empowerment.

The first is Dorsa Derakshani, an Iranian Grandmaster chess player (# 2 in her country), who wore a headband instead of the traditional headscarf (hijab) while competing at a festival in Gibraltar last January. The outraged Iranian Chess Federation booted her off the team along with her 15 year old brother who had the audacity of agreeing to play an Israeli opponent. Continue reading

Posted in Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

On Strike

On March 8th, women from around the world will stand in solidarity for fair and equal treatment by going on strike from work.  At least I think that’s the gist, but it’s hard to tell because the goals are so generalized and different depending on who you talk to. Continue reading

Posted in entitlememt mentality, fear mongering, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Be Like the Bee

busy-bee-meme

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The Will To Live

Does all life have value and purpose, even the not so shiny ones? I sure believe it does and so thankfully does Bill from Unshakable Hope, who writes the most inspiring and thought provoking posts from the perspective of a devout Christian and long term ALS suffer. Give it a read, it’s well worth your time.

Unshakable Hope

I almost made it through a whole year without being hospitalized or having any additional health problems. Almost. Then, with just a few days left in 2016, I caught a cold. The “commoncold” is not much more than an annoyance for otherwise healthy people, but for someone like me with weakened breathing muscles and only 30% of my lungs functioning, the common cold is much more than an annoyance.

On the morning of the last day of the year, I was having an extremely difficult time breathing even wearing my breathing mask. In addition to that, I couldn’t keep anything down. I was a mess, more than usual. Mary and I both assumed it was pneumonia again so she called 911 and within minutes we were in an ambulance en route to the hospital. ALS has brought us one adventure after another over the last 20 years.

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Off With Her Head!

bird-of-paradise

“Oh you can’t help that”, said the cat, “we’re all mad here.”

Today I thought a lot about the beautiful Bird of Paradise flowers that are flocking like mad in my backyard.  Why, you ask?  As a distraction from my Facebook feed, which is blowing up right now over a 59 year old grandmother from Michigan who just got confirmed as the new Secretary of Education.  Once the virtual mob had moved on from tar and feathers and started calling for the guillotine, I’d had enough, so off to the backyard I went.  Ahhhhh, such pretty flowers, they really do look an awful lot like birds too. Continue reading

Posted in fear mongering, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Gotta Represent…..

pats

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The Calcified Mind

barnacles

“Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.”-John Cogley

Did you know that a barnacle spends its entire life stuck in one place?  Yes, there a barnacle sits, with each year adding layer upon layer of calcification to cement it in place. They don’t exactly sit however, as their forehead glands contain the glue, so they fix themselves upside down to a solid surface and survive by using  feathery limbs to pull in passing plankton for nutrients. Continue reading

Posted in fear mongering, Personal growth, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , , , | 39 Comments

One Nation

clinton-trump.jpg

My sentiments today are the same as when Barack Obama took office. Whether you like the new President or not, you have to respect the peaceful transfer of power our nation goes through; a process that in many other countries is still decided by the barrel of a gun. We live in an exceptional country, whose government is designed around protecting the individual citizen over the power of the state and where the freedoms we enjoy are the envy of the world.

To many, this is a hopeful time of renewal and expectant change, to many others a time of fear and discouragement on what the future may bring. This is exactly where we were at in 2012 mind you, but with the players having switched sides. So whether you are up in arms and protesting the new administration or dancing with joy, just remember to always respect your fellow citizens, even if, or maybe especially if you don’t agree with them.

Together we conquer, divided we fall.

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An American Tale

Hidden Figures Day 17              Photo Credit Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox

Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures yet? If not, make sure to treat yourself to it soon. It’s an extremely enjoyable tale from a remarkable period in history when three brilliant young African American women helped NASA launch the country’s first space mission.

And please don’t be fooled in to thinking it’s a black movie, or a chick flick or a civil rights thing. Yes, the movie touches on all of this but its central focus was so much more and it really struck a chord deep inside me. Honestly, I’ve been unable to stop thinking about the movie since seeing it several days ago. Continue reading

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