Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spending Some Time at 'The Shack'

Recently, I finally got down to reading The Shack. For the unititiated, The Shack is a Christian novel written about a man whose daughter is kidnapped and murdered. After some time, he finds himself drawn back to the last place where she was known to be, the shack, and he meets up with God in a way that he would never have imagined. The book made the New York Times bestsellers as well as ignited a flurry of controversy, with many taking offense at some of the books theological thoughts as well as plot devices. In short, it's a book that lots of people seemed to flock to and that got a lot of conversation, good and bad, going. The popularity kept me from it for a time but unemployment and time opened up the door and I finally got it read.

Let me first say that I'm sure that some of my more theologically astute friends and brethren will take me to task here but I really didn't have many issues with the book as a whole. It's not War and Peace by any means but it does possess a compelling story and some keen perceptions on both life and faith. I personally really enjoyed the concepts of God appearing in three persons to the chief character and especially enjoyed the appearance of God the Father initially as a saucy African-American woman. Likewise, I really enjoyed the assertions that Jesus was not a "Christian." That's something that will certainly cause some eyebrows to raise but when we think about it, He really wasn't. There's so much that I could elaborate on there but, I just won't...

I guess the thing that hit me the most with The Shack was the idea that God really does love us. I know that's the most simple of truths and is the one that we're supposed to really learn early on but for myself, as I've gotten older, it's also the one that's harder to believe. I guess with age, experience, and failure after failure, big or small. the love of Christ is something that we consciously know but don't always believe. The Shack offers up a different perspective on that, showing a God who does love us, who does care for us, and even weeps with us in our sorrow. It's nothing terribly original but I can certainly see why folks have gravitated toward it.

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