Thoughts on The Shack

I would like to preface this whole thing by saying that I never have read the book but I do however plan on reading since my loving wife let me know she has two copies. Not sure if that is a hint or not yet. Saying that I would also like to add that I went to the movie thinking that it wouldn’t be good or interesting. But now knowing my doubting Thomas like attitude about the movie, please note that I would now encourage everyone and anyone to go and see it. It touched me in various ways and really shows a different side of things that we sometimes forget.

Let’s deal with one of the main and most prevalent issue people seem to have with the book/movie. “My God is not a female black woman making a pie, a crazy Asian gardener, and a curly headed middle eastern carpenter!” Yes, you’re right, but yet wrong at the same time. First off Jesus was most likely a curly headed middle eastern carpenter and if that offends you because it’s not the famous white man Jesus painting you like, well then we need to stop right there and talk. Jesus was born in the middle east…and into Jewish culture…where there are no white men. If you claim that the movie can lead you to Idolatry because of how God is betrayed then you might as well label all Christian art as the same. Also, you might as well attack you childhood favorite of C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. Let us be reminded that  Jesus commands us to be all things to all people correct? If so then that would mean that he also would become all things to all people.

In Christian theology, we know that God lives inside of His people. We also know God uses all of His children to accomplish His will. In the movie (not sure about the book) we see the same black woman give comfort to Mack and may have been one of the only times as a child he experienced unconditional love. So why wouldn’t God use that as a form or way to speak to him in his vision and dream? God speaks to me in the ways that I understand best as he speaks to my wife in different ways because that’s what she understands best. Also, people seem to think that the movie and author are trying to portray God and the Trinity poorly. I would have to disagree. The trinity is and always has been three distinct persons in one, and one person as three distinct persons. What the Holy Spirit does, God the Father does not do. What God the Son does, God the Holy Spirit doesn’t do. Otherwise, why would Christ say, “I need to leave so my father can send you a helper.”

So the next thing that seems to be an issue is the fact that “Papa” or God doesnt seem to hate sin enough. That God is portrayed as being too soft on man and on man’s sin. I want to flash to a powerful sceenof when Mack is in the cave and he is asked to judge different people (Which is something we are all guilty of).  He is then shown each of his children and told their sins, and asked which one should go to Heaven or which one should go to hell. Mack says he can’t choose, again the character portraying Wisdom says that he must choose. This goes back and forth until Mack says “Let me take their place, let me go instead of them!” This is said tearfully and with such emotion and heartfelt love that it will break anyone’s heart. Wisdom smiles and realization dawns on Mack’s face. God hates sin, yes, but God also loves his creation so much that he stepped into our place on Calvary and died, God DIED for our sins. He then went into hell for three days to preach and to teach to have the enemy mock him. He went through our righteous judgment because he loved us more than he hated our sin. If that’s not the heart of the Gospel then I don’t know what is.

Now after all of that can I just say that the book and the movie are works of fiction and not theological discourse. That in truth it’s a great movie about how God and can walk us through hard times and that all He wants to do is heal our brokenness. If you ant to boycott the movie and scream more and more about judgment and hatred go ahead and do it. But that’s not the Gospel, that’s not what Christ wanted, and that’s not what we are called to do. Instead, I would encourage you and pray that you talk to someone about the movie who doesn’t go to church. Buy their ticket and go with them. Pray and read the scriptures and find the heart of God yourself. Stop using made writing articles like this one to make your point. Instead, use the Bible and start being the hands and feet of God to this hurting world. If you would like to talk about my writing here or about the movie please email me through the form on my site. I am here for open and respectful communication. If you feel lead to write your own post and want me to post it here for you (even if it goes against what I have written) I will do so if we can work together and it follows scripture.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may you go in peace. May His face shine upon you and may He be gracious to you. May He look upon you with favor all of you days.

Yours in Christ,

Nathan Harvey

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