If you’ve already read The Shack, or if you don’t plan on reading it, read on.
If you plan on reading this book, go away. Come hear what I have to say after you read it. Don’t ruin it for yourself. I don’t want to deprive you of the moments in this book that sweep you away.
Okay, so you who are still here, you don’t mind me talking about it?
I read The Shack. And then I read an article from a pastor explaining why he believes The Shack is heresy. I knew this article was there, and I went ahead and read the book anyway, because I knew that if it’s fiction, it’s fiction, and the author’s depiction of the world may differ greatly from reality. Twilight takes place in a pretend world where vampires and werewolves exist. Harry Potter lives in a pretend world of wizardry. No matter how true or how fictional the lessons are, this story takes place in a world where God leaves notes in the mailbox and whatnot.
What I took away from The Shack:
–God loves us. Jesus would have gone to the cross if I were the only one in need of redemption.
–As humans living in a fallen world, we suffer from the existence of power and independence. A true relationship has no need for power. Being in relationship means supporting each other’s choices and individuality, and does not involve trying to conform the person to our will.
–Knowing and being known is the flesh of relationship. Love is the skin surrounding knowing.
–My life is a big mess. Each life is a mess. The world is a mess. But it’s a beautiful mess, with patterns and purposes that human eyes cannot see.
–Asking God to bring punishment or judgement upon someone is like asking a parent to choose some of their children to go to heaven.
–Mostly, I took away a craving to know Jesus more. Fiction or not, that’s a good impact on my life.
Now, for the heresy. In my humble opinion, let’s not make more of this than it is. It is a novel. It is fiction. It doesn’t proclaim to be more than that.
The story breathed fresh air into a living faith that is already inside me. The move The Last Song comes to mind. The story of Ronnie and her father breathed fresh air into my soul, as well. I do not have the same issues as Ronnie in my parental relationships, and I do not plan to go to Juliard to study piano. I also do not live by the beach, and I have never fallen in love with a rich volleyball player/aquarium volunteer/mechanic. Watching Ronnie’s story, I felt her healing, her catharsis. It didn’t heal anything in my life, it wasn’t my catharsis. It just felt good.
Reading The Shack, I felt the growth in Mack’s relationship with the Lord. I didn’t find Jesus himself in those pages, as I do in the Word. I felt the joy of Mack’s experience, and it made me want to feel that same joy in my own walk with the Lord. That is all.