Monday, April 3, 2017

SoooOOOooo, Let’s open this can of worms…

I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods people have VERY different opinions about The Shack - both the book and the movie – 
So, buckle up, buttercup – here’s mine [for what it’s worth -]

Let’s get this out of the way first – this is FICTION, not the gospel truth – 
and let me just say that there are many “Christian” fiction books out there that I read and I may not completely agree with how they present or project The Gospel or 
what / how our relationship with God should be – but they are still good books that I enjoy…

 So there’s that.

I loved The Shack when I read it several years ago – 
and I re-read it again last month before going to see the movie –

Still loved it, still agreed with all the little notes and markings I put it in the first time around [may have even added some on the second go ‘round…]

Spoiler AlertIt’s about one man’s DREAM and how he came back to a relationship with God after an extremely tragic event in his life.  
It’s his perception of how God might be…

**Okay, so there were some things that were portrayed in a way that does not reconcile with the God I know and the theology I believe – 
But there were also so many things in this book that I loved - 
Should I share them all?
Why not?
NOTE: You may need to click on the photos to read the text in the book - 
It's worth it, I think...
This is a long post, folks...
Keep in mind that no one is forcing you to read this or to agree with me - 
These are the things that struck a chord with me 
[**or not, although I've chosen to not share a bunch of that here] 
and they may not mean a thing to you...
and that's okay - 

p. 76 “He knew he was driving straight into the center of his pain, the vortex of The Great Sadness that had so diminished his sense of being.”

And then he meets God [and yes, I know God is portrayed in a VERY different way than is normally thought of – but it's explained that God presented as someone Mack could relate to more than a man…] And don't you think that sometimes [many times!] it is in our pain that we begin to fully trust God?

p. 85, “My, my, my, how I do love you!” …”It’s okay honey, you can let it all out… I know you’ve been hurt, and I know you’re angry and confused. 
So go ahead and let it out. 
It does a soul good to let the waters run once in a while – the healing waters.”
“He felt the presence of love. It was warm, inviting, melting.' 
- Love this description of God's acceptance and love for us. 
I hope and pray that you have felt this love that only He can give.

p. 89 So after God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit present themselves Mack asks,
“Which one of you is God?”
 “I am,” said all three in unison.” 
This is great in the movie too!

Chapter six – Speaking of the Spirit’s goodness, 
“…Even though you might not think it, the timing is always perfect.” 
And later, “You’re free to do whatever you like…
Go because it’s what you want to do, 
don’t go because you feel obligated…”

The message throughout:
 God is especially fond of us –

“Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship.” 
I love how it speaks of God giving us free will and how only God can set us free,
 “but freedom can never be forced” 
[We have to LET God into our lives - ] 
“Freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him” [Christ.]

“I never left you.” 
- “When all you can see is your pain, then perhaps you lose sight of me.”

p. 109 – ...Speaking devotions to God – I loved this! 
I don't remember it being brought out in the movie as much as I would have liked... How many times do we rush into prayer with all of our wants and needs – shouldn’t we always {{always}} first offer adoration and praise? Offer our devotion to Him, if you will…

p. 113 – Speaks to God’s intention for us is to be right in the 
very center of His love and purpose. - Love how it's described later too!

p. 128, Mackenzie, you cannot produce trust, just as you cannot ‘do’ humility. 
It either is, or it is not.  
Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved. 
Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me.”

p. 129, Mack says, “I just can’t imagine any final outcome that would justify all this.” 
And God answered,  
“We’re not justifying it. We are redeeming it.”

p. 139 That is hard pill to swallow, choosing to live only in Me. To do that, you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness.”

LOVE how the messy garden The Spirit and Mack were working in represents our lives… -- “wild and beautiful and perfectly in process.”
This was beautiful in the movie -  
Although, I wish The Spirit had been a little more 
glittery and floaty and ethereal like I imagined in the book...

Wading in the Water [WALKING] – chapter 10 – Although it was little different from the book, I LOVE how this was portrayed in the movie – 
How we KNOW in our hearts that Jesus is RIGHT HERE to catch us and walk with us and all we have to do is step out of the boat – 
Yet THAT takes a tremendous amount of faith, doesn’t it?

  p. 147, Have you noticed that even though you call me Lord and King I have never really acted in that capacity with you? I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself or others… 
To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do.
p. 151,  "I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and live our life inside you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, and think like we do. But we will never force that union on you…If you want to do your thing, have at it. Time is on our side.”

**The separate character as the judgement of God bothered me – 
but it brought out good things – 
– I liked this better in the movie than in the book…
I think it does a good job explaining how evil is the cause of our troubles in this broken world we live in... and that God is not evil.

p. 175 – When asked why God left Missy – it was explained that He never left her – 
that she knew His peace. 
[I think God wraps our brains up and helps us block out traumatic things -]

Ahhh – and I loved this too, p. 181, “An awful lot of what is done in my name has nothing to do with me and is often, even if unintentional, very contrary to my purposes.”

And let’s go back to the basic premise of a relationship with Christ
– TRUST –  p. 182 

p. 184… after conversation with Christ about roads leading to Him, he states,
  "I will travel any road to find you.”
I do believe He seeks us out, over and over again…

from pp 189-191 “Honey, you’re a survivor. No shame in that. Your daddy hurt you something fierce. Life hurt you. Lies are one of the easiest places for survivors to run. They give you a sense of safety, a place where you have to depend only on yourself. But it’s a dark place, isn’t it? ...Take the risk of honesty…life is real enough without having to be obscured by lies. And remember, I am bigger than your lies. I can work beyond them.”  
[Be a truth-teller.] 
“People are tenacious when it comes to the treasure of their imaginary independence. They hoard and hold their sickness with a firm grip. They find their identity and worth in their brokenness and guard it with every ounce of strength they have…"

p. 192 
 and this, 194:

and finally p. 209 [although the book does not end here…]
 “I don’t just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. .. 
I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day…
 I don’t want to be first among a list of values. 
I want to be at the center of everything. 
When I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you. 
Rather than be at the top of a pyramid, I want to be the center of the mobile, 
where everything in your life
 – your friends, family, occupation, thoughts, activities –
 is connected to Me but moves in the wind, in and out and back and forth,
 in an incredible dance of being…"
"And I, said the Spirit, am the Wind.”

 **Make no mistake – as I’ve gone through these places I’ve marked – I’ve also seen where I’ve marked things I strongly disagree with, and I choose not to share them here, because it may not be the same for you - 
And I"m okay with that. 
To be clear - I do not believe these are inspired words of God - 
but I DO believe God can use someone else's words to inspire me... 
Much like He does with devotional books [Jesus Calling, etc. -]
So my prayer is this - for everyone who reads this book, or sees the movie to feel God's presence and love in a way that they've never felt before, in a way that causes them to seek out a relationship to know Him better...
After all, He is especially fond of you -

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