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Friday, March 20, 2009

Where's Your Shack?

I'm baaaaaaaack! I just needed a little hiatus there for a bit and now I'm back wanting to hear from you on all sorts of things.



I recently read (on my iPod) the popular fiction entitled, The Shack, by William Paul Young. The reason I read it was because I saw all these people in the airport and on airplanes reading it and I thought I might have an interesting conversation about it if I had actually read it. I didn't expect to like it...



But I did! I was also reading the book of Job at the same time and so I like to say that the story line is really "Job meets the Triune God"! A man suffers a terrible tragedy and then finds himself going to the place where the tragedy occurred: a shack. In many respects the season of Lent is about going to our shack, wherever that is that is hardest for us to believe in the living God.



At the shack, he has an encounter with God that doesn't meet his expectations about just who God is and how God relates to humanity. Finally God says to him, "This weekend is not about reinforcing your religious stereotypes!" There couldn't be better advice about what will help us relate to God differently than to let go of our "religious stereotypes" at time. Isn't that the story of Easter morning? There's nothing in John 20 with Mary Magdalene encountering the living Christ that was reinforcing her religious stereotypes!

However, I know that the way in which God is revealed to the man at the shack is disturbing to some. I found it rather refreshing! I have always believed that our images of God are what draw us closer or farther away. How can we know God's love if the image of God that we have is less than loving to us?



I also find myself adopting a few phrases from the book. I like the way God is forever saying, "I'm especially fond of you" or whoever God is talking about at the time. Remniscent of "you are my beloved child," this phrase reminds us that God is especially fond of us...and everyone else for that matter! (Honestly, it becomes a catchy phrase!)



The images of life after death or heaven--whatever that was with rainbow like auras--didn't do so much for me but I think we're all challenged to think about what life beyond this life is...for the purpose of living this life. The man in the story had to confront his relationships with others who had already died so that he could truly live. It's a story of transformation.



Not bad theology overall but like "Jesus movies" that pop up every now and again, when we read or see our images of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit a little differently, it makes us think...and rethink just who God is in our lives. Not a bad thing...



So, have you read the book? WDYT?