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June 17, 2008

Taking the Shack to the Shed

I wanted to share this blog post from Out of Ur called Taking the Shack to the Shed. I thought it was important that those of you reading The Shack, especially those whom I've recommended the book to, should read the criticisms and positive comments for yourself.

I disagree with most of the critical comments. This book is fiction and its an allegory. Its not an attempt to form doctrine. It is supposed to be, I believe, an attempt to give us a picture and better understanding of some difficult theological questions as well as a glimpse into a place of intimacy with God. No one, no matter how knowledgeable in the Word could paint an accurate picture of the trinity and express the aspects of our relationship with Him. Thats just not possible. I believe this book is the author's creative attempt to describe how he sees it. If the reader is not able to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them through the book and reveal different aspects of truth, then they should stick to something simpler with seven steps and a self help guide of something. I loved that this book made me think. I love that it forced me to allow some of my fortresses of theological doctrine to be taken down off the shelf, dismantled, and put together again. The Word of God is able to stand on its own. We can examine it, tear it apart, but it is still true, and if we're listening, the Holy Spirit will put it all back together in the proper order. We really get into trouble when we make truth sacred and put a "Do not touch" sign on it. Thats a comfortable place to build up religion. I'd rather live open with Jesus at the center of everything I am. I'm certainly not there, but thats where I'm headed.

As far as those who complain that God is portrayed as a woman, you missed the point. Its not the physical gender or form that God takes, its the character and aspects of God that are portrayed there. Thats why its an allegory. You have to look past the surface. We get hung up on God being a male or a father figure, and that viewpoint is very limiting. We cannot limit God to being male or female, young or old, father or mother, any race or color. He is that He is and He never changes, but we change and our perspective of God should always be growing. I think we would all describe God differently if we were to creatively try to express our relationship with him in story form.

In my opinion, we should be able to read with an open mind and trust that Jesus will bring revelation to our hearts as we do. As I read the book, He did that for me and I feel closer to Him than I ever did before. I hope I don't sound negative because we all have a right to share our thought. If you have any additional comments about The Shack and what I've shared, please post them.