Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Shack

i've just finished this book. i bought it for Wendy and me when her birthday came along and then i've slowly been reading it to her at night. it's a wonderful thing to read to your wife, it's certainly an element of intimacy.

the reason i got the book is to get a different picture of who God is. as much as i've changed over my adult life i've got to admit that i still hung on to the masculine images of God. it was good to read something where the Father God character (named Papa) was a big black woman with arms that enfolded you in and a big belly laugh that drew you in further. that was beautiful. the Spirit character is named Sarayu and is a wispy sort that ministers and speaks in ways that are hard to peg down as much as she can be hard to see whenever you're with her. finally, the Jesus character is an outdoorsy, wood-working type who is very human and on a couple occasions is portrayed as clumsy (like all humans).

i definitely enjoyed the picture of Papa in this book. i was enthralled with the idea that he wasn't an old man with a long beard, that there was much more and i could be much more relational with Papa. i was brought to tears as i read on one occasion as Papa spoke with the main character of the book Mack, while Mack bemoaned how confused and lost he was. Papa simply stated, "you're not lost Mack" and those words echoed with me. sometimes i feel completely overwhelmed with where my life is and where it's going but i couldn't help feeling that God was speaking directly to me and saying "you're not lost Ian".

many evangelicals seem to be reading the book lately and the jacket of the book even goes so far as to state that the book may have the same or more affect on it's society as John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" did on his society. i don't know if the book is THAT good but for a picture of who God is and to see how the individual can relate to and see God then i highly recommend it. i should warn you that it does deal with some touchy subject matter, the murder of a child and how Mack deals with that, so bear that in mind as you read.

i want to quote from the last chapter of the book.

"If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he's hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness - and revolution that revolves around Jesus and what he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has a hunger for reconciliation and a place to call home. This in not a revolution that will overthrow anything, or if it does, it does so in ways we could never contrive in advance. Instead it will be the quiet daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters. And one day, when all is revealed, every one of us will bow our knee and confess in the power of Sarayu that Jesus is the Lord of all Creation, to the glory of Papa."

may Papa bless you on your journey my friend.

1 comment:

Stainers said...

I found Eugene Peterson's "Pilgrim's Progress" line to leave me wondering but truthfully I've yet to make it through the book and won't be picking it up any time soon so I can't with any truth really know whether it's worthy of that kind of response or not. MY wife loved it and has read it 3-4 times now, and it's probably a good book, but the writing style just turned me off both times I tried to get started in it.