At the risk of drawing fire from the religious elites, I saw The Shack the other day. I loved it. I loved the sweet and inviting nature of how God was portrayed and it caused me to want to draw closer to Him. I have no intention of defending the movie theologically or entering into a debate about it. I came out encouraged in the Lord, the One True God, and that’s a win.
Whether the movie is perfect or not wasn’t really the question for me as much as I was open to considering God while watching the movie. Neither the book nor the movie will replace my Bible. The story draws me to know Him better and the inspired and infallible Bible reveals His depth like no man-made source can. I saw many things about the God of the Bible portrayed through the characters of The Shack and I agree with those things while considering Him, not my mastery of the philosophy of Him.
God isn’t a history lesson or philosophy to be mastered. God is God, present tense and real beyond comprehension even while being relational. None of us have Him figured out. Not you or me or William P. Young. As far as I can tell, Mr. Young didn’t set out to replace or even supplement the Bible; he was simply telling a story. From what I have read, the essence of that story was born out of Mr. Young’s experience as an abused child and the healing that was found in God as his Father, or Papa.
God stirred my heart in the movie. He called to my humanity and invited me beyond the restraints of this world and into the inexplicable mystery of the next. The depth of eternity is a revelation of the heart much more than it is an understanding of the head. The mystery has value and the pursuit of God through the whispers and whiffs of eternal markers on a temporal trail produce a better me.
People are hurting. Bad things have happened. In this world, we will have trouble. God as Healer, Comforter, Papa and Friend is Biblically sound and personally necessary. Considering Him as Who He is in those reflections of His character might save a life. Forever.
See the movie or don’t see the movie, that isn’t really the point. The idea that you or me or any author of any book has mastered God and cornered the market on the rules of how He should or shouldn’t be shared is a bit arrogant. Don’t be arrogant. I’ll try not to be, too.