March 03, 2017
Shacking Up A Storm
A new Hollywood movie came out in theaters last weekend based on the book The Shack by William P Young. The book caused a great stir when it was released a few years ago. A storm of controversy is brewing about the movie as well. The basic background to the story is a man's young daughter was kidnapped and presumably killed while the family was on a campout at a park. It understandably causes problems within the family, especially between the mother and father. One day the dad gets a letter inviting him to Shack. He ends up going and there meets "God." And this is what the controversy is about. The book and the movie both portray the Father and the Spirit as women. Jesus is still a man.
There are a couple of points that I want to make to maybe contribute to the discussion surrounding the movie. Before I do though let me say that I have read the book but have not seen the movie and I am not sure that i will. As we talk about this movie we must remember at the very outset it is NOT a Christian film. I do not know the state of William Young's relationship with God. I do think that the film does not claim to be an evangelical, conservative story. It is certainly not. It is a Hollywood movie tale about the themes of love and forgiveness - something that certainly Christians should have something to say about. We should not expect non-Christians to believe like Christians. (You have had your head in the sand if you think they do.) There is another fact though that merits discussion. All people are made by God in His image. As the psalmist declares, "I [we] am fearfully and wonderfully made." Because God created and formed us, we all have some common characteristics that are true of all people. One of those common traits is an interest (either positively or negatively) in spiritual things. Very few people are truly neutral about spirituality. Some are absolutely against spiritual anything. Some wonder if there is a God why do we not see more of Him? We were created as spiritual beings so this movie/book touch something that all of us deal with. Everyone has to wrestle with questions of who God is and the relationship that we are to have (or not have) with Him.
I think that this film (as the book has done) opens some doors to have conversations about spiritual matters. As an evangelical Christian there are some things that I believe about God that are very contrary to this story. However, that does not mean that I am not willing or able to have a conversation with others that have some differing ideas from the story. That is good and healthy by the way. A good book or movie should get people talking. Perhaps if we talked more and argued and belittled less we would have more time for forgiveness and love - things that Jesus lived and preached about a great deal.