The Shack – part II
The Shack – part II
Thanks to all of you who commented on The Shack essay. It was not an attempt to add to the hype but to bring a somewhat different view of the situation.
The book is clearly not in keeping with historic Christendom. But, it is a current attempt to make God real to those who, otherwise, may never encounter God.
The book “hooks” the reader immediately. The gripping story of the sad death of an innocent little girl is enough to soften even the hardest sensibilities. From there the author writes about his own life in allegorical form. His difficult childhood as a missionary-kid and pastor’s-kid are worked out through the developing story. Just as the protagonist tries to make sense out of impossible developments of life, the author is vicariously doing the same in this book.
That debilitating level of pain and distress resonates with so many people, both in and out of the church, today. Hence, the popularity of this tome. More than 20 million copies have been sold since 2007. Now the movie is making its debut.
What are some observations? Jesus was not soft on sin, but, He was not soft on the Pharisees either. He had compassion on those who knew that they were wrong, but, He had little compassion on those who knew that they were right. The book calls to those who have been hurt by that type of religion.
We may have erred on the side of doctrine. Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism, caught the eye of the Anabaptists. It was an easy step to move from Anabaptist to Fundamentalist. Fundamentalism provided a vocabulary to express our deepest concerns and understandings. The price was high. We accepted without discernment and without adequate research into our own heritage. It was easy to adopt the easy, organized approach to their doctrines of the Bible and create our own. Finally, we could do theology with the best of them.
The Mennonites rewrote their confession in 1921. The Brethren rewrote their ‘Brethren Card’ in 1923. Both reflected the new vocabulary. More recently, Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism has experienced its own realignment in the emerging/emergent movement. And, once again, our people are drawn into the Protestant approach to church.
Emerging/emergent church is now charting a course which is, to a greater or lesser degree, divorced from doctrine. Focus on spirit, worship, grace, mercy, love and other subjects has overshadowed, or even replaced historic theology. The new approach attempts to address the whole person, not just the mental faculty.
Part III Tomorrow