The Shack—What It Is and Isn’t

the-shackI ‘ve seen several rumblings over the newly released movie, The Shack. I’ve read posts from those who sob because of the brilliance in addressing forgiveness after staggering intense pain and I’ve seen comments about how these slices of information are wrapped in the devil’s web.

How can the movie, The Shack affect people so differently?

Movies made over the years have attempted to communicate scripture. I laugh even now remembering the scene from 1962’s epic film, Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot left the city with his family. The movie shows hundreds of people fleeing the city with Lot (played by Stewart Granger) running along the procession, saying, “Don’t look back! Don’t look back!” Scripture tells us it didn’t happen that way at all.

Or what about movies such as Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, and The Greatest Story Ever Told? Scriptural accuracy didn’t always seem to be such a concern as was their main objective: telling a good story. And for those who choose to view The Shack through the same lens—seeing a good story—what then, is the problem?

Could it be that we now want quick fixes of scripture spoon-fed to us without putting any effort into it? Are we so entrenched in the “I-Want-It-Now” lifestyle that we choose not to take any responsibility for what we read or watch?

In all the reviews I’ve read, I have not seen one that promoted William P. Young as offering a God-inspired work. Instead, I see interpretations of the opinion of William P. Young. He did not write scripture. He never said he wrote scripture. So don’t you think tagging him with the burden of defending a rendition of a dream he had seems a bit intense?

If we seek to understand God—know who He is and embrace what he wants to be to each of us—wouldn’t it be better to seek him where he lives rather than watch a movie about what people’s opinions are? Listen to God’s own conversation with Moses as shared in Exodus 3:14 (God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”).

People have been hurt when truth blurs with opinion surrounding the topic of Scripture. Bashing those who are interested in seeing a movie that offers opinions doesn’t do much to build up the kingdom of God. If and when people ask questions regarding The Shack’s underlining questions like where is God in a world filled with unspeakable pain … how can God be an African-American woman … could Jesus really be a jean-wearing hippie… accept the open door as an invitation to share Truth to match the opinion they had just witnessed.

Give yourself permission to enjoy the movie, The Shack. I’d love to hear your review. However, if you are looking for a scripture-satisfying experience while munching popcorn and slurping a soda, you may want to reconsider.

13 thoughts on “The Shack—What It Is and Isn’t

  1. I’ve seen “The Shack” lumped in with movies like “Heaven is for Real” which are trying to offer an actual view of heaven.

    It doesn’t belong in that category. “The Shack” is a work of fiction. It’s a parable. It isn’t trying to be Scripture, any more than “Facing the Giants” or “Fireproof” were, and it has to be taken in that context. All that needs to happen is pastors teaching this on Sunday and the film would be 100% harmless to believers.

    I was really touched by the “I am particularly fond of you” line that runs through the movie. I absolutely believe God sees us that way. And the element of forgiving even the killer of his daughter, well, it doesn’t get much more spiritually challenging and Christian than that.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Brandon, for taking the time to respond. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I plan to. Years ago when I read the book, I was impressed how God meets us where we are and He loves us in our brokenness. That’s a good feeling to come out of a theater with. And how the book touched on forgiveness … you’re right. That level of forgiveness can’t be embraced by yourself. There’s a lot of connecting the dots that can challenge the movie goer as well as entertain them. It’s not the end-all of scripture, but it offers opportunities.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes, I think the movie could be an opportunity to share our faith. I’ve read a lot of controversy about the movie too. Sort of reminds me of our book club. I look at it a bit differently now. How can we use this to open up conversation?

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  3. The man is from Oregon and in my opinion God can use any tool any kind of movie, book, or person to help us listen to him. Remember He even used a donkey to get his point said, so I agree. If one person gets saved through watching this movie then it’s powerful.

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    • Great point, Sharon! If God can use Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22), then shouldn’t we relax and see what he can do with two hours of movie entertainment?

      Thanks for the comment! Touch back in if you see the movie. I’d love to get your thoughts.

      R

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  4. Kudos Robin on tackling a controversial subject. I agree with … “and for those who choose to view The Shack through the same lens—seeing a good story—what then, is the problem?” Here are my 2 cents: I’m looking forward to getting lost in a good film story bec the book was a page turner for me. One grounded in scripture should be able to separate truth from fiction. As a writer, I appreciate metaphor & the power of story. My prayer is that viewers leave theatres and talk to God, especially those who may not have done so in awhile.

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  5. I enjoyed your review of this movie. I have yet to see it myself but have read the book many times. I hate how people love to tear anything down. You have some wonderful insight. The book was not meant for theology or scriptural teaching but written as a work of fiction originally as a gift for the authors children. Yet what I have enjoyed about the story is the relationship between Mac and Papa. Papa being the name his wife called God because of her closeness to God. Thank you for your uplifting review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Julie! What a sweet comment. I’ve only read the book, but am on my way to see the movie right now!

      I enjoy fictional work and I enjoy reading scripture. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if The Shack caused others to dust off their Bibles and see God for themselves?

      Thanks again for caring enough to comment. 🙂

      Robin

      Liked by 1 person

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