Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conversations I Don't Get

One of them goes like this . . .

ShackLover -- You've got to read "The Shack!" It will rock your world. It changed my perceptions of God and Scripture. It really stretched me with truths I'd been missing.

Skeptic -- Aren't some of the things it says about God and the gospel contrary to Scripture?

ShackLover -- It's just a novel, lighten up.

11 comments:

Jared said...

Btw:
I have not read The Shack, so I have no opinion.

Well, that's not exactly true. I started it, got one chapter in, and found the prose really clunky.

That so many Christians are claiming it a masterpiece of literature just proves how little literature Christians are reading.

Okay, so that was a pretty big opinion.
But I don't have one on its theology, such as it is, b/c I don't it.

Seth Ward said...

"That so many Christians are claiming it a masterpiece of literature just proves how little literature Christians are reading."

-Agreed.

Bird said...

Aren't some of the things it says about God and the gospel contrary to Scripture?

I wonder what some of those things are? Dude, everyone around here is reading that book like a mutha'.

I haven't read it, mainly because I don't like to pay $12 for fiction. I may pick it up at Half-Priced Books for 50 cents in a couple of years, though.

Do you know what's jacked up about it, though? I haven't heard any of that stuff.

Jared said...

A Google search for reviews would probably give specifics. I recall Tim Challies had a pretty negative one.

I have heard it fudges the Trinity and it fudges sin: something about God not needing to punish sin b/c our feelings of guilt are punishment enough.
I think chief complaints are that the Father is represented by a black woman (which doesn't bother me all that much; it's a novel, and Stephen King did the God-as-a-black-woman already in "The Stand") and that it proposes a very man-centered theology (which would bother me).

But, again, haven't read it, so don't know.

nhe said...

the positive I've heard are on it is insight into what interaction amongst the trinity might be like......I think that's all that some folks see as "of value" in it.......haven't read it either though....it also apparently has some catharsis for the God allowing pain and suffering issue

Brian said...

Are people claiming it's a masterpiece of literature? Haven't heard that much but it could just be the circles I move in.

I don't get the whole "changed my view on God and scripture" line. Sure, I think the book can help illustrate(sometimes powerfully) some facets about God that we should have already known. But if what Young is writing is so groundbreakingly new then I have to wonder where you(not you, Jared) got your ideas about God in the first place.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Dang, look at this little gaggle of comments here, everyone's all "I heard it was sketchy, but I didn't read it!"...

That sort of sums up the critic's side to me... Yeah, so many people talk like it should be the 67th book of the bible, and that it rocked their world. Didn't do that for me, and some parts challenged my concepts of how God "should" talk to people, and yeah, the writing is pretty, well, rough...

But still, the points being made about sin, faith, forgiveness, etc., are all actually quite scriptural.

The reason this book has received so much backlash is NOT because it has screwy teaching on the Trinity, or because he says that God is a black woman (because he doesn't...), but actually because it indirectly makes the argument that all the man-made religious institutions that we think are so important are not what Jesus came to build at all.

Keep that in mind when reading "official" reviews, that virtually everyone who lambastes this book, is deeply entrenched in the very religious institution that this book claims is unnecessary....

Daniel

Anonymous said...

I read it... it ain't good... it's full of bad theology... and at the end of the day... it is a very "novel" novel...

I think that fact that it was pumped up via Oprah Winfrey... might also indicate it's "value" or it's "relevance"... : - )

What I found most interested was that at one point... the Jesus in the shack says "I'm not Christian" and the point is made subtly that being Christian isn't what Jesus had in mind for us... and if there is any truth in that... someone will have to illuminate it for me...

Of course, if being what some claim is "Christian" is what was meant... perhaps there is a slim slice of truth... because there are many who say they are but don't really understand what being "Christian" really means...

It definitely fudges all over the place... and I have to believe that comes from the devil's chocolate factory...

It wasn't tasty... I spit it out... and regretted having even tasted it... (by reading the book)

I'm only entrenched in Jesus... so, if I lambasted the book... it's only because of the lamb in lambasted... : - )

Cheers,

C. Evan Leonard

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Hey, thought I'd help with some "illumination" on Jesus saying that being Christian isn't what Jesus wants...

Simply put, being a "Christian", as it is understood today, means being a part of a religion, adopting some set of creeds, having prayed some kind of prayer, etc. Jesus calls us to follow Him, and be in a relationship with Him, and this has lots no labels, though it can be described in many ways, it can happen within the framework of an institution, but really has absolutely no need for one...

The point the book was making in that part was simply that following Jesus is a relationship, not a religion. You really think that amounts to evil chocolate fudge from the devil? ? ? If so, that scares ME!

Anonymous said...

I think the overall lack of scriptural authenticity and the coyness of the subtle exclusion of the Gospel... in all of it's completeness... not just the parts that sound or feel good or can be taken out of context by a clever writer... is what amounts to e-c-f-f-t-d...

It is a novel... and so, I suppose it can be excused from being critiqued... but isn't that the point?

The writer apparently didn't want to have his book A/B'd with the actual Word of God...

So... it's full of holes... holds no water... and ultimately will not truly quench the thirst of those longing and/or needing living water...

And... you made my other point for me... being a "Christian" as it is understood today... clearly says that what being a Christian as it was understood back in the day means little or nothing to the author or those so engrossed in this "novel"...

The road is straight and narrow and it is full of potholes... (guess who dug them for us?)

This book and what it pretends to convey... is one big pothole full of fudge... : - )

I guess I would rather hear what the Jesus who isn't in a shack would say... instead of what someone would have me believe he would say...

And I think the Bible (which is hardly referred to or even mentioned in the shack) clearly conveys what the shack-less Jesus had to say...

I've read the Bible (and still read it daily) and I've read the shack...

The Bible is eternal... the shack is dust and ashes...

Cheers,

CEL

Jared said...

This entire post, including the Skeptic's words, are exaggerations (although extreme statements have been made by both fans and critics).

My point, though, was really to show the incomprehensibility I have when a fan talks about how incredible and transformative they found the book, only to shut down critical dialogue with an "It's only fiction." Sounds like a copout to me.