Category Archives: God

The Shack: Is Seeing Believing?

Did you see the movie, The Shack?

The book just blew me away. Reading it a few years back, I marveled at the creative expression its author, William Young, used to tease out the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and their unique rolls in ministering to one of their beloved when tragedy strikes. The thing is, for me, reading is rarely believing. It may inspire me, but that doesn’t last long. But if you engage my other senses with sights, sounds, camera and action, things get real-er.

That’s what I was hoping for when I shelled out the small fortune to see The Shack on the big screen. And man, that scene at the lake didn’t disappoint. Even though I know what is coming, I am praying it won’t happen. And when it does, I feel it in every fiber of my body.

It’s amazing how this happens when we empathize with characters on the screen. Our bodies react physically as if it were happening to us. The tragic scenes evoke this for me; then I’m hooked. I’m right there with Mack Phillips in his rage, his pain, his depression, and his plight. This is no longer simply a story or a performance by an actor, it feels real.

Now, the tone is set for God, in three Persons, to do what only God can do. The novel did this magnificently. I’m expecting big things from the movie. I’m pulling for Mack and the transformation I know he has coming to him. With him, I sit at the crossroads of perhaps the #1 question we all have for God: why? Why, do you let terrible things happen? With everyone else in that theater, I’m waiting to be convinced by a good answer.

But honestly, I am not.

samworthington shackIt seems to me (and I’m no film critic) that main character, Mack Phillips, has reverted to human husband and father, actor Sam Worthington. And Sam, asked to forgive the unforgivable, just can’t. Who could? He delivers dialogue asking the right questions, demanding answers and explanations, and confronting God for the truth, all as I surely would. I believe him. But, in the pivotal moment, he tosses down his backpack (apparently symbolic for giving up the burden he is carrying) and complies. I just don’t believe him. His facial expression and his body language are just acting, way more like a teen tantrum than a surrender to God.

I’m so disappointed. I had hoped this movie – which had drawn accolades in pre-screening for Christian crowds – could reach would-be believers with the sure message that a compassionate and just God dearly loves them and can be trusted, even in the face of terrible injustice. I had hoped people on a spiritual quest for God would leave affirmed on their journey. Instead, it felt like the main character was still doubtful.

Thank you for the important reminder, Papa God, that we can’t just pretend to have faith and expect people to believe us.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” ~ Romans 10: 9-10

And… I guess we shouldn’t be relying on Hollywood to do the job we’re meant to do. If we don’t believe in our hearts before we profess with our mouths, we’re just actors, and all the world’s a stage.

Funny thing, when I googled Mr. Worthington, I found a brief interview he did about The Shack and his preparation for this role. He has a young family, and it is clear that the story cut him deeply. He also has a wicked-strong Australian accent. I felt a bit foolish falling for his portrayal as Mack Phillips, All-American dad. But that’s his job; actors are trained to trick us into believing in them.

God’s not like that, thank goodness. He/she/they are in the truth business.

Two Natures in One

We can never learn to live in unity with our neighbor until we can stand to live united within ourselves.

Our human nature and divine nature are not meant to “battle it out” to see who wins. They’re meant to learn to get along, living in harmony with each other.

I eat and sleep.
I toil and spin.
I give and take.

ALSO,

I imagine and dream.
I worship and pray.
I listen and respond.

These are not separate entities within me. They are my one and only nature. Two persons in one. Just as my Savior was one, human nature and divine. He was fully these. Both. I am partly these. Both.

One does not overwhelm the other. Does not seek its end or hope for its demise. It is not good and evil fighting it out in me. It is good and good seeking The Good for me.

Seeking and deferring,”You go. No please, you go.”
ALSO,
Seeing and deciding,”It’s mine. Yes, I’ll go.”

Shaping the space for Both. Fully. Perfecting…

A Private Message from God

God PM’ed me!

Not,
what a cool moment,
better get a snapshot

Not,
adjust the lighting
to stage the perfect photo

Not,
quick, share this
so everyone knows

Just a You and Me moment

there.
and then not there.

we saw it together
we shared it
now, we hold it

just the two of us.
privately,
together.

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