Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Shack

     At the urging of my father-in-law, my father's pastor, and two of my closest friends from seminary, I finally sat down last week and read The Shack.  I suppose, had I read Eugene Peterson's comments, I would have gotten to this book in my reading stack far much sooner.  Could it really be as good as Pilgrims' Progress?  I find him to be among the best pastoral theologians currently writing, so I had to find out.

     I will not give the story away, but as a pastor who deals far too often with the question of "Where is God in this suffering?," I must confess that I found the book to be a God-send.  The story and theology is easily written, and it is open to anyone who has had to question the presence or existence of God in any unjust suffering situation.  As I dealt this morning with a lady whose mother is dying (likely today), I heard Papa's and Jesus' words far too clearly and, I hope and pray, I was a better pastor for hearing them.  

     The book hit home especially hard for me as I know far too many Mac's in my life.  I desperately wish this book had been around when my small group in seminary dealt with the deaths of Samuel and Josiah, the firstborn sons of Bryan† & Lisa and Scott† & Sarah respectively.  By God's grace, we did ok, but such an understanding would have only enabled us all to be better pastors  in those tragedies.  We loved and still love one another, and that made a huge difference, but some knowledge might have made those tragedies a bit easier to accept and understand.  By the time I met Tone the truck driver, I was far too familiar with the the grief and the redemptive possibilities, but such a book would have been great to give to Tone.  And, well, the grief unfortunately has reared its ugly head in a few other situations since Tone.

     Is the book's theology perfect according to Brian†?  No.  But then again, Brian† is by no means the perfect theologian.  I do think that the spiritual wedgies doled out by the author are well considered and very appropriate.  Papa might not live up to one's understanding of our Father in heaven, but I could certainly seeing Him revealing Himself in that way just to tweak us a bit when we become too sure of ourselves.  And Jesus is not a blue-eyed, fair-skinned and of Norwegian stock?!  Somebody better edit this book quick!  -- lol.  

     Is this book worth your time and prayerful reflection?  Only if you or someone you love questions the presence of God in seemingly unjust suffering . . .

     Enjoy!  And bring a couple tissues . . .


1 comment:

Robin said...

I'm on chapter 14, just after Mac has met with Sophia and sat in judgement of God. I can't remember a book I've enjoyed so much and can recommend to a select few who really need to read it and to everyone else just to enjoy it.