Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Shack -- My Comments

I liked the movie. I loved how the lead character, Mack, was entirely free to express his thoughts and feelings with God—in fact, he couldn’t do it without Him—and in that safety, Mack was delivered from imprisoning fears and guilt. In the movie, not only is God magnificently approachable, He is liberating. That’s the God I know, and true love breaks through with Him, as it did for Mack. I really liked the garden scene, a depiction of the messy beauty of Mack’s days, as well as the days ahead. I liked the cave scene where wisdom personified led Mack through a sequence that helped him to realize that human judgment is impossibly limited; no one is capable of true judgment, let alone bearing the weight of it. It makes us miserable, even if we don’t recognize the ugly twist. The acting was better than I thought it would be. Hooray for that.

Overall, I am glad for the book and the movie.  Years ago, Jesus broke through my ignorance and inner isolation, and freed me to life and love that I had never before known.  Before that, the life and love of God were vague promises only, printed on pictures and framed on walls in children’s bedrooms.  Since then, the life and love Jesus came to accomplish and to offer to all has been the motivator and director of my days.  College friends of mine, who knew me before and after I met Jesus, would say something like, “Ralph wasn’t the same after that.”  Some of them have also happily discovered the Jesus I found, and some of them have not.  I want Jesus to break through their ignorance and inner isolation, and to free them with the life and love for which they were born.  This movie gives them an opportunity to want that meeting. 

The Shack, for all of its theological fuzziness, offers a story and a view of God, who is the Liberator and Satisfier of the heart of man.  For those who think God is distant or demanding or cruel, this movie offers a far more accurate view of God than that.  For those who grew up thinking that God is “a crutch” for weak people, a useful concept for money loving church leaders, a motivational construct for control loving, do-gooders, this movie presents a far more accurate representation of the God who is love Himself.  I would like them to see it and have what He offers.  Maybe some of my college buddies will. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the life and love starved Corinthians about something they must have—not something they must do, but have—the love of God.  In the first verses of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes that people could accomplish incredible feats and even do fantastic things for people, yet if they didn’t know the love of God Himself, they were trapped with nothing.  In the movie, that was empty Mack.  By the end, Mack was free and had everything because, as he said, “I met God.”

1 Corinthians 13:3 …if I do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Are there Biblical inaccuracies in the movie?  Yes, there are.  But, hopefully, those of us who deeply care will come alongside the people who begin their adventure with God because of the movie, and, in the safety and love of Christ and His Word, we’ll work those out together.  I hope this helps you to meet God.  Maybe for the first time, maybe again.  Either way, you will enjoy your meeting.  And if I can help, I will. 

P.S. I got all choked up, for sure, but it was because I swallowed a handful of popcorn the wrong way, and coughed it up for the next five minutes. It was quite an event for my seat neighbors.

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