Grow Up, Church…It’s Just “A Shack”

the-shackThe movie, “The Shack,” like the book that preceded it, is causing a stir among evangelicals. Accusations are flying left and right. Some are fuming and warning others not to see it. Others are in a borderline state of worshipping the story. You may agree or disagree, but here is another $0.02 worth of opinion.

Before I start, I’m not advocating or supporting the film…but neither am I announcing with a voice of ‘grave danger’ to those who choose to see it. Whenever an artistic expression comes out, it is easy for shallow-minded and infantile believers to jump on the bandwagon of protest. After all, we can feel spiritual by focusing and judging things outside of our own soul, and avoid the deep personal issues within our heart. That way, we can keep God’s finger off the real pressure point.

Simple points to remember:

  1. It is a fictional movie – it’s make believe.
  2. It is not true or truth – it’s fantasy.
  3. It can be enjoyed as fantasy.
  4. It does not threaten the faith of the Gospel with its fantasy leaps of confusion.
  5. It will not shake the faith of those who know Christ.
  6. It is not a theological treatise.
  7. It is entertainment.
  8. It is not the first or the last movie to misrepresent Christ or the Trinity.

Things I have NEVER seen:

  1. A person going to a known fictional movie to try and discover God.
  2. A person having their Christian faith shaken by fantasy.
  3. Someone setting aside their faith because of fiction.

Don’t we (the Church) have bigger issues? Like demonstrating the gospel to our neighbors instead of presenting faith as a puritanical moralistic code. Or looking inside ourselves to see why we are so insecure about a fictional movie. The very people screaming away about this fantasy film seem to never be concerned about the gossip papers in line at the check-out counter at Wal-Mart. Or the church lady or deacon who spreads rumors and sows discord. Or the violence and vulgarity of the music their children listen to, or the moronic award shows, or the nudiness of the sun-worshippers at their favorite beach. Or our inner battle with anger, or jealously, or pride, or lust, or etc….

See what I mean?

As Christians, we are all continually exposed to elements of another worldview, one that either blatantly opposes or deceptively perverts what we know is truth. If we think that our battle is at the payment counter of the film, “The Shack,” we really are the ones living in a Shack.

What good could possibly come from watching this movie? Glad you asked!

  1. It could stir discussion with others considering life after death.
  2. It could allow us to present the truth of the Trinity as a glorious juxtaposition of the film’s outlandish fantasy.
  3. It could allow us to enter the hearts of those who are hurting and crying out for meaning beyond the grave but have never heard the gospel.
  4. It could help us understand the length the world will go to try and capture meaning  for their meaningless life.
  5. It could make us weep and reach out to those who feel they are in a “Shack” with no way out.
  6. It could compel us to reflect and consider our need to actually understand the gospel in the midst of artificial views and opinions, and thereby call us to gain a deeper understanding of the God of Scriptures by getting in a small group or Bible Study.

There is no fantasy, no fiction, and no fairy tale that can compel a reasonable person to think this movie represents the Tri-une God of the Bible. But it may get them thinking about Him!

If you think it will overthrow your faith because you can not distinguish between fiction and reality, or you just don’t like fairy tales…by all means avoid it!

If you faith is solid in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but you enjoy fictional stories that offer a world of fantasy for relaxation…go watch it. Don’t come under the shallow thinking of modern day legalists. (I’m old enough to remember how some warned about the way Star Wars was offering a false view of God.)

Either way, use discernment, set aside that which is a lie, redeem that which has true meaning or value, and be careful to know the difference. And let’s pray for the Church to grow up and stop trying to be a social police squad. As I see it, that is the real Shack.

Me personally? I read the book. I’m just not much of a fiction kind of guy. But if you need someone to go to the theater with you, and you plan on a nice dinner and conversation about it afterward, comparing truth to fiction, desiring to discuss the longings of the human heart and the questions about justice portrayed in the movie, give me a call. I would love to join you!

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