Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I've been reading comments and blogs criticizing people who are reading and enjoying The Shack. Mostly the critics are theologians or pastors who are trying to warn people about false theology.
I find this quite interesting. I do think it's wrong to create your theology from books like The Shack, but I also think it's wrong to condemn people for reading and enjoying these books.
Who's to say what different books, events, people speak of the love of God to different people?
I read one blog where the author wrote:
I will say that, as an allegory, it was brilliant. I don't imagine many people were too happy with Bunyan when he wrote Pilgrim's Progress either, but as an allegory, it was also brilliant for its time.
I do not read The Shack as a book on theology. I read it as fiction and as an attempt at allegory. Much like I do when I watch movies or listen to songs or anything else. Even in the most unexpected places, I am always looking for a glimpse of God; not a full description or manifesto of theology. I have seen things in Shawshank Redemption, Bruce Almighty, and Narnia that have served to bring me closer to the heart of God. I have heard songs by bands like The Brand New, Pedro the Lion, and various others that have served to help me recognize God's love and grace in new ways.
This book is no different. I wrote several quotes from the book in my journal, and this book, because of its vivid allegory has revived my spirit and soul in places that had felt stagnant and dry. It made God and his great love a step more tangible for me. . .
. . .even a book that is decent fiction and is only a story.
Where are all the haters for Narnia? Oh. . .but that's C.S. Lewis. . ."
This writer captured exactly what I think. Who can say what means God uses to speak to people? I know several people who had life-changing experiences from reading The Shack.
A couple of those people are very close to me and one has suffered extreme, unexplainable hurt in her life. This book helped. The other person suffers from performance pressure and guilt. Reading this book helped.
Who am I to say it's wrong to read this book? Or for that matter, who are these "shepherds" who are telling people, as if they're God's spokesmen and they alone speak the oracles of God, that we shouldn't read that book?
Sometimes it's difficult to control my gasping astonishment at the gall of certain leaders. I do believe there are things much more harmful in this world than reading a book that speaks to certain people of the love of God.
Seems like I read in the Bible that certain Pharisees criticized Jesus because he did things and said things that didn't correspond to their ideas of correct theology. Hmmm. . .
How about a reality check on this?