Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lessons from The Shack

I've had an interesting few days.

Last Saturday and Sunday we drove to Enid to hear William Paul Young, author of The Shack, speak. It was an incredible experience. I was so touched and so moved and wanted to write about it, but I had to wait and absorb and think about it. I had to sort of analyze exactly what I had responded to. Was it the message? Was it the speaker? What was it? While I was thinking on this, Wade posted about the conference.

I couldn't wait, so I attempted to write something of what I felt and why.

Then one of the commenters posted a comment about what I had written:

He said: (quoting me) "I experienced love. I was immediately reminded of the verse, 'Did not our hearts burn within us?' I don't experience that very much." (He continued.) Oh, give me a break. The Christian faith may have subjective elements but we do not define what is true or false by some sort of "burning in the bosom" but rather we have an objective faith based on the word of God which the venerable Mr. Young derides as reducing the voice of God to mere words on paper. Besides, couldn't your burning heart have as much to do with that Nuclear sauce you had with your chicken at Zaxby's? You know it could. Don't front like you don't know.

Hmmm...My dear sweet handsome feller took great umbrage at these remarks and immediately wrote a strong response, which he didn't post. His mistake was waiting to tell me what he was going to do when he picked me up for lunch. I said, "No, not on my account, you're not. I don't need protecting, and I can take care of this myself." It took quite a bit of "funning" and strong argument to convince him that it was okay. He finally agreed to let it drop.

I must admit that at first I was a little taken aback that someone would write like that and make fun of something that was so meaningful for me. It's not easy for me to talk about my feelings in a public forum like that, but I thought it worth the risk. And then this comment appeared.

I went back and read what I wrote and actually thought that someone like the commenter could get the impression he did. He doesn't know me, he didn't experience the weekend, and he already has something against the book and the author. Understandable.

I kind of wanted to say "Touché."

The commenter exactly proved my point. Isn't that funny?

Now, I can truly say what happened to me last weekend. I'm not angry at the comments made to me and about me. It's okay. I think I'm experiencing love for others, even those who mistreat me, albeit just with words. I love this guy and honestly wonder what is "his story" that he could comment like that to someone he doesn't even know, and especially in this context.

Lessons learned: It's okay to expose my feelings to others, no matter their response. It's possible to love and not to get angry at someone who ridicules or treats harshly my tender feelings. Perhaps I had a change-point in my life last weekend. I met God and experienced His love in a new and fresh way. That's what happened to me last weekend.

Thanks to the blog commenter for helping me come to understanding. It helped me clarify what happened to me last weekend. And would I have known had this event not happened?

Best lesson learned: don't waste any of life's experiences to share the love I have been given and continually receive. How great is that?


SF said...

I heard him last Thursday and actually set a few rows up from Melody!. That couple of hours went by rather quickly. I was amazed at how humble he was and how lovingly he answered questions, especially to the agnostic in the crowd. It was pretty amazing that he was there! It made the book even better for me to hear his story and all that went on behind the scenes. He is gifted with humbleness, humor and a sweet spirit not to mention his writing and music. Sure it was a wonderful time to get to spend some time with him.
You are ahead of me on the lesson learned, but still my hearts desire to just naturally be okay with ridicule! ha! I know I have grown in some areas, but still trudging on. Hugs and thanks for sharing your heart!

Paul Burleson said...


Mary requested me NOT to send or put up what I originally wrote in response to this guy. But I think it's OK to do so now.

What I said to him was....

"You sorry #x*-xxx/d=*$xLxxxx2&#g*&mxxx.:?>" or words to that effect.

[ Maybe it was best I not post that. You think? :) ]

Just Kidding

SF said...

Oh!!!!!!!!! THat gave me a big laugh! I would think that was a natural response for your precious jewel! But I think the symbols say it pretty well!Ha!

MB said...

As I said in an email to you (instead of writing on your blog) re: the comment you are addressing in this blog, one anonymous commenter on Wade's blog suggested that "The objection to 'the Shack' might be that it does not portray God as wrathful and hate-filled, but as loving and nurturing. Some need to see God as wrathful or their 'faith' is threatened. The Shack is a book that challenges their concept of a hating, vengeful, wrathful unlovable God, who has no love for fallen mankind. The Shack certainly separates the people who love God from the ones who don't. You can see it in the reviews."

We both know people like that and I'm not so bold to say that everyone that disagrees with what Paul Young wants to convey in The Shack' feels this way, but probably many do, as evidenced by the comment stream in Wade's blog and in the links they post to reviewer's sites. I had such a oneness with this anonymous writer when I read his response, and just had not been able to put what he said into my own words. I believe the lives that are being changed and the fruit crop from this book and from the witness of Paul Young 'will remain' to the glory of God.

Mary Burleson said...

SF, I saw on FB that you heard Paul Young in Tulsa. I think Mel told me she saw you. Or maybe you told me you saw Mel. : ) I also enjoyed your laughing at Paul B.'s comment to the commenter on Wade's blog who answered my comment. (Is that confusing enough?)

MB, glad you wrote here. When you said these same things in an e-mail, I had the thought (or did I write it back to you) that I wish you would put that as a comment on my blog. Sure enough, no sooner is it a thought than you did it. Thanks. And, I didn't read the comment you quoted, so I'm glad you wrote it. That's a good thought. It helps our understanding of why some people act and say the things they do. MB (Hey, look, our initials are alike! LOL, as if we didn't know that, having been friends for almost 40 years.)