The Shack…… My thoughts on the movie, the book and the controversy.

fb-share-imgLast night I saw the movie, “The Shack.”

The movie is an adaptation of the book of the same name.

I learned about the book years ago after my mother passed away.

My Aunt Beck recommended I read it as it had provided her comfort during a time of grief.  I read the book and it accomplished everything she said it would.

When I saw the previews for the movie back in January, I was pumped to see the film.

I went into the movie anticipating two hours of grace, joy, sadness, forgiveness, love, compassion and fictional enjoyment……  The Shack checked off each one of those boxes!

In the role of “narrator” Tim McGraw’s neighbor character lets the viewer know from the outset, the movie will be fantastical and fictional.  For most, that is enough….. let the fantastical begin.

As a Christian, I am taught that God is my source for compassion, grace, love and kindness.  My refuge in a storm and my comforter in times of grief.

I am taught that the Father seeks RELATIONSHIP with his children.

I am taught that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my way to salvation.

What I was taught my entire life is represented in The Shack.

This past week, I read a shared post by a “blogger, author and book reviewer” who posted an online column entitled “Why I Won’t Be Seeing (or Reviewing) The Shack Movie.”

This blogger states his reasoning for his boycott would be in his words….. a “sinful spiritual decision.”

WOW, those are strong words from a man of God.  Since when is grace, compassion, forgiveness and love categorized as “sinful?”

The blogger further explains his reasoning as……

My foremost concern with The Shack—the one that will keep me from seeing it even for purposes of review—is its visual representation of God. To watch The Shack is to watch human actors play the roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I take this to be a clear, serious violation of the second commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6). I will not see the film, even to review it, because I will not and cannot watch humans pretend to be God.

I call BS.  I’m just going to say it….. I suspect if Tom Hanks, Jim Caviezel, Clint Eastwood or Mel Gibson were playing the role of Papa, Son and Holy Spirit this author would not have issue with the representation.  However, when those roles are played by an African-American Woman, American Indian Man, Middle-Eastern Man and Asian Woman a certain “discomfort” rises to the surface.

Here’s what I believe….. God has really big shoulders and if having Octavia Spencer represent him in a movie about love and forgiveness, I think he can handle it….. even if some of his followers find it uncomfortable.

It saddens me when Christians take parts of the Bible they CHOOSE as literal, but then seem to slide on some of those other categories like….. JUDGEMENT.

The blogger is entitled to his opinions, I however find it suspect.

Beyond suspect, I find this passage in his post laughable…..

For some time, I have been considering whether I should see and review it. I am quite sure that watching and reviewing The Shack would prove to be a wise business decision. I could get to an early screening, write up a review, and see a nice bump in my site’s traffic. Pageviews are the currency of the Internet and as a blogger I am supposed to base my decisions on what will maximize them. Even better, watching and reviewing The Shack could be genuinely helpful to others. That is especially true if the movie proves to be as deeply flawed as the book. A review might serve to equip people to watch it with discernment or even to avoid watching it altogether.

The author is a smart man who knows how to manipulate.  He is well aware that his “anti” Shack column will bring far more readers (and as he explains “currency”) than a positive review would ever do.

The Producers of The Shack could have made another shoot ’em up movie filled with curse words, sex and violence, those movies make lots of money.  The producers chose to make a beautiful family friendly, FANTASTICAL movie filled with hope, compassion and grace.

When some in the community the movie was meant to celebrate, skewer it without ever seeing it the hypocrisy is hard to understand.

I loved The Shack, and as a person who can separate fiction from reality, was able to enjoy the fantastical experience of the story.

My hope is that others will go on this same journey and take away the message of The Shack.  God is love, God provides salvation, God walks with us on our journey and God wants RELATIONSHIP with us all, in any form we choose to view him.