Many critics of The Shack say it is blasphemy!
How can God first of all be portrayed as a woman, much less an African American woman?
One reviewer said, “Young’s daring portrayal of the Trinity as ‘eccentric personalities with offbeat ways of communicating their message.’ These critics accused him of “blasphemy,” labeling Young as a postmodernist for whom ‘truth’ meant nothing.”
BUT – then as that very same reviewer READ the book he wrote,
“I can admit to a sense of shock when I realized that Young had chosen to portray God our Father as an absolutely enchanting, powerfully-mothering, African-American woman. And it wasn’t too long into my reading that I found myself wanting to sit at her kitchen table and to enjoy her cooking, her conversation, her maternal affection. The beauty of the fellowship generated by her presence was what many of us have sought for a lifetime and so rarely experienced.”
Perhaps that was Young’s point!?!
Whether we admit it or not . . . we are all searching for something! That love . . . that acceptance!
God is so beautiful, so wonder, so amazing . . . any positive attribute or adjective you and I can possibly think of – that is God. Then – multiply that times infinity. God is not our best version of ourselves, but oh so much more. We really cannot begin to fathom how good and loving God is.
Yet through Young’s words, we get a glimpse.
Picture this, Mack screams his rejections at God when he visits the shack for the first time and sees the blood stains on the floor.
He funnels all his pain into three words to God, “I hate you!”
He then leaves the shack and heads to his car. But . . . after he has spoken (or yelled) his “peace” to God, the world changes. After he walks a few yards, the woods come alive with light. Spring’s thaw unfolds in just a few moments, and flowers begin to unveil their beauty. New hope emerges as the snow melts and after he decides to go back to the shack because he is intrigued, it is no longer dilapidated but instead a finely built log cabin with a white picket fence and smoke coming from the chimney. He even thinks he hears laughter . . .
“Here you are, and so grown up. I have really been looking forward to seeing you face to face . . . My, my, my, how do I love you!”
Who wouldn’t want to walk into a situation where they felt uneasy and unsettled and hear, “my, my, my, how do I love you!” Too often in this life, we hear the opposite. We hear all the things we are NOT instead of who we are!
We are children of God. We are loved. We are loved even in our anger and our pain.
Note – it was after Mack cried out that the things began to change! And how beautiful was that change!
What must we remove from our hearts and souls so that we can feel that change too?
Psalm 61The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm
61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”
3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.