Monday, March 06, 2017

The Shack 1

1. I'm ten years late to the game, but the movie that has just come out makes me think I should finally give The Shack a read. Since the IWU Marion campus is on Spring Break (I'm not), I thought I could read the book over lunch this week.

So I took the book off our shelf (it's my wife's copy) and read the first 50 some pages today. Many know the story (spoiler). A young daughter goes missing (so far)...

There hasn't been much theology yet, but I did notice a couple interesting points in the first 50 that I thought I would mention today:

2. The first comes in the Foreword. I thought this paragraph was particularly important: "Memory can be a tricky companion, especially with the accident, and I would not be too surprised... if some factual errors and faulty remembrances are reflected in these pages. They are not intentional" (13).

What I think William Young is getting at here is a recognition that when you are talking about God, we cannot hope to get it all right. Indeed, those who think they have God all figured out are probably the last people you should listen to. The hit on the head is a masterful touch--who would dare write a novel where the voice of God in that novel pretended to be the direct voice of God?

3. A second point of interest came from the imagery of the Multnomah princess dying for her tribe. "Honey, she didn't have to die. She chose to die to save her people" (30). Similarly the follow-up: "Jesus didn't think his daddy was mean. He thought his daddy was full of love and loved him very much. His daddy didn't make him die. Jesus chose to die because he and his daddy love you and me and everyone in the world. He saved us from our sickness, just like the princess." (31).

No complaints here. On the one hand, I imagine it annoys some for the symbol for Jesus in the legend to be a princess, but my strand of the Wesleyan tradition has no problems here. God has no penis or genitalia. He is not literally male. Nor does my strand of the Wesleyan tradition believe that Jesus had to come to earth as a man. God could just as well have come to earth as a woman. So no problems with that part of the symbolism for us.

4. Certainly the Bible does not portray Jesus as having no choice in his death. He chooses to submit himself to the Father's will (e.g., Mark 14:36). God gives him the choice. Is there a possible world in which Jesus says no? I guess the orthodox answer is no, because in every universe Jesus' divine will follows the divine plan. [1] Of course Jesus is God, so the plan is his to begin with.

These last comments go beyond anything the biblical texts say. Without explaining the way it works, the Bible seems to affirm both that Jesus' death on the cross was part of God's plan and that Jesus' human will freely submitted to the plan.

So no heresies I can see yet...

[1] "Monothelitism," the belief that Jesus only had one will, was finally considered a heresy in the late 600s. The idea is that if Jesus truly has two natures (one divine and one human), then he also has two "wills," one divine and one human.


Ray ethell said...

My concern is that you are trying so hard to fit it into orthodoxy Christianity, you are not are not aware of the new age and occult symbolisms you are trying to embrace into a Christian worldview? Have you considered this while attempting this project?

Ken Schenck said...

Please share anything I am missing!