Its time to give my personal comments on the popular book by William Young called The Shack. Its been a couple of weeks since I finished it, but I still remember enough to comment on it.
The book is a collection of both tragic, cheesy, mushy and profound moments. Yes, there are cheesy and mushy moments...I even found myself in tears at times (over the mushy and tragic moments, NOT the cheesy moments). Something terrible happens to the main character's daughter (his name is Mack) and he somehow gets to spend a weekend with God (the trinity).
Instead of giving a review of the book, I thought I would offer a few of my favorite quotes instead. So here they are, with a brief comment about each one.
"I don't want to be first among a list of values; I want to be at the center of everything."
-Jesus says this when Mack asks him about making God first in his life. I like the idea of Jesus being the center of everything. It sounds so much easier than making God first. I've never been good at making God first and honestly I don't know that I ever will. Making God the center seems so much more doable.
"I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing."
-This is said at the beginning of the book by the narrator. Isn't it so true!
"Love that is forced is no love at all."
-God says this to Mack to answer one of his questions about why God allows people to make decisions that are harmful to others.
"Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purpose. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."
-A theodicy (a fancy word for the question of why evil exists if God is all-loving and all-powerful) that I agree with.
After Jesus talks about a diversity of different types of people who love him and follow him, Mack asks: "Does that mean that all roads will lead to you?" "Not at all. Most roads don't lead anywhere, what it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."
-I actually like this notion that Jesus can travel any road to get to us. It reminds me of prevenient grace, which is the idea that God is pursuing us to have a relationship with Him. I didn't read it as universalistic, even though it could be seen that way. I read it as Jesus' willingness and power to reach us anyway he can.
"Honey, there's no easy answer that will take your pain away. Believe me, if I had one, I'd use it now. I have no magic wand to wave over you and make it all better. Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship."
-Yes! Isn't it true that so many people are quick to offer trite sayings and meaningless cliche's when someone is feeling pain. I love that God was not presented as a magician, but as a physician that heals through relationship.
"What happened to Missy was the result of evil and no one in your world is immune to it."
-I often tell people that good things happen to everybody and bad things happen to everybody. We aren't immune to evil, but we aren't immune to goodness either.