My Thoughts: The Shack

I know, I know, I'm a bit late to the party but I watched The Shack for the first time this week (well, twice actually!). Wowsers, what a tear jerker!

I had read the book a very long time ago when it first came out, so I remembered the jist of the story... which is kind of why I had avoided watching it! I have a five year old daughter and if you're aware of the storyline then you'll understand why I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it together! I had also seen the music video for the Hillsong soundtrack song, Heaven Knows, and almost cried in that so watching the entire movie was going to be tricky!

Anyway, my church group were having a movie night so, what better way to spend the evening than fighting back tears with your friends, right?!

I loved it.

Not because of the story - I mean who would love that? But more because of the depiction of God, the trinity, the way He loves us, the way that scripture was woven throughout. There was such a purity about it all.

There is a danger with cinematic depictions of God that He comes across as cliched, stereotypical, cheesy or shallow. I mean who can truly know or understand or fathom the mystery of God... and then put it in a book or a film? But nothing about the film caused me to question why it was there, I felt like the writers had covered all bases to attempt to display God in all His glory, every facet - helped obviously by the fact that the trinity was split into three!

I'm aware that for some, the book was quite controversial because in it, God is portrayed as female. And I think when I read the book it did jar with me somewhat - however having watched the film that aspect of the narrative makes absolute perfect sense. It's not written that way to be controversial, or to make you rethink God, or to join the modern world's gender debate. There is absolute purpose in the narrative and it is depicted so clearly that it almost feels like a non-issue.

I also fell in love a bit with each of the characters of God - so perfectly cast!

And then there's the age-old question of suffering - the theme that runs throughout the narrative. Why does God allow suffering? Why are innocent people hurt? Why does God allow evil in this world? And you know, I've asked this question many times. But never, until watching The Shack, have I found an answer that validly addresses the issue of Why. There is a part where Mack is in the garden, digging the ground with Sarayu (the Holy Spirit). She asks Mack, whether he feels confident in discerning good from evil, turns out our basis for such judgements can be quite selfish...

You become the judge. And to make things more confusing, that which you determine to be good will change over time and circumstance. And then, beyond that and even worse, there are billions of you, each determining what is good and what is evil. So when your good and evil clash with your neighbor's, fights and arguments ensue and even wars break out... if there is no reality of good that is absolute, then you have lost any basis for judging. It is just language, and one might as well exchange the word good for the word evil. ~ Surayu, The Shack
Wow. Now there's so much to wrestle with in this statement but actually the premise of it - the fact that as fallen beings we have taken the right to judge - a 'right' or a burden that was never ours to take - is so key. It may be hard to give up our right to judge - and by giving up our right we are not saying that evil - like Missy's death - is actually good, not at all, God is still judge, judgement will still happen. But it is not our place to make these judgements as we are not in full possession of the facts - and that is part of the why behind there being so much suffering in the world.

There's a later scene where Mack is forced to become judge over his own children. So much there to unpack too.

So anyway, The Shack - I give it five stars. Of all the 'spiritual' films I've seen, it's probably the one that has addressed such hard issues so well. It's depictions of God are beautiful. It's references to scripture woven throughout make you feel like it's a really thought-out script based on Biblical truth. Don't get me wrong, it's not The Bible and does not pretend to be, I'm sure there are probably aspects of it that are biblically inaccurate, I'm sure God is laughing away at our pathetic human attempts to wrap our head around his mystery through the medium of books and films! But it's a good movie and the start of a conversation.

If you want a resource that clearly addresses suffering, the trinity or The Gospel story, then I would definitely recommend it. It did make me cry, it did challenge me, but I did also watch it with my husband later in the week and enjoyed it too.

A song for all occasions...

This month I'm taking part in #Blogtober18 - (hopefully) blogging every day in October! I'm not going to follow any particular prompts, but will be attempting to provide a steady stream of content to give the site a boost in these early days! #PrayForMe! You can follow along with a whole host of bloggers on social media by searching #Blogtober18

My Thoughts: The Shack My Thoughts: The Shack Reviewed by Love Emily on October 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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