A Somewhat Surprising Admission
Peg and I went to see THE SHACK yesterday. We enjoyed it to the max.
No, that's not the admission.
All I can say is that is that it was the best $16.90 I've spent watching a film, since I don't remember when. The admission, on the other hand comes (perhaps inadvertently) from those criticizing the film. Most particularly those of the same branch of the faith as me. Namely, Southern Baptists.
The admission, to me, is that the film's critics ... particularly pastoral or professorial types ... seem to feel that those within the sound of their voice (or circle of their reading/writing) are theologically unable to discern Spiritual truth when they see it. And conversely unable to see something which might mislead the clueless, about things theological. And, since most of what I read is in SBC circles, I'm thinking that the higher-ups opinion of the quality of discipleship is that it's pretty low. That discernment of theological things is severely limited, perhaps most particularly amongst SBC folks..
Well, that's not surprising. Especially considering that around 2/3 of those who consider themselves Baptist aren't in church on Sunday morning.
Consider, for a minute, the film FIELD OF DREAMS. Watch it and you will be told about mysterious audible voices whispering to people, telling them what to do. Mysterious letters appearing on baseball scoreboards, for the same reason. People coming back from their long-ago death to play baseball in Iowa. People appearing from, and disappearing into, a cornfield. Young baseball players becoming old doctors when they step across the baseline.
I'm not critical of FIELD OF DREAMS. In fact, I loved the film and I believe we have the DVD in the living room. But my point is this: I never heard anyone voice a protest that it was spiritually misleading. But my, oh my, the protests about THE SHACK!
For a denomination ... and the SBC's own website used to use that term ... which seems proud of what all it does, of how many churches it has and how many people it baptizes and how many members belong ... it's surprising that they'd be upset about members going to see the film.
When you see it, you will come away with the impression that:
- God loves you. In a very real sense. Intensely. consistently.
- Despite what He went through, Jesus is a happy, winsome man. One who loves to engage with His people.
- The Holy Spirit is sort of ever-present, always willing to gently nudge us in the right direction.
- When we see a mess in our life, something that makes no sense, seeing it from God's viewpoint is a whole 'nuther matter...
- When things inexplicably come into our life, they'll serve a purpose in God's plan. Hang in there and you'll understand it some day.
- God comes to us as what we need to see at the time.
- Living as ones loved by God, and sharing that love with those around us, really is best for us.
If you don't know the backstory of THE SHACK. learn it. You'll discover it wasn't written to be a theological display, any more than FIELD OF DREAMS is a story about the afterlife, heaven, or even baseball.
In the meantime, a message for the theologians and professors who might stumble across this:
Thanks for admitting what we already knew out here. Now maybe somebody will get to work on the real problem. Which is not found in motion picture theaters.