Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: A Somewhat Surprising Admission

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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. 


At 4:53 PM, March 21, 2017, Blogger Wade Burleson said...


Get ready to be called a lover of heresy.

But those who know you understand you love Jesus and people in that order.

Great review.

At 6:13 PM, March 21, 2017, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks for the affirmation, Wade. I appreciate it, more than you might know.

Heresy? HERESY? I'm a Calvinistic, Pentecostal Southern Baptist. Like, I haven't heard that BEFORE?

At 5:28 AM, March 23, 2017, Blogger Paul Burleson said...


I ENJOYED your post/review more than any I've read and believe it speaks loudly and clearly to the elements of truth that Paul was attempting to reveal to his children when he wrote the story for them at their mother's request.

No one in their right mind would suggest Paul spoke THE WHOLE TRUTH about anything he mentions in the book or movie. but that part of truth that he WAS saying was loud and clear and you SAW it and articulated better than most.

Thank you my friend!

At 5:53 AM, March 23, 2017, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thank you, Paul. I very much appreciate your kind words.

At 6:37 PM, March 25, 2017, Blogger Debbie Kaufman said...

Bob: Your points are exactly what I got from the movie and I think anyone who goes to see the movie without presumptions will understand. I loved the movie just like I did the book.

At 7:28 PM, March 25, 2017, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks for commenting, Debbie.

At 4:32 PM, March 28, 2017, Blogger Aussie John said...

I haven't seen the movie. It hasn't arrived Down Under yet. Enjoyed the book.

But how good it is to read a fellow believer who doesn't try to put a square peg into a round hole, as so many do regarding The Shack.

At 4:38 PM, March 28, 2017, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks for the comment, John. I guess I'm good at spotting a square peg in a round hole, since I AM one!

And I've been meaning to ask ... do folks who live "Down Under" think of the rest of the world as being the "Up Over"?

At 4:50 PM, March 30, 2017, Blogger Aussie John said...

That's a good question? To be honest the only term I've heard commonly used is "Yank".

At 6:14 PM, March 30, 2017, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Good enough, John. "Yank" is similar to "Jerk", which is a frequent nickname up here.


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