Dear Christians attacking “The Shack”
I have seen countless posts about the controversy over this movie, and in trying to keep an open mind I have read them all. Some of these articles have been posted by people I respect and consider dear friends and I would honestly like to keep it that way. I have no desire whatsoever to start another vicious online Christian debate that accomplishes absolutely nothing. I have come to the conclusion that the interwebs have no interest in which of us is theologically superior. Everyone on this earth already knows an overly-opinionated Christian who has exhausted his or her soap box privileges. No one is reading our posts except those who already agree with us. No one else is listening. No one else cares. Probably because, apart from our unsolicited advice, we have only ever shown by our actions, that we don’t truly care either.
I am going to go out on a limb here and suppose that the majority of those attacking the movie haven’t actually seen it. I have read the book at least once a year since it came out in 2007 and I went to see the movie twice over its opening weekend. I have paid extra special attention to all of the claims against it.
– It does not say that God is male or female OR of any specific ethnicity. What is very apparent throughout both the book and screen adaptation is that God does not fit in a box. He is not limited by our human understanding or preconceived ideas. It is also very apparent that God can and will reveal Himself however necessary in order to get through to us. Let’s not forget the Biblical accounts of Him speaking through a donkey or a burning bush, to name a few.
– It does not say that all roads lead to heaven. It does not say that there is no heaven or hell, or that everyone goes to heaven regardless of how they lived on earth. However, I will admit there are a few lines that could be twisted and misconstrued if one is absolutely intent on proving a point rather than humbly choosing to see the larger picture of how this message could help countless broken people find God.
– It does not violate the 2nd commandment by making a graven image of God. No one is worshiping a portrait of Octavia Spencer. Also, the last time I checked, Jesus was God too… and he has been portrayed on screen for over a hundred years. Don’t even get me started on stained glass windows… or some of the world-renowned art that bears His image.
So… dear brother or sister, could I challenge you to just go and sit in the theatre for 2 hrs and 12 mins and refrain from having an opinion? Just go and listen to the sound of the entire audience crying, some even sobbing uncontrollably, as they experience the kind of love, acceptance and forgiveness they dare hope to believe actually exists. When was the last time you left nearly a million souls that way?
There are innumerable, more pressing needs in this world, begging for our attention; needs that Christ Himself commanded His followers to see to. There are horrors far worse than a writer or movie producer taking some creative license in his art. I am not asking you to like the film or recommend it to others. But could we please stop quarreling amongst ourselves and let God judge those who choose to spread His message a little differently than we would? We are (supposed to be) on the same team.
If we could all do this, we might actually have something to say that’s worth listening to.