Posted by: pendrops | March 24, 2008

my shack

the-shack.jpg

Image Courtesy: TheShackBook.com

If you haven’t read The Shack, then surely you’ve heard of it, seen it stacked nearly to the ceiling at your local Borders or Barnes, found yourself accidentally eavesdropping on a conversation about it while waiting to get your tires rotated. The Shack is everywhere. And it’s stirring stuff up.

I admit, I had problems with this book in the beginning. I had just finished Atonement, Ian McEwan’s beautifully written sprawling epic. So when I picked up The Shack, I found the writing a bit lacking, a tad prosaic. But I kept reading because so many people had recommended, said it changed their lives. And then, a handful of chapters in, I got it.

Maybe offering a few quotes will help you understand how powerful this story is. All of these statements are made by God to the main character, Mack:

“Remember, I am not about performance and fitting into man-made structures; I am about being. As you grow in relationship with me, what you do will simply reflect who you really are.”

“’If you think about it, Mack,’ Jesus answered, ‘it should be very freeing to know that you can offer us nothing, at least not anything that can add or take away from who we are…. That should alleviate any pressure to perform.’”

“Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse.”

“Responsibilities and expectations are the basis of guilt and shame and judgment, and they provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value.”

“…check the truthfulness of your paradigms – what you believe. Just because you believe something firmly doesn’t make it true. Be willing to reexamine what you believe.”

“…you’re only seeing the institution, a man-made system. That’s not what I came to build. What I see are people and their lives, a living breathing community of all those who love me, not buildings and programs.”

“When I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you. Rather than a pyramid, I want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life – your friends, family, occupation, thoughts, activities – is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth, in an incredible dance of being.”

“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation. They don’t produce one speck of wholeness or righteousness, and that is why they were nailed into Jesus on the cross.”

I finished the book yesterday, sitting in our neighborhood bookstore, crying and smiling and finding myself filled with a deepened desire for God. Just to be with Him. And knowing how much he wants to be with me.

Maybe more than any Bible study or sermon, this simply told story spoke life-giving, life-altering truth. While some of the externals may push and challenge and rub up against our ideas of God and humanity and reality, the heart of The Shack is God’s deep and abiding love, His passionate pursuit of us, His absolute holiness and glory.

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