Today’s let’s talk about “The Shack,” by Paul Young, a popular book several years ago. It spent over 172 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, 52 weeks at #1.I had just heard the title and didn’t know much about it until a friend asked if I’d heard of it. She had received a copy as a gift and said she was afraid to read it. I wasn’t, so she gave it to me. I read it, with pen and paper beside me because if THIS friend was afraid to read it, there had to be something wrong with it. There was. I took negative notes on every chapter except one!
Briefly, it’s a fiction novel about a man whose daughter had been kidnapped and killed. He ended up on some mind trip where he went into the woods and spent some time with what the book says is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Apparently, it was the New Age father, son and spirit because they weren’t very much like the trinity of the Bible. See if you agree.
God was portrayed as a woman who was black and hefty and known as Papa. I immediately knew this book was in trouble with God…the real God…when I saw that description because all male figures in the Bible are referred to as “he” or “him.” Likewise all females as “her” or “she.” So how could God, referred to in the Bible in the masculine, be presented as female? Next he/she was portrayed as black, which meant the author had assigned a race to God. God is spirit and has no race or color. Finally, it portrayed him/her as overweight which meant that God had an eating problem, was a glutton, or had a health issue that caused him to have weight gain. None of this is true about God the Father. Maybe the New Age “God” has these troubles but our perfect heavenly Father does not.
Next the Jesus character in the book was portrayed as sort of a Brawny guy with a plaid shirt and jeans and a tool belt, which is neither here nor there because Jesus had been a carpenter and in today’s setting would have probably looked like that. However, on page 104 the Jesus character is mixing something in a bowl and drops the bowl, making a mess and having to clean it up. Maybe this doesn’t mean much to you, but I think that if the real Jesus could be tempted in every way as man and not sin, he could probably hold onto a mixing bowl. Just sayin’. On page 112 he tells the main character that God dwells in, around, and through all things. Blammo! There’s our basic New Age belief.Last but not least is the “Holy Spirit,” of “The Shack,” who was portrayed as a small Asian woman who was glittery and flittery and sort of a “now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t” character. And again, a woman. (Not sure how the Jesus character got away with being a male.) She was here sometimes and you could see her, and here at other times and you couldn’t. And her name was Sarayu. I knew when I saw the name that there had to be something behind it, so I did a search and sure enough, there it was. Sarayu is a river in India and has ancient significance because it’s mentioned in The Vedas and Ramayana, two works of Hindu writings. The Vedas are credited to the Hindu god Brahma. On page 136 Sarayu says, “…evil and darkness…do not have any actual existence.” Maybe not in your make-believe fantasy world, sister, but they do in the real world.
Stay tuned! J