Aug 24, 2008

the shack and earthly notions

i continue to breeze my way through the contagious storytelling of william p. young's book "the shack" and with each turning page my comprehension (as finite as it is) of who god is is wildly shaken from its old, sometimes lifeless roots.

"the shack" is a fictitious story of one man's weekend experience with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit targeted directly in the middle of his hearts deepest, incurable wound; the very place of his great sadness. the novel is a beautiful relationship of innocent theological enlightenments, vulnerably intimate and thought provoking conversations, and a spiritual journey no author has previously dared to venture.

what is most intoxicating about this 246 page story of brilliant creativity is that it truly rattles every preconceived notion i hold about God. there is a convicting dialogue  between the main character 'mack' and Jesus. when mack first meets God (who is portrayed as a large, tenderly charismatic black woman given the name Elousia) and Jesus (taking the form of a laborer with a large nose - he is jewish after all) and the Holy Spirit (who is a gently enchanting asian woman named Sarayu) he exposes to the three that they are not at all what he had expected them to be. just then Jesus chimed in correcting mack's personal beliefs of what the trinity ought to look like, or how is ought to act, as his own personal worldly religious conditionings. immediately upon reading this my thoughts raced through the collection of religious conditionings i store box away in the attic of my heart. 

one of those boxes hold my remarkably limited comprehension of the transforming reality of love, i read through the seamless ways in which God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit live in flawless unison with one another and i ungainly stumble over the humbling realization that i haven't the faintest idea about love. i know, i know - this is all a fictitious story; but regardless it does test all of humanities theological understandings.

i'd like to share with you just a few different dialogues that take place throughout the book:

"you humans are so lost and damaged that to you it is almost incomprehensible that relationship could exist apart from hierarchy. so you think that God must relate inside a hierarchy like you do. but we do not." (spoken by sarayu - the Holy Spirit)

"broken humans center their lives around things that seem good to them, but that will neither fill them nor free them. they are addicted to power; or the illusion of security that power offers." (spoken by sarayu - the Holy Spirit)

"when all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me?" (spoken by elousia - God)

"let me say for now that we knew once the creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. don't misunderstand me, both are needed - but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence." (spoke by elousia - God, when mack asked her why there is such an emphasis on god being a father)

currently i am only half way through the book but already i am even more aware to the fact that i must cling to realization that i will never fully comprehend who God is, nor was i created to - for God is an extraordinary, colossal, alluring mystery... and Love surpasses knowledge.

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