Bear with me, this is going to be a long one, but stay focused, because this is important!
Recently someone on one of the posting boards I'm on wrote to say that she was reading the book, The Shack, and that there were things in it that were unsettling to her, "red flags". She was reading for someone else's benefit, so that will explain the context of my answer back to her. Some of it has been edited for readability.
Here is my response to her, and might be my final word on the book THE SHACK.
I would say that you are right todiscern that when "red flags" go up you'd better take notice. That's the HolySpirit within you saying, "UH UH - that's not right!" I wouldn't finish that book for anyone - period!
My husband and I have spent hours talking about this book that neither of us have read. I began reading a review about the book on www.Challies.com, at the recommendation of my precious husband, after all the hype I'd been hearing about it. First and foremost, when I read that in The Shack God the Father was portrayed as an older African American woman, Christ as a laid back middle-easterner, and the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman, "Red Flags" don't even begin to describe the feelings that came up within me. I am disgusted by this blatant blasphemy! God has revealed Himself quite clearly in His WORD as He is, and He doesn't need anyone else to change His character in order to try to reach out to others, or make them feel better. I literally had to take a day off before Icould read anymore of the review because of my sick stomach and grieved Spirit over what I'd already read.
If one wants to see how God reveals Himself in the midst of suffering, guess what, HE has written an entire book about it, that reveals Him as He is - High and Lifted Up! Send your wondering friends and family members to read the book of Job.
If we become angry and/or embittered towards God in our sufferings, it is because of sin and pride in our own lives that have made us that way. God does not need us to create "new revelations" in order to make Him more palatable to others.
Now, before you start throwing rotten tomatoes and fruit at me for being "judgmental", let me tell you that I have experienced first hand the pain and loss of a child, in real life, not in the land of "make believe". I know what it feels like to question WHY??? What did I do? Why us? Why her? Why me? Notice carefully how focused those questions are on myself, because that is the key to all of this. It is not until we can say of God, just like Job, in Job 1:20-21 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." When we get the focus off of ourselves and look instead to the ways that God might be glorified even in the midst of our pain and suffering, then we are moving towards truly knowing God.
I have had countless opportunities in the last 13 years since Kathryn died to go to hurting families - people I didn't even know - in hospitals, at funeral homes, and in church pews where they grieved as though they would never survive the pain. Each and every time, I have prayed before going and acknowledged God's ultimate sovereignty by saying,"Lord, if my Kathryn died for such a time as this, help me to minister your peace and your grace to this family." Bad things happen because of sin in theWorld, Satan is at work among the things in this world, but he (Satan) ultimately answers to God, and that is where our hope can be found. Nothing happens in my life, or yours, that did not come first through the approval of God the Father. Who, by the way is a male figure, a Spirit, and the head of the Godhead. He is not human, and no man can dare look upon Him, much less speak to Him with profanity, as the main character, Mack, does in this book The Shack.
Can you tell that this book has REALLY gotten under my skin?
I've suffered the loss of a child. It stinks, it's horrible, it's indescribable, you wouldn't wish it on anyone else - EVER. But, I learned who my God truly is during this time of horrific sadness. I sought him, not in the place where my daughter died, not in my self focused despair, but within the pages of His Holy Word. And, I found Him there, High and Lifted Up where the train of His robe fills the temple, where the elders fall on their faces day and night shouting Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty! I clung to the scripture that revealed to me a God who is able to take something truly awful and use it for our ultimate good (though we may never see it this side of heaven) and always for His glory. As I clung to the Word, this loving, Holy, amazing God of ours showed me glimpses of who He truly is. John 17:3 says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Thetrue God, is the only one I want to know! He is nothing like He is portrayed in The Shack.
It is absolutely imperativethat we be discerning and that we teach our children to be discerning, that is why we homeschool using the scriptures! We have a gold standard, it is theWord, and anything that portrays God in any other way is heresy, plain and simple. 2Ti 4:1 - 4 says, " I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
If any of you are interested in reading the review that I read, it's available as a free PDF document at http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf This is a VERY thorough review of the book using Scripture as the standard against which it is weighed. The document is 17 pages long. He has read the book himself (bless his heart) and has certainly done his homework in preparing this review for others.
Anyone wishing to know more about the loss of our daughter can read a little about it through the following links to my blog http://homeforhim.blogspot.com/2008/01/tragedy-for-family-of-rick-burgess.html and http://homeforhim.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-we-came-to-adopt.html I would be more than happy to discuss these issues privately with anyone who is struggling. I also have a CD available of a talk my husband and I gave about a year ago at a local church for their sermon series "Shattered... Broken LivesRestored". If you're not from the South, you'll have to overlook our obvious Southern drawls. :O)
I'd say that about sums it up!
Loving you, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,