Sunday, July 26, 2009

the shack

Sometimes I don't get it.

People's offenses, that is.

Sure, everybody has the right to their own opinion on anything and everything. At least we do in this country, isn't that right, JoshUSA?


I was recently reading a blog in which some commenters slammed the book, The Shack. I mean, ripped it a new one and I only use that expression because I think it's so gross that it's laughable. Like when you laugh such a great big snort through your nose that a boogie comes out with it, unexpectedly debuting during your conversation. Gross, but laughable. And that's still not as gross as ripping someone a new one. But still, that is what these commenters did. To the poor Shack, which was absolutely fine with the one it had, I am sure.

One comment expressed something along the lines of, The Shack was totally against everything the scripture and God stands for.

Um, excuse me? Maybe we aren't reading the same Bible, because I am pretty sure forgiveness, redemption, and relationships are a pretty huge theme; I mean, I am no scholar, but I'd go so far as to say that they are even The Pervasive Theme in the Bible.

Which is what I got out of The Shack.

Now I am all for hearing why you don't like it, if you don't like it, but be specific and try to be fair. Don't just broadly stroke it as heretical. As blasphemous. Because it had something very strongly to do with love and grace and I am pretty sure that 9 out of 10 times a story like that has something to do with what God stands for.

Maybe even 10 out of times.

And another thing: there is something that the Papa character said in the book, this phrase that has stuck in my brain, acting like a prism that reflects little bits of light every time the sun catches it.

She said that God doesn't have expectations of us, rather that He has expectancy toward us.

For some reason, changing that from a noun to a verb has made all the difference to me. It's made God's thoughts towards me alive and always, always in the all encompassing now. I feel like our relationship is not some boring to-do list, this antiquated list of right and wrongs that I try desperately to wipe clean of the dust in the 21st century; but rather, it's exciting. It's all the time. It's not walking alone, not attempting the tasks that shape me without the knowledge that Somebody thinks I am resilient and up to the task because of the interdependence we have with each other, we have in each other.

God has expectancy towards me, and vice versa.

And good things are going to come out of this, I just know it.

On the whole expectation vs. expectancy thing, somebody said,

expectancy is kinda enjoying the anticipation of something good

expectation .. is cracking the whip .. and making it happen

And I like that I don't see God holding a whip. I like that I see him smiling when thinking about his kids...


Mandy and Jack said...

Jack's mom tells the story about Jack's dad spanking him when he was little. He would go and discipline young Jack, and then go to his room and cry. Every. Single. Time. A loving Father does what he has to do, not because he wants to, but because He wants what's best for His children.

Jessica Latshaw said...

this is totally true. what's best for us...and the whole while he's got the expectancy that those boundaries and discipline are going to grow us into healthy and mature people...

what a sweet little story, btw;-)

James Ricardo The Actor said...

All I can say is "you amaze me everyday"! Thanks Jess

peaj said...

I think this clarifies something that I have heard recently that has been bothering me but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. I think it was basically that I heard people expressing this idea of God's expectation. Like God is standing away from us at some future endpoint, waiting impatiently for us to catch up. No, I think rather that He is with us in the walk to the better place that He wants to take us.

jason said...


God is portrayed as a BLACK WOMAN!!?

What part of BLASPHEMOUS don't you understand?!

(For those of you who are sarcasm deaf, this was dripped with sarcasm.)

I have no real problem with the Shack, but I started it and couldn't finish it because I was finding it boring. I'll have to try it again at some point.

Jessica Latshaw said...

you should try it again if you want, Jase, it really is a good story.

Jessica Latshaw said...

and I totally hear you, Peaj.

vgreen50 said...

Wonderful book! I bought it for Mark and Michelle. Subtle ways of God speaking! Thanks for sharing. (Meemom Bear)

Jessica Latshaw said...

I love giving books as gifts--especially when they really mean something to you. What a great idea;-)

sherri said...

I think The SHack was the best piece of fiction I've ever read!

I walked away with such an appreciation for the relationship God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is willing and wanting to have with His creation!

It gave me another way to deepen my understanding of God and drew me into the scriptures.
I knew this book was contraversial, but I was shocked how at how deeply opposed some were to this piece of fiction.

merry said...

I'm with Jase.I didn't find it offensive...just really boring. Also, I though jesus was kind of a lame-o. Maybe I just need to try and get through it.

Mom said...

The book was entirely worth it to me to have God the Father depicted as a black woman named Papa! Loved the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Of course, the book isn't meant to be totally accurate but neither is anything we can come up with either to explain the trinity. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the book.

vgreen50 said...

Note to Mom: I actually thought of you when I was reading The Shack and hoped you would read it. I knew you would appreciate the 'reality' of All the relationships. :-)

Nina said...

I think people love to be really extreme when they're defending God and the Bible. As if God needs us to defend Him...

It seems to me that if God can present himself as a shepherd, a vine tender, a Father, a friend, a king, a brother, a lover, and more that He's willing to go to great lengths to find an image of Himself that people can relate to. I can't imagine it disturbs Him to be presented as an awesome black woman named Papa.

I enjoyed the ideas that this book presented but I skipped whole paragraphs and pages as I read it because it was excruciating reading. Probably one of the best-selling poorly written books of all time.

jason said...

God compares himself to a mother hen and one of his names in the jewish testament is "many breasted one," I think God's pretty comfortable with his femininity.

jason said...

And God is surely as black as he is white.

jason said...

"Probably one of the best-selling poorly written books of all time"

Left Behind Series leaves it in the dust.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yeah, I agree that it's not exactly a classic in terms of literature--still, a moving story!