Sunday, January 11, 2009

Preconceived Notions

I had no reason to read The Shack, by William P Young; in fact I resisted the urging of a family member who is a consummate counselor. I had some ignorant preconceived notions, which seemed to settle it for me. Do not read!!

“I’m not asking you to believe anything, but I will tell you that you’re going to find this day a lot easier if you simply accept what is, instead of trying to fit it into your preconceived notions.” The Shack, page 119. Just about what my family member said. I read the book.

The novel is an anatomy and physiology of a crime victim/survivor. It is the classic story enhanced by a constant victimization since childhood and later the murder of his child, a daughter. As a professional victim specialist I have heard and reheard the story, ‘The Great Sadness”, the great sad rehearsal. That sadness always has the statement “my life has been changed forever”. This book is vicarious for me and as one who ministered to, prayed for and counseled murder victim/survivors. I was there again. The pain is enormous for these folks. If you want a ministry, come along side these victims and you will know their pain. Young does a splendid work. If I were speaking again on this subject, as I did for four years, The Shack would be emphasized reading for those being trained in victims work.

The theological part (that which had my preconceived notion) of the novel is another issue; God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Well, how would you expect God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be? Enjoy the read. Your theology will be challenged on several levels. Mine was! God is a loving black woman, Jesus a small Jewish male, and the Holy Spirit an Asian women. Putting this all into perspective is a push. I think you will have a lot to teach and a lot to learn. Why did Mack believe this way?

There are issues of how Christians interact with people. Do we really know your church friends? Do you know who beats the wife and kids? How about who is mean? Who is silently hurting from the loss of a loved one due to a trauma?

I hear,” Christians should not read this stuff.” Yes, again our own personal “Index”. But how do you minister to people with the different ideas, the different theology and the different worldviews unless you become acquainted with story and beliefs of those who do not know God, the living God of the Scriptures. Also, get to hear their pain and love them, whether or not they believe.

“Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish.
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
"Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure."

Here see the bread of life; waters flowing
forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.” Thomas Moore


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