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Tru2u4eternity

The Shack

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I just watched The Shack movie.  There were some good lessons on forgiveness in the movie.  But the writer should have read the Bible more regarding the nature of God.  I did not like the portrayal of God and the Holy Spirit as women.  

We as Latter-Day Saints know God is a Man of Holiness.  He is our Father and the Father of Jesus Christ.

Edit:  I also did not like the detachment from justice that the shack god showed.  The main character murdered his drunk dad by poisoning him and did not receive any condemnation from the shack god.  With other serious sins justice seems to just be swept aside.  The Shack fails to represent God as having authority and genuinely sovereign.

God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.  (See Doc. and Cov. 1:31.)

Edited by Still_Small_Voice

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Many critics were bothered by the representation of the Trinity, both in the book and in the movie. Me, not so much. The author was not suggesting that God is without gender, nor that the Holy Spirit is actually a young Asian female. I took away the broad truth, found in the OT, NT, and BoM that those who seek God will find Him. The main character was not ready for Heavenly Father, so God appeared to him in a manner that would not trigger his fragile soul. I believe there were intimations that eventually the Father would be able to appear to him as a father. I'm wondering if the discomfort with this story--which is very a much fictional--is heightened by the LDS belief in the Father's corporeal nature (that He has a physical body), thus making the artistic license taken seem almost sacrilegious.

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I read the book and I hated it. I read it aloud to my aunt and cousins in the car ride here about 4 weeks ago, mostly to help keep my aunt awake. I don't know how many times we "quit" that book and then picked it up again because I literally had nothing else to read and it was my job to keep my aunt awake while she drove. I didn't have a problem with the depiction of the Godhead. It's fictional and although I found it corny, it wasn't an issue for me enjoying the story. No, what I had a problem with was the clear agenda in the book, posed by the author. Like, not only does the main character not want to bring a gun along to his little trip(when at that point, he's just assuming it is the serial killer and it hasn't even entered his mind that it could actually be God) but when he brings it and first meets Papa, she asks for the gun from him because he won't need it...and then she holds it like a dead rat that she's going to dispose of. Now, whatever, you want to posit that God, who created everything, is anti-violence, fine, I agree with that; take the gun, by all means. But don't try to sell me on the idea that it is SO distasteful to Him that he cannot bear to touch it and has to act so snooty and hoity toity about it. I think God Himself can hold a gun in His hands no problem, even though our creation of them and us feeling it necessary to do so, probably saddens Him greatly. And then there was even a bit about global warming and how humans are destroying the earth...

I also didn't like the religious moral relativism the book pushed and the neverending contradictions and the way none of the Godhead seemed to ever answer any of Mack's questions. You can tell when an inexperienced writer is trying to write for a character that is smarter than them because of the mistakes they make. Weaving, meandering, circular dialogue, vague and mysterious hints with clever one-liners intended to allude to something deeper, or rambling on about nothing and saying just as little, all to make you think this character is smarter than you, smarter than the writer. The problem is, you have to back it up with something. You can't write an evil genius with a super, complicated plan that defies common understanding without knowing the plan yourself. You just can't. Because there will be questions about what the plan is and you will need to deliver on it. And I truly think Young doesn't understand religion or how it works.

Papa was the worst culprit of this. God is everything and nothing, yet God is very distinctly a father and a son. Structure, rules, and independence are bad, yet she can justify punishment and very clearly relies on structure and the universe running a certain way. Mankind's fall was an unplanned mess and yet it was what they intended all along to have this mystical, indepth relationship with all of humanity, based on love.

I don't mind if you have a theory but stick to a point once you make it, especially if the bulk of the book is based on this theory of man's relationship with God.

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On 7/29/2017 at 3:10 AM, a mustard seed said:

You can tell when an inexperienced writer is trying to write for a character that is smarter than them because of the mistakes they make. Weaving, meandering, circular dialogue, vague and mysterious hints with clever one-liners intended to allude to something deeper, or rambling on about nothing and saying just as little, all to make you think this character is smarter than you, smarter than the writer. The problem is, you have to back it up with something. You can't write an evil genius with a super, complicated plan that defies common understanding without knowing the plan yourself. You just can't. Because there will be questions about what the plan is and you will need to deliver on it. And I truly think Young doesn't understand religion or how it works.

I actually quite enjoyed reading The Shack, but you're quite right: writing God as a character in a fictional story is always going to be a problem, particularly if you want your story to have relevance to the real world. You can make your fictional "God" the God of your limited fictional universe, but the reader will rightly say "What's this to me?" Young may be an "inexperienced writer", but Shakespeare, Dickens or Austen would have run into the same problem.

As for God the Father being a middle-aged black woman, I don't much care. For all I know, perhaps She is!

On 7/28/2017 at 6:20 AM, Still_Small_Voice said:

  The main character murdered his drunk dad by poisoning him and did not receive any condemnation from the shack god.

This was my biggest problem with the book. I wouldn't have expected "condemnation" from Papa. (At least not in the form of thunder and lightning bolts, and time spent in the company little guys with toasting forks.) But I would have expected the recognition of a need for repentance from Mac himself - that he not only needs to forgive, but to ask for forgiveness. The matter, though, is never really addressed.

Edited by Jamie123

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On 2/20/2009 at 5:45 PM, Tru2u4eternity said:

I really was bothered by the author alluding to god having no gender.

For Trinitarians, God doesn't.  The male gender assignments of Father and Son in the 2 persons of the Trinity are considered, in any Trinitarian religion, as metaphorical and not a signifier that gender is an ESSENCE of God.  They do not believe that God's essence has a gender.

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On 5/26/2020 at 5:29 PM, anatess2 said:

For Trinitarians, God doesn't.  The male gender assignments of Father and Son in the 2 persons of the Trinity are considered, in any Trinitarian religion, as metaphorical and not a signifier that gender is an ESSENCE of God.  They do not believe that God's essence has a gender.

“What is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it." (C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength)

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On 5/25/2020 at 11:34 AM, Jamie123 said:

I actually quite enjoyed reading The Shack, but you're quite right: writing God as a character in a fictional story is always going to be a problem, particularly if you want your story to have relevance to the real world. You can make your fictional "God" the God of your limited fictional universe, but the reader will rightly say "What's this to me?" Young may be an "inexperienced writer", but Shakespeare, Dickens or Austen would have run into the same problem.

I know it's weird to reply to your own posts, but I've just though of an objection: that I never felt this way about Aslan in the Narnia books. Aslan is quite clearly the Christian God (he says as much when he tells Lucy "In your world I have another name".) I think the difference is though that Aslan never tries to explain everything to everyone: his messages are very focused on the individuals he speaks to. He's always saying in response to people's questions, things like: "That's his/her story, and no one's told any story but their own."

Edited by Jamie123

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1 hour ago, Jamie123 said:

I've been 

I know it's weird to reply to your own posts, but I've just though of an objection: that I never felt this way about Aslan in the Narnia books. Aslan is quite clearly the Christian God (he says as much when he tells Lucy "In your world I have another name".) I think the difference is though that Aslan never tries to explain everything to everyone: his messages are very focused on the individuals he speaks to. He's always saying in response to people's questions, things like: "That's his/her story, and no one's told any story but their own."

Lewis has become a post mortem celebrity of sorts in LDS circles, being perhaps the most frequently quoted non-Latter-day Saint in General Conferences since Elder Maxwell started quoting him. I have enjoyed quite a few of Lewis' writings, but I confess I don't have the fascination with him that many Latter-day Saints do.

Lewis was absolutely besotted with allegory, such that almost everything he wrote was allegorical, certainly much of his fiction. His close friend J. R. R. Tolkien, in contrast, didn't like allegory all that much; many times in his life, he shot down the idea that his Lord of the Rings books were meant as any sort of allegory of England, Europe, World War I (or II), etc. Certainly Tolkien was influenced and even inspired by events around him, but he never sought to draw clear lines connecting this tale with that event. He wanted his writing to stand on its own feet.

I guess I tend more toward Tolkien's mindset. I'm fine with allegory, and when used judiciously, it can sometimes be very insightful. But when everything becomes allegorical, I find it tiresome. The metaphors get stretched too thin, and I find myself wishing that the author would simply tell what he's thinking instead of trying to be all clever in dressing it up in camouflage. That's how I got feeling about five books into the Narnia series. I really am fine with fiction, allegory, and parables, especially when they're skillfully used, but I guess I tend more toward clear exposition. Maybe that's why I love the Book of Mormon so much.

Edited by Vort

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On 5/29/2020 at 11:52 PM, Vort said:

But when everything becomes allegorical, I find it tiresome.

That reminds me of a short story by Adrian Plass. I forget which of his books it's in, but it's a parody of the "our world" segment of a Narnia story.  The four children arrive at [wherever they're spending the summer] and set about looking for the "this year's portal into Narnia". When they don't find it, one of them complains "We've looked everywhere! We even tried looking down the toilet, which is perfectly clean because none of us ever uses it!" The "wise grown-up" character suggests that just for once they take a break from being allegorical and just be ordinary children!

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