WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

I just returned home from the theater and the showing of “The Shack.” As a father, the movie touched me deeply because of Mack’s emotional pain. Before I went to this evening’s movie, I had a title all picked out to present to you. Tonight’s movie changed my mind. Even the movie had me vacillating between two different story lines. Story line number one asked the question, “Where do you meet God?” Because I’ve been there, that idea excited me for my readers. I would have mentioned how all the characters in the Bible have met God in many different places. God anointed them all at their individual place of rendezvous [1].

We all meet God in different places and many of us on a regular basis because we either just feel closer to Him there or we feel anointed at that place. Many of us have even decided to follow Him on the path that He has chosen for us. God has chosen a path and has a purpose for everyone [2].

However, instead of elaborating on story line one, I chose story line number two and decided to defend William P. Young from all the hullabaloo concerning his story, “The Shack.” Sometimes we Christians can be rather mean in defending God through judging man. Number one, God does NOT need defending and two, there is only one judge. That should settle all the hullabaloo. Granted, we are to be ready to give the hope that lies within us for our faith [3] but we are to leave the judging to God [4]. There are only five essential doctrines and a couple two/three secondary doctrines that we should not compromise, but the rest is non-essential and left up to the individual repentant and God [5]. We present the facts, we don’t argue the facts.

It appears that there are many believers who have a problem with William P.’s portrayal of God as a woman. Really!! Even some learned theologians object to this portrayal. Seriously!! Give me a Holy Ghost break.

v28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:28 KJV]

In God’s kingdom Galatians 3:28 says that there is no Hebrew nor Greek, no male or female that we are all one in Christ. God is Spirit [6]. God is all and in all [7]. Many Scriptures defend Galatians 3:28 like 1 Corinthians 6:17 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 just to name a couple. Remember, God created a universe. He can certainly let man see him in any way He wants and that the man needs.

The plot of The Shack was totally metaphorical and came from the mind of a deeply distraught man. When God invited Mackenzie to the shack, God planted in his mind the image of Himself as a woman and not just any woman, but the image of the only person who had ever been nice to him as a child. That woman was his next door neighbor.

William P.’s story of The shack told of one time that Mack’s neighbor offered him a piece of apple pie after a very severe beating from his father (who was a Christian by the way), just moments earlier. This neighbor was a foreshadow of Mack’s meeting with God later in the story. To Mack, NO ONE could have portrayed God as well as his neighbor. It is what Mack needed at that time and God knew that. While Mack was in the Shack, he told God that he expected him to have a beard and all. God then told Mack that he wouldn’t have accepted a Father figure at that moment. Hullabaloo solved.

If Mack had met God as a man, there is no doubt in my mind that Mack would NOT have accepted any further contact and would have left. Case in point, I personally know a relationship/marriage counselor who told me that, without exception, those who had had a bad relationship with their earthly father did NOT relate well with their heavenly Father, and just about across the board, rejected God and were miffed at Him in one degree or another.

Then there is the soft spoken portrayal of the Holy Spirit as a woman. She was compassionate and sensitive as only a woman can be. Oriental women are famous for their soft spoken and subservient nature toward a man. Trained from childhood they know how to take care of a man and how to cater to him. Geisha girls do this quite well [8]. This came through in the movie as the Holy Spirit (the oriental woman) consoled Mack about his pain. It was a beautiful scene and well written.

William’s detractors seem to forget that at the end of the story when it was time for Mack to make an excruciating decision and to man up, we all watched as God portrayed Himself as a man to Mack. God came to Mack as a man. If some of you have not read the book by William P. Young, I have tried hard not to give away any details of the story and spoil things for you. I have only told you about some generalities, that you could probably Google yourself and find out. In fact, I have told you less than you could Google.

William Young presented to us, the movie audience, a great character arc as we all watched Mackenzie Phillips grow spiritually through the most painful and stressful time in his life, probably in anybody’s life. William showed us how God can be everything to us in what we need, when we need it, and the exact time that we need it. He also showed us the grace of God’s own character and how He can heal us through forgiveness and His presence. Forgiveness is the basis of our faith.

For those who have and intend to judge William for a misunderstood and non-essential objection, remember that there is only one judge. Also, do not forget the session that Mackenzie had with “Wisdom” in the cave. Wisdom afforded Mack the opportunity to be judge and he answered his own questions. I also urge you not to forget Psalms 105:15 and 1 Chronicles 16:22, which basically says, “Do not touch my anointed.” However, something amazing happened at that point. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me “Ghost bumps.” Therefore, you’ll have to either read the book or see the movie to learn what happened. (Oh, and yes, Wisdom was another woman.)

I highly recommend this movie especially for those going through severe pain.
__________________________
[1] I would have given you examples of how Adam met God in the Garden, how Abraham had met God at his tent, and how Moses had met God at a bush. I would have also told you how Noah had met God at a boat or how Jeremiah had met God even before the womb, and yet, how Matthew met Him at a tax collector’s booth, and how Paul had met God on a road to Damascus.

I would have mentioned how the thief had met God on the cross, or how Christ Himself had met His God on Calvary’s tree (Matthew 27:46, My God My God, why hast thou forsaken me. Christ knew God as His Father but as the Son of man on the Cross He knew Him as His God). I would have you how I feel anointed when I meet God at the beach. I then would have finally told you of how Mackenzie Phillips had even met God at a shack in the middle of the Oregon woods.
[2] Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
[3] 1 Peter 3:15
[4] James 4:12
[5] Five essential doctrines of the Christian faith
1)The deity of Christ
2)Salvation by grace
3)The resurrection of Christ
4)The Gospel of Jesus Christ
5)Monotheism
Secondary doctrines
1)Virgin birth
2)Jesus is the only way to salvation
3)Doctrine of the trinity
[6] John 4:24
[7] Colossians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:17
[8] Contrary to Shirley MacLaine, Geishas are not prostitutes. Sex was never traditionally a part of the Geisha girls as hostesses.

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