Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter's Push, One Busy Kid and Thoughts on The Shack

David Crowder, Come Awake,

Our newly laid concrete driveway is raising up under the stress of winter weather. It used to be that when I'd drive into the garage it was a smooth transition between the driveway and the garage floor. I noticed yesterday that there was a bump as I drove in. I got out to look and sure enough, the driveway is nearly an inch higher than the garage floor. Having rebar encased within the cement should help the stressed area to raise together and minimize the chances for cracking but I know what they say about concrete driveways; there are those that have cracked and those that will. Still, I was hoping to get a few years out of it before I have to look at any cracks.

Rachel has been a bit overwhelmed this past week by the demands of both school and work. She teaches dance at the studio where she takes instruction and she's been asked to do more than she bargained for since one of the other instructors has been away with some health issues. Rachel loves to teach but they've also got her doing choreography on her own time and she has very little spare time to begin with. I asked her if they're paying her for the hours spent at home selecting music and working on the new dance routines. She said they weren't. I told her that she really needs to be compensated for that but she's reluctant to say anything because she wants to see the studio succeed and them paying her more reduces the chances of Brenda's School of Dance being a success. She's too nice sometimes.

I admire her dedication but more important than what she is or isn't being paid for is the toll it's taking on her schedule. She's so busy as it is. She didn't get home until after 11:00 last night because she was working on an assignment with her lab partners in science class. Her day today began at 5:30 and she won't be home tonight until after 9:00 when Mock Trial competition ends.

Tammy put in a call today to the woman who runs the dance studio to tell her that they need to reduce the demands they're placing on her. I know Rachel won't be happy about that but it needs to be done.

I read a book this week called The Shack. It's been out for a year but I'd only just recently heard about it when our lead pastor at church mentioned it. I remember he said that it was controversial and if I'm not mistaken he also recommended it. I bought it for Tammy for her birthday but since she's already involved in another book I decided to pick it up.

It's the story of a father (Mack) who loses his six year old daughter to the deranged hands of a serial killer. The story revolves around the Great Sadness Mack sinks into as well as his strained relationship with God. He goes to the mailbox one day several years after his daughter's murder and finds a note inviting him to go to the shack in Oregon where his daughter was killed and to meet the person who wrote the note there. The note was signed by Papa, the name Mack's wife uses for God.

Mack goes to the shack and has an encounter with God. The book delves into some of the deeper questions that God believing people face such as why does God allow suffering and tragedy. It also speaks a good deal about forgiveness. For people struggling with these issues The Shack is an excellent place to find understanding.

I enjoyed the book very much.

To fundamentalist Christians the story lacks in biblical doctrine such as the author's interpretation of the Trinity; the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God appears to Mack as a large black woman. I sort of picture either Aunt Jemima or Whoopie Goldberg. Jesus is a middle eastern man with a large nose and the Holy Spirit is a wispy woman of Asian descent. There is no hierarchy between the three as there should be according to doctrine. Throughout the story Mack has conversations with each of these beings as they impart their wisdom to him.

I'm not going to criticize the book because I think that it offers much in the way of visualizing what a relationship with God might look like and that's a good thing. What it lacks in biblical doctrine it more than makes up for in actually addressing some very deep and real issues which are seldom talked about and if they are they're glossed over and left as unanswerable questions of this world.

I'm not a new age Christian and I'm not a part of the emergent church nor am I easily hoodwinked into buying whatever the traveling snake-oil salesman is offering. Okay, I actually did sign up as a Nuskin distributor in the early '90s but I was young and gullible.

Read the book and decide for yourself. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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