I must have had several brethren asked me if I’d either seen The Shack or if I planned on seeing it this past Sunday. Well, “no,” to both, but not for the reasons one might think. Rather than seeing The Shack over the weekend, a friend and I took my son to see Lego Batman and then we later returned to watch Logan.
I recall people asking me to read The Shack back when it came out as a book, and after asking what it was about, I just wasn’t that interested. It didn’t seem like the sort of book, and now movie, that I’d care to read or see. It has nothing to do with the mixed reviews I’ve been given. Some have spoken about how helpful it has been to their Christian faith while others have highlighted each and every theological fault it has. This genre of literature and cinema doesn’t intrigue me. I’ve also not read Heaven is For Real or A Purpose Driven Life.
No movie can ever do justice to the Bible. However, a film can serve the function of a modern parable and be helpful towards the same end as the parables of Christ. The only difference is that a movie isn’t divinely inspired while Jesus’ parables were, but that doesn’t mean that a film can’t be helpful. I’ve found Fireproof, Courageous, and To Save a Life to be very helpful movies about faith and life. Have there been things wrong with each of them? Yes, but I’ve chosen to focus on what was good about them, much like how I hope God focuses on my heart and not my failures. Humans, for centuries, have sought to unite faith and artistic expression either through acting, singing, or writing. If there’s any flaw with them, it’s because flawed individuals created them with good intentions in mind.
Christians, for centuries, have sought to unite faith and artistic expression either through acting, singing, or writing. If there’s any flaw with them, it’s because flawed individuals created them, but with good intentions in mind. There were early Christian epics, poetry, and other such expressions. Dostoevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world.” Solzhenitsyn’s Noble lecture noted in this quote that art and literature might be able to help the world today. This isn’t to say that The Shack is of the same caliber as, say, Milton’s Paradise Lost or Homer’s Odyssey. The Shack is an attempt to bring a powerful message to people, and at the center of that message is a bit of clarity, so I’ve been told, about God and creation.
To the point about this being helpful to one’s faith, I can’t begin to enumerate the many non-Scriptural books that have been so useful to me. Many, if you look at my “Books That Have Influenced Me” tab, have been formative of who I am. Therefore, I’m all for reading, watching, and doing what might help me draw closer to Jesus as long as it doesn’t violate any Christian teaching. I’m glad that so many have found an aid that causes them to love Jesus more, no matter how flawed it is. Once they draw closer to Jesus through the defective, they’ll be able, I hope, to appreciate the Perfect God.