Monday, June 9, 2008

"The Shack" by William Young

The Shack by William Young is a literary phenomenon as of late. I've heard a wide range of views on the book, so I decided I'm going to go on ahead and read it myself. I must admit that I have some reservations about the theology of this book. At first, when I heard about it, I thought, "what's the big fuss? Why do people always get so worked up over something a little different?" But the more I've heard, the more I'm suspicious that there is more than just a different perspective. As terribly unpopular as this might sound, right thinking about God is essential. Bad theology wrapped in pathos changes minds for the worse.

I don't deem myself some keeper of the faith. I am no fundamentalist, yet I believe the scriptures are the inerrant word of God. I believe it's the primary source of God's revelation to humanity. I also believe that God speaks in multitudes of ways through people, vision, dreams, revelations, and day to day circumstance. I have no problem with this, and I have no fear of experience. As a matter of fact I think experience is essential to acquire biblical knowledge.

However, I am deeply concerned about the corrosion of thought within our entertainment saturated culture. Fact and fiction have blurred together. The news is reported by entertainment conglomerates. What we see is what we believe. Critical thinking is less common, and therefore most everything is accepted as true. It all looks real in our virtual world. It feels so real. Therefore, it must be real. As a matter of fact, what's real is boring and so we turn to our visual techno entertainment "realities." Our productions of art that supposedly represent the world but in fact have enslaved the world to mimicking and loving the art more than the reality...

These might not seem like theological concerns, and honestly it's this social reality that concerns me more than any other. The postmodern departure from a logo-centric world has left the church with a dangerous propensity to abandon the true master narrative for lesser stories that sound so good. Stories like this one by Young might grab our hearts and ring "true" in our souls. But we forget how convoluted our world has become with the simulation of fact to create fiction to create fact to create fiction to create fact...

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