Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Shack Annotated discussion guide,

Chapter 6
88 “Well Mackenzie, don’t just stand there with your mouth open like your pants are full”. How does the earthy talk coming from God affect you? The story?
A At first it made me uncomfortable. My God box is so small some words are absolutely forbidden and a lot of words seem out of place. I was raised in an ultra strict home when it came to anything that my parents considered crude language, which was just about everything There were certain OT words we deliberately ignored, translated or mispronounced. We were greatly relieved when the NIV traded Balaam’s ass for a donkey. To bad the NIV couldn’t do something about his home town of Shittim or the plant of the same name. I do not have the freedom to use anything crude and I am not going to look for it. I will just try to stop judging another’s freedom.
89 Is the real Holy Spirit full of surprises with perfect timing? Explain
A the Holy Spirit seems to never show up when requested but is never late either. He shows up in the oddest places at the oddest times with exactly what was needed for the situation. He is seldom predictable, but can be expected to do what only he can do, on time every time
Jesus had just told Mack he was free to do what ever he wanted and Mack volunteered feeling obligated to talk to Papa. Jesus instructs: “Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points here. Go because it’s what you want to do”. What is the message here?
A Mack went to the Shack for the purpose of talking to God and Jesus knew that. Jesus freed him to do what down deep he wanted to do the most. Talk to God. Oswald Chambers said What causes you to say “I will not obey” is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. THE MOST PROFOUND THING IN A PERSON IS HIS WILL, NOT SIN. Oct-6 Because Christ indwells us we are stronger than the grip of sin.
Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. The closer we are to God, the more we can do what we really want to do.

90 How does the creator value things given?
How can Papa listen to music from a band that has not been born yet?
One of the benefits of living in the eternal present. He created time and is not controlled by it.
What does this mean in relation to how Papa might view all of life’s experiences?
There is a sense in which because God literally indwells us, he experiences life through us as we experience it. Certainly he would view it differently but there is a level of participation here. When I am in awe of a beautiful sunset or a thunder bolt or the cry of my grand daughter I experience something special that I can share and worship God in the experience. He too is a participant.
How is time different for us?
91 Would God really value all kinds of music? Why?
Why was Mack uncomfortable with Papa manifesting as a woman? Why did Papa manifest that way?
92 “If you will let me Mack, I will be the Papa you never had”. How much does our earthly fathers effect how we view our heavenly father?
“If you couldn’t take care of Missy, how can I trust you to take care of me?” In the back of Mack’s mind would he also wonder why God did not rescue him as a boy too?
A Because of our incorrect view of God’s love, Satan will try to tie together the rejections and disappointments of life into one colossal lie: God does not, nor did he ever love you…It is easy to tie it all together and get us to believing it.
Why does God allow the great gulfs that separate us from Him?
A So we can freely chose to come to and love him.
Do all God’s children have wounds at some point in life that God needs to heal? Does anyone escape?
A Only those like Missy to die very young.
“Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship”. In your life, does relationship really triumph over answers?
A Many of the criticisms that have come to me because of my high regard for The Shack, or any other doctrinal issue for that matter, have put right answers over relationship. Frankly, I really don’t care if you agree or not as long as I know you love me. If I am wrong I am sure God is wise enough to correct me. I no longer feel the need to keep everyone straight! That is quite freeing for my relationships. And yes, people do sin, big time sometimes, and I can still love them because God does.
93 What are the “head issues” that must be gotten out of the way that makes the heart issues easier to work on?
A The head issues are the religious conditioning, ritual, institutionalism, right answers, correct doctrine, best theology, religious clichés that have no understanding, hierarchy, authority, practice, preference, rules, legalism, denominations, attitudes, expectations, assumptions, history, stereotypes , and anything else that is religious without relationship.
Is a relationship a head issue or a heart issue or some combination of both? Explain.
A Typically we “ask Jesus into our heart” as a head issue that promises a relationship that never grows. Josh Mc Dowell (Evidence that Demands a verdict; More than a Carpenter) argues “my heart cannot accept what my mind rejects”. Clearly there must be some basic understanding of WHO God is and what he is offering. This is where imagery clashes with revelation. When the head understands that God is offering a personal relationship and his love and forgiveness the heart can rejoice in an informed decision.
Why is Papa depicted as a woman?
A Simply to break up the stereotype and get Mack thinking about who God really is as revealed in scripture Many of the criticisms of the Shack ignore this explaination.
How big a part of the average Christian’s life is religious conditioning compared to genuine relationship?
A Experience strongly suggests that most people who practice the faith have no idea of why they do anything they do. The relationship offered has been reduced to rule, regulations and ritual. Worship feeling centered, Prayer is a wish list or therapy, struggles abound with guilt, there is little sense of freedom and not indication of an actual relationship with the Loving God of the Universe. Trust is simply a code word for conduct and rule keeping, faith is absent of true hope. Life is lived in a bondage Houdini couldn’t escape and the believer is consigned to live a life that is anything but free.
List all the religious (or non religious) stereotypes of God you have heard of. Which are the most accurate?
94 If God is not male or female, why is he presented as Father in the Bible? Is his feminine side ever shown?
Agree or disagree: God is neither male or female because gender is part of creation and God is above and beyond creation but it is contained in him.
Does God’s prior knowledge of any matter affect our freedom to choose?
A When I see you reach for the light switch I know the light is going to come on, but I am not turning it on or are you?.
95 What are the limiting influences of life that limit freedom?
A Health, wealth, age, ability, IQ, opportunity, race, religion, politics, environmental factors etc. Life itself imposes limits.
Why can’t freedom be forced?
A Logically it would not then be freedom.
How is a person ever truly free?
Where does freedom happen? Why there?
A Freedom is a process that happens inside our relationship with Jesus. We are free only there because he removed all the barriers and penalties caused by our sins.
Why did Papa have scars on her wrist to match the one’s on Jesus’ wrists?
A Don’t forget this is fiction: God has no body, he is spirit. Theoretically if he had a body it would have the same scars as Jesus. The point is the Union of the father and son. Whatever Jesus experienced, God did. In a similar way, when god indwells us he experiences what we experience in a way I do not understand. What I do understand is he really knows exactly how I feel and why I feel that way.
Col 1: 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
96 “Love always leaves a significant mark”. What kinds of marks does love leave?
A Healing marks, not wounds. Fruit of the spirit stuff.
Was Jesus alone on the cross, forsaken? Was that in his humanity only?
A Some deep thinkers are going to get really skittish here trying to make certain we understand the exact nature of the incarnation and the nuances of the inter-relationship of the flesh and the spirit. The point is simple, The father and son cannot be separated in essence. “the Son can do nothing of Himself …” (
John 5:19) I’m going to avoid the heavy theology of who is “righter” here and accept with Joy that though Jesus felt forsaken, the father was there as a participant according to the eternal plan. I will never be forsaken either. Make every effort here to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Some people will REALLY get pushy here. Just love them and smile!
Wayne Jacobsen explains this really well in He Loves Me, Pg 140-141. He looks at the original reference Jesus quoted from in the Messianic Psalm 22 showing that even though David FELT forsaken, he knew he was not forsaken ending with “yet he has not hidden his face from him but listened to his cry for help. What Jesus felt at the time is arguable, what he knew is written for us. He knew that God could not and would not leave him. It was right there in the scripture.
“Mackenzie I never left him, I never left you”. What is the message and point here?
A Since the believer is indwelt by God as a miracle of the new birth, it is impossible for God to ever leave or forsake us. It is possible to feel alone when we are not alone.
“When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me?” What did Papa mean?
A There can be an instant during Labor that a mother in pain may lose sight of the purpose. When she looks at her baby, the pain is forgotten and the blessing begins.
How did Jesus put himself completely in God’s hands? How do we?A Wayne Jacobson’s HE LOVES ME is (I think) the foundation for the Shack here. It is advertized in the back of the Shack and is worthwhile for understanding better the nature of the trinity and what happened on the Cross. The other book, So you don’t want to go to church anymore? Likely

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