My wife and I, with some friends, saw “The Shack” last night.
Paul Young telescoped his 10 year journey of spiritual recovery into a parabolic weekend experience with the Trinity.
The movie pictures this weekend in 2 hours.
What I appreciate is the joyous interaction among the participants in this loving dance, the serious dialogue between Mack and the Trinity, and the hopefulness that does not dismiss pain.
What I fear is that if one only sees the movie, without reading the novel, the dialogue will sometimes seem superficial. A movie cannot capture the depth of the theological dialogue in the novel anymore than a novel (parable) can capture the depth of a 10 year journey.
Spiritual recovery, just as our journey with God, is always a process, and it needs time and depth in order to fully blossom. A movie may jump-start that journey but it cannot carry it, nor can a novel (though it can move it along), and even 10 years is insufficient. We are all on this journey, and this is a story (whether movie, novel, or Young’s own personal testimony) that can enrich everyone who takes time and energy to watch, read, and listen.
The movie introduces key themes important for spiritual recovery: anger, lament, forgiveness, companionship, accountability, compassion, hope, and love.
It is a good start for a conversation, and the conversation will inevitably probe more deeply than any movie is able to do.
May God have mercy on all who face their shacks, are willing to enter them, and meet God there.
For those interested, I interact with the Shack in my own personal story here.