BEING RELEVANT TODAY
Late last year I more or less closed down the blogging because I said I was writing a book. It’s now the new year and I am editing rather than writing the book. And this time it will be published quite soon as befits its material because all being well I am going to put it to the Net - hopefully at the end of February when I should be giving details about this.
The book will be called, Cosmic Father: Spirituality as Relationship and even I couldn’t have imagined when I began it last September just how topical and relevant some of the book’s themes were, not least because I hadn’t then heard of the extraordinary successes of a novel, The Shack. It has shot from self publication, on the Net in '07 to best selling status in the mainstream in no time – already there are 3 million copies in print. There is so much to say about this phenomenon and the contents of the novel I think an article to a magazine might be appropriate. No Blog could do the subject justice.
FROM FALSE PROPHECY TO FICTION AS LIES
I won’t say that Paul Young’s The Shack is bad fiction as such, it’s actually rather well written and absorbing. It’s also poignant and at least in some areas psychologically insightful as it tells the tale of how Mack, (Mackenzie) overcomes the Great Sadness involved with the disappearance and murder of his daughter, Missy.
Overall however I will say that The Shack is one of the most misleading books I have read in a long time – or at least since The Da Vinci Code. The fact that it has taken especially many religious circles by storm with some churches in America distributing it by the crateful says something about the current state of religion. We are looking here at something akin to the false prophecy syndrome I wrote about last year.
There are actually Christians declaring they now understand the doctrine of the Trinity after having read the allegory which this novel mostly is and as such has got itself an overnight status as a modern Pilgrim’s Progress. Please! Clearly the churches haven’t been teaching members the basis and history of Trinitarian doctrine and the derivative heresies, otherwise heresy would have been sooner recognized. But before one tries to absorb the underlying doctrines behind a story which has God the Father as a big African American Momma, the Spirit as a Mongolian woman and Jesus as a bumbling, unhandsome man who can’t catch a fish no matter how hard he tries, one should be wary that this is not a promising scenario any for revelations!
If you can describe Jesus and the Spirit, even in allegorical fantasy, as looking at the central character with stupid grins on their faces, it is questionable what sort of understanding of God the author has and questionable too what sort of faith in believers is being helped and clarified by the allegedly therapeutic, consciousness raising effects of reading the book.
I don’t want to be judgmental but I wouldn’t say either that the author’s rather peculiar background which includes a history of childhood sexual abuse and in adulthood a seriously damaging affair with his wife’s best friend, is the best preparation for conveying the potentially devastating revelations the novel attempts to supply. (Actually it was first intended as a sort of fairy tale for his children who would need to have been rather mature to grasp its meanings!). I regret to be like a spoiler at the feast but I do feel The Shack is really rather dreadful and am concerned there is a whole campaign going on to have this most unexpected of best sellers made into a film.
The tide of deception at all levels that has been such a feature of '07 and '08 bids fair to continue this year and we may all need to love truth a bit more not to get swept away by it. Cuidado!