Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Shack

I realized lately that I haven't been blogging as often as I'd like. Life has gotten very very busy. This is what I would call my "busy season" at work. We start in early January and go straight for 5 months without a break until the end of May. So I feel smack dab in the middle of all the craziness.


I wanted to share with you all about last Saturday night. I had the awesome opportunity to hear William Paul Young speak. He is the author of The Shack. Which if you haven't read yet, I fully recommend. It is causing some controversy, and I totally understand why. But I guess it's good to just remember that it's not the bible. Yes, it's based on biblical principles, but it's fiction. And it will rock your thoughts on God.

I just finished the book that day, so everything was still fresh in my mind. I brought my book, a notebook, and a pen. The church was packed! It was great to see so many faces. Our head pastor came out and introduced "Paul" as he likes to be called. And then began two hours of amazingness.

I feel like even trying to capture what he shared and type it on here would not be doing him justice. He was incredible. He was vulnerable, funny, insightful, tearful, and kind. He shared his story growing up as the son of a missionary couple (who were too busy doing "God's work" to take care of him) in New Guinea. From 10 and a half months old till 10 years old, he lived among a tribe that was known for their cannibalism, witch doctors, ritual sexual abuse practices (he was raped by the village men constantly from age 4-6 and a half, ultimately becoming a predator himself at age 6 - he didn't know any different), spirit worship, and so much more. It broke my heart. His tragic childhood caused him to lead a destructive life as an adult.

In 1994, his wife found out he was having an affair with her best friend. Things finally caught up to him, she said she would never trust him again, he became suicidal, and his "Great Sadness" began (If you've read the book, he brings that phrase up a lot). His Great Sadness lasted for 11 years. He worked with a Christian counselor who helped him with his healing process.

In 2004, his wife told him he should write a story (about what he learned) for their 6 children. So he did. He wrote The Shack for his kids. He even said to us, "Please don't take this the wrong way, but I didn't write this for you (meaning us in the audience). I wrote it for my kids. I had no idea that it would become what it did. I wasn't an author. I just wrote a book for my children." And then with a smile he added, "I didn't know that a couple years later it would be dissected by a thousand theologians."

I have a video clip I took with my digital camera during the Q and A time. He was talking about Jesus on the cross crying out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

This part blew my mind. I had never thought about it before. You've probably heard it said that Jesus has experienced everything we have, so it is comforting when we go to him with our struggles because he has been there. But this was one part of being human I never realized Jesus experienced: feeling like God has abandoned us.

I bet all of us have had those times in our lives. "Where ARE you, God? I feel so far away from you. I feel like you don't even care." Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. So even though he KNEW that his Father was with him, as a human he also experienced what it felt like to feel so far from the Father. "My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?"

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this.

I heard through the grapevine that the church might post the session on MP3 or something like that. If they do, I will post the link on my blog. I would LOVE for you to listen to it and hear what you think.


Emily Bertholic said...

Incredible book, yes! I read it last year. Though I know it is fiction, it made me reevaluate the way I view God and the way I pray. A few chapters in particular were especially poignant. Can't wait to read your blog on it to see if the same places affected you, too!

Jody said...

I can't wait to read it. Thank you for my present!

Jody said...

Actually I started reading it already, and so far so good