Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't Sacrifice the 'Real' for the 'Right'

Ok...I know sound theology is important. We need a concise theological base from which to form the foundation of our spiritual journey, our understanding of God and how that gets translated in real life. I get that.

But down with those who would sell their firstborn children in order to defend that dogma - those who would sacrifice all of their joy and destroy the joy of everyone else just to uphold some lofty ideal.

Why am I so annoyed right now about this particular subject? I am glad you asked!

Recently, I read 'The Shack' by William Young. It took me a few chapters to get into the story but by mid chapter 3 or so, I was hooked. And I know some of the concepts are controversial and some would even say disrespectful to God, but I have to be honest. The insights in the book about God and who he is and how he operates as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - very thought provoking. I found myself laughing, crying, and sometimes both throughout the story.

I posted a status on my Facebook when I was finished that simply said 'Just finished reading 'The Shack"...no words.'

Well, that prompted a flurry of comments, the most annoying one being a from a pastor who shared that he had read the book because so many of his church people were reading it and he was worried because it contained such bad theology. My first thought was, "what kind of self righteous, narrow minded comment is that?" But eventually I softened a little. I'm sure he meant well. But I need to point out, it isn't a theological book - it's a fictional novel. It doesn't teach theology it portrays an idea of God and who He is - not for scholarly scrutiny but for personal connection. I have to tell you, in that moment, it took everything in me not to snap back with a derogatory comment...rather I'm venting here.

For the love of God, don't get so caught up in the 'right' that you miss the real. Don't become so religious that you fail to really relate to the God who loves you, who became like you through Jesus and who comes alongside you in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I can honestly say that looking at God through the lens of this book has deepened my perspective when it comes to a relationship with God. Is everything the author portrays theologically sound and correct? No. But the way he portrays God's love for us and his relationship to us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit has forever changed the way I think about God and my perception of what he thinks of me and how he feels about me.

If you haven't read the book - do it...with an open heart and mind. And don't worry about the theology...just let it connect with your heart.

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