A.The Shack – a personal summary

Mack had had enough of theology and philosophy – he was a thinker and doer with a love/hate relationship with religion. How could God be so mean? We all have questions. Violence doesn’t solve problems! He needed some answers! Driving into the Great Sadness!
The Shack seemed to transform itself into an evil face! Blind rage! Anger and hatred!
“You’ve never been around when I’ve needed you – the thought of suicide – tired of trying to find God – a weary old man!
The scene changed – Mack was going to bang angrily on the door – but he was greeted and lifted off the ground in a big hug! Papa enjoys cooking and gardening – like the other two!

A piece of II
A great gulf between Papa and Mack – we don’t understand Papa’s love. “If you let me I’ll be the Papa you never had”. The need to get the head issues out of the way first – it makes the heart stuff easier to work on – but it takes time.
When Creation was broken – a major absence of fathering – freedom is an incremental process within a relationship – hindered by our own experiences. The Truth (Jesus) will set you free within that relationship! All the stuff we feel churning around inside will start to work its way out!
Father never left Jesus! We have been created to be loved – the pain of the cross wasn’t the end of the story! Living unloved is like a bird with clipped wings – pain clips our wings!
When Adam went his own way God embraced the limitations of being human!
Emmanuel – God with us! Jesus lived out his relationship with Papa just as we can – the first to trust Papa absolutely! Jesus had no power within himself to heal anyone! Father cannot act apart from love!
A two-way relationship – the right kind of fear and faith are synonymous. Fear is the beginning of wisdom – when we trust Him and run into his arms – and can then reach out to others in love!
How might I be a sounding board for some going through the healing process in the room of grace?

God on the Dock
Jesus dropped the bowl and broke it! A blameless act?
When playing with a child we choose to limit ourselves in order to facilitate that relationship! How much further does Papa go? He appreciates and loves us all – without having any favourites!
How can we appreciate the simple, warm and intimate love?
Why have we been drawn away from an appreciation of the wastefulness of Creation – the beauty and wonder of all around us (that man hasn’t ruined)? What place laughter, music, fun and hugs?
Why should we feel guilty about enjoying ourselves?
Gal 3 – Did you receive the Spirit by trying to keep the Law or by believing the message of the gospel? Holiness = set apart for a purpose – if we allow Jesus to live his life in us!
What place cooking (and serving the meal – and feeding the hungry) and gardening? Both are artistic and take time.
It’s not a shame to fail – it’s just inconvenient. Perfect = mature and complete.
Remember that Jesus was human – those around him were surprised at who he later claimed to be!
What is sin? Moral shortcomings?

A Breakfast of Champions
Papa will get mad – just like any parent when they see wrong choices being made – but anger is always an expression of love. Beware of preconceived ideas – sin is its own punishment – devouring you from the inside. Papa’s purpose is not to punish, but it’s his joy to cure!
Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit seen as a circle of relationship, not a chain of command!
Once you have a hierarchy you need rules to protect and administer it – law and enforcement of the rules – a chain of command that destroys relationships! People become objects to be manipulated or managed for their own happiness – an excuse by the strong to make others conform! The importance of the system or the institution! Papa is waiting for us to join their circle of love!
The problem of pain – many reasons to allow pain and suffering rather than eradicate them!
We try to make sense of the world in which we live based on a very incomplete picture of reality!
So many are addicted to power or the illusion of security that power offers!
Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved – but unless you know that you are loved the trust will not be there! It is only when we recognise that we have already been redeemed!

A Long Time Ago, in a Garden Far, Far Away
We are so blind to our place in creation because we have chosen the path of independence – there are so many wonders to be discovered!
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil – divorcing the spiritual from the physical.
Evil as the absence of good; darkness as the absence of light; death as the absence of life!
There is no future in independence. Jesus was totally dependent – submission!

Wade in the Water
For most people any imagination of the future is usually directed to fear of some kind – our attempt to maintain some control! Most men find fulfilment in achievements (usually based on knowledge?), while women find it in relationships. Women tend to look to men to meet their needs and provide their security, while men tend to turn to themselves and the ground (instead of equal and powerful counterparts).
Just like love, submission is not something we can do on our own!
It is wrong to ask, “What would Jesus do?” – the life of Jesus was not meant to be an example to copy. Following Jesus involves the killing of our own independence – letting Papa live his life in us as we begin to see with his eyes, to hear with his ears, and to think as he thinks!
Jesus dwells with us in the present – and will in the future if we let him. Why dwell in the past? If we can recognise that we are loved and forgiven we will be able to stop worrying about tomorrow.
“I will not cease to uphold and sustain you”
We seldom learn from the experiences of others!

Here Come Da Judge
Much of our love for others is very conditional. Who are we to judge others? We don’t know the full backgrounds! What about men who beat their wives or who prey on innocent little girls? What about their fathers? The legacy of brokenness goes back to Adam – but why stop there?
Mankind demanded independence and then complains that the world is lost in darkness and chaos!
Papa has chosen the way of the cross where mercy triumphs over justice because of love.
Judgment is not about destruction, but about setting things right!
Papa has never needed evil to accomplish his good purposes – the need return from our independence and embrace Papa’s love in the midst of pain! It is the recognition of our need for help that can be the start of our journey home! This life is only a training ground.
If people are on the performance treadmill they spend a significant amount of time judging themselves and others – it gives them their internal values. We tend to judge others based on our strengths.
What is the difference between judgment and discernment? Discernment is a spiritual quality! The fruit of judgment is condemnation; the fruit of discernment is conviction. Papa doesn’t condemn but often convicts!
To what extent are we responsible for others?
No need for excuses – your friends don’t need them and your enemies won’t believe them!

In the Belly of the Beasts
We grow up on the outside – but sometimes, as a kid trying to survive it’s safer with the crap on the inside. We need to learn to live loved – and that takes time – sometimes a long time – the need for dialogue and the sharing of the journey! The soil has to be prepared before it can embrace the seed!
The building of the real church (the ecclesia) is a mystery that we can’t begin to understand. Unfortunately much that is done in Jesus’ name is contrary to his purposes!
The creation of institutions is an occupation for those who want to play God!
Marriage is not an institution – it is a relationship!
It is the trinity of religion, politics and economics that prop up the illusions of security and control!
It is not our job to change others or convince them. That is Jesus’ job!
We are free to love and serve others without an agenda! We have the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and move freely between and among them.
Who said anything about being a Christian? “I have no desire to make people Christians, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved”.
Do all roads lead to Jesus? Most roads don’t lead anywhere!
To have only a ‘head knowledge’ relationship with God is a very complicated and arduous endeavour, partly because the ideas and influences keep changing. The world seems to take children and make adults out of them and then the Spirit enters their lives with the intent of making children of them again – a healthy child lives in wonder, fun and creativity.
Independence leads to performance, leads to complexity (Paul Young)
It’s easy to make the simple complex, but to make the complex simple requires much wisdom – less speaking – more listening – attached to the vine and relaxed!

A Meeting of Hearts
Jesus came to show people who Papa is, and most people only believe it about him! Life is full of building blocks – it’s all about building bridges – not about feeling guilty! Guilt never leads to freedom! Lies are often the easy way out from dealing with the emotions we might encounter. There are times when we need to face the fears of coming out of the dark and asking for forgiveness. Life is real enough, without having to be obscured by lies!
How often have we tried to lock the door of our hearts from the inside?
Evil flows from independence – independence is a choice – without choice love would have no meaning – love that is forced is no love at all!
Creation and history is all about Jesus. Papa put all their eggs in one basket – there is no plan B!
Reconciliation is a two way street and Papa has done their part! The way of love has been opened!

Verbs and Other Freedoms
Paradigms power perception, and perceptions power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception – what we think is true about a given situation. If the perception is false the emotional response will be false. The need to check the truthfulness of our paradigms! What do we really believe? Head knowledge or heart awareness?
Relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart and they will never love you! Rules never bring freedom!
Beware of expectations! Expectancy has no concrete definition – it is alive and dynamic – a unique gift shared with nobody else. Responsibilities and expectations are the basis of guilt, shame and judgment – the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value!

A Festival of Friends
The wonders of nature – each relationship is unique.
Seeing Missy!

A Morning of Sorrows
The importance of forgiveness – real forgiveness from the heart is not possible without a cost!
We have to let go of another person’s throat! We need to be able to release others and leave them in Papa’s hands. Forgiveness doesn’t establish a relationship – we don’t have to pretend that something didn’t happen, and we don’t have to trust the one who has been forgiven – but remember the forgiveness of Jesus on the cross! The debt had been removed! Choosing to forgive someone is an act of love – even if they are unable to acknowledge it. Remember that we really don’t know what it was that made them what they are! But there are times when we need to let it all out! It’s OK to be angry, but don’t let the anger and pain and loss we feel prevent us from forgiving, even if it takes a long time. Don’t underestimate the value of tears – water for the tree of life! Everything we do is important!

Choices of the Heart
The tear that became the tree of life growing in the garden of our heart. The glass of wine and the loaf of bread, and the promise to always be with us.
Every time we forgive, the universe changes; every time we reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes!
Outward Ripples
It had seemed strange to Mack that the accident had happened immediately after spending a weekend with God – wasn’t there something about the random chaos of life? Then he heard Nan say that the accident had happened on Friday night! Nan believed him, and Kate was reconciled. Mack and Nan visited the site with Tommy about a month later. On the return journey Tommy listened to the story with a new openness! Mack has become the child he was never allowed to be, abiding in simple trust and wonder. He embraces even the darker shades of life as part of some incredibly rich and profound tapestry. If anything matters, then everything matters!
And one day when all is revealed, every one of us will bow our knee and confess in the power of Sarayu that Jesus is the Lord of all Creation, to the glory of Papa!

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