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Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Gloria Phifer

Spoiler alert!!! If you haven't seen the movie and plan to, you may not want to read my critique. 

I read the book, "The Shack" a number of years ago, when it first came out. 

Now there is a movie. There seems to be a lot of controversy concerning the it scriptural? 

I went to the theater this afternoon. Since I had read the book, I understood the story line. 

It begins with a young boy whose father is a leader in the church; but a violent alcoholic who beats his wife and his son. I am sure this brings up in the boy's mind...if my father is like this...what is God like? If I can't trust my can I trust God?

He marries and has a lovely family. On a camping trip a tragedy happens. 

He is not able to help his family because of his own grief, anger and guilt of not being able to stop what happened. 

His wife calls God "Papa." 

One day, while snow blowing, he finds a note in his mail box. There are no footprints in the snow.

The note asks him to come to the shack and meet "Papa."

The shack is where this terrible thing happened. It is the last place on earth that he wants to go.

As he drives to his destination a truck barely misses him.

Reluctantly, he goes to the shack. It is dirty...disgusting...he hates it. he hates the person who caused the tragedy.He has a pistol. Thinking the man who caused the tragedy will show up.
  As he walks back up the trail...a young Jewish man is walking through the woods and tells the man to follow Him.

The trail becomes beautiful...into spring instead of winter.
(he has been in a winter in his take).

As he returns to the is transformed into a lovely home in the woods. He follows the young Jewish man into 'the shack." A black woman greets him, as if she knows him personally, and is so happy to see him.

There is another woman ( portrayed as a Asian woman). Her name means "Wind." 

(There is a lot of controversy of God being portrayed as a black woman. My take on it was, he did not trust his father and he wasn't ready to see God, The Father, as Papa.)

The man asks the black woman many hard questions. Where was God when the tragedy happened? Why wasn't it prevented?

She says he really doesn't know her. he is seeing her through his pain. (he is seeing God through his pain and he is angry at God.)

When she reaches out to him there is a nail scar in her wrist.  

(God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.)

The Asian woman (who is portrayed as The Holy Spirit) leads the man into a garden that is a mess... it is wild and beautiful. She begins working on the garden and he helps her in digging. he finds a "bitter root." ( my take...he has a bitter root within him that needs healed.) She then she tells him that the garden is him...his life. 

When the man is with the Jewish man...the man says to him, "I feel more comfortable with you." (This Jewish man also has scars in his wrists. )
 The Jewish man tells him he will meet him at the lake, that he can take the canoe out if he wants to.  The boat begins to rock...the water turns black...the boat is splitting apart and the dark water is coming in. The Jewish man appears on the water..."This  is not is what is inside of you. Turn your eyes on Me away from the boat. " When the man looks at The Jewish Man the boat is fine. (My take...his own life is falling apart because of the dark pain he is destroying him...He must look to Jesus to be saved.)

One great part is when the Jewish man and he runs across the water together. 

The Jewish man takes him to a path that goes upward and tells him to keep on going. the man climbs up and pushes against the stone and the wall of stone opens into a dark room. There is one light shining on a woman on a throne. She says, she is wisdom. They talk about judgment...she asks him if he wants to be the judge and yes, he wants to. He sees flashes of a little boy being abused. The man says, "I can't judge him, he is a child." Wisdom says to him, "That child is your father." His two children stand before him and wisdom tells him of their faults and asks him to judge them...The man says no "take me in their place."  (Jesus gave Himself on the cross for us and took our judgement.)

There is a waterfall. He looks out and sees his little girl who has died (the tragedy). she is playing with other children and with The Jewish Man. She runs toward him. He puts his hands to his heart. She is alive...she is happy...she knows he is there...she throws him a kiss. He is assured that she is more than alright.

His heart is softening. he is crying more. 

There is a scene where he forgives his dad.

He wakes up the next morning. Papa is no longer a black woman, Papa is a man.(My take on this is, now that he has forgiven his dad he is ready to see God as "Papa" his Heavenly Father.

   Papa is going to take him to the hardest place.
That place is "forgiveness." he must forgive the man who killed his daughter (the tragedy). Papa says he will help him. The man must begin by saying he forgives. he finally gets the words out. Papa says he may have to say it 1,000 times before he feels it.

They go up into the mountain, where they find the body of his daughter hidden in some rocks. Papa helps him wrap her in linen. there is a burial service with all of them there...she is buried in the garden (the garden of his heart). The Asian woman, who has been collecting the man's tears...anoints the grave with oil and then with his tears and flowers bloom. Shooting up from the ground is a tree, which grows and spreads out before them. (My take is the tree of life grew in his garden.) he has had closure.

Now he is told he can stay with them or he can return to his family. He is also told that he is very valuable; everything he does affects others. 

he decides to go back to his family. He enters the car...begins driving and the truck (from before) slams into his vehicle.

He awakens in the hospital...his friend tells the man he never made it to the shack...he has been in the hospital the whole time. 

He ends up ministering to his family. He believes in God and trusts God.

It is an interesting film...Have to remember it is a allegory. 

There is a Trinity. God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God wants a relationship with each one of us. Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life no one comes to The Father except through Him.

God is a God of judgement. The Bible talks about His wrath against evil. Jesus took God's wrath and judgment on Himself when He died on the cross...our judgement. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we are saved from wrath and judgment. Isaiah 52 and 53.

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