The Shack: A Second Look and a spiritual barometer


Many years ago when the Shack Wm. Paul Young was first released, I gave a scathing Good Reads review of the book. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what all the fuss was and for the life of me, I could not get past the ridiculous image of God as Aunt Gemima. (the image I had conjured when first reading the book)

That was then and this is now, 10 years forward and I am in a completely different place than I was back then. Despite my refusal to even finish reading the book, I actually have been looking forward to seeing the movie and took the opportunity to do so recently.

My worldview has expanded so much from the time I read the book when it was first released. My scathing criticism of the book is almost an embarrassment for me now. I am actually shocked by the level of growth my mind has experienced since I first read the book.

My regular readers know that I was raised catholic but consider myself mostly an agnostic or the ever popular; “Spiritual but not religious” now. Back then, when the book was first released, I considered myself as close to an athiest can be who was once a catholic and still lived with catholic fear and guilt, so I was afraid to use the word Athiest and felt more comfortable with the word agnostic.. just in case.

Fast forward to this past weekend, I had some free time and I was sitting at home alone flipping through the channels when I saw the movie was on pay-per-view. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to watch it. As I said, my world view has changed so much in the past 2 decades, I was interested in finding out if my impression of the movie had changed from my scathing book critique.

I was not disappointed. I am really glad I decided to give it another chance. There were so many messages in this movie (and book) that I overlooked because I could not let my current view of the world believe something that was different from my own beliefs and values.

Now, firmly rooted in my spirituality, I was able to watch the movie, without being offended by pieces of the script that did not jive with my own reality and beliefs.

The most powerful message for me was that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were presented as three different entities, yet the same. While this was familiar with the catholic values I grew up with, it also gave me a way to perceive the Holy Trinity which fits into my view as the Body, Mind and Soul and spirituality for me is rooted in balance between the three. Since I have been addressing this idea a lot lately in my Reflections from A Course in Miracles Series, I felt much more at ease with the movie invoking on the names of my childhood religion.

I have come to realize that it really does not matter what your religion or spirituality because the metaphors embedded in all of them are the same, be good to people, treat them as you would like to be treated,  Love, Forgive, live in the present and do not be fearful of your own life and be grateful!

This story addressed these core philosophies beautifully. I am glad that my spiritual journey has allowed me to grow enough to recognize the value of the story this time.

They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears, I guess I have made some significant progress in my spiritual journey in the past decade since the book was released. This has been a fabulous realization for me, kind of a marker of success. Of course, I do not mean to imply that there is a prize for Most Improved Spiritual Aptitude or anything, but I mean, I can see my own progress, how far I have come.

If you tried reading The Shack before, without much success, like I, I encourage you to give the movie a shot. I personally intend to go back and try the book again because the books are always much deeper and rich than the movie can convey.  Now that I realize I can be comfortable with the ideas, unlike ten years ago, I look forward to re-reading. I was such a horrible critic of the book before, reading my review from ten years ago shows my ignorance and the progression of my journey and that is one of my favorite moments this week, being able to look back and see the progress of my journey. Maybe this should be my next Reflections Series Selection. Woah!