“Our Savior kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, “I can clean that if you want.” And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes away our sin.”
― Max Lucado,
Our lives are influenced, enhanced and affected by so many people. Some of them we know well, some…not so much. In my life one person that I had the honor of knowing to some degree was Brennan Manning, and his impact lingers still.
For whatever reason, I came across a review i wrote on his book, “The Furious Longing of God.” As I skimmed my words from years ago, my heart sighed, “I miss Brennan.
To me, he was the most perfect, imperfect person, who had been bathed in the ferocious grace of God, who could articulate the divine love and yet still, like me, struggle.
His words pierced my soul with the grace of God, inspiring me to love more, judge less, rest in divine mercy. Although most of his books carried the same theme, it is a theme that is still desperately needed, the Good News of God’s love through Jesus to the broken-down, wayward ragamuffins.
Here is the quote of Brennan’s that I stumbled upon causing me to remember with thankfulness his impact in my life.
“The ordinary pablum of popular religion caters to the idealistic, perfectionistic, and neurotic self who fixates on graceless getting worthy for union, while allowing the prostitutes and tax gougers to dance into the kingdom. Our strategies of self-deception persuade us that abiding restful union with Jesus is too costly, leaving no room for money, ambition, success, fame, sex, power, control, and pride of place or the fatal trap of self-rejection, thus prohibiting mediocre, disaffected dingbats and dirtballs, like myself, from intimacy with Jesus. Until we learn to live peacefully with what Andre Louf calls “our amazing degree of weakness,” until we learn to live gracefully with what Alan Jones calls “our own extreme psychic frailty,” until we let the Christ who consorted with hookers and crooks to be our truth, the false, fraudulent self motivated by cowardice and fear will continue to distance us from abiding restful union.”
It was and is a powerful book…
It was and is a controversial book…
The Shack created more spiritual dialog among people of every stripe than any book had for a long time.
Personally, I love books that cause me to think, but for some people, books that make them think, or offer a different perspective are to be feared, banned or burned…this is sad and unfortunate.
Paul Young, the author of the Shack, spoke four times over an August 2009 weekend at the church I pastor. In all honesty, it was perhaps one of the most powerful weekends I have experienced, and trust me, I have experienced many.
The ministry that poured out, the grace and healing so many people experienced are hard to describe, yet unforgettable in my soul. Paul was amazing, authentic, a lover of Jesus, and simply a man sharing his journey, through fiction, of how God met him in his “Great Sadness.”
@ was a blessing to the many believers, seekers, and wonderers who spilled through our doors
So, while the theologians posture, getting ready to battle at the throne of truth and error, and ultimately miss the point yet again, I’d encourage you to see the movie and take some time to listen to the four speaking sessions that Paul presented at SVA…I will provide the links below.
Paul built each session to compliment the next, so pull up a chair, relax and enjoy the teaching, questions, and honesty that was poured out at SVA.
God is larger than we can ever imagine…and He can work with our questions, wounds and struggles…
Session 1: Saturday 8/8/09 9am- Paul discusses the origins of the book with great Q&A session.
Session 2: Saturday 8/8/09 7pm: Paul discusses the metaphors and Trinity in The Shack
Session 3: Sunday 8/9/09 9am: How God works in the Great Sadness
Session 4: Sunday 8/9/09 11am: Seeing things with fresh eyes