Stephen Kahn

Posts Tagged ‘The Shack’

Meanwhile, back at the cult shack

In Hard to tell, Uncategorized on May 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

After the Lutherans split and deliver some wood, they (and I) meet back at the church to chat, eat cookies, and drink coffee. Many of them worked for Boeing (which I have never done). Many of them served in the military, though as far as I know, none of them in combat. Most of them have more money than we do, so they travel the world (just as Craig and Sharon are visiting Greece and Turkey right now), so they chat about the places they have visited (which vary, but often involve the “Holy Land.”)

I regard them as amiable and pleasant, but I feel a bit of distance. I do not (at all) believe. I never worked at Boeing. I never served in the military (except for a tiny exposure to ROTC when I was in college). I have less money than most of them, though they are not condescending about the matter.

The area where we chat, eat cookies, and drink coffee is the church library. It contains many Bibles, many books about Christianity, books about other religious beliefs (in keeping with the Lutherans’ ecumenicism and tolerance), but no books about atheism, secular humanism, agnosticism, and the like. I could add a few books on such topics (I have a few favorites), and no one would object, but I know they would disappear.

On a couple of occasions, Craig spoke enthusiastically about a book he had read, called The Shack. He said it started out in a rather harsh way, about a man who had a bad relationship with his father, and who lost a young daughter to a murder. He said that he didn’t like to read about such grim matters, but as he read on, the man encountered some odd characters at the shack where his daughter had been murdered (during a camping trip the man took with his children). These odd characters turned out to be God (who mostly incarnated herself as a black woman), Jesus (a carpenter), and the Holy Ghost who appeared as an Asian woman.

Through his interactions with this Trinity in human form, the man became reconciled with the tragedies that had oppressed his life, and stopped blaming and hating God.

Out of curiosity, I read the book. I have known many Christians who stopped being Christians and regard conservative evangelical Christianity with some disdain. As I have never believed in it (and was not raised to believe in it), my disagreement with that religious belief does not fall into quite the same category. However, although the book was readable and held my attention, it did not convince me of the existence of God, nor did it reconcile me with the hostility I would feel if I knew God was real. I published a review of The Shack at