Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Shack (my review reposted)

It seems that as far as being a 'hot topic' goes, The Shack hullabaloo has died down somewhat.  However a friend recently asked for some information about the book, which prompted me to post my review of it here.  I wrote this in October of 2008. If you've read The Shack, or are thinking of reading it, I'd like you to know this information before doing so.    Blessed ~  Katie

As this moving book grows and grows in popularity, I find that I cannot keep silent about it's dangerous contents. Yes, dangerous.

Deeply moved by the story, and the emotional tug the author adeptly uses to paint a fresh picture of God for his readers, my primary reaction while reading this book a year ago was alarm. Intermingled with many lovely new ways of explaining our God and our faith, was a good deal of 'not quite right' theology. Understanding and relating to God according to His truth, is the only safeguard for assurance that the gospel we preach is the gospel that saves. And truly saving mankind is God's heart and mission. A half truth is as bad as an out and out lie, and often more effective at deceiving.

For months previous, I had been researching and reading resources on the topics of Post Modernism, the Emergent Church, Contemplative Spirituality and other philosophies and fads that are impacting the Church, (often harming, diluting, and distracting her from her true mission, in my opinion) when I picked up the book to 'divert' myself from such somber material to enjoy something lighter. Ha ha.

It was not necessarily the non-traditional, non-western, out of the ordinary characters that the author chose to represent the godhead that set off these alarms, but the content meaning and implications of the words put into the mouth of God the Father, or more precisely 'Papa' as (s)he gently re-enlightened Mack's thinking, that made my skin prickle. Beautiful, yet subtly poisonous, was my reaction.

Recently I discovered a response to the author and his book, that finally connected the dots for me. It has helped to bring into clarity the reason why the book set off such strong discernment alarms, while at the same time being able to find much to admire in it's pages. This helpful information comes from the Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature at Western Seminary in Oregon. Prof. James DeYoung has known The Shack's author personally for some years, and is aware of the authors faith journey which readers of The Shack are not privy to.

Rather than trying to restate DeYoung's case here, I humbly point my friends and family to seriously consider the facts behind the writing of The Shack and to reconsider their enthusiasm for it's powerful tale. In short William P Young embraces an unbiblical doctrine of Reconciliation ism. A belief that is on par with Universalism. Editor Wayne Jacobsen attempted to remove the false doctrine from the book, but its footprints remain.

You can avail yourself of Professor DeYoung's thoughtful and well researched work here;

There are a few pdf files, one being a shorter review of 9 pages, and one going into more detail at 39 pages. I urge you to at least read the shorter review if you have been favorably impacted by The Shack. Or if you have plans to read it, or pass it on to others. Or if you have had questions of theological concern raised by this book.

The mixture of truth and error when presenting an explanation of God is very common and very human. God is ultimately beyond our human words and understanding to be perfectly, or should I say completely, explained. Yet, we are admonished by Him to very carefully hold to the Faith once for all delivered to the saints. Why? Because it is His great heart's desire that all should come to a knowledge of the truth and enter into His Kingdom. God has provided the pathway to know and experience His presence and person, to knowing and living in the truth, and how to pass that on to others. Jesus described the gate as narrow and the way difficult. There is a reason why Christ described it so, He was speaking truth, and only spoke that which He heard the Father tell Him to speak.

The Shack falls short of this, and in fact, I fear it is pointing many who hunger for reconciliation with God onto a path that will ultimately lead away from Him, and quite possibly to destruction...all the while proclaiming and imagining that they are His children. (Matt. 13:7-26)

May the Church realize it's her calling to make the way to the Father clear, so that the lost should not be deceived, and may enter in. God's self-revelation is the one we must point the lost to, and fellow believers back to for comfort, instruction and discipleship. When we can re-state the truths of God's word without adding false, skewed or our own preferred ideals, and without taking away essential truths (such as the atonement, and the ultimate destiny for unbelievers), reforming biblical truths in artistic and creative ways can be wonderful and very effective.

Jesus paid an unthinkable price to deliver mankind, may we honor His sacrifice and speak His truth with love, boldly, and without mixture. 'Mixture' is repeatedly exposed as unholy and defiling (resulting in separation) in the Old Testament, we are wise not to forget those lessons. The Shack is a dangerous mixture of partial truth and serious error.

I applaud Mr Young's attempt to correct the distorted picture of God as simply a distant angry judge ....but God is not merely close gentle and conciliatory either. The Shack corrects one misconception, but replaces it with another, possibly more fatal for it's allure to our desires to make God in our own image. God is love, but God's love is HOLY, meaning altogether something different than human emotional love...though I've no doubt God, as the creator of emotions, is quite full of them; one being a jealous love that is much richer, sacrificial and deeper still than what is taught through the fictional Papa's words in The Shack.

Please prayerfully consider these things.
Other helpful reviews of The Shack can be found here

Justin Peters review

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Elisabeth Elliot

"I'm old fashioned, and I don't mind it."  That's from an Andy Williams song I used to hear as a little girl.  But it's true, I am old fashioned in many ways.  A woman who has mentored me from afar is Elisabeth Elliot, through her radio show (no longer aired) and through her devotionals and books.  Many Christian women today would likely find her advice and way of seeing things to be 'old fashioned', but I find her full of grace and truth.  Today I've been so inspired by a few of my very favorite teachers.  More on that later, perhaps.  But among them was Elliot's devotion of the day, which can be found online.  It hit me right up side the head. It nicely complimented the excellent message on Revelation 3 given at Harvest Bible Chapel by James MacDonald this past Sunday, that I listened to earlier while slicing apples for the dehydrator.  (I think that was a run on sentence!)  The letter to the church at Sardis is a confrontation of a church that has a reputation for being 'alive' but in actuality is quite dead in Jesus' estimation.  I can sadly relate to that in many ways.  It's an important message....but anyway, I am going to post Elisabeth's devotional so I can read it again when needed and perhaps it will touch someone else where they need it too.

Title: Be Honest With GodAuthor: Elisabeth Elliot
Since God knows our thoughts even before we think them, isn't it absurd of us to hesitate to tell Him the straight truth about ourselves? When we feel we ought to try to cover our spiritual nakedness it is good for us to open up Psalm 139: "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.... You perceive my thoughts from afar.... You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.... You created my inmost being" (Psalm 139:1-4,13, NIV).
There are times when I hesitate even to pray, knowing how far short I fall from God's standard.
George MacDonald writes:
"If I felt my heart as hard as a stone; if I did not love God, or man, or woman, or little child, I would yet say to God in my heart, 'O God, see how I trust Thee, because Thou art perfect, and not changeable like me. I do not love Thee. I love nobody. I am not even sorry for it. Thou seest how much I need Thee to come close to me, to put Thy arm round me, to say to me, MY CHILD: for the worse my state, the greater my need of my Father who loves me. Come to me, and my day will dawn; my love will come back, and, oh! how I shall love Thee, my God! and know that my love is Thy love, my blessedness Thy being.'"
We may pray the prayer that closes Psalm 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).
"Be persuaded, timid soul," writes Archbishop Fenelon, in his SPIRITUAL LETTERS TO WOMEN, "that He has loved you too much to cease loving you."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Paper Doll Dress for the Grand-darling.

I spent all day yesterday creating this cutest of the cute little girl dresses.  Can't wait to see our grand-darling in it. That's all for today!  ;o) 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nature Journaling

I have always loved the outdoors, nature and sketching. And I've always desired to keep a nature journal in a consistent way, but I've not lived up to that desire. During the summer I borrowed about a dozen books on the subjects of sketching, watercolor, and nature journaling and thoroughly inspired myself. I got out all my art supplies, created a 'kit'. And then struggled in actually doing as much sketching as I hoped to. Then this week the Canson sketch book I've been adding to (slowly!) over the past several years was drenched in my back back by a leaky water bottle. It's a soggy, rumpled mess. I had lots of pressed flowers and leaves in it that are probably hopelessly ruined. (sob!) As well as the Elk sketch from my last post. Very sad.

HOWEVER, this loss finally 'freed' me to start sketching in a lovely new moleskin art journal I'd purchased from Amazon. I couldn't justify using it, while I still had so many empty pages in my Canson. I pulled out my copy of 'The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady' for inspiration, and decided I'm going to use my moleskin in the same way. In 'Country Diary' (an out of print reproduction of Edith Holden's actual nature journal) Edith chronicles the changes of the seasons, month by month, through beautiful botanical sketches, quotes and journal writings. She includes lots of lovely drawings of the birds and other fauna from her English countryside home.

So here is my first page for the month of October in my Nature Journal. It will be interesting to see what I can find here in the Sonoran desert to sketch that might capture the subtle signs of autumn.  (Locals often say that Phoenix has 2 seasons, spring and summer) Hopefully I'll be able to get up North and journal the fall foliage before it's gone. I did salvage the colored pencil and ink maple leaf I drew at Lost Canyon on Oct. 3. I pasted it to the left of this page. It's on my flickr stream as are some other sketches and all my nature photography.

The goal is to do at least 4 pages per month, which will work out to 1 per week, hopefully. ;o)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vacation Delights

Our July vacation had multiple delights. An entire week in a beautiful new cabin outside of the delightful town of Alpine, AZ. (close to New Mexico) The White Mountains were not crowded with tourists, wildflowers in abundance, fauna in abundance. Good fishing for Grandad, Nana, Ron and boys. Zac and Lisa were able to come up and spend a couple days with us, on my birthday! I read Cathy Johnson's Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature and doodled. (she even became my facebook friend and a flickr contact! wowza) The picture at left is a sketch I did of an elk cow and her calf who were wading in Sierra Blanca lake, with a huge herd nearby. Gorgeous drives, hummingbirds that fed from my boys hands, butterflies in droves. Great Blue Herons, Osprey, afternoon thunderstorms. What more delights could one wish for? Okay, in truth, I didn't sleep well & never caught a fish, but everything else was gravy! If you want a better view of my sketch, just click on it.

Photos of the gorgeous White Mountain landscapes, flowers and wildlife can be found at my flickr stream, here; 

There are two 'collections' on the right side where you can find them quickly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

heart exposure

I found my soul laid bare while reading 'Hannah Coulter' by Wendell Berry this summer. The character 'Hannah' perfectly described my present state of life ...

"To be the mother of a grown-up child means that you don't have a child anymore, and that is sad. When the grown-up child leaves home, that is sadder. I wanted Margaret to go to college, but when she actually went away it broke my heart. Maybe if you had enough children you could get used to those departures, but, having only three, I never did. I felt them like amputations. Something I needed was missing. Sometimes, even now, when I come into this house...empty, before I think I will wonder, "Where are they?" "

Like amputations, painful, crippling. I guess even the wound of an amputation heals eventually, but one is forever altered. A major part of Motherhood is waning and I must be careful to let God take it without becoming bitter and ending it badly. I need strength and grace from outside myself to succeed, bitterness is swirling about my ankles seeping into my pores unbidden. You cannot choose for your grown-up children to dwell nearby or to remain intimately close as friends, though you want it, you are powerless to accomplish it. Powerless to help them make wise choices any longer. You must watch them from a distance choose their own way, sometimes a way that you foresee holds heartache.

Prayer and God's providence takes the edge off somewhat, but I fear I shall 'limp' from this severance and will not feel whole inside again till heaven. This is my real life, but a fictional story has brought it into crystal clarity.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Under Construction

I'm not sure I want a blog.... but I do want a place I can post things that I find important or that I want to remember. Today I wanted to post an audio file to share with others... still haven't figured out how or if I can do that!