Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Theory on the Shack controversy and how we have put God in a nice little neat Box.

My Theory on the Shack controversy and how we have put God in a nice little neat Box.

In the times of Jesus, the Pharisees got very riled up when Jesus appeared on the scene. That’s because what Jesus was talking about went completely against what the religious community believed and held dear. Their theology was so entrenched and impenetrable, that they just could not accept anything that went against it.

In their defense, they thought they were being good religious folk and defending the faith. They just could not accept that the very same God that had written the Old Testament and given us all those laws could be the very same God that was now telling them that those laws were no longer in effect, actually summed up in Love, and now talking about forgiveness.

The Pharisees had such a very tightly woven theology, that they just could not accept that God may be just a little different than the one that they have built up in their minds. They had put God inside a little box in order for the world and God to make sense to them.

If anything, like this book, challenges that and indicates that God might actually have the capability to exist outside this box, it is going to cause them to revolt. Their universe, including their God must make sense to them.

This is just a fact of our human existence. We are human and therefore bound by natural laws. Our human nature wants to put everything into a nice neat equation. Just like mathematics and science. We learn the formulas necessary to make sense out of how the universe works. If anything comes along to challenge our formulas, we resist it. It’s always been this way.

In the days of Columbus, it was believed that the world was flat. That was what they needed to believe at that time in order for them to make sense of their world. That theory was challenged; people resisted, called Columbus a heretic, and just plain got angry. The history of the world is filled with many many more examples just like that.

Anytime an accepted view or formula is challenged, there are those that will get angry and refuse to accept it.

That is until it is proven? The world is not flat and neither is my God in a box.

Just Keeping it real
Pastor Phillip Dacus

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Shack - Review

I just finished reading "The Shack." I found it to be one of the most amazing books that I have read in years. Now that let back up a bit and give you a little history on me. I’m not a book person. I am a student and fan of the movies. Most books bore me. But when I heard all the controversy that surrounded this one, I knew I had to read it. So I rushed out to Amazon and bought it. And I’m very glad that I did!

I entitled this review "What if God was one of us." For those of you that may not remember it, its a song by Joan Osborn. I chose this song as the title for my review for 2 reasons.

First, because when it was released several years ago, it too was very controversial, just like this book. Some in the Church have hailed it as the best thing since Peanut Butter. Others have condemned it has heresy.

(Ive come to the conclusion that anytime something comes along that inspires huge controversy in the Church, its something that I need to take notice of.)

My second reason is because this song fits the book very well. What if God was one of us? Not just some entity that is far away up in the sky somewhere looking down in on us every now and then to make sure we have not yet blown ourselves up.

I felt that I had to write a short disclaimer on my review of book; “the Shack.”

I have already received some flack for taking a positive stance for this book, as I’m sure many others have. It’s a highly controversial book among those in the Church. In fact, I have not seen or read anything that has generated this much controversy in quite a while.

Most of this controversy comes from those that are very hard wired into their theology. They find that this book has theological flaws and see it has a threat. To this my response and disclaimer is;

I’m aware that this book in not 100% theologically accurate. What I’m not aware of is why it is expected to be. It is a work of fiction. It’s not expected to be a replacement for the Bible. If you are looking for something that is 100% theologically accurate, read the Bible. Millions of people have found that this book has changed their perspective on how they see God and have grown closer to Him because of it. How can that be a bad thing?

I have never liked all the things we do to keep God at a distance. I have never liked how it is that we see God. As some far off distant unreachable entity. This book brought him down to our level. A fact that is really stirring up folks in the Church. Folks that have a nice little neat theology and cant stand the thought of it being messed with. Their image of God is so fragile, that it cannot stand any movement or challenge at all.

If this is you, you may have a hard time with this book.

But if you are dealing with issues like; why God allowed your son, daughter or other loved one to die, Or why there is so much evil in the world that seems to be allowed to flourish, or you are simply having a hard time relating to God, then this book is a MUST read.

Dont miss this one!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is God Too Big??

Is our God too big?

This might seem like an odd thing to say, but please bear with me.

I was in a church service a couple weeks ago. The pastor was talking about why we don’t feel that God can meet our needs. He said that this is because we just don’t understand how big our God really is.

Well, I do agree that God is big and certainly big enough to handle any problem that we have. But what I want to explore is the opposite problem. Is it possible that we have made God out to be so huge that we just can’t grasp Him at all?

Let me explain what I’m thinking here. We spend our entire Christian lives putting God up on a pedestal. Our Church ceremonies are filled with pomp and circumstance. When we pray to God, we bow our heads in reverence and out of respect. In some churches, they have taken this reverence of God to huge heights like putting on robes, lighting candles etc....

Now, please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying that God is not big and does not deserve respect. What I am saying is that we have made God out to be so huge, and so high up there and exalted, that maybe He has become too big for us.

Most of what I have learned about God has been in the past few years and has been the result of becoming a father myself. I think it’s a bit ironic, and telling, that becoming a Pastor did not accomplish this. Only becoming a dad did.

Let’s use your earthly relationship with your Father as an example. Let’s says that every day, when you come to your Father, you say “Hello Father.” “How are you doing Father.” ”Can I serve you today Father? “You are so mighty and able to help me father” You walk around bowing to your father, clothing your father with flowing robes and in general, just revering him and honoring him.

Now, what kind of relationship do you think you will have with your father if all you ever to is this? Do you really think that you will be able to go to him with your needs and desires? I’m sure that fathers out there might like it for a little while, but it would get old very quickly. What a father really wants is for his children to be able to talk to him openly and honestly. No pretense, no reverent “Hail mighty Father” or anything like this. Just simple and intimate relationship.

This time, let’s substitute the word Daddy. “Daddy, how are you doing today”, Daddy, how can I help you today”

The first example just comes off as that you are revering and honoring your Father, but the relationship is cold and distant.

In the second example, the relationship is intimate, warm and cozy. It’s an example of a close relationship where you feel like you truly know the man and he can know and help you. Want proof? Are you close to your dad? Try calling him daddy. It feels right doesn’t it? If you are not close to him, you will probably find that the words are hard to say.

Another wonderful example of this is the book that I just finished called “The Shack.” (

In this book, the God head (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) are portrayed as normal people just like you an me. Reminds me of that song from a few years back. “What if God was one of us.” In the book, God is portrayed as a warm, intimate loving Character. God talks one on one with the main Character in the book. He cooks, washes dishes, works in the garden, and lays on a dock staring up into the heavens.

Many people that have read this book have said that they will never see God quite the same again. They say that they can now relate to Him and have an intimate relationship with Him.

Try an experiment.

Next time you are in Church, instead of simply raising your hands and singing to a God that is way far out of reach, try this. Look over at that empty spot next to you and imagine Him as a real person. Talk to Him like he is a real person. Hold his hand and tell Him that you love Him. My guess is that you will feel closer to Him. And if you do this regularly, you might even get to know Him and feel like He is capable of meeting your needs.

Keeping it Real