Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Shack by William P. Young

“Emotions are the colors of the soul: they are spectacular and incredible. When you don’t feel, the world becomes dull and colorless.

Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you. And the more you know another, the richer the colors of that relationship.”

William P. Young
The Shack

The quotes above are from the book The Shack by William P. Young which you can find on my Shelfari bookshelf to the right. A friend of mine suggested I read this book almost 2 yrs ago after the fire. I kept it in the back of my mind as a "must read one day" book. Recently, my friend Jessica loned me a well-worn copy that she picked up from a garage sale. Something about reading a paperback that has already been broken in seems to make it even more enjoyable.

Most people say when they started reading The Shack that it was one of those books that they couldn't put down, but I didn't find it to be that way at all. I took my time reading it and soaked it in. When the book first came out it was much debated in Christian circles because God the father is depicted as a black woman. You have to keep in mind that the book is fiction but I found nothing in it to be contrary to scripture. The main character in the book finds that he really doesn't know God as well as he thought he did.

I found the book to be very timely for me and it made quite a significant impact. I think the most memorable part of me was the idea of putting ourselves in place of God as judge when we harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. While reading this book I came to the conclusion that there were some old hurts and people that I needed to release from "judgement". It's interesting how releasing your hold on someone else can be so freeing personally. Reading this book at this particular time is my life is just another example of how God works in our lives in his own timing.

Just Go With It .... Learning to Trust

We saw the movie "Just Go With It" last night with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It was a cute movie although Jack laughed more than I did during the movie. I found myself laughing more after the movie. The funniest part of the movie for me was when Adam Sandler's friend tries to give a sheep CPR and later when he is telling the story he said he gave "Sheep P R". I laughed and laughed again just thinking about it. Sam always laughs too when he hears me laugh.

I especially enjoyed the music and this song by Snow Patrol was played at a point in the movie when Jennifer Aniston is thinking that the man she is really in love with is about to get married to someone else. I liked the song because I think that we all need times when we just kick back and allow our minds to "chase cars". This idea seems to pervade alot of my philosophy of life these days that we spend too much time running around being busy and very little time thinking reflectively. This type of thinking promotes learning, creativity, and new ideas.

In the movie, Sandler lies about the fact that he is not married and tries to win a girl's affection by faking his marriage, divorce, fatherhood, etc.... and it leads to more and more lies. The only person who really knew him for who he really was, without all the lies, was his assistant Jennifer Aniston. In the end, Sandler realizes that he has to give up the lies and begin to trust the reality of what he has right in front of him.

Another thought that I came across today has to do with the idea of interpersonal trust. Lord knows I have difficulty in this area so when I read something that brings clarity to my mind, then I have to chew on it for a while and really try to process it.

"Interpersonal trust reflects an expectation that the other person will act benevolently. An individual cannot control whether of not the other person will fulfill this expectation. Trust involves risk and a willingness to be vulnerable to the possiblity that the other person will not fulfill the expectation. Trust involves a certain amount of dependency on the other person."

Now these ideas came from an article I was reading for my curriculum management course entitled "Teacher-Principal Relationships: Exploring Linkages between empowerment and Interpersonal Trust". But they remind me of the scripture from I Corinthians 13:7 that says "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things". In my mind, love and trust involve the same basic elements.

We usually think of this chapter as the definition of what true love is all about, but I think that faith and trust are all wrapped up in the same definition. Read here the version of I Corinthians 13 from The Message:

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."