I’ve spent the last many years not reading books except the Bible and those connected to work with few exceptions (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons being one notable one). However this year instead of my normal reading of the bible in a year (like for the last 30 years) I’m listening to it for most of the 2 hours every working day I spend travelling to and from work in my car. The version I listen to is the excellent Word of Promise dramatised NKJV version which I would highly recommend. The MP3 version is compact and great value. I reckon I’ll have listened to the New Testament three times and the Old Testament twice at least before the end of the year.
Another reason I haven’t been reading books is that I’ve found since children entered the equation I’ve wanted to prioritise my time. Reading can be a rather solitary and selfish pastime if indulged in as much as I like to. But with the time in the car freeing up reading time I have time to read some other books.
I believe God put The Shack my way for this time. It’s been in the house for some months. I started to read it over last weekend and found it hard to put it down and finished it on Monday evening. I reckon I’ll read it again at least once which for me is the strongest recommendation I could give any book since I never do that except for the Bible of course :-).
It is hard to explain why a book with so many so obvious heresies – some might say blasphemies – (God the Father being portrayed as a black African American woman being one of the more obvious ones) should be so witnessed to by the Holy Spirit when I’m reading it. I guess He isn’t quite as defensive as we might be. Maybe He feels He doesn’t have to be defensive. I also believe God the Father can appear in any form He wants to to anyone, as obviously the authors of The Shack do too.
The section that stands out most for me and, on the surface at least, blessed me the most is the part where Mack is interviewed by Sophia, the personification of wisdom. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it.
The Shack in combination with other events in my life at this time has left me with a deeper sense of God’s grace than I can remember experiencing before. I feel more loved than ever. It was definitely the right book at the right time. I confess that had it come at an earlier time in my walk I may have been tempted to condemn it. By earlier I mean last year…..
My apologies to anyone who has felt judged by me in the past. Perhaps the biggest legacy The Shack has left with me is a realisation of just how much I’ve done that, how much it was a part of my approach to life and how wrong it is.
30 years since I was born again.. so what?, read the bible every year..pooey, listen to it for up to 2 hours a day… phoney. All useless unless infused by love and grace.
Never mind, we’ll get there, won’t we Jesus? Yes, He believes in me.