Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too many pieces of pie

Disclaimer: Please have mercy and forgive me if I make an error on something for I have neither educational background nor the knowledge to enlighten you about some of the main themes of this book. I know there is much controversy surrounding this book. If I say something in error, remember that I am no expert and for this reason there are some parts in the book that are important that I will not touch on. Thank you.

In chapter 6 we have a lot going on and a lot said in the conversation between Mack and God. The title to the chapter is a piece of pie but for me to write a post I feel like there are just too many pieces of pie. Let me apologize ahead of time that this post may feel like it is all over the place but that’s kinda how I feel about chapter 6. Mack is adjusting to this and trying to get a grip on it all. He is trying to wrap his mind around God coming to him in the body of a large black woman and our Jesus in the book makes a good point, “Even though you might not think it, her timing is always perfect.” This is something that I think is right on. Even though we may not think so, God’s timing is always perfect even if we don’t understand it. One part I think is rather silly is when we hear Mack’s inner struggle and he says, “If she knew…” Of course she knows, does he really think that God doesn’t know what’s going on inside of his heart and head? But I guess he probably could be in shock still from everything because I probably would be too.

Mack lets Papa know his surprise over the way God is being revealed to him. Papa knows of course that Mack would act like this so that is why this was the way chosen to be revealed. This is to break down Mack’s barriers so that he understands that God is so much more than limited to a male or female. Because of Mack’s past he struggles with the idea of having the personal relationship with God as Father. In the book the aim is to try to heal him so that the personal relationship is reachable. God wants us all to know that He will be the entire father we need if we would just let Him. So many of us have had issues or absent fathers that it can be a big problem in our walk with God. God wants us to know that He is here for us.

In the other book I am reading right now, Amazing Grace: A vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris, I came across a chapter on a similar subject. I pulled a quote from the book that I thought goes well with the point of breaking down stereotypical views of God, “One so often hears people say, “I just can’t handle it,” when they reject a biblical image of God as Father, as Mother, as Lord or Judge; God as lover, as angry or jealous, God on a cross. I find this choice of words revealing however real the pain they reflect: if we seek a God we can “handle”, that will be exactly what we will get. A God we can manipulate, suspiciously like ourselves, the wideness of whose mercy we’ve cut down to size.”

I think the book is trying to break down some stereotypes so that we will not try to “handle” God like Kathleen Norris states can happen. One question I found online from several sources is, “How is Young's description of God different from your concept of God? What parts of his description did you like and what parts didn't you like?" I did not get hung up on the depiction of God in the novel. It was shocking yes but I’m okay with reading it because I know in my heart that God is more than I could possibly imagine and I’m okay with not understanding exactly how God makes everything work.

Papa and Mack also have a conversation about freedom and what it means for us to have freedom in our lives. Mack is questioning if he had the freedom to come to the shack in the first place or the freedom to leave and Papa’s response is, “Just because I know you’re too curious to go, does that reduce your freedom to leave?” I have heard several debates between people about freewill and if God knows everything before we do it then how is it free. And I like Papa’s response to that debate.

The conversation keeps rolling and Papa and Mack get into a debate about if God was really there for Jesus on the cross, which is another issue many struggle with. Papa tells Mack, “You misunderstand the mystery there. Regardless of what he felt at that moment, I never left him.” And I think that is something that we all need to remember at times too. Just because we feel bad sometimes or bad things happen it doesn’t mean that God has left us. Then Papa asks a question of Mack for food for thought, “When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me?” Which again I think makes another good point for when we do become angry at God and when we are in so much pain. We let it consume us and we lose sight of Him and that He is there for us. We think He has left when really we just need to open our eyes and let Him comfort us. Papa makes a good analogy when she is talking about the little bird and how we can forget that we were created to be loved but it doesn't mean that we aren't anymore. We are the ones that have forgotten, not God.

We wrap up the chapter with a reminder from Jesus that He would have died on the cross even if it were for only one of us. But what a joy it is to know that He died for ALL of us. For you, for me, for everyone.

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1 comment:

Christy said...

To answer the question about the depiction of God, I don't think that I was really bothered by it either. In fact, I think that how the author portrayed God in the novel was great. It made God more personal, more dynamic, as HE can be ALL things to ALL people. The fact that God revealed himself in the way that was most likely to impact Mack is an example of God's love and his majesty. One of the ovewhelming ideas that I get from this book is that God's purpose was to REACH Mack. To do whatever it takes to get him to really believe. If God had revealed himself as an old man with a long flowing white beard, I don't think Mack would have been as "open" to what was happening. The openenss and warmness of the character that Young created as God, was what Mack needed in his life at that moment. Again, I will point to the overwhelming love and understanding that God has for his children.