The Shack Revisited

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Dr. C. Baxter Kruger and Paul Young talk about Dr. Kruger’s book, The Shack Revisited which examines the theology embedded in Young’s original narrative.

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This video interview about Baxter Kruger’s book “The Shack Revisited” explores the concept of God from a trinitarian perspective. Just as there is a maternal aspect of God that I learnt from Rob Bell’s video entitled “She” earlier, there is also a relational aspect of God that is characterised by the father, son and Holy Spirit, who have included us all in their community and fellowship of love and other-centredness. This contrasted with the concept of a solitary god figure in the sky presented in some religious circles who is not other-centred and is unable to relate to people except by judging and condemning them. As Baxter shared, the mystery of the triune nature of God reveals God in that communion of love, which is the way they relate to everything in their creation. William Young added that this is how perfect love casts out fear, through understanding the love of God from the paradigm of knowing we are included in the kindness and acceptance of God which is not dependent on our performance. It is the goodness of God, not the so-called wrath of God, that leads us to change our mind about God and about who we are.

William Young also clarified that when seen through the lens of love, we see total reconciliation between Esau and Jacob in the love of the father in the story. On the other hand, those who read the same story through the lens of judgment tend to see God as judgmental and harsh. So it depends on one’s perception of God and by which lens one adopts when reading the stories in the bible. This is perhaps the psychoanalytical perspective of our beliefs, as I have discussed before in my website. I remember sharing in a blog some time ago about the possibility that religions and belief systems are all in the mind, since psychoanalysis has described how ideologies are formed as a result of people’s projection of their unconscious into the conscious world. So the Bible stories could well be a record of how the consciousness of humanity has evolved over time to see and understand “God” as grace, so to speak.

I also like Baxter’s perspective of the cross, recognising that Jesus chose to become the scapegoat that religion has made him to be, and it is not the father’s wrath poured out on him, but rather the wrath of humanity; and yet through the cross, the mystery of a wonderful exchange took place, in that Jesus enters into a relationship with us in the very pit of our darkness and brokenness, and makes his home in our beings with the father and the Holy Spirit, where love never dies again but is resurrected in us, so to speak. William agreed, saying “This idea of this distant God, it’s not a new thing. Isaiah writes about the atonement: “We (human beings) esteemed him (Jesus) stricken by God.” That’s how we looked at it. We think of God in such a light that we esteemed Jesus stricken by God.” I think that is how the penal substitution theory came to be, from a human standpoint. But from a divine standpoint, the scapegoat theory presents God as loving and non-violent, who is found in the very midst of our brokenness and uncertainties, just as God was with Jesus even in his moments of doubts and despair at the cross.

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