A movie based on the New York Times best seller, The Shack, will be released next month. I’m SO excited! But I’m also a little scared. I’m a little scared because, in recent years, Hollywood does not have a good track record when it comes to producing quality movies that rightly represent the heart and character of God. Sure, there have been a few exceptions here and there but most “Christian” movies are either incredibly cheesy and poorly made, or well-made but horribly offensive in how they portray God’s nature. Sometimes they’re both cheesy and offensive! But I have high hopes that this *might* be one of the exceptions. In fact, I’m praying it’s one of the exceptions.
Hollywood, please, get this one right.
If the trailer is any indication, maybe they did. Casting Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as “Papa” was brilliant (if that sentence makes no sense to you, you’ll just have to read the book or wait for the movie). The rest of the cast looks high caliber as well, so that is a promising start.
In case you’re not familiar with the book, frankly it isn’t a great literary work. The plot has some holes and makes some unrealistic leaps, and the writing in general isn’t particularly stellar. On top of that, if you’re looking for flawless theology, you won’t find it within the pages of The Shack. But considering this is a work of fiction, and not the book of Romans, I don’t personally have a problem with that. What the book lacks in finesse and carefully presented theology is more than made up for by one simple fact:
It is one of the most stunningly accurate portrayals of the love of God–especially when it comes to answering the question of “where is God when it hurts”–that has ever made its way into print.
I remember weeping so profusely during some of Mack’s conversations with Papa that I couldn’t continue reading. Although the book is fiction, you just know William P. Young (the author) had to have actually had some of those conversations with God. They’re too profound. They especially rang true to me personally--because I’ve had so many similar conversations with Him myself. And those are the very conversations that have completely rewired me and helped to heal my own very broken heart.
So here’s hoping Hollywood really got this one right. Here’s to praying they got it right. If so, this movie has the potential to introduce thousands upon thousands to the amazing, unconditional, and never failing love of a good, good, “Papa.”