Interesting Links and Listens...
Krista Tippett on Being (formerly Speaking of Faith):
Today in the news:
Advocacy and social justice...
In the Library...
Welcome to Karen Sims!
Karen will be our new church librarian. We are thankful for her volunteering her gifts and talents. If you have, or know of, any book you think we should include in our growing library, please let Karen know.
The Shack -
an interesting essay about the film, book, and author.
Why the Church Should Care About The Shack Movie (And it’s probably not for the reasons you’re thinking)
by Craig Cable
For those of you who may be wondering what the shack is and why would anyone want to film it, allow me to bring you up to speed.
In 2007, William Paul Young and Windblown Media published a fictional book called The Shack. It’s a story about a man named Mackenzie Allen Phillips and the horrific murder of his young daughter Missy. Four years after Missy’s death, Mackenzie receives a mysterious note, apparently from God, inviting him to the abandoned shack where Missy was brutally killed.
Mackenzie’s experience at the shack transforms his view of God, and the book challenges readers to reevaluate their own understanding of the nature of God. At its heart, the book wrestles with the eternal question “How could a loving God allow bad things to happen?”
It’s been my experience that anyone who has experienced significant loss or deep sadness finds catharsis and healing in the story.
The book is controversial. Backlash against it centers on two issues: the belief that the author promotes a universalist view of salvation and the portrayal of God as a portly black woman named Papa.
Since the book’s release, The Shack has lived on the New York Times’ bestseller list and has sold over 20 million copies. It’s currently ranked among the top-ten books on amazon.com, and nearly 28 million potential moviegoers have viewed the film’s trailer on Facebook alone. It’s a safe bet that the film will only fan the flames of the book’s popularity when the film releases nationally on March 3, 2017.
My intention in writing this post is not to reopen the debate on the author’s motives or his theology.
My sole reason for writing this is to call attention to an imminent wave of opportunity that I’m afraid churches in America are simply going to miss as they watch from the shoreline of indifference.
Christians have so few opportunities to engage culture in meaningful ways. Maybe not since the 1970s, when the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar hit the screens, has it been cool to openly talk about Jesus around the water cooler. The film version of The Shack will create an unprecedented opportunity for Christians to respond lovingly and compassionately to the major question posed by the film, “Does God really love me?”
If we squander this opportunity by being absent from the conversation, or worse, debating its theology, we miss the greatest gift that this movie offers: a conversation about the loving character of God.
A God who pursues us with relentless affection. A God who, to quote the film, is “especially fond” of us.
What I'm reading...
Two spiritual giants. Five days. One timeless question.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?
They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our time and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.
This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecendented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye.
We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.
The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.
A few more on my list...
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
Homegoing - by Yaa Gyasi
Grit - The power of Passion and Perserverance - by Angela Duckworth
In your words...