Book Study: The Shack 07

Chapter 9: A Long Time Ago, In a Garden Far, Far Away

 

P128    Mack about Sarayu (Holy Spirit) – No wonder so many people are a little unnerved at relating to her…She obviously is not a being who is predictable.

 

Q: Does having  the Holy Spirit in our lives make us feel uncomfortable? Why/ why not?

 

Romans 9:1-4

I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

 

P 129   Sarayu – A fractal…something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.

 

P 131   Sarayu: Oh, Mackenzie, if only you knew. It’s not the work, but the purpose that makes it special. And…it’s the only kind I do.

 

Q:        Why are we so obsessed with getting things accomplished rather than asking ourselves what is the purpose behind our actions?

 

Galatians 3:5

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

 

Sarayu: I created everything that actually exists, including what you consider the bad stuff. But when I created it, it was only Good, because that is just the way that I am.

 

P132    Mack:  Then why has so much of the ‘Good’ gone ‘bad’?

 

Q:        Why has so much of the ‘Good’ gone bad?

 

Sarayu: You (humans) are truly blind to your own place in the Creation. Having chosen the ravaged path of independence, you don’t even comprehend that you are dragging the entire creation along with you.

 

Q:        Where do we see the effects of our disobedience in the world? What motivates us to spoil God’s good works?

 

Romans 1:18-20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 

Sarayu: That is the wonder and adventure of exploration, a piece of what you call science – to discern and discover what we have hidden for you to find.

 

Sarayu: For any created being, autonomy is lunacy. Freedom involves trust and obedience inside a relationship of love.

 

Q:        Why do we associate freedom with independence? How can freedom involve trust and obedience?

 

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

P133:   Sarayu: Humans have a great capacity for declaring something good or evil, without truly knowing.

 

P134    Mack:  That’s going to bother some people. There are lots of people who think it (Garden of Eden) was only a myth.

 

Sarayu: Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales.

 

Q:        What do you consider to be the truths about the Garden of Eden? Why do many people attribute it to being a myth?

 

Genesis 2:8-9

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

Sarayu: When something happens to you, how do you determine whether it is good or evil?

 

And how confident are you in your ability to discern what indeed is good for you, or what is evil?

 

Q:        How do we determine what is good and evil? How do we know this to be true?

 

Hebrews 5:12-14

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil .

 

P135                Sarayu…that which you determine to be good will change over time and circumstance. And then beyond that and even worse, there are billions of you each determining what is good and what is evil. So when your good and evil clash with your neighbor’s, fights and arguments ensue and even wars break out.

 

And then if there is no reality of good that is absolute, then you have lost any basis for judging. It is just language, and one might as well exchange the word good for the word evil.

 

Q:        Why are we so resistant to absolutes in our society? If there is no absolute right or wrong, why do we both reward and punish people?

 

The choice to eat of that tree (in Eden) tore the universe apart divorcing the spiritual from the physical.

 

Mack:  I spend most of my time and energy trying to acquire what I have determined to be good…and I spend a huge amount of energy and worry fearing what I’ve determined to be evil.

 

Q:        How could Adam & Eve’s disobedience wreck the harmony between the physical and spiritual? How true is Mack’s statement above to your own life?

 

P136    Sarayu: You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms. That is a hard pill to swallow; choosing to only live in me. To do that you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness.

 

Q:        Why are we afraid to give up our right to determine what is right and wrong? How can we live by and with the Spirit?

 

Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to both Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence. I am Light and I am Good. I am Love and there is no darkness in me. Light and Good actually exist.

 

John 12:35-36

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

 

P137    Sarayu: No Mack. A child is protected because she is loved, not because she has the right to be protected.

 

Mackenzie, Jesus didn’t hold on to any rights; he willingly became a servant and lives out of his relationship to papa. He gave up everything, so that by his dependent life he opened a door that would allow you to live free enough to give up your rights.

 

Q:        What did Jesus give up to become one of us? How has His sacrifice helped our salvation?

 

Hebrews 2:8-9

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 

P138:   Sarayu: And well you should, Mackenzie, because this garden is your soul. This mess is you! Together, you and I, have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive – a living fractal.

 

Q:        What kind of messes are our own souls experiencing? How can we get the Holy Spirit to work with us to make our souls wild, beautiful, and perfect in process? What does that mean to you anyway?

 

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About stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
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3 Responses to Book Study: The Shack 07

  1. John Flowers says:

    Hi,
    What happened to Chapter 8?
    Supposed to be in Study The Shack 7.

    Great work.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    God Bless,

    John Flowers, Burlington, NC

  2. John Flowers says:

    Thank you!

    John

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