Book Study: The Shack 10

Chapter 12: In the Belly of the Beasts


P171:   Jesus – Sophia is a personification of Papa’s wisdom.


            She’s part of the mystery surrounding Sarayu.


Q:        How would you define wisdom? Have there been instances in your life when the Holy Spirit shared some of God’s wisdom with you?


Proverbs 8:7-11


7 My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.

8 All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.

9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge.

10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,

11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.


P172:   Jesus (speaking of Sophia) – with her, everything is normal and elegantly simple. Because you are so lost and independent you bring to her many complications, and as a result you find even her simplicity profound.


Jesus – Time, as you know it, presents no boundaries to the One who created it.


Jesus – Would all this be any less ‘real’ if it were inside a dream?

Mack – I think I’d be disappointed.

Jesus – Why? Mack, there is far more going on here than you have the ability to perceive.


Q:        How can we be sure reality is real? Can we ever know all that is going on? Why/why not?


1 Corinthians 13:9-12

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


P173:   Jesus (talking about Missy’s last horrifying experiences) – Mack, she was never alone. I never left her; we never left her for one instant. I could no more abandon her, or you, than I could abandon myself.


Q:        When and where have we experienced the holy presence of Jesus? Do we truly understand that he is always with us? Is that a comforting or uncomfortable thought?


Matthew 18:19-20


19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”


Jesus – She had no idea what was going to happen. She was actually more worried about you and the other kids, knowing that you couldn’t find her. She prayed for you, for your peace.


P174:   Jesus – The darkness hides the true size of fears and lies and regrets. The truth is they are more shadow than reality, so they seem bigger in the dark.


Q:        What makes us fearful as children? How do those fearful things affect us as adults?


Matthew 6:22-23

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!


P175:   Mack – why do we keep all that crap inside?

            Jesus – because we believe it’s safer there…then you grow up on the outside, but on the inside you’re still that kid in the dark cave surrounded by monster, and out of habit you keep adding to your collection.


Jesus – We’re meant to experience this life, your life, together, in a dialogue, sharing the journey. You get to share in our wisdom and learn to love with our love, and we get…to hear you grumble and gripe and complain….


Q:        How can we share our lives with Jesus? How much of our lives do we actually share with Him?


Matthew 6:31-34

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


P176:   Jesus –  If the universe contained only one human being, timing would be rather simple. But add just one more, and, well, you know the story. Each choice ripples out through time and relationships, bouncing off of other choices. And out of what seems to be a huge mess, Papa weaves a magnificent tapestry.


Q:        How do our choices affect others? How does God deal with 6.5 billion choices each day? What is the affect of those choices on our planet?


P177:   Jesus – Only Papa can do it and she does it with grace.


Jesus – Pearls, Mack. The only precious stone made by pain, suffering and – finally – death.


Matthew 13:45-46

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.



P178:   Jesus – (about the church) What I see are people and their lives, a living breathing community of all those who love me, not buildings and programs.


My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. You can’t build it. It’s my job and I’m actually pretty good at it.


Q:        Why do we perceive the church as a building where we do religious things? How can Jesus help us to get out of our overactive need for programs?


1 Timothy 3:15

15 If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.


Mack, you don’t need to have it all figured out. Just be with me.


P179:   Jesus – As well-intentioned as it might be, you know that religious machinery can chew up people! An awful lot of what is done in my name has nothing to do with me and is often, even if unintentional, very contrary to my purposes.


Q:        When and where have we seen religious institutions do things in Christ’s Name that is very contrary to His purposes? What are His purposes anyway?


Luke 11:23     “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.


Jesus – I don’t create institutions; that’s an occupation for those who want to play God. So no, I’m not too big on religion, and not very fond of politics or economics either.


Jesus – Put simply, these terrors are the tools that many use to prop up their illusions of security and control. People are afraid of uncertainty, afraid of the future. These institutions, these structures and ideologies, are all a vain effort to create some sense of certainty and security where there isn’t any. It’s all false. Systems cannot provide you security. Only I can.


Q: Is this what Jesus really thinks or are the above thoughts those of the author? How do religion, politics, and economics prop up our insecurities? Are they delusions?


Matthew 6:24-27

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money .


25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?


P180:   Jesus – If you try to live this without me, without the ongoing dialogue of us sharing this journey together, it will be like trying to walk on the water by yourself. You can’t!


P181:   Jesus – All I want from you is to trust me with what little you can, and grow in loving people around you with the same love I share with you. It’s not your job to change them, or to convince them. You are free to love without an agenda.


Q:        Why do we try and change people for God? Whose job are we trying to do?


John 14:1-2

14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.


Mack was thinking of his friends, church people who had expressed love to him and his family. He knew they loved Jesus, but were also sold out to religious activity and patriotism.


Q:        Do we know people like this? Are we in danger of becoming like them? How?


P182:   Jesus – Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformations into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.


Q:        Is the author guilty of putting into Christ’s mouth words that he would hope He would speak? Does Jesus have no desire to make us Christians? If that is the case, then why did He establish the Church?


Colossians 1:21-23

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.


Mack – does that mean that all roads will lead to you?


Jesus – Not at all. Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean that I will travel any road to find you.


Q: What do you think of the above statement? Does it conflict or support universalism? Are we not supposed to seek Christ?


Romans 10:20            And Isaiah boldly says,          “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 


Heb 11:5-6      By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


About Stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over thirty 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.
This entry was posted in Bible, book reviews, books, Christian blogs, Christianity, church growth ideas, Creator, defending the faith, encouragement, entertainment, evil, faith, faith in the Church, free will, freedom, God, Gospel, Gospel message, Gospel values, Guidance, healing, heresy, heresy in the Church, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, patriotism, prayers, Progressives, Religion, religious beliefs, religious issues, sacrifice, spirituality, spreading the Gospel, the problem of evil, The Shack and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Book Study: The Shack 10

  1. Lori says:

    Are you planning on finishing the book? These have been wonderful thought provoking questions?
    Thank you

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