Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Shack: My Review

Well, I have finally done it. I have read the "life-changing" book that everyone is raving about. Surprisingly, I have to say the book had some good in it, but don't think I would recommend it to anyone. I promised a review, so here it is. I will try not to be too long or wordy, and to make my ideas as brief as possible.

A brief synopsis: Mack, the main character, loses his youngest daughter, Missy, in a kidnapping by a man whose victims are never found, just proof that he has killed them. Proof of her death is found in an abandoned shack. A few years after the incident, Mack received a note in his mailbox from Someone called "Papa" that He wants to meet him in the shack.

First the bad. :-) God is represented by a poor-grammar speaking black woman named Elouisa. God is referred to interchangeably as He or She. In the Bible, God never takes on the form of a woman, and always refers to Himself in masculine pronouns, so I take issue with this. There are people who don't want to call God He, mainly brainless feminists, and there is even a gender-neutral Bible, but when God always refers to Himself as masculine, I don't think we should mess with that.

Mack is also surprised that God has a "questionable sense of humor" - the author's words. This comment is made after God says to Mack "don't stand there gawkin' with your mouth open like your pants are full!"

Next up: The Holy Spirit is portrayed as a somewhat flighty Asian woman named Sarayu. Again, this rubbed me the wrong way- no I am not anti-woman, but God has His reasons for portraying Himself as masculine, not feminine.

Jesus was portrayed surprisingly as male, and somewhat like you would expect Jesus to be like, though the author carried that a bit too far also: Rough type, country bumpkin, even clumsy - would the Son of God be clumsy? What really bothered me about the Jesus in the book, the author portrayed Him as 100% human while on earth, and even in the book as 100% human. In the book, Mack was told that Jesus had no power except what He drew from God - just like we would have had to do. I totally disagree - if Jesus is God, then He had His own power.

The human part was portrayed so strongly, that at one point, Jesus drops a bowl of food, breaks the bowl, and makes a mess. God and the Holy Spirit laugh uproariously and comment "you humans are so clumsy!"

Another thing I didn't agree with: God, as the black woman of course, had scars on His/Her wrists also. Not exactly Biblical. Jesus hung on the cross, God the Father did not.

The author gives the idea that since we are under grace, we don't have to obey the rules anymore, cited especially in reference to the 10 commandments.

In my opinion, and in my friend Kimmy's (we have been emailing back and forth now that we both have read it) - the author bashes the church, quite a bit, and even knocks the idea of being a Christian - does say afterward that we are to become children of God.

Another weird thing: Mack goes into a cave, and there is a woman names Sophia talks to him. Not sure what the author's deal is with God as a woman, but this woman is an aspect, or something along that line, of the Holy Spirit.

Outside of bad theology, there are a few occasions of cursing in the book, which you may agree with me or not, does not belong in a Christian book, especially when the main character is talking to God. A couple uses of the "d-word", and a use of "son of a b....".

Overall, I don't feel the book was that well-written, and was not the riveting page turner that it has been hailed as. I read it in a few settings, as opposed to one setting for a really good book of that size.

I did say I had some good to say about it. The author did come across pretty well of why God lets us suffer. He also brought out a new idea to me: that when we are struggling with issues of God loving us, and feeling He is out to hurt us, and things along that line, we are judging Him.

This book has raving review everywhere you go, with the exception of a few sane people. I would not buy this book. I would not recommend it to anyone. I definitely don't think anyone not firmly grounded in their theology and relationship with God should read it - it could confuse some people and lead them wrong.

If I could sum up in one idea why I don't like the book, it is that the author humanizes all 3 parts of the Trinity, and goes way to far in doing so. God is way beyond our understanding. He wouldn't have poor grammar, He wouldn't have questionable humor. I believe the author treated the whole idea and character of God with irreverence in the book, and I found it offensive.

So, is the book heresy, or life-changing? I have to say it leans all too much toward at least being Biblically and theologically incorrect. The idea of the book was good, and were several things done differently in the book, I would have loved it and highly recommended it. It is sad that so many Christians are raving about the book, and overlooking its many flaws.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Should A Christian Drink Alcoholic Beverages?

One of my best friends, who I love and admire very much, commented on my last post and sort of challenged me to a debate on Christians drinking alcoholic beverages. Note: My last post was to show that if the gun control activists are so gung-ho about ending deaths by guns that they should ban alcoholic beverages too, as they cause as many deaths. It was not a treatise on Christians and drinking :-). But this one will be. I welcome comments, agreeing or not - though if someone is just plain hateful, I will delete their comment. For the sake of ease, I will use "drink, or drinking" to denote drinking alcoholic beverages.

So, should Christians drink? I say no. My friend says yes, but I don't believe that she does, she just has no problem with Christians doing it.

Of course the first thing people bring up is Jesus turning the water to wine. I really don't have a good reply for that - I will be honest. I have read that wine back then wasn't quite like it is today, also, since this was "new wine" it is possible it was a lot closer to being grape juice than what we know of as wine today. Who knows. It was Jesus' first miracle, and I can't see Him doing something that was going to lead to a bunch of drunks and all that goes along with people being drunk. If they had run out of wine that would make people drunk, I'd say they had had enough, so I could be wrong, but what Jesus made makes more sense to be more like grape juice.

Next up: a little wine for the stomach's sake. We don't need that today. With modern medicine, a lot containing alcohol, we don't need to imbibe wine - we can take an alka selzter or something to help our stomach.

That is it for the Bible and alcohol, other than to quote Proverbs 20: 1: Wine is a mocker,Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Calling wine a mocker doesn't sound to me like the Bible has a great opinion of it.

All it takes to make an alcoholic is one drink. None of us know whether we could become an alcoholic until we start down that road, but if we abstain, our chances are pretty good that we won't become one :-).

Look at what is associated with drinking: ruined marriages, child and wife abuse. Men who spend their paycheck for booze and lets their family go hungry. Not to speak of liver disease.

I think the average Christian who says its ok to drink would secretly have feelings otherwise if they saw their pastor sitting at the bar drinking it up with his buddies, or saw him walking out of the store with a big case of beer. Or better yet, having a can of it at the pulpit to sip at instead of water - why not, if it is ok to drink it, why not do it in church? If it is wrong to drink it at church, is it really ok to imbibe at all?

I think the world would be a better place if everyone, not just Christians, didn't drink alcoholic beverages, but that is never going to happen. The apostle Paul said something to the effect that all things are legal for him, but not all things are wise - something like that. Alcohol may fall into that category. Just because the Bible doesn't come out and say it is 100% wrong, doesn't mean it is right. Gambling falls into that category. The Bible really doesn't say anything about it, but we believe it is wrong.

In closing, I think a church that believes alcohol is wrong has the right idea, and we can all be more like Christ by avoiding something that could destroy us in the end.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Drunk Driving and Gun Control

A big controversy right now is lowering the legal drinking age. Why not? Put more drunk drivers out there. Sure, there will always be under aged drinkers, but if we lower it to 18, there will be all the more drinking-related accidents.

I have a solution to the whole thing. Outlaw drinking of alcoholic beverages. Period. Completely. Why not? That is what the liberal left is tryig to do with guns - outlaw them completely.

Here are a few statistics to support my idea:

In 2005, there were 12,352 homicides by guns. That's pretty bad.

But, in 2006, there were 16,005 people killed in drunk driving related accidents.

So why crack down on guns so much and let the drinking go? Sure, there were other deaths related to guns - suicides, accidental deaths, but there are also other deaths related to alcohol - liver disease, and other physical.

It is interesting that they want to lower the drinking age, and make more alcohol related deaths, but want to take guns away from everyone. Isn't there something wrong with this picture? Most of us face more danger of being involved in a drunk driving related accident than being shot.

This is kind of a rambling post, but it is something to think about. Instead of focusing on guns as a killer, how about turning equal rage and fighting against drinking alcoholic beverages. Sounds reasonable to me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The 9 Commandments?

A few posts back, someone commented on one of my blogs. Among other things, they said the Bible does not say we can't work on Sunday. As someone who believes the opposite to be true, I'd like to explore this a bit, even if I only read over it. :-)

Commandment #4: 8
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.
10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

If you tell most Christians it is wrong to work on Sunday, you will get a few different replies:
1) Well, Saturday really is the Sabbath, so if you are going to do things by the Bible, you should not work on Saturday.........

2) Jesus said in the New Testament that the Sabbath was made for man, and He excused His disciples for picking corn on the Sabbath..........

3) That was Old Testament, we don't have to obey that anymore

OK, #1: Christians started meeting on Sundays for worship after the resurrection of Jesus, so ever since then, we have done it on Sunday, but still, if someone is daring enough to challenge not working on Sunday by using this excuse, then why on earth don't they keep Saturday as the Sabbath - not work, etc on that day?

#2: Jesus excused breaking the Sabbath for emergencies - the ox falling in the ditch.

#3. My favorite - if we don't have to obey this commandment, then why obey the rest? Why bother printing it on marbleized statues, bookmarks, etc, if that one doesn't matter anymore. Why don't we just refer to them as the "9 commandments"? Really. Why not? If it doesn't matter?

It has always interested me that God spent so much time on this commandment. If you read over it, you will notice He commands for no one to do work - not you, your wife, your servants........He even mentions the animals. The rest of the commandments don't do that. You don't read: Thou shalt not covet. Not you, nor your wife, nor your donkey.............

Would God really spend so much time on the 4th commandment so we could throw it out a few thousand years later? I don't think so. It does appear He lightened up on some of the more strict things, like walking so far, and things like that, but I cannot see where He throws the commandment out the window, and tells us we can just obey the other 9, and not to bother with that one anymore.

There are jobs that need done on Sundays: medical, police, fire department. We definitely need them on Sundays in the imperfect & sinful world that we live in. But we do not need restaurants and Walmarts open. Or amusement parks, ball games. How anyone calling themself a Christian can go to some of those places, is beyond me. How is that keeping the Sabbath day holy?

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: if everyone who called themselves Christians - the ones who go to church and all that - refrained from eating out on Sundays, buying groceries, etc, on Sunday, we probably wouldn't have so many businesses open on Sunday. Sadly, most of the people in your average restaurant on Sunday, have stopped there on their way home from church.

I've had people say, "well they are open anyway, so it isn't like I am making them work by going there". Hmm. If you follow that logic, then I may as well look at pornography, because they are going to do it anyway. I am not making them do it, and if I don't do it, they are still going to pose...........

I used to, unfortunately, hang out on a site intended for holiness people. It got overtaken by the bitter and angry people who used to believe like me, so I now satirically refer to the site as "". This topic of keeping the Sabbath came up on there, and it was amazing how they would attack we who believe in keeping it. And some if it was plain idiocy.

One guy said if we aren't to do anything enjoyable on Sunday, then a lot of people who enjoy church are breaking the Sabbath. (How stupid!) Another said getting ready for church is breaking the Sabbath. And on and on they went. Faced with the idea that they were breaking the Sabbath, they had to somehow pull everyone down to their level, no matter how ridiculous the idea.

Life would be easier if I threw out the 4th commandment. But just because the majority of Christians are doing it, does that make it alright? Jesus asked if anyone would be found faithful when He returns. This may seem like a small issue to most Christians, but there isn't any black and white anymore. Nothing is wrong. You can go almost naked, and be a Christian. You can have immoral sexual relations with the opposite or the same sex, and be a Christian.

Where did it start? I think it started by throwing out what seemed like small things. The Sabbath. How we dress. What we watch and listen to.

We as Christians are supposed to be different. But if we look like the world, act like the world, hang out with the world, how are we different?

These days, I find myself wondering if I will ever find a full time job. The right job for me. I moved back here to be close to my family again, and don't want to have to move away again to find work, but it is discouraging. Sunday work is an issue. I am afraid my age is an issue. I look around and see people with terrific jobs, and wonder what I did wrong. Why does God not honor those who try to honor Him?

I really don't know the answers. I do know that the Bible says not to work on Sunday, and unless I go into the medical field, I am going to keep that commandment, as I do my best to keep the other nine. It is truly in our best interests to do as little unnecessary work and activities on Sunday. It is all about pleasing God, and I believe that would please Him. After all, He wrote it with His own hand.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do Atheists Exist?

Headline today from MSNBC.COM: "Atheist Challenged In God We Trust Motto". The infamous Michael Newdow who tried to have the words "under God" removed from the pledge to our flag is at at again.

Congress first authorized a reference to God in 1864. The action followed a request by the director of the U.S. Mint, who wrote there should be a “distinct and unequivocal national recognition of the divine sovereignty” on the nation’s coins. Now we have a selfish moron wanting to do away with this. Should he succeed, God forbid, can you imagine what this would cost us as a nation?

Why is it that a small minority of people can cause so many problems. Hopefully he fails, but sometimes they succeed. It took one woman to cause the murder of innocent babies to be legalized. It took one woman to get prayer removed from schools.

I have had a though resurface over and over in regard to these so-called atheists. Is there really such a thing as a true atheist? An atheist declares that there is no God. But can you spend all your time and resources fighting against something that does not exist? Does it even make sense to do so?

I do not believe that there is life on other planets, whether it be Mars, or any other planet, known or unknown. But I don't care if other people believe that. It is their prerogative. I don't get angry when I hear of people who believe it. So why do atheists try so hard to remove all mention of a being who they supposedly do not believe exists? Why do the words "In God We Trust" bother them so much on our money? Do they really have to read it every time they handle money? If it bothers this Michael Newdow so much, why doesn't he keep all his money in the bank and use debit cards to avoid touching money?

There may be some genuine atheists out there somewhere, but my personal belief is they are quiet about it and aren't out there fighting against someone who doesn't exist. As for Michael Newdow, I wish him failure in his fights against God. He cannot be a true atheist. He is just a selfish grown up brat trying to get his own way. Who knows, he may be convicted by the very mention of the One he claims does not exist. Here is hoping that God will prevail, and this stupid lawsuit fails.

In closing, I will quote a bumper sticker I saw: "God does not believe in atheists".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Parade, and Playing With Tractors

This past Saturday, was the Carnation Parade in Alliance, Ohio, nicknamed the "Carnation City" -long story, and I think President McKinley wearing a carnation in his lapel has something to do with it. They have a Carnation Festival, and it ends with the parade. My parents and I picked up my nieces and drove the 20-some miles up to Alliance.

The parade lasted about 1 1/2 hours, and was a very nice parade. My favorite float was one by a church. They had a Noah's Ark on it, and a couple of kids dressed up as Adam and Eve - evidently after the fall, as they were wearing clothes......... :-)

Dad has taken up quite the project. There is a small creek that runs through their property, separating the garden and swing set from the rest of the property. Over the years, it has been wearing away at the yard and bank more and more, til it looks like the beginnings of another Grand Canyon. OK, that was an exaggeration, but due to fears that the whole yard may disappear and fall into the widening gorge, Dad decided to get a couple of big pipes, and cover it over.

One of the neighbors has a backhoe and truck, so he was asked to do the work. He brought 9 truckloads of dirt and piled in the driveway to Mom's dismay - made getting in and out of the garage difficult. Day after day has gone by, and the guy still hasn't done the work, nor given a date, so yesterday, Dad dug out where the pipes were going. Today he got one of them in with his John Deere and was going to try to start moving dirt with the plow on tractor. The neighbor to the one side came over and loaned him his tractor which is pretty big and has a big scoop shovel on the front. As Dad dropped scoops of dirt, I was on the smaller tractor pushing the dirt around and trying to level it out. It was actually fun. :-)

The work isn't done yet, but a lot of it is. Mom and I think there is too much dirt, but Dad thinks he can use it all up. We will see. But at least the problem is being fixed, and you can walk over to the garden without using the bridge, and that is cool. :-) Some pictures below:

The massive dirt pile.

Another view of the dirt pile, along with the two pipes to be buried.

A couple pictures of the mess where the pipes are going to be. Take note of the caving bank to the right.

And lastly, a couple of pictures of the progress so far - pipes in place, and covered up. Still a lot of leveling to do.

The Shack Book Review on Insight

A good friend of mine sent me a link to a book review of The Shack from Chuck Swindoll's site. He didn't write the review, but I'd guess he approves of and agrees with it since it is on his site, I still haven't read it, but may have a copy lined up. I copied and pasted the review - hope I am not breaking copyright laws. :-)

A Review of The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

by Glenn R. Kreider
Ranking consistently in the top ten at,, and other booksellers over the past couple of months, The Shack has clearly connected with a wide audience . . . and stirred up its fair share of controversy.
At the center of the book is the most difficult of all theological dilemmas: the goodness of God and the problem of evil. Where is God in the midst of pain and suffering? How can a good God allow the kinds of horrific evil that humans and other creatures experience? Why doesn’t He do something to stop it? Why does God seem so unconcerned about suffering and injustice? Intense and complex, these questions have almost universal appeal.
The Shack was written by a Christian father for his children, to help them understand his relationship with God. William P. Young explains that he never intended to write a book, but that this story became the means of communicating the real conversations he had with God and with friends and family over several years. Though the story is fictional, it seems pretty clear that Young’s claim that the conversations were “all real, all true”1 is a claim that the words of God found in this book are true. Now, any work which claims to record divine speech needs to be read carefully and critically. Claims to speak for God must be treated with utmost seriousness. Hence, the controversy.
The PlotIn this novel, the protagonist, Mackenzie Allen Phillips, receives an invitation from God to meet Him at a shack in the woods. It takes Mack a little while to decide to keep the appointment, but his curiosity and his pain eventually convince him to make the trip. When he arrives at the shack, it and its environment are transformed into an idyllic setting by the presence of God. Mack, too, undergoes a remarkable transformation, although that change takes longer to accomplish.
Four years earlier, Mack’s youngest daughter, Missy, had been kidnapped during a family outing. Her body had never been found, but the evidence pointed toward her murder at this abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness at the hands of a serial pedophile. Mack had identified Missy’s bloody dress, found on the floor in front of the fireplace in the shack. As would be expected, these years had been difficult for Mack and the rest of the family, a period he describes as “The Great Sadness.” But, after spending a couple of days at the shack with God, Mack returns home a changed man. Through a series of conversations with God, he begins to understand how God’s love provides the basis of forgiveness and the power to change human lives. The transformative power of redemption through forgiveness is the theme of the book.
The Strengths of the BookI so wanted to like this book. It is an engaging story, even though it is very predictable. The horrific nightmare this family experienced is every parent’s worst fear and thus the story connects with the reader at a deep level. The author effectively uses word pictures, characterization, and plot development to probe deeply into the emotional recesses of the reader’s soul. The conversational tone draws the reader into the story, encouraging him or her to experience vicariously Mack’s spiritual transformation. The story stresses God’s love for His children, emphasizes human freedom as the cause of sin and evil, focuses on forgiveness and reconciliation as the solution to sin and evil, stresses the hope of eternal life in God’s presence in a new creation, and encourages the reader to interact with the human characters and God in a deeply meaningful way.
The Weaknesses of the BookBut I cannot recommend this book. The reason is simple: the author’s portrayal of God is confusing at best and untrue at worst. An engaging story is not enough. Emotional appeal is not enough. Many such books have been written, some even by Christians. Young is claiming that real conversations between himself and God are put into the mouths of Mack and God. Regardless of whether or not God continues to speak today—and Christians differ about that—what He says today can never contradict what He has said in the past. A book which purports to describe God must be accurate. A book which tells the story of God’s involvement in the world must be consistent with God’s revelation of Himself in His Word. This book does not measure up to God’s self-disclosure. A couple of examples will have to suffice.
Confusion about the TrinityThe first couple of chapters of the novel advance the plot to the pivotal point at which Mack arrives at the shack and meets with God. Throughout the book, the triune God appears in three human forms. His first encounter, at the front door of the shack, is with Papa, a “large beaming African American woman.”2 He then meets a “small, distinctively Asian woman,” named Sarayu, and a Middle Eastern laborer, who is obviously Jesus (83). Mack concludes that “this was a Trinity sort of thing” (87). Portraying the Trinity as three people, separate from one another, is hardly appropriate. God is not three separate people; that would be three gods—tritheism. Rather, He is one in essence yet three in person. The persons must be distinguished but never separated. Of course, the Trinity is a great mystery and beyond human comprehension. It is not, however, appropriate to portray God in a way which treats the doctrine of the Trinity as tritheism.
Confusion about ChristNot only is this novel’s portrayal of the Trinity inadequate, so is its portrayal of Christ. Christians confess that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, two natures in one person (called the “hypostatic union”), because this is the teaching of the Scriptures. In this union the integrity of each nature is preserved. The author’s view of Christ confuses the natures and undermines the uniqueness of the hypostatic union. In one conversation between Mack and Papa, Mack explains his belief that the miracles of Jesus are evidence of His deity. Papa corrects him, “No, it proves that Jesus is truly human” and continues,
Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence. (99 - 100)
Mack is shocked to learn this, so he asks about Jesus’s healing of the blind. Papa explains:
He did so as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone. . . .
Only as he rested in his relationship with me, and in our communion—our co-union—could he express my heart and will into any given circumstance. So, when you look at Jesus and it appears that he’s flying, he really is . . . flying. But what you are actually seeing is me; my life in him. That’s how he lives and acts as a true human, how every human is designed to live—out of my life. (100)
Several significant problems exist with this understanding of the incarnation. First, it is not true that Jesus “had no power within himself to heal anyone.” Jesus, as the God-man, did, and does, possess full and complete deity (Colossians 2:9). Young’s view sounds like kenotic Christology, that Christ gave up His deity when He became human. If He did not retain full deity on earth, He is not fully divine. Second, no other human is like Jesus in being fully divine. No other human has the power of deity as Jesus did. The incarnation of Jesus is one of a kind. And it certainly is not the case that all humans possess the life of God in them, as Papa’s statement implies.
ConclusionI first read this book because it was recommended to me by several people I know and trust. Most significantly, I read Eugene Peterson’s recommendation: “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” (front cover). That is pretty high praise. I began reading with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm. The story hooked me from the first couple of pages. Although my experience of suffering and pain is not to the same degree as Mack’s, I have many of the same questions he has. As I read this book, I waited with anticipation for the conversations with God to begin. As they did, I felt an increasing feeling of sadness in the depths of my being. This is not only not literarily comparable to the work of John Bunyan, it is even less worthy of theological comparison. This is a dangerous book. Its view of the Trinity is inadequate and its view of Christ is unorthodox. That is not good.
Dr. Glenn R. Kreider serves as a professor of theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he received his Ph.D. in 2001.
Notes1. William P. Young, “Is the story of THE SHACK true . . . is Mack a ‘real’ person?” , accessed May 14, 2008.2. William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity (Los Angeles: Windblown Media, 2007), 82. Hereafter cited in text.
More Details from this Review of The Shack
Is This a Real Story?More Confusion about the TrinityConfusion about God’s AttributesConfusion about SalvationOther Problems

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Shack, life-changing, or heresy?

I already blogged once today, but this book has caught my interest. It is called simply "The Shack". People are calling the book "life-changing", something every Christian should read. On's website, there are 401 reviews for the book, far more than the usual 4 or more for the average fiction book, and 22 for popular authors like Ted Dekker. Amazon currently shows 1047 reviews. This book is the talk of Christian fiction readers. Reviews say how encouraging the book is.

I tried to find the book at the library here in town, and they didn't have it, but said they may be able to get it through some system they use if I would pay 75 cents for shipping. They hunted me up a few minutes later and said they could get it, but there were 420 people ahead of me for the book. Good grief- 420! They figure they will just order the book in to stock, and I will be first in line.

I have to admit, I really want to read this book to see what the hype is about. Among the tons of raving reviews, there are negative ones here and there. Such as this one:

Horrible theology! This is absolutely NOT a Christian book. In fact, it flies in the face of everything Christian; especially the horrific portrayal of the Trinity. I expected more from a website that calls itself (William)

And this one:
Come on people. This book is not Christian in any sense of the word. This garbage directly denies that that Jesus is THE way THE truth and THE life and that no person can come to God except through the Son (Mike).

Yet you have people like Gloria Gaither using the book for her book club. Wes Hampton of the Gaither Vocal Band said how much he enjoyed the book, but that "legalistic" people would find fault with it.

The book is about a man whose young daughter is kidnapped and killed. A few years later, God takes him back to the shack where they found evidence of her. He is met by a man names Jesus, a black woman who is supposed to represent God, and an Asian woman is the Holy Spirit. This already sounds bizarre to me.

Is it possible for so many Christians to be roped in by a book that sounds like it is wrong theologically, and sounds like it leans toward New Age ideas? Or are the negative reviews and negative sites wrong about the book?

I have not read the book, but hope to soon. And when I do, I will post what I have found out. So stay tuned for "My Review of The Shack".

One site that has material against the book:

Closed Church Doors

I haven't blogged for a while, and had something on my mind, so I decided to blog. Before I start, I wanted to say a couple of things:

I blog for a couple of reasons: so my friends can keep up with me, if they so desire, and also for a place to put down some thoughts, instead of doing a diary.

Second, I would like to address the anonymous coward who commented on one of my blogs. I could be wrong, but my guess is that you are from the site I used to be a member of, and I now refer to it as "": I am not using the Sunday work issue as an excuse to not get a job - I do want a job (and currently have a part-time) - I admit I have very low self confidence, and it can get in the way of the type of jobs I want, and yes, the Bible does have something to say about working on the Sabbath - which we observe on Sunday. It is one of the 10 commandments.

That said, I have something bothering me. Is it ever right to close the church doors, other than for bad weather? I belong/attend an Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church. We have 3 camps a summer: one that is for business, and preaching, in June, one in July that is a youth camp, and the general 10-day camp going on right now. Most churches across the denomination has one service on Sunday of each camp, and no Sunday evening service. My church had one for the other 2 camps this year, but did not for this camp, so our church is not having services tonight, so its either go up to camp - what they want you to do - stay home, or go to another church.

Allegheny Wesleyan College has a fall and spring revival, and again, our church closes the doors on Wednesday night and wants people to go over there for service. I had the idea to have service at the church for people who didn't want to go over, and they tried that with good success, but then went back to the original way to show support for the college.

What bothers me, is we have new people that have started and have been coming to almost every service. One couple recently got saved. What will they do tonight? Also, what about the people who do not know that there is no service and show up to find a locked church?

I have utmost confidence in one former pastor and his wife that was at Salem. They were, and still are, awesome pastors, though they pastor elsewhere, but they are totally against Sunday evening church being held during camp, for they feel people won't go up to camp. But the thing is, if people aren't going to go up, a closed church isn't going to make them go.

This really isn't my latest soapbox. This has bothered me for years. I can see them wanting people going to camp, but feel they need to have services morning and evening both. This morning, there were at least 60 people in the service. Most of them will not go up to camp tonight, and will stay home or go elsewhere.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think the church should have services for people to be in. The end. :-)

In other news.........I ended up playing the piano this morning for church. My pastor's wife was going to play - she never plays, but thought she would have to. When I showed up, I got roped into it, and haven't played for ages! A lady showed up after me who plays, but usually plays the organ. I tried to talk her into playing, and she told me she would play the organ if I played the piano. We sang 4 songs, and I had trouble with one of them: He Ransomed Me.

I am working 3 days a week at the newspaper office in town, and like it pretty well. It isn't enough hours, but it is paying my bills that I currently have. I found out that the lady who owns the bakery restaurant I used to work at would like to hire me back - she found out I was back. After the rude comment I got before, I hesitate to say this, but that job is a last resort: I enjoyed working there, but the hours were killers. So I won't rule the place out, but will keep looking in the meantime.

I actually have to work 4 days this week - have to go in tomorrow. Well, that's enough for now.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Booth Brothers

I haven't been much in the mood to blog lately, and still am not, but thought I do something different: a CD review. :-) I just got the new Booth Brothers CD, Room For More, and here is what I think of it:

Overall, it is the best CD they have done. The song selection is the best yet - may have something to do with the fact that group member wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 11 songs. I think it is also their strongest CD vocally, and harmony-wise.

1. Welcome To The Family: the first track is a fun song, catchy tune and words. Talks about the family of God, mentions fired chicken, sweet tea, and green bean casserole - my kind of meal! The song is where the title for the CD came from - says there is room for more in the family.

2. When He Saved Me: In my opinion, the best song on the CD. As soon as the song ended, I had the urge to play it again. Has a country feel to it, and awesome words - points out that when Christ saved us, He gave no thought to what we had been, or what we will do. He doesn't look at our scars and decide whether or not to save us.

3. Stand: a song that has a somewhat anthem sound. Reminds us that though some may think we are foolish to build our lives on the Bible, that we are standing for what is timeless and true. Another great song on an awesome CD......

4. Faithful One: This song was a pleasant surprise. I figured it to be a slow song, which there is nothing wrong with slow songs, but I like songs that move along.......;-) This song simply points out that Jesus is the Faithful One, and will always do what He says He will do, and that He has proven Himself time and time again. We can all stand to be reminded of this.

5. What Salvation's Done For Me: One of the 2 songs that doesn't bear Jim Brady's name, but written by a great songwriter nonetheless, Dianne Wilkinson, and a co-writer. This song says what life was like before salvation, then goes on to list some of the things that salvation has done: used to be blind, now my vision is clear, mercy came and drove the shame away, and more. This is a slow song that says a lot, and helps to remind the advantages of being a Christian.

6. Stuff Of Life: A cool song. Different, but good. Written for parents, but I still enjoy it. Lists several things in every day life: toys laying in the driveway, braces for the kids - things that are the "stuff of life". Last line in the song, still talking about kids, says most of all, may their hearts burn with passion to serve Christ, cause more than all those other things, that's the stuff of life.

7. Peace In The Shelter: Another "slow-sounding" song which took me by surprise. Has a very bouncy tune that has a simple message that simply says there is peace in the shelter of His arms. Written solely by Jim Brady.

8. The Half That's Never Been Told: This is the least Southern-Gospel sounding song on the CD. For lack of better term, it is the "wildest" song on the CD, but they don't go too far with it. It is a neat song written by Jim Brady and Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision. Talks about what people have their hearts set on seeing in Heaven, but says what they want to see is the "Half that's never been told". A definite toe-tapper.

9. Standing Tall: Another favorite here. The song talks about how hard it is to see a friend going through tough times. The chorus then talks about lighting striking the highest tree, and that all you're guilty of is standing tall. This song features a choir that has Jim Brady's wife singing. A nice touch for the last chorus. And an encouragement to anyone going through a trial.

10. Love & Grace: possibly my #2 favorite on the CD. The first verse is about the woman caught in adultery that the religious leaders wanted to stone. The chorus points out what love and grace do for us, and reminds us to show grace to our struggling brother. This is another toe-tapper written by Jim Brady and Rodney Griffin.

11. Freedom: They close out the CD with a slow song penned by the great songwriter Mosie Lister. If any song on the CD was meant for me, it was this one. Though it is written for a person not a Christian, it is still a message I needed to hear. The first verse talks about someone who has lost their song, who has made their life a prison with walls big and wide, and left the Lord outside. Since I am reviewing a CD, I will simply say I have gotten too depressed and discouraged, and have been guilty of letting God outside of my problems and worries. This song may not be one I hit replay on, but has an excellent message - that freedom is ours for the asking, and Jesus is waiting to make us free.

The Booth Brothers have pretty much hit the top of my list and became my favorite group. I don't know how many of their Cd's my friend Cindy has, but I think I beat her on that. Counting their solo Cd's, and the one I have of Jim Brady and his wife, that makes 15, and possibly one more coming in the mail. See if you can beat that Cynthia! :-)

This really does have to be their best. On a scale of 1-10, it is definitely a 10. Even non-Southern Gospel lovers - you poor souls - would like it. I promise!