Yes, it’s Monday so back to work. Here’s a few loose ends from over the weekend:
➤ Yesterday, we had a close relative over for lunch. She’s in her mid-thirties and is a “nominal” Catholic; nominal in the sense that she was raised as a Catholic but doesn’t attend church on Sundays as she is required to do, although she is making sure her two young daughters are initiated in the church’s sacramental rituals, i.e., baptism, first communion, and reconciliation.
Anyway, she mentioned to us she has a statue of happy Buddha in her bedroom. She mentioned that her mother, also a Catholic, gave the statue to her as a gift. She said that she likes having the happy Buddha in her home “because Buddhas are known to bring good luck.” Hmm.
My wife raised a few objections but didn’t get far with it. We’ve witnessed to this relative before and we pray the Lord will continue to give us opportunities. As a side note, my Catholic mother also displayed a fat, happy Buddha statue (very similar to the one in the photo) in her knick-knack case in our home when I was growing up.
➤ Yesterday I read a posting from another WordPress blogger that chided Christians like myself who criticize the recently released film, “The Shack.” She labeled such critics as pharisaical “elitists” who give Christianity a bad name. She reminded us that “The Shack” is only a fictional piece and not to get so uptight about it. Of course, these days it’s very important to people like this blogger to be seen as someone who is open-minded, tolerant, and inclusive.
Yes, “The Shack” is a fictional story but the author uses the novel and film adaptation to push his heretical notions of universalism, unorthodox views of the Trinity, and depreciation of God’s written Word. As readers of this blog know, I don’t usually get upset about Hollywood’s treatments of Bible stories or (c)hristianity. In fact, I’ve often stated the Lord can use Hollywood movies to bring people to Him (like He did with me!). The people who make these films are probably not believers and don’t see anything wrong with taking “artistic liberties” or pedaling religious-themed nonsense. No shock there. But “The Shack” is aimed at believers, and believers are embracing it as a wonderful complement to the Bible and that’s why it’s disconcerting. “The Shack” may be fiction but make no mistake, it’s brimming with theology and sometimes it’s aberrant, subversive theology.
It’s considered unseemly to openly criticize anything these days. If you want to read or watch “The Shack,” go for it. I’m not the doctrine police. But I think it’s important that SOMEONE points out that the novel and film deviate from God’s Word in major ways. Pastors should be saying something from the pulpit about “The Shack” but they’re no doubt concerned about upsetting the Shackites in their congregations. By the way, TBN is enthusiastically pushing “The Shack” film, which says it all. The channel has been running a special this month called, “Restoring the Shack.”
I imagine our open-minded blogger friend mentioned above would also see displaying a happy Buddha statue as harmless, clean fun?
➤ As you may already know, I generally try to stay aloof from politics. I believe Christians should focus on being emissaries and ambassadors of our Heavenly King while we’re in this world rather than focusing on the temporal, including national politics. Prior to the presidential election I said I couldn’t vote for either candidate. I couldn’t vote for Hillary because I knew what she stood for and I couldn’t vote for Trump because he reminded me of a middle-school playground bully with a temperament that was totally unsuited for the office. He hasn’t disappointed. We need to keep praying for Trump, that he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior, that he continues to defend the Gospel witness in this country, and that he starts to take a measured, statesman-like approach in leading this country. His behavior is unsettling with one outlandish gaffe after another but not surprising given his campaign antics. But always remember, the Lord is still on His throne.