Monday musings: Happy Buddha, more on “The Shack,” & Trump

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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.

Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower

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7 thoughts on “Monday musings: Happy Buddha, more on “The Shack,” & Trump

  1. Hi Tom!

    Sadly I am home now LOL. Working even if you can believe that. Ah, The Shack. You know, I happen to agree that book is full of garbage. I would never recommend it to a current believer, or to somebody who wanted to learn about God. The truth is, however, that many folks will read it. My hope is that some of those might then ask questions….then we have a golden opportunity to share truth with them. Even with brothers or sisters who are into it, we have a chance to teach and guide them in a good direction. There is a trend I see flying around to immediately start casting aspersions on the state of people’s relationship with Jesus, and that is not something we are entitled to do. Our reaction to those involved with this book could accomplish some good, or some harm. This is especially true with non believers who might be reading the book. What I am seeing is a quick tendency to immediately start hollering heresy and damnation at people…with no discussion at all of what the truth really is. Your average non believer has no clue what heresy is. If all they hear from us is “The Shack is damning!,” then what have we really accomplished? I happen to agree that a person getting their understanding of salvation from it are in fact in a very questionable position. On the other hand, our place is to guide them to truth, not simply tell them they are damned.

    I was told flat out that my position in Jesus was obvious for suggesting what I just said to you. Meaning, another person determined on my behalf whether I was actually saved or not. I was never even given a chance to express what I actually thought about the book; just the very suggestion that we be kind to those getting involved with it was in itself heretical.

    So, to recap. The Shack has enough potential untruth on board to sink a ship. On the other hand, it provides a golden opportunity and open door for us to share actual truth with people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Wally! Once again, welcome back and thanks for all those great photos! I understand where you’re coming from on this brother. As you know I was in a very legalistic fellowship which majored in negativity and criticism. I understand why constant finger pointing and naysaying can be a turn-off (I walked away from the Lord because of that kind of constant negativity) but I also understand why some Christians are moved to point out the heresies of “The Shack.” So, I agree with you; “The Shack” is both a dangerous opportunity for error to enter the church and an opportunity for the genuine Gospel to be preached. You know me by now, Wally. I believe the Lord can use Hollywood movies and television shows that present an un-Biblical Jesus and an out-of-focus gospel. So yeah, I’m also a bit ambivalent about “The Shack” but I’m also thinking many Christians aren’t even aware of the aberrant theology that the book contains. Unlike you, many evangelical pastors are enthusiastically recommending “The Shack” to their congregations and many evangelical church community groups are reading through the book together. Many evangelicals would flat out disagree with your statement that the book contains a lot of untruth. So the level of acceptance of “The Shack” throughout evangelicalism disturbs me and some of that lack of discernment has to be attributed to people saying nothing. I have to ask; What would Paul say about “The Shack” if confronted by its popularity in the church? Or Spurgeon? Or Lloyd-Jones? Or MacArthur? I actually googled “MacArthur The Shack” to see what he had to say and I found a posting from someone saying they had written J. Mac on the issue and Grace to You responded back saying J. Mac has not commented on “The Shack” because he doesn’t want to be viewed as the negative gate-keeper and that Tim Challies had already covered the problems with the book with his review. Anyway, thanks for the comments, brother. I understand your viewpoint.

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      1. I am surprised by McArthur on that to be honest; he usually is very clear in what he thinks and says.

        Pictures. Well, I am not done yet, Tom. I haven’t even posted hardly a thing on our time in Jerusalem. Some of that will take a while, because there is so much that can be said.

        Things in the Holy Land are…complicated. Kind of like The Shack to be honest. I may try to formulate some thoughts on the layers over there if I can. It may be beyond me to be honest, as even those who live it don’t always understand the factors swirling around, and every body has an agenda. Weeding out reality is almost impossible. To say life in the Middle East is like an onion would be an understatement.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Looking forward to those Jerusalem photos! Yeah, I think I understand a little bit about what you’re saying regarding the various factions concentrated together in the Holy Land…truth mixed with near-truth and non-truth all over the place.

        Liked by 1 person

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