How we’re handling The Shack and Beauty & The Beast as a family.

Hi friends – this post is to share where we’re coming from on two movies Christians are talking about right now. We might land in different places on one or both of the topics and it’s okay to do that. It’s the beauty of respect within community.

I read the Shack when it first came out but have not seen the movie. I’ve watched a few interviews with the author to better understand where he’s coming from. The story is fiction. My main concern with this book/movie is that some people are watching it and drawing conclusions about God based on this author’s representation. And his representation is heretical. On numerous accounts. One overriding theme is Universalism. Basically that all roads lead to God and that Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God. The author asserts there is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because all people will make it to heaven. The real heresy of the book/movie is modalism in the portrayal of God.

My husband told me in talking about these things, “I’ve always seen the problem with the Shack being a (probably) good guy trying to help God out by taking it upon himself to explain God better to people. The problem is you have to be very careful to line your explanations up with Scripture.”

This is an author who claims to be a Christian (not saying he isn’t) writing a fiction story but supposedly with truths based on scripture and to help people have a better understanding of God. I think as Christians we have to be extremely careful in the things we portray as truth – even in fiction stories. Some argue that people aren’t walking away with a new understanding of God as a result of this movie. I disagree. I think it is shaping people’s thoughts about God.

There’s a huge danger in forming our own thoughts about who God is. We don’t get to do that as God’s creation. He is our Creator and He tells us who he is all through the Bible. It’s right in front of us. I believe we experience our Creator God in different ways and explaining that to others might be difficult at times. But God will never contradict his nature and who he says he is in scripture. Never. And I believe the Shack, although fiction, is taking dangerous steps in helping people form an idea of God that isn’t true. This is what modern day idolatry looks like.

With this said I personally am not opposed to seeing the movie. In fact I thought about taking our teenage son who is becoming more grounded in his Christian worldview to see the movie and discuss afterwards the areas of heresy. It would be good practice in discerning truth from heresy. However I’m not sure the time is right. I think there’s a time to purposefully examine heresy with the intent of being able to recognize and discern truth….and for the purpose of knowing what our world is hearing and swallowing. But it can be a slippery slope (a good ole’ churchy term) to go down that path. It should come at a time when there are solid biblical principles already established and rooted in ones soul and a deep love for Christ. I thank God that our son and daughter are being exposed to excellent Biblical training at home, at school,  in church and youth group. I’m seeing the fruit of this in their life right now. They have a desire to know, love and follow Jesus but they are both still tender in the faith. As for me and Randy – we don’t have a desire to watch the movie. We’re both afraid we might throw up in our popcorn bucket. Sorry for that visual.

So why are we not going to see the Shack but we are going to see Beauty and the Beast – The Disney movie with the first gay character in it? Here’s why. Disney has never claimed to be a Christian company producing Christian movies with Christian themes. They represent the world and the world is not concerned with portraying Biblical truths. We are exposed to worldly, non-biblical truths every single day unless we live under a rock. We put money towards secular establishments every single day. To see a movie with a gay character in it is not condoning or supporting homosexuality. And I don’t think it’s dangerous because having a continual conversation with our kids about a godly lifestyle and a Christian worldview should be happening all the time.

So how are we handling this with our kids? We’re talking about it. Talking about the fact that we’re disappointed that Disney is choosing a gay character in Beauty and the Beast. But also that we can’t expect the world to act like Christians. We have ongoing discussions about homosexuality openly. We believe  scripture teaches clearly against a lifestyle of homosexuality but that God still loves that person and so should we.

So we’ll be heading to Beauty and The Beast this weekend but we won’t be looking down on anyone who is choosing to see The Shack instead. Or staying at home under a rock.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Sherry Vogel says:

    I’m thinking more and more about that little “rock bubble”. Sadly, my family doesn’t live there so I guess I need to stay relevant. Sigh. As for The Shack, it could’ve had SUCH an impact if it had been based on scripture. Still would’ve had the same message of comfort and hope (I read the book when it came out so I’m fuzzy on details). I didn’t even take offense at God changing human form but I can’t get past the “all ways lead to heaven” thread.

    Been talking to Carter a good bit about focusing on the main points of the gospel message as he chats with a ‘friend’ on line about different faiths. Don’t get sidetracked with Popes or traditions. Keep it on track with the biggies and first and foremost, is Jesus who he said he was. If so, there is truely only “One Way”.

    If I were with a group who wanted to see it, I wouldn’t make it a thing BUT I wouldn’t be shy about my concerns. It could make for good talking points after but Rob and I will not seek it out. There are too many ‘all wsys get to heaven’ distractions I can’t avoid to add one more when I have a choice😳

    • Hey Sherry – I know you’re not an “under-a-rock” dweller. I hope I didn’t convey the message that if you choose not to see B&B you’re not relevant or that you live under a rock. Not what I’m saying. Online conversations – in gaming and social media….that’s a hard one. I love how you’re approaching this with Carter. A great conversation you’re having with him.

  2. Sherry Vogel says:

    Beauty and the Beast is tougher to discuss. While my expectation from Disney is not a faith based standard, it becomes even more important to use discernment. I’d LOVE to see Emma Watson as Belle and lose myself in the special effects, but I think I’ll sit this one out too. As you said, the slope is VERY slippery and I know this princess story forward and backward. I do not want to get comfortable with the delusional behavior associated with the homosexual lifestyle in any form. It is another biblical command that is either true or not and the lie that it’s just “another way” is also being pressed at me where ever I go. Even in This Is Us! It wasn’t necessary there and it DEFINITELY has no place in a childrens movie. So many confusing messages already for them.

    So there it is. My mind filleted and served up with a heaping serving of verbiage. (Aren’t you glad I didn’t say ‘word vomit’😁)

    • Yes – I know….was disappointed in that with “This Is Us” as well. I like your heaping serving of verbiage. Keep it coming! Love you guys.

  3. I have not read The Shack, nor have I seen the movie. I know a woman who is a personal friend of the author, and I’ve read her very supportive posts of the book and movie. I think based on what I’ve gleaned from her comments and reviews I’ve read, that what you said here is an accurate representation, and I agree with you on the danger of people drawing their truths based on fiction. Handling Scripture is such a huge task, and it can be very tricky when people try to fictionalize it, even if it’s done with good intentions.

    Beauty and the Beast is my FAVORITE Disney movie, and I have been waiting like crazy for this one to come out so we can go see it. (We means my husband and me…we don’t have kids.) I think your assessment here is also good and accurate, and I know all their movies have little hidden things in them – some I’ve observed, but most I’ve been oblivious to, because I was so sheltered growing up. I watched the movies for what they were, not for uncovering hidden meanings. I plan to go see Beauty and the Beast (probably more for the music than anything!) but I know several of my friends are choosing not to go.

    • Awwww yes the music in Beauty and the Beast is fabulous! And yeah you’re right about the other Disney movies having hidden meanings and such in them. Stuff adults get but kids don’t always understand. I debated on even telling our daughter before seeing B&B because I’m not sure how overt or subtle the “gay character” is in the new movie….thinking she might overlook it but she picks up on everything so we talked about it openly.

  4. I love how you state what you believe in a nonpreachy, noncondemning way. You should do an entire series on this kind of thing!

    My two cents…

    Beauty and Beast= Going. I see it as just another conversation I can have with my kids about what we believe. This issue isn’t going away, and I have to keep the conversation going.

    The Shack=Will watch it, but not at the theaters. So I read the book, but I don’t remember the storyline enough to have a decent conversation about it. Many of my non-Christian friends are going, and I’d like to have a real conversation with them about it. It seems like an easy way to talk about God and my beliefs in a nonthreatening way. Plus, it will give me a chance to share about things from the movie that I didn’t agree with. I’m in!

    Thanks for all of the time, thought, and prayer this post required!

    • Thank you Amy for your input. You make a good point about The Shack being a good entry way into conversation about our God and who He says he is. I like that perspective and agree with you. Everything redeemable. Hey, we need another 24 Blackbird lunch visit.