Monday, September 29, 2008

Relationship and Reconciliation

I just finished reading "The Shack", which is a novel a pastor friend, an Episcopal priest, suggested I read. Because it is a novel, it's a quick read. The story is centered around a man's life and the abduction and murder of his young daughter. That's a painful topic for any parent or grandparent to read, so I found it difficult. But, the experience of the trinity and the relational theology in the book resonated with me. There were things I loved and found myself resonating with, things that made me weep as the main character faced his own personal need for reconciliation, and things I didn't necessarily like. One of the things that I didn't like was the bad wrap the church got from the trinity - it was as if the church (institutional) was repugnant to them - but the institutional church is made up of all the people that God "is especially fond of' - so I didn't quite get it. The church is like all of creation - in bondage to sin. Does that make it somehow worse than everything outside the church? I've had to go away from the church because of my own judgmentalism just to find myself back in the church with newer understanding and greater appreciation that our congregations are full of hopelessly "saint and sinner" people. We are human and we all have our issues - that was clear in this book as well. Love was an abiding theme throughout the novel and I firmly believe that "Love" is the very essence of God and that we humans have built and perpetuated the systems of law and judgment. I sort of liked that being spelled out in the book. It is certainly a book that I want to "chew on" for awhile - since I just finished reading it this morning. These are just initial perceptions. I'm anxious to get a group together to discuss it. In fact, I am just beginning to put together a Women's Reading Group at church for a monthly discussion of a number of books over time. I love to read and it doesn't matter what type of reading we do - there is theology in it all. Now, if I could just find time for a movie club!

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