The ‘Facebook vs The Shack’ Conundrum

The ‘Facebook vs The Shack’ Conundrum

When I started this blog I knew it would rub some people the wrong way. I knew that some would see me as the hypocrite who writes about things he used to, and might even still do. I knew that I would be seen by some as the holier than thou type who stands on a pedestal and waves his finger at people. I knew, that I might be seen as a Pharisee.

I try really hard to not be those things, I try even harder to not make it about me but to make it about Jesus. He is after all the Savior of the world and deserves any and all glory, needless to say I have failed at that numerous times.

One of those big failures is how I was using my Facebook page to thump readers on the head not with the Bible, but my interpretations of it. I used Facebook as my world to judge, I sat on a throne and perused all the offerings that people would put out there. I ‘liked’ the things I like, I shared the things worthy of sharing, or worthy of sharing so that I could put my own two cents in and I commented on the things I felt I should comment on. None of which is inherently or necessarily bad on its own, I mean that is the premise of Facebook isn’t it? To let the world know your thoughts by putting them out there? But I saw all of those posts as things for me to either agree or disagree with and I’d find Scripture to back me up.

One of the things Facebook was and is still good for is to get the scoop on upcoming movies. As a Christian who loves movies I long for the day when Hollywood will put a true bona fide effort into making a Christian movie. “The Shack” seemed to be that movie. Much to my dismay this movie was slammed by Christians even before its debut, Christians everywhere condemned it first for its representation of the Holy Trinity and second because the book by the same name it’s based on was written by someone who many see as some new age, heretic. I read article after article about why we should not watch The Shack and how those that do and don’t see a problem with it aren’t real Christians. It seemed to me that a lot of good, well meaning Christians were sitting on their thrones in front of their Facebook kingdoms and declaring that their interpretation of the Bible and The Shack were the only ones worth entertaining. I know because I have been that guy. So I decided that I would indeed watch it, I would do so with a critical eye and a notepad…err, smartphone with a notepad ready to type down my thoughts so that I could come to my own conclusion.

I must say, I thought it was a good movie. Not just the production either, I thought the moral of the story aligned with scripture and I thought the message itself goes hand in hand with what the Bible teaches about forgiveness, fatherhood and the Father heart of God. I liked the story of how an angry, bitter man can come full circle, I liked how it taught that all people are God’s children and mostly I thought the scene where the main character Mac is told that both he and God can’t sit on the throne, it’s got to be one or the other and Mac has to choose which one it will be.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there might be some aspects of theology in the movie that differ from mine, but I have a hard time condemning the movie based on that alone. I mean, I saw the latest Transformers movie and if I were looking through the lens of theology at it I could say that it’s an idolatrous, blasphemous movie filled with idols and lies and any number of ungodly things that I disagree with. But I didn’t go expecting to be taught about God, I went for entertainment. The Shack and other faith based movies however get put up on a pedestal for some reason, a different set of standards if you will. We expect that they’ll all align perfectly with our interpretations of the Bible, we expect that our theology will be presented exactly the way we see it and I think that we Christians often forget that in order for me to condemn another person’s view of the Bible I have to assume that my view is the perfect one, I have to stand on that pedestal and point my finger at everyone else, I am the one on the throne.

To be clear, The Shack is just a movie and that movie is someone’s view of God, it is not perfect. God didn’t write it after all. Likewise, Facebook is just a program and it’s a program that has changed a lot since it’s inception, it’s not a bad program by any means and people who use it are not bad because they use it. Both The Shack and Facebook have one thing in common that can either make them good or bad – people.

I deleted my Facebook account a week ago. Not because I think it’s evil or that I have a problem with any one of my friends or family that use it, I want that to be clear. I deleted Facebook because I was using it as my kingdom to judge and I, not God was sitting on the throne. I deleted it because other people were influencing my views of the Bible, I have people close to me that I trust that can influence that but Joe Schmo on Facebook whom I’ve never met shouldn’t have that privilege.

I deleted Facebook because I don’t want to be the one on the throne anymore, that’s God’s job. I don’t want anyone to read this as me saying social media is a bad thing, it’s not. It is however what we make of it – I made my Facebook page a bad thing by how I was using it. The same goes for Christian movies, either they’re just entertainment or they’re teaching tools and I believe that that’s up to its creator. If a movie claims to be a tool we can use for evangelism, than we hold it up to scripture and see if that’s true. If a movie claims to be entertainment than holding it up to the Bible would be unfair in the same way it’d be unfair to hold SpiderMan up to the Bible – it never claimed to be Biblical.

Before I deleted Facebook I read a lot about The Shack, I already told you that, what I didn’t say was how much those things I’d read influenced me to form an opinion on The Shack before I ever even saw it. If someone else’s opinion can influence my opinion long before I should have one about a movie, how are they also influencing my opinions on other things? And how are my Facebook opinions influencing others’ opinions before they should have one. I think we should all make our own decisions and form our own opinions. When it comes to the Truth of Jesus Christ however, everyone needs to know Him. So my aim from this point forward is to spread less opinion and more Jesus, less interpretation and more Jesus, less head thumping and more Jesus… And no more Facebook, at least from me. For you? Feel free to share, or not share. Like, or not.