Meeting the three beings in the shack evokes a number of emotions in Mack. First is relief that the note was not sent by the murderer so he will not need his gun. Next is wonder at the strange creatures who are obviously holy; in fact, Mack is quickly convinced that he is in the presence of God, Jesus, and an Asian female who is possibly the Holy Spirit.
Even as he realizes who it is he is addressing, Mack is still angry that God did not take care of Missy and is surprised at the response he receives to his bitter question, “If you couldn’t take care of Missy, how can I trust you to take care of me?” With deep compassion, they each share his tears and soon they are all contributing to a personal lesson in theology – from the beginnings of creation through the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the world.
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“The Shack – Chp. 6 – Piece of Pi” Show Notes
As Mack awoke and started to leave, feeling stupid for even coming, the forest surrounding the shack behind him was suddenly enveloped in warmth and the winter unfurled into spring even as the rundown shack was transformed into a lovely log cabin. A large, radiant African American woman came from inside and wrapped Mack in a huge bear-hug, all the while calling out his full name with the feeling of a long-lost love suddenly reunited. Also in the cabin were an Asian woman who shimmered and whose hair blew about as if in the wind, though there was no wind inside, and a Hebrew man who appeared to be a laborer. The African American introduced herself as the cook and housekeeper whose name was Elousia, but said Mack could call her ‘Papa’. The man, who appeared to be in his thirties introduced himself as Jesus and said he likes to keep things fixed up around the place. The Asian woman tended the gardens and said her name was Sarayu. All three said, in unison, that they were God.
Mack and Papa have a discussion in the kitchen, starting with the fact that Papa listens to funk among other kinds of music, and not just the music, but the heart behind it. She reminds Mack that she loves those musicians. They also discuss his problems with calling her Papa – it’s too familiar, Papa appears as a woman and his own papa was such a horrible memory. Papa reminds Mack that she is neither male nor female and explains that she reveals herself to Mack as an African American woman in order to keep from encouraging his religious stereotypes. Papa wants Mack to get to know her as the being she is, which is better done without the religious boxes he has kept her in. She details that Mack has never been able to embrace a father figure, nor could he now. They also discuss the matter of choice, or free will, the trinity and Jesus’ humanity and divinity.
“The Shack – Chp. 6 – Piece of Pi” Episode Resources
In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:
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