A little back story for you.
I coach soccer. I was working with a coach six years ago. We would train our team during the week and coach our team in games on the weekends. We had numerous conversations that ventured away from the game of soccer and into actual life. I thoroughly enjoyed those conversations as they were encouraging and challenging for both of us.
When this coach left the area to begin an internship in another state, she gave me a gift. It was the book by William Paul Young, The Shack.
I thanked her for the book, but was more thankful for the note she gave me that came with the book.
I put The Shack on the bookshelf in my apartment.
And life continued.
For six years.
And a lot of things happened in six years. Let me name a few:
- I became a youth club coaching director.
- I resigned as a youth coach to become an associate minister for a young adult ministry.
- I met my now wife through a ministry we helped create together.
- I visited the Pacific Rim and did some “mission work” under another guise.
- I married Julie.
- I visited the Pacific Rim again.
- I got fired from the young adult ministry.
- I got involved with youth soccer again.
- Julie and I began a book study in our home addressing originations of the traditions of the church, discovering what organic church could look like, and a practical how-to of organic church implementation (I thought).
- I worked for a non-profit.
- Got released from the non-profit.
- I visited the Pacific Rim a third time and Julie traveled with me this time.
- The book study we were hosting concluded.
- We began to pursue shared Life community under the Headship of Jesus Christ with a community of brothers and sisters.
- We started a business for Julie to be a consultant through her gifts for other’s to find their gifts (Know You Project).
- I started working at a gym as a manager, then in development, then for the parent company to continue to develop the businesses and start others.
- Shared Life Community has become priority in our lives as we continue our journey in His Eternal Purpose.
OK, so that is an extensive brief summary of the last six years for me.
So in our shared Life community, there have been a few brothers and sisters that have re-read The Shack. Julie being one of them, I decided to read it myself.
For the first time.
I am not going to describe or explain to you what I got from this book. I am only going to quote this fictional book as it pertains to the experiences I have been able to live through over the past six years. Especially as of late through our shared Life community.
The sound of laughter was coming from nearby – maybe inside, but he wasn’t sure. Perhaps this is what it was like to experience a complete psychotic break. “I’m losing it,” Mack whispered to himself. “This can’t be happening. This isn’t real.” – pg 81
“And I am Sarayu, keeper of the gardens, among other things.” – pg 87
“Isn’t she great!” exclaimed Jesus, grinning at Mack. – pg 88
“I have no magic wand to wave over you and make it all better. Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship.” – pg 92
“So, when you look at Jesus and it appears that he’s flying, he really is…flying. But what you are actually seeing is me; my life in him. That’s how he lives and acts as a true human, how every human is designed to live – out of my life. A bird’s not defined by being grounded but by his ability to fly.” – pg 100
“Elousia,” the voice spoke reverently from the dark next to him. “That is a wonderful name. El is my name as Creator God, but ousia is ‘being’ or ‘that which is truly real,’ so the name means the Creator God who is truly real and the ground of all being. Now that is also a beautiful name.” There was silence for a minute while Mack pondered what Jesus had said. “So then, where does that leave us?” He felt like he was asking the question for the entire human race. “Right where you were always intended to be. In the very center of our love and our purpose.” pgs 110-111
“Whoa,” said Papa, who had returned from the kitchen with yet another dish. “Take it easy on those greens, young man. Those things can give you the trots if you ain’t careful.” pg 121
“Mackenzie, we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command or ‘great chain of being’ as your ancestors termed it. What you’re seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best. Hierarchy would make no sense among us. Actually, this is your problem, not ours.” pg 122
“Don’t confuse adaptation for intention, or seduction for reality.” pg 123
“I would like your help clearing this entire plot of ground. There is something very special that I want to plant here tomorrow, and we need to get it ready.” pg 131
Mack gingerly reached out and took the poisonous twig. “If you had not told me this was safe to touch, would it have poisoned me?” “Of course! But if I direct you to touch, that is different. For any created being, autonomy is lunacy. Freedom involves trust and obedience inside a relationship of love.” – pg 132
“Mackenzie, you are such a delight! Thank you for all your hard work!” – pg 138
“It is so simple, but never easy for you. By re-turning. By turning back to me. By giving up your ways of power and manipulation and just come back to me.” Jesus sounded like he was pleading. “Women, in general, will find it difficult to turn from a man and stop demanding that he meets their needs, provides security, and protects their identity, and return to me. Men, in general, find it very hard to turn from the works of their hands, their own quests for power and security and significance, and return to me.” – pg 147
“…learning to live loved…. We’re meant to experience this life, your life, together, in a dialogue, sharing the journey. You get to share in our wisdom and learn to love with our love…” – pg 175
“It’s all about relationships and simply sharing life. What we are doing right now – just doing this – and being open and available to others around us. My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. You can’t build it.” – pg 178
“What you see as chaos, I see as fractal.” – pg 191
“Mackenzie, religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But I am about the process that takes you to the living answer and once you get to him, he will change you from the inside.” – pg 198
“You cannot see in your mind’s eye something that you cannot experience.” – pg 201
He then hear Jesus say clearly and loudly, but oh so gently and invitingly: “Come!” – pg 216
“I know, Mackenzie. I know.” pg 234
“I believe you,” she whispered, and he nodded and smiled, surprised by how important that was to hear. pg 245
So maybe these quotes mean something to you, maybe they don’t.
They do to me.
They define a lot of my past six years. I may not ever be able to meet you face to face to explain how and why I have chose to post these quotes. But if you can make it, let’s get some coffee some time. I’d love to tell you about my experience through The Shack.