A Modern Allegory

Posted in books, christian resources at 2:09 pm

Living overseas sometimes means that we’re a little behind on what’s going on back in the US. The internet has changed things dramatically, but sometimes we’re just out of the loop.

Today I finished The Shack by William P. Young. I had heard that there was some kind of controversy about it, but never really heard any details. This is a case of me being very glad I was out of the loop, because I was able to read this story without any outside interference.

I remember as a new Christian I read The Pilgrim’s Progress, and was amazed at how a fairly simple story was able to clarify so many things that were somewhat muddled in my head about the Christian walk. Hind’s Feet on High Places, The Lord of the Rings, even Dante’s Divine Comedy were all stories that helped a growing Christian to understand the heavier topics of our faith. The danger with allegory is that every detail of the story has the tendency to become doctrine in the mind of the reader – even if that wasn’t the author’s intention.

I don’t remember any other book making an impression on me like The Shack did. It allowed me to see God in a new and refreshing way, and more importantly, showed me how He relates to me and I to Him. It’s not a theology textbook. It’s not the Bible. It’s a simply-written story that moved me to tears on more than one occasion. Even now, I’m still scratching my head as an image from the book pops in my head and makes it hard to talk over the emotions that well up.

I’ve poked around on the internet to try and figure out what the big problem is with this book. I suppose I should have known that people get threatened when their pre-concieved and 100%-human notions about the nature of God get challenged. When a different kind of box to put God in comes along (and aren’t all allegories just a different box?) people get upset and cry heretic.

I would encourage anyone to read this book. Read it with a grain of salt if you have to. Certainly read it as the work of fiction that it is. And then stop and ask yourself what you can learn from it, and how your relationship with God might change.

And change it will…


August 2008 Newsletter

Posted in Newsletters at 6:37 am

It’s newsletter time. More information about the upcoming move, things to pray about, as well as pictures of some gladiators we saw in Pompeii.

August 2008 Newsletter



Posted in family, kids at 10:25 am

For the first time since moving to Italy, we needed to head to the American Embassy. Americans who have kids abroad need to go there to register their child’s birth and get a fancy “Report of Birth Abroad” form.

We checked in right on time for the appointment, and gave the helpful clerk all of the forms we needed. She had us sit down and wait until the vice-consulate called us. Not long after, he called us to his window. He said he had no problem approving our application for our newborn’s citizenship. He signed a paper, looked at us, and said, “Now she’s an American citizen.”

And I got a little misty eyed. I was a little amazed that this man could grant (and I suppose deny) citizenship with the stroke of a pen. And I was also proud that my daughter was officially part of the country that I am proud to be a part of. Living in Italy has given me a new perspective on my home country, and perhaps the voices around me have emphasized some of its flaws. But I’m still 100% American.