Yahweh is not Codependent

Something I love about THE SHACK:  Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu have good boundaries with each other.

In times past, my best attempts at a Trinitarian vision always involved some kind of enmeshment between persons.  In my mind, I couldn’t imagine how God could be truly ONE unless the 3 were always together, always doing the same thing, always thinking the same thing.  In this vision, I saw 3 identical bodies with identical faces and simultaneous blinking.  The 3 did not have conversations, but instead sort of chanted the Single Triune Mind in unison.

But THE SHACK opened up some fresh space for my imagination.

Jesus was a Middle Eastern man (makes sense); Papa was a feisty middle-aged black woman; and Sarayu was a flighty, eccentric Asian woman.  Not only did they LOOK different, they SPOKE and ACTED different; they didn’t even stay in the same room most of the time.   They each had their own projects that they were working on – Papa cooking in the kitchen, Jesus tinkering in his workshop, Sarayu puttering around her garden.

They are unified in love and mutual submission, but never enmeshed in codependence.

This changes so much about my approach to life and relationships.  I’d always believed that love meant not having boundaries.  That love meant always being together, always doing the same thing, always thinking the same thing.  Saying YES to all requests.  Never disagreeing.  Always feeling the same emotions.

My vision of love was all wrong.

I’m putting a lot of effort right now into learning more healthy and authentic ways of relating to people.  And THE SHACK‘s theological vision is helping.

~ John Stonecypher

4 comments so far

  1. R. Eric Sawyer on

    I agree. I’ve had a number of coversations with folks about “the Shack” Most,but importantly not all, of my clergy friends hated it. But I think you are right on the money. The Holy Trinity is a awesomly difficult idea to try and wrap my head around, especially to see its ramifications, even when we see that it must be true.
    I sort of liken it to quatum physics in that reguard. I don’t understand much about worm holes and strings, and parallel multi-dimensional universes, even if the mathamatics say it must be true.

    “The Shack” presents a picture of the Trinity that falls down at many points if pressed closely. But it does try very hard to image the “three in one” aspect of God, and what that must be like. It also models very well that love is the binding force in that unity, and thus makes tangible the idea that “God is love” as St. John says.

    My last post over on my site deals wuite a bit with the Holy Trinity, and I would welcome your input, if you feel so inclined!

    R. Eric Sawyer

  2. John Geerlings on

    Hi John
    I think for me I have to dismiss what I thought was normal and live in the abnormal normally. jg

  3. Boyd Merriman on

    Growing up in a legalistic church with all the church services identical (time, style, songs, how many songs, bible studies), we pretty much look like a box of yellow pencils. Our College, as good as it was (and it was very good) pretty much created stencils that reproduced the same church all over. I can go to any congregation in the country (and probably world) and know exactly how the services will be laid out and, except for the individual long-windedness of some pastors, I can count on how and when it will end.

    Now I can appreciate differences a lot more, and appreciate worship styles a lot more, though I may still feel some discomfort in some. But that is OK, because, now, I’m different!!

    Now I can appreciate God’s appreciation of the differences in humanity and culture.

    The Shack made God “cool” again!


  4. Pastor Jonathan on

    I appreciate the comments you guys have made! I think the greatest strength of “The Shack” is the way it helps us 21st century evangelicals break out of our very unitarian thinking about God. What I see in John’s post and our comments is the reality that we have all needed to let the Holy Spirit give us a truly Trinitarian vision of who God is.

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