The Shack Chapter 6: A Piece Of [Pie Symbol]

 

Chapter 6

A Piece of [Pie Symbol]

 

I have no idea why this chapter is called that. At no point do he and God actually talk about 3.14. There is actually pie, but you don’t spell it with the pie symbol.

We last left off with Mack being transported to a parallel universe* where he is actually meeting with the 3 members of the Godhead in Person: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Credit where credit is due, the ending of the last chapter was well timed.

“Well, Mackenzie, don’t just stand there gawkin’ with your mouth open like your pants are full,” said the big black woman as she turned and headed across the deck, talking the whole time. “Come and talk to me while I get supper on. Or if you don’t want to do that, you can do whatever you want.”

Someone will have to tell me if the portrayal of the black lady in this book is at all racist. I’m sorry to admit I know jack shit about the subject.

God tells Mack he can use the boat out back to go fishing, as long as he cleans whatever he catches.

Then she disappeared into the cabin, armed with Mack’s winter coat and still carrying the gun by 2 fingers, a full arm’s length away from her.

So, God doesn’t like guns. Interesting. A lot of fundy Christians I know of are kind of obsessed.

On the one hand, I don’t mind Mack taking a gun with him, because duh, what if the note was from Missy’s killer? Is it so wrong for Mack to try and protect himself? Taking his gun away is not going to make him feel more secure. However, I can’t help but kinda agree that God needs to take Mack’s gun away, as in the last chapter we saw that Mack was more of a danger to himself with it than he was to anyone else.

Mack was standing there with his mouth indeed open and an expression of bewilderment plastered to his face.

Number of times Mack has had a normal human reaction: 2.

He hardly noticed when Jesus walked over and put an arm around his shoulder.

“Isn’t she great?” Exclaimed Jesus, grinning at Mack.

Um, Jesus? Mack is kinda pissed at you and your dad for letting his child be raped and murdered, so I kinda think putting an arm around his shoulder and talking about how great God is is not going to be the most reassuring thing in the world for Mack right now.

But Mack’s normal human reaction in the last chapter–raging at God over Missy’s death–seems to have been completely and entirely forgotten.

Which is a real shame. I like how Mack was shown screaming at God just as God finally showed up. It’s like Mack was finally saying, “God, I’m ready to communicate with you. Here’s how I feel.” Mack was talking (well, shouting, screaming, still communicating) to God, and what do we call that? Praying.

And God says answers Mack’s prayer. God says, “Ok. Let’s talk.”

Except that when God shows up, God just…. seems kind of insensitive to the fact that Mack might not be too pleased with him at the moment.

I like where the author started from, and I wish he had handled it better.

Mack asks Jesus if he’s going crazy. How can God be “a big black woman with a questionable sense of humor?”

This would be a good time to inform Mack that he should stop limiting God. This is where the talk about God’s gender should have gone. Instead, strangely, the idea of God having a questionable sense of humor is the thing Mack said that Jesus objects to, saying that God has a perfect sense of timing and is absolutely hilarious.

Um, writer? If you can’t show your character being hilarious, if you have to resort to having another character tell us that, this is bad writing. In fact, it also makes Jesus look like the unreliable narrator. God has indeed been shown to have a questionable sense of humor, and having Jesus insist that no, no, she has a great sense of humor, makes it look like Jesus is…. well, if you are a conservative Christian, you do not want to end up in a situation where Jesus is anything but reliable.

Let me tell you something about fundy Christians. They not only believe that God would never tell a lie, they believe he can’t. Because it says somewhere in the Bible that God is truth.

So, for example, if God is at your house having dinner with you, and God answers the phone, and the caller asks, “hey, is Madame Snowman there?” God has to say yes. Because if he says, “no,” Madame Snowman will simply cease to be there. Whatever God says, happens. Remember when he created the world and he said, “let there be light?” Well, that happens every time God talks. So if God says, “there is a 3 headed monster named Fluffy in Madame Snowman’s living room, there will be a 3 headed monster named Fluffy in my living room. But hey, on the plus side, that means I’d have a living room.

Mack isn’t sure he believes Jesus that God has an awesome sense of humor, and then he confides that he doesn’t quite know what to do now. Jesus offers a few suggestions: fishing, canoeing, talking to Sarayu, talking to Papa, or he could hang out with Jesus in the wood shed behind the shack.

“Well, I sort of feel obligated to go in and talk to him, uh, her.”

“Oh,”–now Jesus was serious–“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do.”

I’m not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I love that God is like this. On the other, I remember waaaaaaay too many sleepless nights where I knew I should talk to God, but I didn’t really want to, and I knew God could read my mind so if I talked to him when I didn’t want to he’d know and it wouldn’t count. But if I didn’t talk to him, I’d go to hell….

In any case, Mack thinks for a moment, then decides that yes, he really does want to go in and talk to God. Will Mack finally give God a piece of his mind? Will God be even remotely likeable?

The answers may just surprise you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Or time traveled back to a time when the shack was in better condition and it was summer…or something. This is never explained and we’re not supposed to look into it too closely but these are the details I want dammit.

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