The American past-time isn’t baseball.

It’s getting angry.

Americans are skilled angsters who never miss an opportunity to jump a bandwagon and go to war over something they won’t even remember tomorrow.

Because of our inherent tendency to give knee-jerk reactions, we not only serve as a source of endless laughing stock entertainment to much of the Western World, we also tend to emote our rage without thinking.

When the book The Shack came out years ago, a Pastor slipped it to me in Europe and said, “You didn’t get it from me, but I think you need to read it.” I read it. I cried. It touched me at various points, and made some good points to boot.

Did it have MAJOR theological problems?

You bet it did. Very serious theological problems.

But that shouldn’t determine whether or not you see it.

Here’s why…

Years ago I planted a church in a Starbucks in Swansea, Wales. It all started on accident. Rick Warren may have planted the purpose driven church, but I planted the accident driven one.

I was only attempting to draw a few people together that I’d talked to at Starbucks to answer their recurring question about Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It was toppign the bestseller list in the UK, after running the gauntlet in the US. I’d read the reviews of how evil it was and how we should all stay away from it.

The problem is, everybody around me had questions.

The night we launched that “one night only” reading group, we provided free coffee and cakes around the comfy chairs in Starbucks, and thirty non-believers turned up. The second night there were forty. The third night we tapered off around fifty.

Now I’ll be honest. I couldn’t get fifty Europeans in a room to talk about Jesus if I’d tried prior to that night.

Dan Brown got debunked.

Jesus was preached.

People got saved.

All because I was brave enough to read a book that others told me to stay away from. I’ve read the entire Book of Mormon, the Hindu scriptures, the Teachings of Buddha, and the Satanic Bible cover to cover. Why? Because they open up conversations and provide means to reach the lost.

When something heretical comes on the scene, I don’t look at it the same way I used to; the way I did before I was a missionary. Now I realize that “one man’s cast-away is another man’s treasure”. When I see something heretical hit the scenes, I know that it’s going to be a great way for me to engage people with the gospel like never before.

It’s a virtual Mars Hill provided on the platform of Pop-culture. Books and movies are a universal Areopagus.

Now I thank God when I see somebody give me something, anything that becomes a talking point about Jesus. I see it as an heretical lay up for the gospel slam dunk!

Theology IS important.

But people are just as important.

I’m not going to miss an opportunity to engage my friends in meaningful conversations about Jesus. Perhaps the only conversations they’ll ever have with me.

Most of these posts are written to tell people who can’t think for themselves whether or not they “should” see a film or not.

I say go see it.

Read your Bibles. Compare what you read. Read the differing sides of the argument, and discern for yourselves.

But DON’T, I repeat DON’T miss the opportunity placed in front of you to discuss God, Jesus, and faith with the people around you for the sake of your theological correctness. Don’t substitute being a soul winner for being a champion of the truth.

You can get mad. You can engage in American Christianity’s favorite past-time and just get mad…just like the Pharisees.

You can choose to make a stand for theological correctness while the people in your life continue to walk ignorantly into eternity…by stepping around you.

Or, you can place yourself in people’s way, by lovingly engaging them in their conversations. Sitting on the edge of the well with the Samaritans and engaging with them, heresy and all, and seeing them come into the kingdom. Entering the conversation they’re already having with the true gospel, instead of burying your head in the sand, waiting for the storm to pass, wishing it would all go away.

You know what’s going to go away? Your opportunity.

It’s time American Christianity finds a new past-time besides just getting angry all the time…

After all, it’s what we’re known for nowadays.

Hey, I’ve got an idea for a new past-time. It could be the same as our old one. You know, the one that Jesus gave us 2000 years ago, but we barely play anymore?

Ready for it?

How about Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art.

P.S. – for a good review of some of the theological issues with The Shack, read Al Mohler’s post HERE.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    • Heheh. Not at all. I once thought I’d use my nursing degree to go to the Islamic nations. I’m working through the Koran as we speak. Again, how do I have a meaningful conversation with a Muslim if I’ve never read it?

  1. Good point Peyton! We should be reading widely from sources we agree with and from sources we don’t agree with. I have read the Koran, I’ve read the book of Mormon, I’ve read a lot of things I don’t agree with.

    • Amen to that. My wife always says, “You can censor your children if you want to, but mine will be smarter than yours.”

  2. Excellent point of view, thank you for the encouragement to make the most of every opportunity. We’re not talking about being seasoned by culture, but being seasoning for it. Eating and drinking with drunkards and harlots- and going to the movies with them too. Sounds familiar to me, and rings like revolutionary truth.
    May I suggest that if you read Albert Mohler’s point of view that you also take time to read thoughts from those who actually worked on the project- the horses mouth so to speak:

  3. Shared on Facebook and i have gone to see it the 1st weekend it was out knowing that it would be heretical. I took 6 men from the Journey Begins Group i’m leading.
    I felt that it is imperative for us to be informed if we’re going to interact with others who will have seen this and have questions or impressions of “who GOD is”.
    What was interesting is that 7 men were all grabbing for the extra napkins we brought & blowing their noses-lololol.

    • Haha. That’s funny Mark. I believe that you lead a very sensitive group of men…I would never personally cry at a film…ever…because I’m a rock…ahem…