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THE SHACK: CLASS 2

COMMON TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION: Jo. 17: 20-23. Describe and compare the relationship of Jesus to Papa witnessed by Mack with the relationship of Jesus to God the Father in scripture. Describe your relationship to God the Father. How does your co-union with God the Father compare with the relationship of Jesus to God the Father seen in scripture? Describe how God’s life and power is at work in and through you in the same manner that God’s life and power was at work in a dependent limited human Jesus? (99-100)


GROUP 1

CHAPTER 4, THE GREAT SADNESS. (43-66)

In times of crises when you pray do you find God absent, just present or actually helping you in a meaningful way? (44)

Does good ever come from making promises to God in hopes of a miracle and is that faith or attempted divine manipulation? (46, 63)

What is the best way to pray for others in times of crises? Is it best to play it safe and pray for God’s will to be done or to risk praying for a specific miracle like deliverance, healing, employment, etc.? (46, 55)

*Since you are to give thanks in all circumstances (I Th. 5:16-18) should one of your first reactions to a “do over day” be thanks? Can you be in grief and give thanks at the same time? Are some circumstances so awful that giving thanks is not appropriate? (49)

*How do you reconcile a God of love that also is a God that allows evil to be inflicted on the innocent? (59)

Are ceremonies, like funeral and memorial services, helpful and/or necessary to put grief and hurt behind us or do they also remind us of our pain that gets in the way of our healing? In what ways might the memorial service for Missy been helpful or not for Mack? (63)

How have you been affected by the grief and despair of others and how has your times of grief and despair affected others? (64)

*Is it necessary for you to experience God meeting you at the place of your deepest pain to experience spiritual healing and is meeting God at the place of your deepest pain God‘s responsibility or yours? (65)

Has the historical emphasis placed by the church on right doctrine and right practice that seems to embrace a stoic unfeeling faith been a help, or a hindrance or just irrelevant in dealing with times of guilt, grief and pain? (64-65)

GROUP 2

CHAPTER 5, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER. (67-87)

Does God punish the innocent as judgment for the sins of others and why did Mack wonder if he was the cause of Missy’s death? (71)

When it comes to dealing with deep personal pain are you more like the lunatic that drives straight into the center of your pain or do you seemingly keep your sanity by driving around and around your pain but never getting to the heart of it? (74)

Have you experienced a seemingly indifferent God at times when seeking guidance in dealing with a crises or spiritual pain and if so what happen so that your co-union with God was restored? (78)

*Do Mack’s suicidal thoughts mean he is having a failure of faith (1 Kg. 19:4, Jr. 20:18) or just expressing his anger toward God or just seeking an escape from his pain or perhaps all three and is there a difference between suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation? (79)

When in spiritual pain does God eventually find us or do we eventually find God? Who is most responsible to seek the other? (80)

*Is a visual of God apart from scripture helpful in experiencing God’s actual presence and should it be encouraged for believers or is it just a sacrilegious attempt to make God look more acceptable to meet our expectations? Do our images and expectations of God get in the way of recognizing God? If you were to paint a visual of God, describe what your God would look like. (82-84)

What is the meaning of the question, “Are there more of you?” Why does God say “..we‘re more than enough?” (85)

Is laughter a God thing and if so does the serious business of doctrinal correctness and practice get in the way of experiencing God through laughter in and out of the church? (86)

*Do the roles, racial mixture, attitudes and personalities of Papa, Jesus and Sarayu make God seem more or less wonderfully awesome in a winsome way than the picture of God you understand and experience in church. (86-87)

GROUP 3

CHAPTER 6, A PIECE OF (PIE). (88-103)

What are your favorite hymns of praise and worship? Does God also listen to the songs of praise and worship offered up by non-Christians? If God listens to more than worship and praise music, what type of music do you think God prefers and should we also enjoy or at least understand the point of some secular music as well? (90)

*Why does Mack have trouble trusting God, and what does it mean to completely trust God for Mack and for you and how has that worked for you? ? (92, 96, 102)

Does God ever use a magic wand to heal our pain or is all spiritual healing a slow process that relationship makes possible? (92)

Describe religious conditioning and stereotypes and how might they get in the way of dealing with heart stuff? (93)

Is too much emphasis made on being “born again” (Jo. 3:3) when freedom is a incremental process that happens inside a loving relationship with God? (95)

How did Mack relate to Jesus’ words on the cross and how did God understand the words spoken by Jesus? Was he forsaken? (96)

*Why is there sin and is a limitation the same as sin and is evil, like the murder of Missy, just an extreme sin or limitation? (97-99)

Can those that deny Jesus is Immanuel have God’s life and power at work within them? (99-100)

*Why might it be important to have a “I am one God and I am three persons” view of God? Is it a good way to describe the God found in scripture and the God you experience? Should anyone without a Trinitarian God view ever be considered a Christian? (100)

Since love requires relationship, does God have to exist as in something like the Trinity for there to be love in God before God can love us? (102)

*Is God pictured in the Old Testament more like a limited God that acts at times apart from love than the one we see in Jesus? (102)


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