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THE SHACK: CLASS 6

COMMON TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION: (I Co. 13:11-13) Explain what difference time at the shack made in Mack and the effect those differences had on those around him? What changes, if any, have you experienced in thinking about God or in doing soul work after reading The Shack? Does life seem different and has the difference in your life made a difference to those around you? Does change, no matter how small, really matter? Are big life changes for you the result of making progress by small steps over time? (247-248)


GROUP 1

CHAPTER 16, A MORNING OF SORROWS. (218-230)

Does God appear to you in unique and different ways and at different times based on your needs? Why or why not? If God does appear to you how do you know it is God and how do you share that experience with others? (219)

Has God given you any special gifts and if so what kind of gifts has God given you so you are ready when they are needed? (219)

*Are rituals important ? If so how do you keep life and your relationship with God from being just a ritual or is nothing a ritual? (220)

What kept Mack from knowing God as Father? Do you find forgiving others the most crucial but hardest part in knowing God? (221)

*Is asking God the hard questions more a sign of your growing faith and trust in God or a sign of a crises in you faith? (222)

What does God offer you when you ask a hard question like why he does not prevent evil? Is his response satisfying? (222)

What helps you the most to journey on the healing trail and what hurts you the most? What role does the church play? (223)

What real effect does forgiving others have on you and what effect on God and the person you forgive? (Lk. 23:34) (224-225)

Is it important for you to name it and say it out loud to move forward in your relationship with God? Did it work for Mack? (224,227)

What role does love play in forgiving and can you forgive and still not love? What makes forgiveness possible? (225-226)

*What is required beyond forgiveness for there to be reconciliation? Should you seek reconciliation or settle with forgiveness? (226)

Have you really forgiven a person if you still get angry when recalling the wrong and hurt you experienced? (227)

Was it important for Papa to lead the way to and into the cave? If Mack when ahead of Papa would the odor of decay from his loss and hurt been replaced with living aromas? Would he have gotten closure? How do you tell God’s leading you toward closure? (229-230)

GROUP 2

CHAPTER 17, CHOICES OF THE HEART. (231-238)

How do you carry the ones you love in your soul? Is it what they would pick out or what you pick out for them? (231-232)

What do tears have to do with the tree of life growing in the garden of your heart? Can it grow without tears? (233-234)

Should participating in a communion service be more a celebration or a sober remembrance of the crucifixion? Why or why not? (234)

*What persuaded Mack to return home to his family and not remain with God and Missy? Why was this a very good choice? Would it have been OK with God if he made a different choice if perhaps he had a terminal illness or suffered a debilitating injury? (234-235)

*Why did Mack ask Jesus to keep his little tin box and did he have to give it up for Jesus to be in his life or could he have both? Can you keep your tin box of the things of this life that are most dear and still have God at the center of your life? Why or why not? (236) Is your relationship with God more of one of self service and/or self serving, or are you more his servant or he is more your servant, or is it one of mutual service as he is in you and you are in him? Explain. (236-237)

*Do you live and progress more spiritually in the real world or in the unreal world, in the conscious or the unconscious part of yourself? How best do you live in both states and is there a problem to live mostly in one state? (237)

Why didn’t God wait for Mack so they could say their mutual goodbyes? Does it seem like you are saying "hello’ to God when you enter the church and you are saying "goodbye" to God as you exit after a worship service as you would to a neighbor having an open house? If you worship God in spirit and truth does your worship ever cease or is that what heaven is all about? (Joh. 4:22-23) Does proper prayer seem like you are saying "hello" and "goodbye" to God as you would if talking on the phone? If you pray without ceasing, should prayer dialogue with God just be an open ended conversation? (I Th. 5:17) (237)

GROUP 3

CHAPTER 18, OUTBOUND. (238-246)

How do you share religious experiences with others of the same faith as well as witness to those of another religion or with no religious identity and not offend or sound judgmental or sound like a kook or a salesman for Jesus? Would Mack’s religious experience made much of a difference in him over time it he had not risk sharing those experiences first with Nan and Willie and Tommy? (240-241)

Does believing that God is especially fond of you and all his children make a difference in how you treat yourself and others? (242)

*Why do you think that Nan started to believe Mack? When you talk about Jesus is there life in your telling? (Jn. 9) (243-245)

Is it necessary for you to get closure to losses and hurts in your life to move on or should you just embrace losses and hurts as parts of the random chaos that makes up the fabric of life? (243)

*Why or why not was finding the body of Missy and those of the other victims of the killer necessary to bring closure to this part of Mack’s life and to authenticate his experience with God? How do you authenticate your faith experience with God in a tangible way and is that important in the process of transformation? Was finding the body of Missy more to benefit the killer or Mack? (246)

AFTER WORDS. (247-248)

*Do you welcome the process of change more like Mack or resist it more like Willie and why? If Mack had resisted change, how do you think the tale would have ended? What are the risks for you in changing and in not changing and the risks for the church? (247)

What kind of revolution is Mack hoping for? How can you participate in that revolution? How can the church participate in that revolution? (248)


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