Father • Son • Holy Spirit, and The Shack For Two Brothers

The ShackI have been wondering, for several years, if there are other people who are convinced that the traditional teachings of the Church do not fulfill the accurate and true attitude, image, and mind-set of the Trinity. Specifically, why do we seem to separate the attitude and image of God the father from those of Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

I recently found a short yet significant read that is causing redefining moments in my thought processes. William P. Young (The Shack, 2007) presents compelling suggestions that we, as a Church, need to reassess the images we invoke when we speak of the attitude, image, and mind-set of the Trinity.

Traditional teachings seem to present that God the Father is a wise old man who sits in judgment. Sometimes we include the flowing long gray- or white-haired old man who wears a flowing robe. Usually we project a sternness of appearance, demeanor, and attitude. I suggest that many times we project God the Father as a proverbial taskmaster. Kind of like when we do something wrong (make an error, sin) look out because our error or sin has caused the Father to be angry. I suggest that the Father is not the angry God that Edwards (1741) presents in his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Actually, the Father is quite the opposite. The second point of discussion is our projection of Jesus.

I humbly suggest that Jesus is not the epitome of a Jewish priest. My heart strings tell me that Jesus is more like the personal prayer partner or accountability partner that each of us should have, and, be to others. Yes, he is a priest. Yes, he is Jewish. Yes, he is the human form of God the Father. However, his role is not judgmental. Rather, reconciliation and relationship restoration. Biblical perspectives and stories suggest that Jesus is a hands-on, loving, caring, one-on-one relationship focused partner. His relationship with the disciples, His presentation to the woman at the well, His people-first behavior, His commitment to the Father’s will, are examples of Jesus’ dedication to people. In summary, we misrepresent God the Father and Jesus the Son as the good cop-bad cop cycle. The third point of discussion is our understanding of The Holy Spirit.

In short, I suggest that the Holy Spirit has two primary jobs. First, to commute between heaven and earth to present to God the Father, and Jesus the Son, evidence that we are behaving with a mind-of-Christ. Basically, to evidence that we are getting it right. The second job is to quietly convict us of our errors (sins). The Holy Spirit’s intent of conviction is to bring us into restored relationship that provides physical evidence so that the Holy Spirit may complete His primary job.

Young’s novelette presents a thorough review of our misconceptions while presenting plausible alternatives. His thought processes are interesting and Biblically valid. Enjoy the read.

Thanks for listening.
Dennis LeRoy Duncan

Edwards, Jonathan. (1741). Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Retrieved on 31 May 2008, from The Holy Bible. The Open Bible. King James Version. (1975). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Young, William P. (2007). The Shack. Windblown Media, Los Angeles, California.

2 thoughts on “Father • Son • Holy Spirit, and The Shack For Two Brothers

  1. Dennis,
    Thanks for the tip on the novelette. I will check it out. I totally agree that we tend “pigeonhole” God into the stern disciplinarian just waiting to pounce on the slightest infraction. I also agree that he is just the opposite. I picture Him as the Grandpa who envelopes one in a loving hug complete with a tickle or too to make us laugh but who gently teaches us right from wrong.

    I had not thought of Jesus in terms of a prayer/accountability partner but that is so true. Such an insightful analogy.

    I will have to give more thought about the Holy Spirit. On first reading, I get visions of a tattle tale who tells both the good and the bad. That’s a rather negative image. I’m not saying I disagree as I see your point, I just need to think about it.

    I will continue to check this site out. Take care.

    Lue Baker


  2. 15 Nov 2008
    1:30 PM


    I am in the midst of an excellent discussion with several exceptionally bright-minded tender-hearted Christian Ministry students here at Emmanuel College. Our recent chats about ‘The Shack’ are leading us to a review of our perspectives on several New Testament parables. Here’s one excerpt;

    Luke 15: 11-32, the story of the prodigal son.

    In light of the story of ‘Papa’ (The Shack), what is this parable really about?
    •Is the parable about a wasteful son?
    •Is the parable about sinful living?
    •Is the parable about too lavish of gift (inheritances) to our families?
    •Is the parable about the different living standards between those that have and those who have not?

    Could it be that in this parable, Jesus is teaching us about the very nature of Papa?

    Remember what the Father of the prodigal son does?

    I propose that the Father went daily to the property fence-line that gave him the best view to watch for his son coming down the long lane to the house, or, gave Father the best view of the driveway.

    My point: Daily the Father went to watch for his son to come home. Father was proactively seeking his lost son.

    Our Papa (God) not only goes to the fence-line, He sent His begotten Son, our Brother, Jesus, to come to where we are to make sure that we see the path that leads to home.

    Now back to the Prodigal Son.

    Luke 15:20 (KJV-Open Bible Edition) clearly presents five specific points, or traits of the Father.

    First, when he was a great way off, his father saw him. The point being, Papa is always watching-waiting-yearning for us to come home.

    Second, “…and had compassion…”. Sympathy, empathy, concern, kindness, consideration, and care are valid synonyms for the phrase compassion. Point: when we are not in intimacy with Papa, His heart is breaking.
    Point: Papa is always fully in love with us and has nothing but heart-felt desire to nurture and provide for us. His love (compassion) is what is causing Papa to come daily to the fence-line to watch for us.

    Third, “…and ran…”. A true verb. Papa not only watches for us to return, he runs toward us, with intent to close the gap that separates us.

    Fourth, “…fell on his neck”. The Father is embracing the Son, pulling Him to-ward His heart, toward His breast. The closet of embraces. Not just a guy-like hug. A real picture of embracing. Like bringing someone into your private – personal space. The Father goes into the sons personal zone.

    Fifth, “…and kissed him…”. The absolute sign of embrace and acceptance. Paul tells us to greet each other with a Holy kiss. Here we see the Father kissing His Son. What a sign of intimacy.

    Point: The Father did not tell the son to bathe, to wash his face, or even to change his clothes. No. He just ‘loved-on’ His son as the son was in his condition.

    So, now we have a picture of the relationship that Papa (Father) has with Son (Jesus). We also have a picture of the relationship, and the intimacy that Papa wants to have with us.

    So I propose to each of us, that;

    •Papa is standing at the fence-line waiting for us to make a move toward Him.
    •Papa already sent our Brother, Jesus, to show us the path toward home.
    •Papa already sees us. He is already watching and waiting.
    •Papa is already displaying His compassion to-ward us, and, yet, has so much more compassion to give to us.
    •Papa is waiting to run to-ward us. He will close the gap. All we need to do is turn to-ward home!
    •Papa is waiting to “fall on our neck”. He is ready, willing, and fully able to embrace us into His absolute love.

    Papa will not only kiss us, but will lavish His untold goodness and limitless bounty upon us. So much more than the Father to the prodigal son will Papa to each of us. The feast of the bride and bridegroom, so much more the ‘fatted calf’, the ‘best robe’, so much more than the ‘ring’ and ‘shoes’.

    As Bill Gaither penned in one of his many songs, “Won’t you come home! Welcome back home!”

    In Jesus’ name, I Remain His Servant.
    Dennis LeRoy.


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