Something I love about The Shack: Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu have good boundaries with each other. In times past, my best attempts at a Trinitarian vision always involved some kind of psychological enmeshment between persons. In my mind, I couldn’t imagine how God could be truly ONE unless the 3 were always together, always doing the same thing, always thinking the same thing. In this vision, I saw 3 identical bodies with identical faces and simultaneous blinking. The 3 did not have conversations, but instead sort of chanted the Single Triune Mind in unison.
But The Shack opened up some fresh space for my imagination.
Jesus was a Middle Eastern man (makes sense); Papa was a feisty middle-aged black woman; and Sarayu was a flighty, eccentric Asian woman. Not only did they LOOK different, they SPOKE and ACTED differently; they didn’t even stay in the same room most of the time. They each had their own projects that they were working on––Papa cooking in the kitchen, Jesus tinkering in his workshop, Sarayu puttering around her garden. They are unified in love and being and mutual submission, but never enmeshed in codependence.
This changes so much about my approach to life and relationships. I’d always believed that love meant not having boundaries. That love meant always being together, always doing the same thing, always thinking the same thing. Saying YES to all requests. Never disagreeing. Always feeling the same emotions.
My vision of love was all wrong. I’m putting a lot of effort right now into learning more healthy and authentic ways of relating to people. And The Shack’s theological vision is helping.