The Shack author’s mother reassured about novel’s theology by minister of pro-gay church

Out of all the amazing things that occurred during Stories From The Shack, the live stage spectacle held on Mother’s Day, nothing hit harder than Paul Young’s story about his mother and Harold Munn, the recently retired Rector of St. John The Divine Anglican Church.

The evening to this point had been a frenetic mix of aerial display, choreography, music, art, and speeches about The Shack by author Paul Young and others. Radio personality Delilah told the audience the novel “has showed us God in a way we’ve never seen before.”

Standing on stage, Paul Young told the audience that his mom had read the book and had then called his sister. Horrified by her son’s portrayal of God as Father-goddess, Mrs. Young stated, “Debbie, your brother’s a heretic.”

Hearing this, some in the audience laughed appreciatively, some nervously. Then Paul Young told an amazing story. When his mother was a young nurse, a baby had been delivered via a very rough C-section. The baby was sickly, weighing just one pound, and it was obvious he would not survive.  The doctor, Paul Young said, told Paul’s mother to dispose of the baby.

She could not do it. She stayed there with the baby, which Paul Young said infuriated the doctor once he discovered this. The doctor had to report to the birth mother that his earlier report of her baby’s death was inaccurate–the baby was still alive, he told her, but would not survive for long.

Impossibly, the baby did survive. Harold Munn grew up and became an Anglican clergyman. For decades Mrs. Young had no idea what happened to the baby. Eventually, however, she contacted him. Disturbed by her son’s novel, she asked Harold Munn, now rector of St. John the Divine Anglican Church, about The Shack.

Harold Munn reassured her about the Father-goddess imagery. He had not only read the book, he wanted his congregation to read it. And so Mrs. Young, a faithful, Bible believing woman, was put at ease about her son’s theology. Telling this story, his voice breaking with his well-timed, trademark emotion, Paul Young said it was the little one pound baby who built the bridge so that Mrs. Young could again walk with her own son.

At face value, it is a wonderful story: A Christian pastor with ties to the family reassures the elderly, concerned mother about her son’s theology. But there is a reason Harold Munn has no trouble with The Shack. The theology of  The Shack is not a problem because Munn’s church holds to a wide-open interpretation of who Jesus is, and what Christianity means.

Under “Pastoral Care,” St. John the Divine lists PFLAG, which is the pro-homosexual organization Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. [1] It is doubtful Mrs. Young would have accepted anything Munn had to say about The Shack, had she known this. Nor was this mentioned to the audience at Stories From The Shack.

Retired as rector of St. John the Divine on May 8, here is how Munn presents Jesus on the church website:

Jesus was a Jew who lived in Palestine during the Roman occupation in the first part of the first century. The significance of his life and death has been interpreted in a variety of ways over the intervening 2000 years. One type of interpretation has been that the clarity with which he ordered his own life on the principle of love without limit means that he is both a light that shines into our own lives and is also the reality of God. Another type of interpretation says that his death and resurrection is the process by which evil is removed, both from the universe as well as from individual people. [2] (Bold mine)
 
One type of interpretation? Another type of interpretation? There is no mention of repentance, His blood, or biblical Salvation. It is written in a way that it could be understood as this, but also in many other ways. Why not simply present Biblical Truth:
 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
 
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
 
Here is Munn’s presentation of Christianity:
 
Christianity is the response people have made to the effect that Jesus has had upon them. For some traditions this response has primarily emphasized the call to live in absolute love, while other traditions have focused on the fact of the victory over all evil. Some traditions have focused on people’s individual response to these to issues, while other traditions have emphasized the group (or community) response. Over the centuries, these two emphases, accompanied often by geographic and political isolation, have resulted in a wide variety of separate organizations calling themselves churches or denominations. [3] (Bold mine)
 
And here is Munn’s version of John, in which he claims the man who wrote Revelation is not the man who penned the Book of John, nor is he John the apostle:
 
The author of the Book of Revelation was traditionally believed to be the same person as John the apostle of Jesus, and John, the author of the Fourth Gospel, who is referred to as St. John the Evangelist, and the John who is the author of the epistles of John. However we now know that these were all separate individuals. [4] (Bold mine)

If you want to investigate further, here is a link to St. John the Divine’s Podcasts. LINK  Please listen to what is being taught by these some of these speakers. The Bible tells us we are not to participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but to expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)  

One of the church podcasts features Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault. Her lecture is titled, Mystics and Contemplatives as Visionaries and Prophets (March 25, 2011)

The introduction states, “In this percolation of the spirit that is often called nowadays ‘The Emerging Church,’ it is the mystics and the contemplatives who will emerge as the prophets and visionaries–because their contemplative practice makes this evolution virtually inescapable.”

Paul Young was a speaker from the pulpit at St. John the Divine last year. His mom believes Reverend Munn is a traditional Christian, and that was the impression given to the audience at Stories From The Shack.

At the next Stories From The Shack, perhaps Paul Young can make sure this heart-warming–but misleading–tale is not repeated.

Endnotes:

1.  http://www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca/misccmte/pflag.asp

2. http://www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca/about/jesus.asp

3. http://www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca/about/christianity.asp

4. http://www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca/about/stjohn.asp

4 Responses to “The Shack author’s mother reassured about novel’s theology by minister of pro-gay church”

  • Pearl:

    I’m glad you mentioned the show opened on Mother’s Day…I don’t think that was a coincidence, do you? And I seriously doubt it was to honour Young’s poor, sensitive, supportive, yet deceived mother, but rather the he/she/goddess/thing. Is that a far stretch?

    All so tragic.

    • mywordlikefire:

      No, I don’t think it was a coincidence. It is also hard to understand how Paul Young could not know about St. John the Divine, but maybe he didn’t…

  • Mary:

    I caught a 2 hour DVD of a Paul Young appearance at a Wisconsin church. It was a mix of emotional manipulation, psychobabble and catharsis. And the church runs after such these days…so grievous.

  • This really reveals Paul Young’s heart and theology. Thank you.