What does The Shack have to do with Beauty and the Beast? Well, they are quite different narratives, but there is something you should know about their similarities.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a bit of an allergy for alarm-sounding fuddy-duddies. “If you read that… your eyes will melt!” “If you watch that… your mind will turn to jelly!” “If you go there… you’ll never be able to come back again!”
Come on… I would think to myself. These warnings are for the weak-minded people who need someone else to do their thinking for them. And, to a large degree, this is still my natural and immediate reaction.
That said, I want to sound an alarm… But, please hear me out.
I will not urge you to avoid any books, movies, or activities here. Instead, my alarm is a warning to be aware as you go… as you see… as you read… and as you choose how you will proceed in all of this.
I recently wrote a post about the movie The Shack (God doesn’t live in The Shack), in which I warned of the error and danger of indulging in such a thing. There, like here, my warning is less about what you peruse and more about inviting you to examine things more deeply.
If anyone was unsure about Mr. Young’s beliefs, which are the instructive basis of his fiction novel (The Shack), then his new non-fiction work leaves all uncertainty behind. Tim Challies recently wrote a fairly detailed article addressing some of the specific theological beliefs Mr. Young holds (see Tim Challies’ article HERE). There is no doubt that Mr. Young’s theological beliefs come through in The Shack, and we are fools to think this is not by design.
But wait… I don’t mean to say the Mr. Young is nefariously attempting to do something to those who read his book or watch the movie it has inspired.
Rather, I am pointing out the inescapable reality that authors, producers, and scriptwriters cannot not be motivated and instructed by their own beliefs. Furthermore, these beliefs are going to be the instructive content of anything they create.
In a recent New York Times article, the principles and methodology of Disney’s creations were on clear display (see that article HERE). Noting several intentional characters and the systematic approach of Disney’s executives, the article (just one of many) openly discusses the plan and belief system driving what is produced.
The live-action Beauty and the Beast (Disney’s latest movie) is set to release on March 17 in the USA. We are told by the director, Bill Condon, that there is a “nice, exclusively gay moment” in store for those who watch the movie (see that article HERE). Of course, it should come as no surprise that Disney is a proponent of the LGBT and sexual revolution.
Here too, I am not saying that Disney executives are inherently wicked because they produce material that reflects their beliefs. They are not “out to get your kids” in some deceptive and evil sense.
However, The Shack and Beauty and the Beast are both works of literary and cinematic art that are packed full of educational material coming from a systematic belief structure. In this sense, these movies (like everything you watch or read) intend to shape your mind and perspective.
No matter what you believe about them, you should know that these movies believe something about you (and everything else). These movies intend to influence and teach, and those who think otherwise are also the most easily influenced by their teaching.
There is no such thing as “mindless” entertainment. Entertainment teaches, and those lessons that are most memorable are usually the ones that come by way of personal experience and a gripping storyline.
The alarm I am sounding is intended to rouse your awareness and strengthen your resolve to live mindfully in the world.
Watch, read, and take in whatever you will; but please do not be surprised when you begin to think, speak, and live like the stuff you take in.