London Visit . . . Reading The Shack
- By Sam George
- Published 08/18/2008
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
I had a great time in UK… though it was short and really busy trip. I was speaking at a youth and family conference. It was great catching up with friends and making new ones. Many of the second generation issues are similar. Western culture has made profound cultural impact on the Indian second generation growing up in Europe. Yet, those kids are so different from kids growing up in North America. More on that later.
One of the highlight of the trip was that I got to read a new novel during the eight hour flight from Chicago to London and back. The preceeding week, Dr. T.V. Thomas (my mentor, the one who wrote foreword and guideded the research on the Coconut Generation) was in town and he gave me a new book called The Shack.
After a long time, I got to read an engaging and stimulating fiction. It is about seeing a human tragedy from an Eternal perspective. Author balances creative imagination with Christian theology. By avoiding simplistic consolation or reductionistic theological argument, author narrates a theological response to a seeminly catastrophic family incident.
But it is not without its share of problems. Controversy abounds in many circles. Trinity is never an easy subject to deal with and explain. Putting flesh and blood on God is problematic. Not to mention race and gender (God the father is presented as an African American woman) biases are stirring up trouble in several theological circles. Some have deeemed the portrayal as erroneous.
Yet I found it as fascinating and soulful. Often stretching my imagination how Christian God looks at mundane earthly matters very differently. At times conversations are less dramatic and somewhat boring. It does not contain the drama and excitement of some of the modern fiction. May be we are used television and movie scripts more these days.
I am also amazed at the success of such narrative in main stream culture. It is among the national best seller lists. Now a movie is being made. Western secularism devoid of spiritual insights are hungry for deeper and fresh reflections on theological themes.