"The Shack" hit theaters last weekend. The movie was an instant success: it pulled in $16.1 million from 2,888 theaters, which is the best performance of a Christian movie since "Heaven Is for Real" in 2014. However, the movie has been met with criticisms from conservative Christians.
Some have felt that the movie was wrong to portray God as a woman. "[T]he Bible never titles God as our Mother. But the question is worth looking at more carefully because in dozens of places the Bible uses feminine language for God," Tony Reinke, author of Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ, writes in his blog post titled "Our Mother Who Art In Heaven?"
The movie revolves around Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) who spirals into a deep depression after the tragic death of his daughter. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to go to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa (Spencer). Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.
Country singer Tim McGraw plays the best friend, neighbor and supporter of the lead character, Mack. In a recent interview he shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Spencer's character.
McGraw comments: "I don't know. I know if I told you what God looked like and felt like then I'd be telling you a story. I just think we don't know. God manifests Himself, herself or itself in a way that we need it, in a way that we can grab a hold of and a way that we can put our arms around."
McGraw said he believes "The Shack" can be used as a "tool" to help others on their life journey, adding that the universal themes of "love, compassion, and forgiveness" are all present in the movie. "(You're) searching constantly for the next step, the next level and consciousness in your spirituality, who you are as a human being and what you contribute to society or what God means to you is always a course everyone goes on. This movie does this, regardless of what your belief system is."
"It offers a view and perspective to you, that can open the door a little bit to think about what in your life has broken you? What in your life propels you forward? What in your life allows you to give up to other people, and allows you to forgive others and accept forgiveness. This movie can be a cracked door with a light behind it for a life that may need it."
"I look at myself and ask that question when probably the better question is: 'Where are you God, and I'll let you in.' Instead of thinking that you've abandoned God, push yourself in the other direction like, 'God, how can I get closer?' McGraw said.