On Thursday night October 21, 1976 an episode of The Waltons entitled “The Firestorm” was broadcast. Through the years, I’ve hearkened back to that performance, and its lesson, many many times.
Right after Christmas, I learned that the local Christian bookstore had put up a sign indicating that they no longer carried the book The Shack by William P. Young. I guess most of you remember the “firestorm” some months back that surrounded The Shack. Of course, as soon as I heard there was some controversy surrounding the book, I had to rush out and get it! (Those “drug free” lectures in high school had the same effect by the way…) I found it to be a delightful read and one of those rare jewels that has come along at just the right time in my life and helped me to move forward in my spiritual journey.
Well, I thought surely I’d heard wrong, so I took a little trip to town. I didn’t see a sign up on the door, but after walking around for about half a minute, there it was. In the Bestsellers Section (yep) was an “Out of Stock” notice accompanied by a clipboard containing a small dissertation on all the reasons why management thought the book evil enough to be removed from the shelves. I didn’t cry right there on the spot, but stood there almost in shock. I wondered what, at all, could anyone (who’d read the Bible) have found so reprehensible in what I thought was a rather good book.
But I saw after reading just a couple of pages of the “clipboard report” put there to save my soul from the heresy of William P. Young, that it was the same old story of: gotta look just like us, gotta talk just like us, just like us, just like us, etc., etc. I really thought Jesus cleared this up in Luke 9, but what do I know.
If any of you out there were scared into not reading it, I’d feel honored if you’d take it upon my personal recommendation to pick up a copy. For those of you who might be reading this and have issues with The Shack, I do not want to hear from you. I done heard it all in the clipboard report.
Here’s a couple other good reads I recently found that might do some of you some good; both by Donald R. Miller: Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (2003) and Searching for God Knows What (2004).
I’m not trying to be rude, but honestly, some of you should broaden your horizons a little – plus, you don’t want to get caught like Buck Vernon throwing the wrong book in the fire at the local book burning do you?
God bless John Boy Walton……
P.S. Happy 7th Anniversary to SGMradio.com! I haven’t been around for all those seven years, but want to say a big thanks to Rob and all the folks who work behind the scenes for giving me a place to get on my soap box(es) and for putting up with me being late EVERY month (if and when I actually get them something). Love you guys!
Jonathan Sawrie has spent most of his short life involved in gospel music as a pianist, singer, writer, teacher, and producer. He is a life-long resident of Faulkner County, Arkansas and makes his home near Greenbrier on Horseshoe Mountain with wife Danna, sons Jacob and Joshua, and cat Samson. They are active members of Central Baptist Church in Conway. (Samson has not joined the church.) He holds a BBA Degree in Accounting from the University of Central Arkansas and is a master Spades player winning the Toad Suck Ferry Spades Tournament in 1998 and 2000. He enjoys gardening, motorcycling, Razorback football, and has no spare time. He gave up full-time bus riding in 2002 after 16 years with the Melody Boys Quartet but continues to do free-lance quartet work filling in for the sick and afflicted and those who were fired for stealing mic cords. He appears at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion each August as the pianist for the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion Quartet. (And everybody else who doesn’t have one or left theirs at home.) He does not play golf.