Allow me to use the forthcoming release of The Shack (Summit, 3.3) to reiterate Hollywood Elsewhere’s view that (a) compassionate liberal Christians are cool (Jesuits, Franciscans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians) but (b) conservative hinterland Christians are clueless phonies and sanctimonious prigs whose core values and loyalties are aligned with whitebread Republicanism. That makes them vile in my book, especially with Donald Trump steering the ship. May the earth open up and swallow your flock, just like it did in The Ten Commandments, and may the dogs lick your blood.
In the view of Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, The Shack is partly “a queasy piece of Christian disaster porn“…”a cautious, squarely photographed bare-bones Christian psychodrama” but mainly “a theme-park ride” mixed with “a Hallmark-card therapy session hosted by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost…who come off, in this case, like the featured celebrity guests on a very special episode of Oprah…the movie’s message is, ‘Have no fear! God truly is right here with you’…all that’s missing is a weekend spa treatment.”
Wells to Christian righties: For all my loathing of your culture I still say “thank God”, “God forbid”, “God willing” and “may God strike me dead” so obviously some of the lore has stuck to my ribs. And I have a certain respect for the strict traditions of any longstanding religion. There are few who are more admiring of a noteworthy Peter O’Toole Becket line, spoken to Donald Wolfit‘s Gilbert Foliot: “I would spit if I were not in God’s house.” And I love Richard Burton‘s decree against Lord Gilbert in the same film: “We declare him excommunicate and anathema. We cast him into the outer darkness. We judge him damned with the devil and his fallen angels and all the reprobates to eternal fire and everlasting pain.”
I can offer something close to 99% assurance that mystical peace and transcendence await at the moment of your passing. But ascendence into the clouds, a heavenly choir, harps and angels and a personal meeting with a berobed Jesus? Maybe not. Turn on your vacuum cleaner and listen to it hum and vibrate. Now pull the plug on it. That’s what death is for the most part — no more current. You led your lives according to the dictates of a superstitious fable, fellas.