19. The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young – I had heard a lot about this book going into it, how it would make me cry, and rejoice, and learn, and be made aware. It did not make me cry (I wanted to, but the tears wouldn’t flow), but I was amazed at some of the truths in this book. It was simply written – I confess, I expected something poignant and poetically moving – but that makes its message stand out even more clearly without a lot of hoopla and unnecessary eloquence.
It’s about a man named Mack whose seven-year-old daughter is abducted. They find evidence of her brutal murder in an abandoned shack in the woods, and years later, he is mysteriously invited back to that shack by supposedly God. Too curious (and angry at the note-writer and God as well) to rationally ignore the note, he goes to the shack and, well, encounters God. It’s a brilliant devotional book without being one, a peek into God’s heart and desires for His creation (much like The Screwtape Letters).
UPDATE: I feel the need to go in-depth of my review. I read this review and it made me realize how misleading The Shack can be for non-believers, or for new believers who are still learning the foundation of Christianity.
This is a really, really good review for someone who wants to get to the nitty-gritty of theology. I can see what the author is saying, and agree with many of his points. In fact, one of my biggest gripes about the book was when Papa (God) told Mack that He never left Jesus when He died on the cross. In fact, God DID leave and had literally FORSAKEN Jesus on the cross. The fellowship Jesus had enjoyed for His entire human life (thirty-plus years) was broken; when He had walked in the light so perfectly, suddenly, He was plunged in complete & utter darkness. God may not have wanted to leave – He had to. He absolutely cannot go against His holy nature and remain where sin is prevalent, no matter how much He wanted to, no matter how desperately Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” That is what made Jesus’ sacrifice NECESSARY. Otherwise, the cross would have been just a show – you can read more about that in an earlier blog.
I think you have to be in a certain place spiritually speaking to glean from this book some of the good stuff about God’s love and persistence. I don’t think I would actually recommend this book to a non-believer, or anyone less familiar with Christianity, just because there is so much more important foundational things the book leaves out (namely, the tenets of Christianity and the very narrow path to Heaven).
I think it’s ultimately a feel-good book for believers who have a very one-sided view of God. It helps Christians realize less of an authoritative figure of God and more of a loving, involved God. One of my favorite quotes from the old Jars of Clay song, Love Song for a Savior, goes: “Seems too easy to call You Savior; not close enough to call You God.” That may be why the book speaks so profoundly to some Christians and leaves some Christians dry – the latter may have already experienced and encountered THAT God and are offended by its lack of spiritual depth.
For me, however, I was really refreshed with this desperate God. Good stuff.
So to keep pace, I’ll have to read six more books by the end of June to be at the half-way point all around. My next post will be brimming with pictures of our cruise. Andele!