October 26, 2014

Recommendation and Review: The Shack by William P. Young

shack.jpgUPDATE:Tim Challies and I couldn’t disagree more on this review. He really disliked the book, and I – and my family so far- have been deeply moved and helped by it. That’s the way it goes.

The emerging church, whatever that is, is producing a body of literature of its own that reflects its particular approach to spirituality and theology. The Shack, an unusual novel by William P. Young, may be a significant contribution to that particular theological literature. Or you may just want to read it for a more ordinary reason: William P. Young wants to introduce you to what it means to be loved by the Trinitarian God, and he’s created a compelling story to do so in a way few sermons could ever begin to do.

Though written as a novel, The Shack is mostly a series of theological conversations and experiences between the main character and God, framed between a short plot, and covering a full menu of experiential and spiritual topics. Eugene Peterson’s recommendation compares The Shack to Pilgrim’s Progress, and while I doubt that comparison is particularly appropriate, The Shack is a book that can generate much conversation among anyone with thoughts of God and sure controversy among the rigidly certain. Through the author’s choice to present difficult theological concepts in a creative, even fantastic way, readers who would not approach theology will find themselves drawn into deep waters. Young has taken a dive into deep waters, and it’s an adventurous swim back to shore.

Young is not a master of elegant prose (though his descriptions of the indescribable are well done), but he is wonderfully passionate about the love of God. This is a book that will leave certain aspects of the Gospel indelible impressed on the reader: the nature of the Trinity, God’s personal love for us, the meaning of trust and forgiveness, and the constant creative presence of the Holy Spirit. Young takes many chances, and while not all of them pay off equally, those that do are pretty magnificent. ( I can’t remember setting in a classroom and being moved to tears by a novel before, certainly not one in the “Christian” market.)

Those inclined to look for emerging church error or general heresy won’t be disappointed, and I am sure Young enjoys some of this theological and traditional mischief. I’d recommend putting up the doctrine gun for the duration of this book, and letting the story entertain and explore. This isn’t a confession or a catechism, but it is something a lot of people will read and absorb. It is difficult to not be drawn into the central character’s “Great Sadness,” and the transforming experience that sends him back into the world a changed man is one all readers will find themselves envying. If you can read this book as what it was meant to be, and not as a chapter of someone’s Systematics, it will work on the level we most need such a story: our own sense of intimacy with God.

(I’m not minimizing Young’s theology, and I don’t agree with all of it by any means. But this is a book to leave you talking, thinking, praying and worshipping. At least Young swung for the fences instead of playing it safe. It’s provided wonderful impetus for my prayers since reading it.)

Theological novels are a difficult genre, and I won’t say that The Shack achieves all what we might hope for in such a book. Still, despite a few less than stellar aspects, I must say I found the book personally moving. I will be re-reading it, and I will be purchasing several copies for others. This is a book with enormous pastoral potential for those who need a fresh look at the Trinitarian God revealed in scripture. Young has succeeded in making God a compelling character and the message of the life of faith beautiful, even in the midst of great loss, grief and the brokenness of the ordinary person

We all have secrets, and we all have reasons trusting God is difficult. An afternoon in The Shack may be used by the Spirit to change you and to refresh your entire experience of God.

A good book. I look forward to reading a future great book from Young.

The Shack can be purchased here.

Comments

  1. Great review, Michael! I strongly suspect God has his hand of blessing on this book that very few others have known. My wife’s little bookshop here in Wales is the European distributor of The Shack and we’ve seen 120 copies fly off the shelves in eight weeks, which is unheard in the spiritual dark places where we share the Gospel. The publisher tells us that the first printing has nearly sold out. It’s a great story that moved me to tears over and over.

    I would offer my review to your readers as well, if you don’t mind (otherwise, just edit out this paragraph). I have a couple of links to interviews that might prove helpful. Thanks!

  2. Hi Michael,

    Our church, Emanuel Lutheran, has a book club/discussion group. Would it be ok if I forwarded your review of the Shack to the leader of that group? Thanks and God bless.
    Ivy

  3. Sure.

  4. Michael – I bought the book and am about 1/3 the way into it (just read “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”).

    In your review you said “I’m not minimizing Young’s theology, and I don’t agree with all of it by any means.” Without giving any plot spoilers, can you tell us whether your concern for Young’s “theological mischief” has to do with his creative license in how the trinity is represented by characters in the story? Or minor delights, such as God already enjoying the music made by people who’ve not been born yet? Or, do you have more substantive issues with (for example) the dialogues and explanations of free will, good vs. evil, etc.?

    I’m already thing of several young adults to whom I would recommend the book, but we might not be as discerning as you when it comes to compartmentalizing inspirational flights of fancy vs. theological accuracy, so your opinions are welcome.

  5. Salvation in other religions is the first thing that comes to mind. Some of the way he conceives of God’s sovereignty seemed off track, but I’d have to get back to the book. Maybe I’ll think of others.

  6. Hi Michael, appreciated your review of The Shack. Paul definitely didn’t play it safe, and because he did swing for the fences, it offered me a fresh and inspiring perspective of the love of God for me.

    I’ve since purchased 2 case lots from Paul to share with friends and family as conversational starters about faith.

    When Paul was in my town for a book signing, we connected and enjoyed an hour long conversation that was recorded on video. Here’s the recording for your viewing pleasure.

    Thanks once again Michael – appreciate your review.

  7. Phillip Morrison says:

    The Shack was one of those books I couldn’t put down for long, though I did put it down periodically to ponder what I had just read. The presence of God in Mack’s life was so real it made me think Mack might be real too.

    Thanks for your excellent review, and thanks to Sherman for the ipod interview with Young.

  8. Feelings plus emotion plus ingnorence = “The Shack”.

    The Holy Bible plus The Holy Spirit = Truth

    Take your choice.

  9. Yes, there’s nothing like a rotten book of imaginative ramblings about a loving God who reveals himself as Father , Son and Spirit through the perfect work of Jesus to a broken world.

    Thanks for letting us know that one can’t believe the Bible and read a novel. Do you have a list of approved books we can read, or should we just stop with this either/or?

    • Michele says:

      I think you have been very moved by “the Shack”, Michael – I appreciate that you do take the time to list some “misgivings” about “The shack ” and you do state the inaccuracies in sound doctrine but your don’t seem to be living it – as much as Dan Brown hides in his disclaimer of ” it’s just a work of fiction” for “Da Vinci Code” but then turns around to say that if he were to re-write it as a true story he wouldn’t change a thing.
      The beauty of God’s love is wonderfully expressed and that Jesus died for us… but to ignore the theological fundamentals which differentiate Christianity from other religions is a debasement of the faith in itself. It may not show up now but deception takes time to recognize…spreading theories which might only be a degree off “true North” – AND praised without discernment – could lead thousands terribly off course in years to come as they continue in the wrong trajectory.

  10. Ben Shonwise says:

    “Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    There is only one God, not multiple. There is only one way to heaven, not many. The Bible, (The infallible, accurate word), says so. This is black and white, with no gray areas. Heresy is real. One can read a novel and the Bible, one just has to understand that only one is completely accurate and that the other can be very confusing and deceiving. You decide which one is accurate.

    Some of the worst mistakes are made by people with the best intentions.

    Try the fruit, you will know them by their fruit

  11. Take God seriously. Yourself…not so much. The fruit is looking pretty good right now. I’ve given my two teenage daughters each a copy of the Shack. This book has made God very accessible to them in a world that competes for their attention and allegiance daily.

  12. cheryl w. says:

    Hi. I’ve just finished reading The Shack myself (like yesterday). I see this book linked to Emergent folk, but I don’t think it is. It’s coming from somewhere else. It’s closely linked to the guys who wrote So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore who seem to be much older, ex-pastors and leaders who’ve raised their families in typical churches……and feel completely lost 3 decades later.
    Anyhow, these 2 books have been the most eye-opening, insightful books I’ve read in a long time. For those of us whose minds default to a “mean God”, there is a love here that conquers that religion of fear.

  13. Debbie Miller says:

    A friend recommended The Shack to me. I read it in 3 days…it touched me beyond words. I so wanted Macks story to be true. I had to continue to remind myself while I was reading that this is a fiction book. Yet,truthfully knowing in my own heart, that the shack is in all of us; unforgiveness, perfectionism, lying, broken relationships and feeling unworthy. Paul Young spoke to my heart. I felt the love that Pappa, Jesus and Sarayu showed to Mack. My life will be forever touched by this book. I will definately recommend this book to all of my family and friends.

  14. P. Fritz says:

    Just like Mack, I am in the midst of the Great Saddness. I found reading The Shack to be comforting, thought provoking, healing, and promising.

  15. Relationship with God? Definately. Can’t argue with that…but what god?
    Please look up: powersthatbe (find out who “Papa” really is) and also: she of a thousand names. The similarities are too frightening to ignore. For anyone who shrugs it off, beware of the strong delusion that the Bible speaks about in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, Matt. 24:24

    There is a movement quickly rising, one of goddess worship, one that started at the Tower of Babel, with Nimrod and Semiramis and has moved throughout history and people groups, a counterfeit trinity with ever changing aliases, including Sophia, Papa, Sarayu (also Saranyu). This is the same pagan goddess as Diana, Isis, Aphrodite, the Virgin Mary (of Catholicism), Ishtar, Mother Earth, etc… This movement represents a transgendered god/goddess that is all about Oneness, Love, Peace…Though, not the same Oneness, Love and Peace that can only be had through a relationship with the Jesus of the Bible. No, this has to do with god of the New World Order- a god who compassionately embraces all religions, beliefs and creeds- cuz after all, isn’t it all about DIVERSITY, LOVE, TOLERANCE, ACCEPTANCE and PEACE? Those who disagree must be hatemongers! Granted this book does not dismiss Jesus as being God, but I do see it as a “gateway” book, one that subtly introduces alternative views of God, to open and condition the readers’ minds for later, more emboldened ideas of the nature and character of God. Oprah is a big proponant of this new religion, I wouldn’t be surprised if she picks this book as part of her book club one day. Keep an eye on the ecumenical movement, the Catholic church calling back all her protestant “daughters”, there is also a video that can be viewed online called “Messages from Heaven”. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can see what is coming. Also related: Kali and Transgender goddess cybele

    Keeps your eyes open people- especially those of you who claim to be christians! Where there is the real thing, there is always a counterfeit, designed to try and deceive the very elect.

  16. I just finished reading the book and concluded that there are a few main points that the author wants to leave the reader with. 1) God takes care of each one of us in all situations, we can trust him on that 2) we must forgive in order to be free and to start building a relationship of trust 3) we are to stop judging because everyone will someday be dancing in the eschatological laser light show where full forgiveness and relationship is restored, and the most important thing 4) God in Jesus loved us soooooo much that he committed suicide for us so we could experience his love.

  17. My home cell want to use this book as a topic. I am suspicious, and sceptical about this book. Could it be biblical to sctch God as a woman figure?

  18. Was it wrong for Jesus to portray God as a mother hen?

    “Oh Jerusalem….how i would have gathered you under my wings.”

    Was it wrong to portray God as a lion in Narnia?

    Or as a lamb?

    Is there something wrong with the female that we should be avoiding?

    It’s imaginative fiction.

  19. So is this book in line with what the Bible teaches then?

  20. JJ:

    I say in the review that I have some theological problems with the book, but I believe it creatively and helpfully deals with many issues about the Trinity and forgiveness. I don’t know of any book by anyone that is perfect aside from scripture. This book would get a B+ from me on reflecting Biblical theology, but it will do much good for many people whose view of God is too rationalistic.

    If I was a hardcore Calvinist, I’d avoid the book.

  21. I think people miss an important piece of context when they critique this book oftimes. The guy who wrote it is not a theologian or even an author by trade – he wrote it for his family as a way to talk to them about God and his faith. Somehow he went from there to publishing by the encouragement of others. He didn’t write it for it to be picked apart. I tell my kids lots of stories to help them connect the gospel and the good news of Christ. Hopefully I can handle the criticism with grace if ever they get published (they won’t … but he never intended it for mass market production)

  22. Phil Craig says:

    I confess, I think this book is pretty awful. It’s badly written, cliched, heavy-handed and I cringed all the way through. And that’s before you get anywhere near theology. I appreciate where you’re coming from, though: we need help to know God as more than a set of propositions. I just wish people would read something better than The Shack to point the way!

  23. For a very critical review of The Shack:
    donholmes.blogspot.com

  24. b.gibson says:

    Google “is the Shack heresy” ? by Wayne jacobsen one of the guys behind the publishing of the book great article
    grace to all bg

  25. Jen, and others.. I doubt if you’ve read this book. It does everything of pointing to a real relationship with the God of the Bible, and Jesus – I think you have misinterpreted things catastrophically.

    Going on about this whole new-agey thing. The Shack is nothing at all to do with this. Sarayu is NOT Saranyu. Read the definition of Sarayu here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarayu
    It’s an indian word, yes. But it simply means water, and wind.

    Papa is just a more western name for Abba or Daddy.

    and Sophia actually means Wisdom, which is exactly what she portrays in the book.

    I’d ask you kindly not to bash something you don’t understand, unless ofcourse you’re being devisive and trying to reduce the impact that God is having on people’s lives throuhg it… in which case, I’d ask you to stop, but I doubt it’d make any difference.

    I fail to see any connection. Is God a loving, caring, compassionate God? YES! the bible is FULL of this imagery.

    And regarding the whole all religions thing – if you read that carefully, you’ll see that Jesus says something to the effect of Him finding people from all religions – ie people in other religions can find Jesus (inspite of their religion, not because of it). He specifically says that not all roads lead to Him, but that He will go down any road to get to us. I think this is fitting. Many of the early Christians were involved in other religions when they found Jesus (through the preaching of the Apostles), etc. Don’t hea

    (sor what Will’s not saying. :)

    Personally, I struggle to find anything in The Shack that doesn’t have a scriptural basis (or at the least, fits within the biblical view of God) – and to be honest, it’s drawn me to rethink the rather unscriptural view of God as a wrath-filled judgemental God, almost devoid of love.

    But – I also encourage you to read Wayne’s view, as he had a large part in influencing the way a lot was said in the book: http://www.windblownmedia.com/shackresponse.ht

    And – actually, I’d encourage you guys to ask God what He really thinks. If there’s something you really don’t agree with it, give it to God. I’m not saying this book is perfect, but I think what error there might be is small, and parts that are really open to differences which we won’t really know until we are with Dad (and then I doubt it’d matter that much).

    (sorry this is so long..)
    cam

  26. A similar problem has happened before when Moses went up the mountain for a long period of time the people became restless. With their leader absent the people wanted a god they could see so Aaron made one, the golden calf, Aaron proclaimed “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” Why was that offensive to God? The people were sacrificing and worshiping an image that represented the Lord to the people. The people did not know what God looked like so they should not be faulted for that. The problem was that God was made and portrayed as an image according to the design of man. We can not make God to be as we want him to be and we cannot confine him to our space. What is more shocking is Aaron’s response when Moses asked Aaron why he did it. Aaron said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” (Exodus 32:1-35) as if a perceived miracle could made it right.

    When the Christian family no longer seeks to reflect Christ’s image and people are no longer reading the Bible but every other book that promises to give them the answer, they will seek their own god to go before them. When someone asks why we did it we will say that we took all the spiritual ideas and through them into the shack and out came this verb (whatever you want God to be).

    Young is a fellow human being who is seeking God and an experience with his love and forgiveness. Pray for him and his family as you pray for yourself and your family that we all may be conformed to the image of Christ who is the image of God, and experience more grace from God through Christ than Aaron did through the interceding of Moses. The story of “The Shack” is about a man who has received and is receiving reconciliation with his creator and the creator of the universe. We can read the story as such – a fictional story of a real man’s ongoing journey with God. But read the Bible instead and find the full and complete truth “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:20-21).

  27. DJ Vincent says:

    As I began to read the book, the protrayal of God as a woman did bother me because of the new age religions that push the feminine god,goddess as a better god than Father God. But as I delved into the book, God let Mack know that he would have had a problem relating to a “male” God, because of the relationship he had with his own father. This logic made sense as our perception of God is based on our relationship with our earthly father.We do need to be careful,however,that we don’t allow a fictional account to become the “gospel.” Our authority is always the Bible – God’s Word. But, do people really have God encounters? Yes they do. Sometimes God just marches right up to us and opens us up to ourself. This is what happens to the character in the book. God not only reveals who he is to Mack, but lets Mack see that he’s had a shallow relationship with God for many years. One of the many points that I get, is that if Mack had had a close relationship with God, that he would have handled the murder of his child differently. Since Mack had an arms-length relationship with God, God’s spirit could never truly comfort Mack. Mack didn’t fully trust God, because he didn’t believe that God really loved him. His faith was soley based on what he preceived, that a God of love could not have possibly allowed his little girl to die. Mack forgot about the fallen nature of mankind and that God always has a plan. While the message of the book is God’s love for mankind, I would not recommend this to a new Christian as some of the symbolism may be confusing. It’s great for discussion and hopefully many will be brought into a closer relationship with the true God as a result. Some times, I find myself in a place that I need to return to the “Shack” of my life and talk things out with God. The horribleness of our lives is made beautiful through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. His willingness to leave everything and to die for us is beyond comprehension.Do we truly “get” that God loves us?

  28. I would have to say as a Pastor who has wrestled with the question of why did God allow________.? asked by desperate people, this book attempts to answer that. The idea of accusing William Young of trying to define trinity, to me seems a bit presoumtous. I think what william was saying was the God is all about relationship and He reveals relatonship through the trinity and that is the message God has been speaking to men through the trinity. He appeared to Mac as a women becase that was the way that Mac needed God to be revealed to him. Lets admit God revealed himself to men through out scripture in language and symbols that they could understand. He was a burning bush to Moses, a Pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day to the Isrealites he was a wheel in a wheel to Ezekial,YHVH Nissi – The LORD My Banner: (Exodus 17:15), to Abraham he was a shield Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield, Gen 15:1. Just to name a few. If you really read from the context of the setting i think we would see that God met Mac right where he was at. He removed the barriers that obstructed Macs view of the love God had for him. A father for Mac was, at that time, offensive,brutal, mean uncaring. God had to convince Mac that he was not like that at all, so he revealed his love to Mac in a language he could understand, because that was the most important thing to God his message of Love to humanity. The Book is about removing the obstacles that stop us from seeing that God Loves us and desires relationship, that is constant through every valley and mountain of life.

  29. Of course the defenders of doctrine have trouble with a creative, admittedly fictional view, of a conversation with the trinitarian God. How does anyone do that without being heretical to someone somewhere?

    “There was once a boy who believed in God. On the day his father was murdered he decided to start over. The things he believed about God no longer made any sense to Him.” Those are the opening words of my own story found here, http://www.spiritisdeeperthanflesh.com/ so you can see why The Shack appealed to me. I found it thought provoking and honest. God is not contained by our doctrine. Our doctrine is about an unfathomable God. The Shack does not claim to be doctrinally correct. It attempts to illuminate the love of God. That, it does well. The issues that are open for criticism in The Shack pale to insignificance next to the magnificent ideas glimpsed through its characters and simple dialogue. Read it while thinking.

  30. I wrote a lengthy review on “The Shack” addressing the controversies. http://tinyurl.com/56garc

    Bottom line- If the focus of your faith is a relationship with God The Shack will be wonderful. If your focus is on legalism, then The Shack will disappoint.

    I like the over all theme that takes God out o the box–Don’t worry about yesterday or fret over tomorrow. Enjoy God now. He has it all in control. Surrender to Christ and walk in joy.

    BLOG CONTEST: I’m giving away 3 copies of The Shack on my blog. Pop over and add your comment to enter.

  31. I truly do appreciate the review here. I think it has some good elements of critic that help people digest things well. I wrote a review of the “the Shack” as well, though a more personal perspective than literary critic:

    http://www.kimgentes.com/thinkjump-journal/2008/9/8/visiting-the-shack.html

    One thing that is GOOD– that regardless of what perspective you hold, it is good to have people actually THINKING about these important topics. As long as we can all converse with graciousness, I think much will be learned.

  32. Why is it such a valuable thing to spend time and money to “think about” and “talk about” modalism? Is it a good thing to ingest a little arsenic with an otherwise tasty meal?

  33. A couple of unrelated thoughts.

    I give Mr. Young tremendous credit for not opting for a nom de plume. In today’s high voltage climate it would be an easy choice for any work dealing in with anyones deeply held belief (about anything.)

    Anyone who says his book portrays God as a woman, did not read the book. The presentation of God in that form is explained very early on as being an affectation for Mack’s benefit.

    I don’t expect to understand all mysteries on this side of the veil. Sometimes just hearing “a way it might work” is enough to quiet the demons for a while. What his depiction does do is give us a notion of why this life matters and why it’s not a test, or as cruel or random an experiment as it so often seems. Yeah Papa!

  34. Someone commented that The Shack’s treatment of the doctrine of sin was way off base. I read this book with my guard up, theologically. At first I thought it inaccurate, where Papa tells Mack that sin is its own punishment. But for those who say that this isn’t scriptural, we have to consider that the wages of sin is death (Ro 6:23) is really telling us that when we go our own way by sinning, the result is separation from God. Outside of redemption through Christ, our sin itself tears us from the presence of a holy God. So saying that our sin itself is punishment enough, I think the author is implying that the consequences of our sin (death) is punishment enough. Eternal death is the result of dying in our sins in an unrepentant state.

    If that wasn’t clear, I am giving the book the benefit of the doubt and have been deeply moved by so many other aspects of the story and of the way God is portrayed. But let’s never forget to be like the Bereans in the book of Acts and go check out everything in light of scripture.

  35. I have shared this book with many friends, our pastor, and those that are not believers as yet. I feel the Shack is an eye opening, truth. My son was killed and I for the past 18 years have needed to experience forgiveness, it has helped me with this. I also shared with pastor and he said I have always felt that way? So I read it again. We need to have a relationship with someone before we can take them to Papa, ( : I love the feeling I get when I read the book the closeness with the trinity is the best. And how can we say for positively sure that this is not what Christ means for us?

  36. Our God reveals himself through people and books in different ways to different people. Before I read such a book I ask the Lord to protect me against false prophecy.

    Matt 13:9..
    9He who has ears, let him hear.” 10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13This is why I speak to them in parables:
    “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.15For this people’s heart has become calloused;they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.Otherwise they might see with their eyes,hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a] 16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For I tell you the truth, many Prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

    The Lord led me to insights through this book that improved my relationship with Jesus and with my Neighbour. What more do you want? Why would you rather me not?

  37. I’ve never given this a try, but I think it’s about time I do.

  38. Jeanette Ortigo says:

    I am recommending this book to Christian friends who have recently gone through “a great sadness” of cancer, death of a loved one, and imprisonment of a loved one. The book affirmed to me that my dream of being with my mother ,after many months of mourning, was God’s way of easing my pain. After having that wonderful dream of seeing her happy, my “great sadness” was gone. The book opened my eyes that God’s reality can come in many forms that are not limited to our narrow way of thinking.

  39. Спасибо автору за полезную статью ;)

  40. Having a pastor who constantly reminds us that God loves each of us beyond our ability to comprehend, that Jesus said that He and The Father are one and the Spirit (Ruah=breath/wind)blows where She wills, and that it’s not our concern to judge others, I find that reading The Shack (I just finished Chapter 11…awesome)simply makes me feel blissful. I, like Mack, had a terribly abusive, parent, and, like Mack, love my own children with a love beyond all telling, and, as he, I, too, know that I only failed to repeat the pattern of abusiveness because of the incredible love I believe God has for me and that He walked every step of the way of my parenting journey with me. Knowing that, it was my pastor who suggested I read this book. Having spent the last 45 years or so trying to figure out why so many people want to believe in a God of Vengeance and be content to see us all as Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God, as well as indulging in horrifying bouts of judgmental condemnation of their fellow humans, I find The Shack to be a heart-lifting work which invites us all to be constantly “at play in the fields of the Lord”, and to love all His children as He does. As it says in 1 John 4, “Let us love one another for love is of God…God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him/her. There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” Any work of fiction written in this spirit seems like a good thing to me.

  41. Jonathan says:

    It’s a tribute to the book that it has
    elicited so much impassioned discussion
    on the internet.
    Submitted Tues., 5/11/09

  42. Jonathan, let’s not assume that because this book has produced lots of impassioned discussion that it is to be given tribute to, for there have been many impassionate discussions about abortion and homosexuality (for example) which are by far things to be given tribute to.

  43. Jonathan, let’s not assume that because this book has produced lots of impassioned discussion that it is to be given tribute to, for there have been many impassionate discussions about abortion and homosexuality (for example) which by far are things *not to be given tribute to.

    * – Corrected from previous post.

  44. I’m just starting to read it. I am having great difficulty getting beyond the fact that it is soooooo poorly written. I simply can’t generate any empathy for Mack; the entire plot seems contrived and the dialog silly. Maybe it will get better. Oh, for a book with a Christian message that is also a “good read”!