Sunday, June 28, 2009

"The Shack"

Finally read The Shack (by William P. Young) on a cross-country flight this week. I had heard a lot about it (I think it was on the NYTimes bestseller list for a long time last year). Some said it was a great allegory; others said it was unbiblical. I just didn't know what I was going to think about.

Well, I loved it. It's the story of a man who is angry with God after a terrible tragedy - and God actually invites him into the Trinity's relationship, to have his ideas about God reshaped. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone - but I sure do recommend it. I do, that is, as long as the reader remembers it is an allegory written by a mortal, not scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit.

But it is carefully written...and for me, anyway, it was very moving. Let's put it this way: I cried so much through it, I'm sure the flight attendant thought I was headed for a very sad event on the other coast.

One of my favorite moments was when Mack, the main character, answers his host's questions about his children. As his recounting of his children's welfare is carefully attended to, it occurs to him that his hosts already know all this, yet he is still carefully listened to. Why is that, he inquires. The explanation is touching: because his hosts voluntarily limit their own "knowing" in order to hear his accounts, because God wants to hear about how he sees his children. What an enormous picture of what happens when we pray! How much God loves us, to listen to our prayers!

I was discussing the book with a friend at the Covenant Annual Meeting - he said that it just didn't move him. It wasn't that he found it doctrinally deficient, he said, but it just didn't move him. He said that he wondered if that was because he didn't have kids - and that may be true. The Shack certainly touched me in a very deep place as a parent; I don't know how I would hear it if I didn't have that experience. Love to hear more from others about the book.

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