Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Shack

While visiting my step-son and his family in Texas the past five days, I spent some time reading, “The Shack.” I had always intended to read the book, but kept putting it off.

Finally I got to it—and am I glad that I did!

I wasn’t expecting to be touched by the book as deeply as I was. As I was walking through the airport yesterday after arriving back from Texas my wife, Amy, asked me what I thought about the book. “It was fantastic,” I said.

Indeed it was fantastic. I highly recommend it. I enjoyed reading this book as much as any I’ve read in years.

The story is fairly simple. The main character is Mack. During a camping trip two of Mack’s children almost drowned while canoeing. Mack jumped into the water and saved them. While Mack was doing this his youngest daughter, Missy was kidnapped. She was subsequently murdered in a dumpy place called, “The Shack.”

Four years later Mack received a cryptic note in his mailbox inviting him to go to “The Shack.” The note was signed by “Papa,” a term that Mack’s wife used for God. Mack went to the Shack and encountered God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He spent the weekend in conversation with them.

In the book God was a black woman, Jesus was a Mideastern carpenter, and the Holy Spirit was an Asian woman called Sarayu.

Through his conversations Mack was healed from his grief, healed from the scars he carried from being abused by his father, and received a new understanding of God.

The book has become wildly popular. It’s sold over a million copies and as of today is ranked #2 on the New York Times list for paperback trade fiction.
I'm sure that there are theological teachings in the book that will make some people squirm. These teachings didn't bother me as I saw one of the purposes of the book as trying to help people re-establish a relationship to God. Sure--some of the doctrine is a bit squishy. But if the book helps people take God more seriously, I say, "Hallelujah!"

This book would be especially appropriate for people who are skeptical about God and the church. I plan on using the book in our newly forming church and encourage others to do the same.


Lisa Tarbell said...

I agree The Shack is a wonderful read. I was moved by the story and humbled when seeing the author's take on the trinity in relation to one another. That three-in-one concept has always mystified me and after reading this book I started thinking differently about my relationship with the Holy Spirit. And to be welcomed into the loving arms of Papa -- what a day that will be!

When Jesus told Mack that they had never left Missy's side during her final hours, I was moved to tears. The interwoven stories are difficult to get through at times, but so worth the kleenex by the final page.

As for the theologists out there slamming this work, I caution them that it is fiction, and it does make you question what you have believed in the past. Is that such a horrible thing?

Paul Moore said...

Wonderful comments, Lisa!
I think this book has struck a nerve with people. My daughter, Hannah, was telling me tonight that everyone on the plane was reading the Shack.