Tuesday

The Shack, A Review of Sorts

Since I have a little extra time, down on the farm, I thought I'd share some thoughts with you about The Shack by William Young.


A sweet friend dropped by The Shack a while ago on my front porch. The note inside said, "You've got to read this. Let me know what you think!"

I could almost feel the intensity of her words. I'd never heard of the book and right from the start, I knew it wasn't my normal kind of read. At all. But I love my friend and was intrigued.

And so I did it. I read every page of The Shack in 2.5 days. My hubby read it right after me.

Here's the synopsis from the back of the book:
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, ostensibly from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever and quite possibly your own.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!

After I closed the last page, I called my friend and we talked about this unusual book. And since we had some questions, we googled it.

Well. That's when I discovered that The Shack was pretty controversial. Some churches were teaching it in Sunday School while others were calling it blatant heresy.

Now, let me just say, I'm not taking sides. I'm not going to give my theological opinion on this work of fiction. I'm just not that smart.

My two cents: I just picked up the book and read it. I'm glad I did, before I was aware of all the controversy surrounding it. First of all, this is a book of fiction. I think if people are looking at it as a Biblical guide, they will find fault. Secondly, the first 5 chapters are VERY hard to read, especially as a mother. Prepare yourself. It won't be easy.

I understand the mystery surrounding it, but it made me really think about what I believe about God. And I'm glad I read it.

Here are two different sides that I thought were very thought-provoking:

Against the book.

For the book.

The bottom line for me is while I didn't agree with every word in The Shack, it did challenge my faith and stir my heart to know God deeper.

And in my book, that's a good thing.

27 comments:

happyathome said...

I have found myself lately going outside of my normal reading realm, must be my age. I think I will have to pick this one up. Thanks for the post.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I've been wondering about this. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

D... said...

Everywhere I turn around, someone is mentioning this book. I'm going to have to read it myself.

Domestic Spaz said...

What an interesting sounding book! I'm intrigued. :) I'll be looking for it.

Dawn said...

I agree with you completely.

But, what sort of disturbs me is how the writer urges us to share the book with others like it is something really spectacular. I just didn't get why, other than to sell more books. Your take on that?

I definitely found it interesting and it did challenge me.

Shara said...

I've read it twice and skimmed through it once. I absolutely loved it. I had no problem remembering that it was fiction, so I could easily look past some things I didn't agree with theologically. I've heard mixed reviews as well, even between our book club members. But honestly, I thought it was a very moving book and I'm glad I read it.

Suzy said...

For those intrigued, drop by my blog www.Woopigsuzy.blogspot.com and leave a comment. I'll give my copy away as I am finished with it. I'll use the random # generator Friday to choose a winner.

Melissa said...

I just finished this book a couple of days ago. I liked how the relationship of a person with God was emphasised and also the importance of love and relationship with Jesus to a believers transformation, how our will to be better is never enough but the apparent downplaying of reading the bible was a big concern for me. Scripture helps us to discern what is from God and tells us who he is, but I like that the book might help people to break out of some assumptions about God especially the legalitic mindset.

Cheri-Beri said...

I read it . . . . I liked it. My husband read it and went nutso (in a good way) over it. I look at it like this - it's fiction. The author never says anything less or more than that. Honestly, if I want theology, I need to get it straight from the source - the Word of God. If someone is getting theology out of a book that is blatantly fiction, well, I kinda pity them.

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

It's on my list to read. So I'm skipping the controversy until after I've read it!!

marky said...

I read through it twice. Once as a Novel, and once with some scepticism and critisism.
It is just that a Novel, with a sweet intimate description of God.
I don't think it should ever take the place of the bible, it doesn't claim to do that.
Oopps I gave my opinion..

Crystal said...

This book is on my reading list. It has been recommended to me by several people...and now you too. I didn't read your post because I want to read the book first and then go back and read your comments. I'll let you know what I think. I love to discuss books with other people!

kucole said...

I'm only about half-way through but am looking forward to finishing so I can access for myself. Also, I work with Abunga.com and we are hosting an online chat with Mr. Young to discuss "The Shack." It's going to be Oct. 22 from 2-3 p.m. EDT at Abunga.com/AuthorsAtAbunga. If you can, join us!

Valarie said...

I have heard several people talking about this book, but I really did not know what it was about. I will have to think about reading it.

Cheryl said...

I read it in one day. I didn't know about the controversy either. My pastor's wife recommended it. I liked it alot. I gave it to a friend to read and will probably read it again.

Andrea said...

That's exactly how I felt about the book, and I read it before all the controversy. It does bother me people are taking it so seriously as to "teach" it. What part of "fiction" are we forgetting?!

Lisa said...

I read all the controversy and was trying to decide whether to read the book or not when a trusted friend assured me I needed to read it. Now I'm urging my hubby and best friend to read it so I can talk to them about it! *tapping foot impatiently*

Pennie said...

I LOVED the book. I don't think that the book is trying to tell us that this is sound theology, but rather just present how intimate of a relationship we can have with our creator. It really opened my eyes in regards to that, but I didn't look at is as better advice than the bible itself. I pity those who can't realize what fiction is.

Bina said...

I remember seeing this book somewhere and thinking it sounded good, but I'm not clear about one thing. WOULD you recommend the book, as long as we know going in that it IS fiction???

Mom said...

I do believe I will have to read this now.

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mandy said...

My husband is reading the book because my grandmother who read it wanted a pastor's perspective on it. He (& I) don't like that it refers to God as a "she". No matter fact or fiction that is just wrong. I understand that you can read it through the eyes of "it's just fiction", but the part that concerns me is when churches promote the book so much. And when the words "Emergent church" get connected to it - like in the "agains the book" link you gave us, that scares me. I would like to know what other books are out there that are non-fiction and talk about the relationship we have with our heavenly Father. Anyone read any that have the same message without the fiction story?

Heather of the EO said...

I'm half-way through The Shack and finding it's doing the job of stirring my heart and mind. I've heard it's a big controversy, but I too think that it makes you feel something deeper with this picture of God. And you're right, that's a good thing. Thank you for sharing this.

Tales From the Eurovan said...

I read it and loved it just for what it was...a piece of fiction. I think if God can use a burning bush to get through to Moses he sure can use a book like "The Shack". He's not limited, we limit Him and what He can do.
Take care,
Julie

Brandi said...

my sis-in-law is reading this book, she is wanting me to read it after she is done! I HAVE HEARD IT IS A GREAT READ!

P.S. He loves you... said...

still reading it..and I should have already finished it!

Knowing the WORD is where it's at, this was just a good reminder of how omni present the Lord can and is!

Anonymous said...

I found the book very enjoying and it drew me to a deeper relationship with G-d. The revelation knowledge that I experienced was spirit quickening, as well as, enlightening. If you are grounded and rooted in the word, then you should have no problem with this book, because it is just fiction. If you know the truth, then the truth shall keep you free of all deception. Also, if you truly know G-d, this book should not distort your view of Him. The author never said that this was a replacement to the Bible. It is a Fiction novel, not non-fiction. Additionally, the author never stated that this book was the core of Christianity or any other religion. I found compassion, brokeness, forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy to abound in this novel. I believe that we all need something or someone to challenge us, during our spiritual walk, and draw us closer to Him. The Shack will prompt you to experience an encounter with the “true” living G-d and cry out to Papa. Shalom!

If you are looking for theology in a fiction novel, this book is not for you. READ YOUR BIBLE!