Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Shack


After a lull in interest in this book, I forced myself to continue reading, and have finally finished.  Now I am struggling to articulate what I really think about it. If you are interested in reading The Shack, I would recommend you avoid reading reviews of it first, which I did.  This is one reason I am struggling to really tell you what I think.  If you are a Christian and already have an understanding of the Trinity and how God works in our lives, you may or may not love The Shack.  Some explain the Trinity like an egg:  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit represented by the shell, white, and yoke.  To me, this is not the best analogy because even though they are all parts of the egg; they are still three separate entities.  A better analogy is liquid, vapor, and ice; all are water and will always be water.  Just like God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all God.  I fall terribly short at explaining this, but Young does an amazing job, in my opinion, at explaining the Trinity and how much God truly loves each and every one of us as if we were the only person on the Earth to love. 

According to RisenMagazine.com The Shack "has been praised as a masterpiece and condemned as heresy but never ignored. The main objection comes from some Biblical literalists who object to Young’s playful portrayal of the Trinity. Still, most anyone looking should be able to uncover the heart of God in this fiction."  By the time I got back into the book, about Chapter 10, I began dog-earing like crazy and the heart of God was so revealed I could feel it.  Yes, I guess Young's portrayal of the Trinity is "playful"; it is definitely unlike anything I have heard before. This is why I say you may or may not love it...it's unique. 

The description on the back of the book..."Mackenzie Allen Philips's youngest daughter, Missy, has ben 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, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgement he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into hos darkest nightmare.  What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

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."

My suggestion is to read The Shack and form your own opinion.  Personally, my view of the book changed entirely from beginning, to middle, to end; and I can say I'm glad I forced myself to keep reading.  Here is one excerpt that really hit home for me.

God speaking to Mack on page 142:  ". . .do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?". . ."Why do I do that?" asked Mack. 

"It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can't.  It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn't even real, nor will it ever be real.  You try to play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear."

. . ."So why do I have so much fear in my life?"

"Because you don't believe.  You don't know that we love you.  The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love.  I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future.  To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you.  You sing about it; you talk about it; but you don't know it."

When I take comfort in the overwhelming love of God, my worries are lifted off my shoulders.  Today in church we sang a song that is not new, it has been part of our worship service before, but for some reason it really hit me in a good way.  I couldn't even help being taken over with emotion and tears poured all the way down my neck.  I am seeing our beautiful, loving God from a new perspective after reading this book, and am feeling His presence like never before in my life.  My desire is for everyone to feel God's amazing love like I do.  After reading The Shack, I believe everyone will take away something different and unique to their own life.  Here is a video for "You're Beautiful" by Phil Wickham, the song from church this morning. (I'm starting to see a "beautiful" theme here!!)

4 comments:

  1. So glad to hear your thoughts on this book! I, too, was drawn into how personal each aspect of the Trinity is and really appreciated Young's perspective and approach. It's been a couple years since I first read it, so I'm thinking a re-read might be in order!

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  2. I love words and the deepness of words. The true meaning of our feelings and the truth about fear, cos it does block a lot in our lives.

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  3. Hi Amanda, I've seen the movie Fireproof and it really gave me strength. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  4. @ Elizabeth - Young's approach cought me off guard a little bit, and I honestly wasn't sure what I thought. So glad you, and others, recommended it.

    @ Supremem Heaven - Glad you liked Fireproof the movie, and thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts and share yours.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts!