Monday, September 8, 2008

My Review of "The Shack"

Okay – well here goes my spin on the book "The Shack". There has been a lot of buzz about the book. Some good some bad, some fair and some just down right rude!
The Shack is a novel by William P. Young, and the book has made quite a few waves in Christian circles. It has been on the New York Times best sellers list and at the time of this opine it is among the top ten at Amazon .com as well!

So what’s the deal - a whole host of reviewers have labeled the book as poorly written, while others have even called it “heresy” to the opposite extreme the highly respected Eugene Peterson, who is responsible for the Message Bible, stated:

"When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!"
Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus Of Spiritual Theology,
Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

Other churches claim to be giving the book away by the box loads, because it is so good… So who is right?
What do I think?

Well I read the book in a weekend and I loved it! I laughed and, admittedly, I cried, and felt the presence of God. I think the book is absolutely fantastic! It is the most unconventional, weird and outside the box Christian book I have ever read, and it made a profound impact on me! I cannot recommend it enough! READ THIS BOOK!

Now that being said is it the most theologically sound book on the market? No it is not, nor is that the intention of the author. The author’s intention is to show the love of God, and those who criticize the book based on its theological stumblings didn’t "get it" to begin with…

The book is not a discourse of doctrine; it is instead a journey through the soul of a broken man, who experiences the love of God. It is unconventional to be certain… but it is a beautiful exchange that shows a God who is not impressed, nor desires, for humanity to live in guilt, condemnation, and shame… With the constant nagging of "I’m not doing enough" Well: Hip Hip Hooray! It explores on an emotional level the acceptance of completion in Christ – a main theme of the apostle Paul by the way – which in a world of witch trials, seed- faith (sowing seeds for miracles) and other barterings with God – I further applaud- again "Hip Hip Hooray!"

For certain there are some portions of the book that are not absolutely 100% concrete correct, but the book challenges the Pharisee resident in all of us, it challenges us to instead of simply seeing, and abiding by the rules of the bible the book pushes us to the spirit of the law, instead of the regulations we are pushed to relationship – The relationship between God and man, and man and man… (one more time now all together "HIP HIP HOORAY")

Once again- I never said the book was perfect nor am I ready to trade in the ole KJV and inquire about the leather bound – gold leaf version of "The Shack" to astutly stuff under my arm on a Sunday morning! But my goodness I will contend my heart was enlightened, my spirit was lifted and my soul did rejoice!

Few books make a profound impact on me, in fact it is rare that I finish one, this one I finished, and it has left its mark. If you’re looking for the next series of Doctrinal Discourses on the Trinity, or The Finite Understandings of the Symbolism on the book of Revelation Accurately Explained – the book is certain to disappoint – if however you can open your mind and let your heart take a ride with a God who possibly loves us so much more than we imagined – I think you’ll enjoy the book (gee just for old times sake “HIP HIP HOORAY”)

A few concerns
To be fair in the latter chapters a discourse gives ever so slightly the appearance of universalism and the discerning eye will raise its brow– it does later however talk of the need for repentance and relationship with Jesus Christ…

The Trinity aspect is sometimes unique – and not always consistent – but lets say this word out loud together "FICTION"

Finally the subject recently came up in our discussion on Wednesday evening about God first appearing to Mack (the main character) as an overweight black woman, and how odd that was… to which came the quick rebuttal “But you don’t mind Him as a talking burning bush?”

God Bless you and I hope you enjoy the read!