The Shack
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The Shack by William P. Young

            Reading The Shack has brought many emotions to the surface.  I have laughed, cried, been angry, frustrated and appalled all in one fell swoop.  Seldom will I comment on the theological content of a book but because I review for Canadian Christian writers and this book won a Canadian Christian writing award, I figure that a bit of personal bias has its place here.

            Author William P. Young is a genius at idea and plot.  He writes a compelling tale with the kind of flow that keeps one reading.  But his story causes me to struggle.  I can understand his desire to reach past the male dominated perspective of Christianity and as a woman, I thank him for the Biblical insights he shares on God’s view of women.  I can also understand his desire to reach past the perception of a “white Christ” that many North American believers hold to and again I thank him.  However, to change the Biblical account of God’s character and that of the Holy Spirit is more than a bit disturbing.

            I could sift through scripture and point out the few times where mankind did come before God.  That picture would be one of reverence and humility.  God would be described as indescribable—because He is—and those he interacted with found themselves flat on their faces in respect and reverence.  The author of this book has minimized God, taking away His holiness and summing Him up into four characters that bumble through a series of meals, make mistakes and spend their spare time boogying to rock and roll music.  Gone is the awe of the created toward the Creator.  Whether we like it or not, God is deserving of awe and to remove that is a maligning of the scriptural account of Him.  Mr. Young’s account of the Holy Spirit is so fictional as to be almost unrecognizable.  We are shown small snippets of the Holy Spirit throughout scripture and HE is an unquenchable fire, a mighty wind, an indwelling spirit—not a flighty, sprite.

            It broke my heart to read The Shack because there are so many good and excellent scriptural truths melded together with highly intellectual insights—a book that truly could have left me feeling wonderful about the God who created the universe and truly cares for me.  Instead it left me wondering how many people will swallow the untruths along side the truths and end up with a rather skewed view of God’s deity and the reverence due Him.

            Yes, Christianity has often fallen short in its views of women, its beliefs about different races and its reaction to world wide suffering but changing God’s character isn’t going to have an effect on that at all.  God is God.  He does not need to be rewritten.  Perhaps if we spent more time reading His word we would all see His true character—His love, mercy and redemption.  And while the author showed God’s love, mercy and redemption, he did it in a way that took away from all that is due the one true God.  I would have enjoyed The Shack so much more if Mr. Young had shown God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus in the same light of the scripture that he used throughout the rest of the book.

sent to me by  Reverend Ed Hird from an unknown woman.