Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Shack

There are so many things I want to say about the book, THE SHACK. It was SO hard to read in the beginning because the story subject is one of my greatest fears. But, you almost have to experience the devastation to reap the benefits at the end of the book... and to get in touch with your own emotion.

It's not like a lot of Christian fiction out there. It's not laden with Christian-ese or pat answers. I've found that as I've tried to tell people about it there are just no adequate words. I think one of the reasons it's so powerful is because each reader must experience it for themselves. Its power comes through the story of transformation and in the crazy way you feel your own heart being transformed as you read it.

The trip to Miami was good. Some good meetings--Gary met with Celebrity and I got to go visit with the NCL guys. It was interesting to hear about the new ships and new concepts coming down the pike. And, although a whirl-wind trip, we had great dinner in South Beach (clearly NOT on the South Beach diet!). One very weird thing...I ran into a comedy/juggling duo in the Miami Airport ("Howie and Bert") who I knew doing ships 14 years ago. They are still doing their thing in Vegas and on ships. It was a bizarre reunion.

I finished The Shack on the way home...quietly sobbing on the airplane...and underlining about every other sentence! Thankfully, I had the row to myself. If you haven't read this...or haven't known whether it is worth the hype, I would encourage you not to wait another day. Go buy it and read it. You'll be glad you did.


chris said...

Is it good theology in your opinion? A review by Tim Challies says no.

Brandon Scott said...

Sorry, Chris...I deleted the other comments since they were repeats.

I wonder is Tim Challies has ever been through anything that challenged his faith to the core. After reading up on him and some of his reviews on other things, it doesn't surprise me that he would say it's bad theology. There are some things in it that I might question too...but I'm not really much for throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think it's one of the most spiritually encouraging books I've ever read.

Maybe you should judge for yourself?

Arlene Kasselman said...

Oh Brandon, I am so glad that the book was so powerful for you. My husband David took it with him on a silent retreat this past weekend and he brought it back with more dog eared pages and marks in it than I could have imagined.

What a powerful read. The nuggets of truth and compelling self analysis that it demands from the reader are incredible.

As to those who are struggling with the theology I would say this. Great truth is embedded throughout the book and it will make the reader look at the trinity, the intense love of God, freedom and emotion in ways they have not done before. But it is fiction.

One of my favorite parts is on page 197 and it is the section that read, "paradigms power perceptions....." Wow.

Katherine said...

I am so glad it was a blessing for you-it is definitely a transforming book-I can imagine it would be even more transformative for someone really struggling with the pain in the world, the "Why?" questions, and who have not truly embraced the love and incredible relationship God that He invites us into. It was definitely a beautiful portrayal of that. I, too, had a hard time expressing what it meant to me. It will be different for each reader for wherever they are, but definitely is a book I highly recommend.

Thanks for your insight! Blessings~

Pegc said...

Why do we think a Christian fiction has to cover every aspect of God? There is no book in the world, including the Bible, that can adequately "cover" God. I have never read the Bible, that I didn't find a new nugget of "theology" in each read.

I gleaned so much from the book about my personal relationship with God and my thinking of him. So, I thought it was very insightful and an interesting read. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well.

Since my husband and I read it aloud on a trip, it was hard to read the end when I could barely see through my tears and was so choked at times, my husband couldn't hear or understand what I was reading. I would have to re-read parts so he could understand. He ended up crying as well.

It had a strange twist for us to read it together and discuss it. I recommended my children to read it aloud with their spouses.

Theology is so over rated, in my opinion, especially when we are talking about fiction!

Glad you enjoyed the book. And you are right, it is hard to explain its impact to someone else.

Anonymous said...

I have 30 years worth of trading relationship with the church for relationship with God, largely because "church" is tangible. I'm guilty of deifying pastors and "church workers", putting expectations on them which they could never meet and then throwing my disappointment at God.

I can't speak to the Theology of this work, but I can say that it is the first time I have felt an invitation to relationship that makes sense to me. It feels tangible for the first time. It affirms that I don't have to go through the church to find God, and that he is working through all of space and time to get my attention.

I'll read it again. I'll continue to point friends to it and believe, maybe for the first time, that God is willing to work through an imperfect vessel for His perfect results.

P Duncan

Wendy said...

God does not fit into the traditional box we try to squeeze Him into. What a powerful and life changing read. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I'm telling everyone I know to read it!

MichaelPolutta said...

So I'm guessing that you now understand why I wanted to read it again "just for the comfort of it."

I'm glad that you were blessed by the book too.


Suzie said...

I've only read two chapters and I am fascinated. I can't wait to finish it.

Stephen Bailey said...

Wow, P. Duncan, powerful comment. I just finished the book last night. Like you BST, the begining was difficult for me and I had several moments where I had to stop reading and regroup. The judgement scene really struck a chord with me too.

I'm trying to embrace the love and relationship God invites us into, but still have plenty of why questions. But, we live in the old shack world, not the paradise world. Check out Ecclesiastes 3. Without God it is all meaningless, but even with God, in this world there is a time for everything. Thank goodness a new one will be revealed someday.

sls_ said...

Wm. Paul Young, the author of “The Shack,” has either experienced grievous suffering or has truly listened—with his heart—to those who have.

I read The Shack twice; first in stops and starts over three weeks, it was so poignant and raw, an emotional rollercoaster for me. Each reading during this three week period, regardless of how brief, left me shaking with tears of laughter or grief.
The second reading I did in two sittings; prepared as I was with a wonderful meal of “Kori bananje” and Chai Tea with soy, along with an array of international music playing in the background. (I even dug out my Christmas recipes and make a batch of Pizelles for my late night reading). I experienced the same intensity of emotions as I had in the first reading but with an ease of mind and peace in my soul. This book is a pearl and like the pearl it must have been created “…by pain and suffering …” Thank you for lighting a dark and winding path to healing, reconciliation, and relationships.