Saturday, March 7, 2009

Book Review: The Shack

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

Perhaps by now you have already heard of or read The Shack. If not, I strongly recommend this book to everyone! It is an extraordinarily well developed novel featuring God as three characters; a black woman who loves to cook named Papa, a Middle Eastern man who builds fine furniture named Jesus and an Asian woman gardener named Sarayu, upon whose shimmering and flowing appearance one can’t directly look.

The other primary character is Mack, who is experiencing The Great Sadness following the kidnap and murder of his young daughter. God invites Mack to spend the weekend with “Him” at the shack where Mack’s daughter was murdered. Reluctant to believe God sent the invitation, or will be present at the shack when he arrives, Mack goes “just in case”.

The story explores the expression of Mack’s anger towards God and the response of God the Father/Mother, Son and Spirit. The writer has provided beautiful human language to capture the unfathomable depth of God’s love, grace, mercy and desire for our fullness through reconciliation.

The story explores the difficult question of how a loving and all powerful God “allows” bad things to happen. We begin to see how our Independence separates us from God. This is a book you could reread and reread. While told as a very accessible story, it is actually a complex theological narrative filled with insight into the relationship between the Human and the Divine.

I struggle to find words adequate to express the wisdom and beauty I found in the book. The concept of the Trinity as three unique entities, in perfect harmony with each other seeking us/ me to join their union, was very appealing. I envision a triangle, where Father/Mother, Son and Spirit are each a side of the triangle, inviting us/ me to live inside the triangle, wholly surrounded by their strength, love and peace.

I hope that you decide to read this book. I am very anxious to hear how you are affected by the story and how it transforms your understanding of God.

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