|NEW The Shack - Young, William P.|Young, William Paul|
|The Shack : Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William Paul Young (2008, Paperback) : William Paul Young (2008)|
|The Shack : Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young (2008, Paperback) : William P Young (Trade Paper, 2008)|
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|A grieving father receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him to meet in the Oregon wilderness where his daughter has been abducted and murdered. 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?" Windblown Media|
Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been 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 this 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 judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.
|Author||William Paul Young|
|Number Of Pages||256 pages|
|"When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fefertilize 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.|
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First I would like all to remember that this is FICTION,amazingly explaining why things happen,good and bad.And why many of us who have been hurt cannot get close enough to God.Nowhere in this book do I see heresy.When Mack asks the three which one of you is God?They all answer in unison "I am"(I Am?). When mack is in one of many deep conversations with Jesus,he asks if there are many ways to God,Jesus quickly sets Mack straight.You see,in our humaness our love truly falls short of God's.And because we don't love everyone.Especially if that someone hurts or offends us or our loved ones.But God loves ALL humankind.Remember,He died for us while we were yet sinners.Not because we were good enough,but because He loved us enough.I have been in church over 50 yrs. Believe me,church goers are just as human as the rest.Nothing but disagreements,backbiters,gossipers,slackers,etc.Truly some think they deserve eternal life.And most churchgoers feel the murderer should be executed,myself included.But think about it ... if your son or daughter killed someone, would you say he/she should die.Of course not and why..because you truly love them and you would speak in their behalf for life in prison..anything but death. It's no different with God but on a much larger scale. He truly loves each and everyone of us,enough to take on human form and come down to earth live as a pauper and become the ultimate sacrifice.Which one of you would go out on a limb for even kin that was always a degenerate without conditions."I'll help you,but only if and when you shape up!" That's not what God did for us!He died inspite of our sins.And even after we are repentive we STILL offend and yes sin! Because we're still human!That murderer is God's child too and God still wants to win his heart.
Some are outraged at the fact that God "Papa" was represented by a large black woman who could cook up a storm. Well, the trinity being 3 spirit forms took on many forms to communicate with man, a burning bush, a gushing flow of water, dead dried out bones, a talking jackass, read the old testament people and just see how God came to man.He does what ever is necessary to reach each and everyone of us.Even becoming a lowly human.As the Bible says,Mans greatest wisdom is but foolishness to God.Jesus talked about fishing and farming because that's what the people understood.In this book, God knowing Macks mistrust in his alcholic, bible thumping father, an elder in the church, who beat his wife unconscious, then tied Mack at 12 yrs old to a tree, reading scripture and beating him for 3 days.So He came not as a "father" image just so Mack would be reachable.His goal was to help Mack understand God and learn to trust Him as he once did at the altar back when he was 12yrs.But when Mack needed a "Father's" strength,as he was about to find his daughters bones,God appeared that morning as a man,a strong and loving Father,because why,because Mack was ready for a gruesome discovery,but needed the support and trength of God the Father, to deal with it all. We REALLY need to know just how much God really loves us and how our humaness gets in our way time and time again.This book is second to none! If someone is refusing to read the Bible,give the is book to read,and let God take it from there!The author, a son of missionaries, truly taught their son well, who God really is.WPY's concept was brilliant!It was funny and REALLY heart wrenching!I was amazed at his ability.
William Young's novel, The Shack, centers on dialogues between a miserable main character, Mack, and three unorthodox characterizations of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, embodied in a sassy black woman, incongruously called "Papa," ; Jesus, a big-nosed Middle-Eastern carpenter with a close-cropped beard; and the Holy Spirit, called Sarayu, an Asian Sylph. Mack's three year accumulation of secrets, lies, pain and fears over the kidnapping and murder of his six-year-old daughter, Missy, are swept away in a 48-hour encounter in the woods at- you guessed it- the shack where she was killed.
Readers views of The Shack, and its message, are varied and, at times, contentious.
Some critics argue that Young's book promotes universal salvation; as free to anyone as an open bar at a party. They understand his book to say that people can discover Jesus' love inside themselves, turn their life over to him, and they are on their way to eternal bliss. Some hard-line fundamentalist Christians view The Shack's message as deeply subversive, scripturally incorrect, and downright dangerous. Some ministers, like Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, say "it misrepresents God. Young misses the big E on the eye chart." To Driscoll, doctrine is essential, like a fence the Almighty erects to safeguard the saved from error.
But the Shack also has fans. Many readers say that they have found solace and inspiration in The Shack. They overlook the clichés- "Religious machinery can chew up people," Jesus says at one point-, stereotypes, like the Jewish Jesus' big nose, and Young's awkward writing: the black female God tells Mack, "Don't just stand there gawkin' with your mouth open like your pants are full." Steve McVey of Tampa, author of Grace Walk, praises The Shack. McVey says Young connects with people outside of, or unhappy with, institutional churches that "tell us what we ought to do for God, while grace focuses on what God has already done. A person discovers grace when you come to the end of your own self-sufficiency and realize that you have been made acceptable through Jesus Christ and him alone. You can't score points with God."
According to Young, the book is a vision of joy, however far it strays from evangelical dogma. He says he clarified the focus of his narrative by ripping out pages of theological jargon. The author posits that he has "a lot of freedom by knowing that you really experience God in relationships, wherever you are. It's fluid and dynamic, not cemented into an institution with a concrete foundation."
Before posting this review, I spoke to a number of people who had read The Shack and, to a person, they all found the "Dallas"/"Bob Newhart Show" swoon ending confusing. If Young's goal was to present a parable for our times, why have the novel end with a question?
For me, the book started off with a concept that was quite interesting and then devolved into exactly what a reader might expect from a religious writer trying to gain an audience. The Shack is a fast read and certainly inspirational in its own way, but not among the short-list of books that I would want to carry to a deserted island.
The book definitely touches the emotions, but lets face it: it's a mix of Christianity and traditional Hawaiian religion. God is indeed love, perhaps much like what is portrayed, but he also encompasses holyness, judgment, and truth. God does not chum around as if he were your buddy; he demands the respect of a King. Remember, this is the same God that (unwillingly) provides a horrible hell for those who reject his offer and die owing for their own sins. We don't like this, but it's true. When repentance isn't part of a Christian story, you can be sure that story is heresy. The author of this book is an admitted universalist who believes everyone from Hitler to Charles Manson goes to heaven. It's a nice idea, but let's admit that The Shack's main point is contrary to that of the Bible. This book is heartening, but it's not an accurate picture of God, and that's why most Christian heavy-hitters advise against it. I suspect the book has been backed by non-Christian money to get so far. Read Pilgrim's Progress instead, I'm sorry but "The Shack" is only half of the truth.
Written with all the candor and fluff of a Lifetime Network movie, this is a very entertaining book written by an author who has descriptive narratives down to a science. You can practically smell the flowers. Like a good novel, it holds your interest with a "what happens next?" suspense, which does not disappoint. However...the very subject matter immediately places it square in the lap of the Christian community, who believes they own the story, and many resent the retelling of it in anything other than the context of whatever their brand of Christianity believes. For some reason unbeknownst to me, there seems to be a love-hate relationship with hell and eternal damnation with a good many of these folk, and since they have paid up their "fire insurance" premiums in full by being good church-going folk, they are more than happy to announce that you who have fallen short of their belief system have reservations at brimstone pit-side, courtesy of their concept of the "anrgy, jealous" God. Unfortunately, you will have that when you insist on anthropomorphizing the Creator of the known universe. Conversely, you will also have folks like our author, who are willing to think beyond the book-box, and paint a new and different picture of what that kind of manifestation that Power might indulge in. Maybe if we could see the trinitarian God as a little more people-friendly, and not having so many of what are uniquely human flaws (the whole jealous and angry thing...)we might be inspired to see God as something we, in fact, can run to, rather than something we must run from at any point in our existence here on earth. You just have to love a book where God is the Good Guy(s). If you can set down your own personal preconceived ideas about what a "human" god is/would be, you will find much food for thought, much to uplift a weary soul, and perhaps even peace in the midst of a life that is full up with injustices. If you are reading this with the mind of a textural critic, perhaps you should spare your blood pressure and stick to those books that only agree with what you believe. I would personally recommend this book to anyone dealing with injustice, death and dying, who is struggling with the answers within the Christian church.
The Shack is a book which elicits a strong response. Either you like it, or you hate it, or so it would seem. I happen to find myself in the lonely position of falling somewhere in between.
As fiction, I found the book emotionally evocative. As a commentary on the impact of abuse, I respected the powerful message on forgiveness. As a reflection on God, I appreciated the undertaking of a description of the trinity, the emphasis on relationship with God over religious ritual, and the focus on complete surrender to God.
However, in spite of all I appreciated in this book, there was much that I found to be of concern. Throughout this book there are significant misrepresentations of Biblical Christianity, ranging from a God who never condemns ("I do not do...condemnation" p. 223), to a God who has no expectations of us as human beings and is never disappointed. For a book with material that deals so much with human depravity, it had very little to say about the biblical view of sin. On the whole, it seemed to pander much more to current streams of thought regarding ecology, egalitarianism, authority and ecumenism, rather than reflecting the Word of God. In fact, in a book which seemed to encourage us to know God, it was surprisingly silent, and sometimes even negative, regarding two of the most powerful means by which God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind, the Bible and the local church.
I understand completely why this book has been embraced as Gospel truth by some, while being written off as heresy by so many others. As for me, I do not feel it warrants either of these extremes. Instead, I would advocate that, for those who read it, it must be read with discernment and an awareness of our great proclivity to absorb current values, rather than the eternal values of our Heavenly Father. Do not read God's Word through the lens of this book, read this book through the lens of God's Word.