Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Shack--The Popular Book That Lacks

The Shack, by William Paul Young, has earned itself incredible and unexplicable media exposure. Young wrote the book for his children to explain his ideas about God. Young's friends published the book by creating a publishing company after legitamate publishers rejected the work. I know why they rejected the work.

The book has a compelling story that sucks you in and then leaves you floating in a hundred pages of philosophy about God. The compelling story involves a tragedy around Mack's youngest daughter. Mack, turning from God and carrying great sorrow, ends up spending a weekend with the Trinity as he learns to deal with his pain.

The Trinity are portrayed as three beings (who can change appearance) but are somehow linked into one. For example, Mack meets God as a huge, African-American woman with a sense of humor and a love of coooking and a great love for her "boy" Jesus. Mack then spends the weekend learning how God's plan is about love and forgiveness and not about institutions (like religion or commandments).

Youngs's philosophy is often contrary to my own, but that's not what irks me about this book. What irks me is the poor writing, the skimming over of important healing processes, and the complete boredom I found trying to slog through the weekend of philosophy. I'm glad to know what's behind all of the hype, but I really had to force myself to finish this book.

On the positive side, I have to give Young credit for a few things. His message of tolerance and love and forgiveness is positive. His message of a personal relationship with God and Jesus is also wonderful. And if Young had to choose between simply writing his opinion about God vs. encompassing it in a story, I give him credit for choosing a story.


notaconnoisseur said...

There is apparently a reason why I keep reading mindless mysteries. I don't seem to want to engage my mind. :)

Blogger said...

Wow, good thing I live in Turkey and have never even heard of this book!