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The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity Paperback – July 1, 2007
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When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize 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.
Finally! A guy-meets-God Novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring. "The Shack" cuts through the cliches of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life's integral dance with the Divine. This story reads like a prayer--like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it. --Mike Morrell, zoecarnate.com
"The Shack" is a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God. Through my tears and cheers, I have been indeed transformed by the tender mercy with which William Paul Young opened the veil that too often separated me from God and from myself. With every page, the complicated do's and don't that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the first time in my life. --Patrick M. Roddy, ABC News Emmy Award winning producer
About the Author
Wm. Paul Young was born a Canadian and raised among a Stone Age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of former New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult and now enjoys the "wastefulness of grace" with his family in the Pacific Northwest.
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"The Shack" is well written and delves into theological philosophy in a manner understandable to us all. Broken out into chapters, The Shack's premise is based around one man's internal struggle with his withering faith.
*** spoiler alert ***
The main character, Mackenzie Phillips, has survived a brutal childhood at the hands of a nasty drunk, his father. Mackenzie tries the seminary for a while before going off to explore the world and eventually marrying Nan, with whom he he raises 5 children. Relatively happy, Mackenzie and his family go off for the weekend during which his six year old daughter Missy is abducted.
*** end spoiler alert ***
A seemingly divine event draws Mack back to the scene of the abduction and this is where Mack meets God, the Christian God. The philosophy starts here as God spends two days with Mack and answers his questions about Mack's life. The philosophy portrayed in the book centers around the love of Jesus and man's quest for independence. As man became independent, via the eating of the apple, man moved away from God thereby allowing for free will. Despite this, the love of Jesus is always there. For a while I struggled with the answers but, as the book moved along, I came to understand. There are so many tender moments as Mack learns how Jesus' love shapes Mack and how through that love Jesus could, but didn't, intervene in the events that saddened Mack.
The author, William Young, has done a wonderful job of presenting a "workable" belief in God that does not include the need for religion. For me, personally, I can accept this more than the traditional rules handed to us via the conventional religion. It's no radical shift from the conventional belief but it focuses more on the time we're alive rather than the afterlife. The biggest drawback to the book, is that it is firmly aimed at Christians. Had the author intertwined the trinity into one omnipotent God symbol, then this book would carry meaning for many more monotheistic religions. However, this should not deter none Christians as the reader can make these changes for themselves.
In summary, it's a wonderful story that provokes thought and tares at the readers emotions. It's very well written and moves along at a pace that's easy to follow and keeps us connected. This is a book I intend to read again.