Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Shack

My friend Kathy gave me a book to read this past weekend. She and I often exchange books - we both have a love of suspense novels. So I assumed from her description of this book that was sort of what I would be getting. She told me it is the story of a guy who lost one of his children to a serial killer and years later he gets a note in his mailbox from a mystery person to meet him over the weekend at the place where his young daughter was killed - "The Shack".

While her description was spot on, it was sorely lacking. This is a very thought-provoking and absolutely controversial book. Most Christians I know would be having a field day heckling this book. It's all about this man that lost his daughter reconciling his relationship with God. It's all about forgiveness and choosing to lay down your pain and burdens.

At the end of the book there appeared to be an advertisement but upon closer inspection was a very clever way of promoting the book and it's website It suggested that you write in your blog about the book, which I initially rejected and though of as free publicity and promotion (which it is), however, the passage (below) I quote from the book touched me so tangibly I let that drive this blog.

I think the way the Holy Trinity is portrayed is on the kooky side - very "Unitarian Church". The images of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit the author chooses to portray are way on the far side of "feel good" and not to my liking - nor did they feel very imaginative to me, but who am I to judge someones perspective on their relationship with God? My pastor tells me that most theologians have blasted this portrayal of the Holy Trinity as neither sound or correct. But there is goodness in this book. A wonderful message. It's a great read and I will read it again someday. One particular passage struck me very deeply and I will hold it very close.

Here is the direct quote from the last paragraph on page 185: God is speaking to Mack - the character in the book and he says: "Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."

"Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist ...". I needed to hear that. I needed that application in this story and in life. What a concept. I guess I knew it, but I needed it defined very simply like that. It's something I can really hold on to.

Thanks to William P. Young for writing "The Shack". Everyone should read it. with an open mind!