The Shack - Heresy or a Godsend?

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Marty Farrell
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The Shack - Heresy or a Godsend?

Unread postby Marty Farrell » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:37 am

Dia annseo isteach!
God to all here!

Greetings all,

A few months ago my wife (Church Lady) encouraged me to read a book from the 'Best Seller's List'! Strangely enough, I found it totally in Harmony with my Celtic Christian beliefs! That's unusual!! I'll encourage you all to read and consider this book that is making a stir throughout Western Christianity for its approach to understanding the God we claim we serve.

Here's a review I received in my email this morning. Enjoy it! The book is "The Shack" by William Young.

"The Real Controversy about "The Shack"

A culture of change has become the pervading surety of our modern (and post-modern) society. The old adage rings truer than ever- "The only thing constant is change". A couple weeks back, I was stuck in a Wal -Mart at midnight, looking for some power cabling for my laptop. While I waited for someone, I was browsing the book selection. I found an interesting looking title called "the Shack". Little did I know it was the current "buzz book" in the church in the last year. I am not a fast reader, so it took me a couple weeks to get through it. It was a delight.

As I read the book my heart softened, but not gently. I was wounded, beaten, blessed, nurtured, comforted and loved in a cascade of amazing imagery and powerful writing that wore down the pretentious religiosity that lives, to some degree, in each of us. William Young attacks the prejudices of a Christianity lived outside of actual personal relationship with Christ. He uses various devices in his fictional story to bring home the point that we must stop living and believing in a God that is as limited in scope and understanding as we are. His poignant reality in the lives of his characters in "the Shack" echos our cold hearts, living in a rules-based, shame-centered religiosity that claims as many victims as it saves. Critics have assailed the book as being bad theology, but for fictional a script that never claims to be doctrine it hits the jugular of where American Christianity has failed time and time again-- at understanding and living in the love of God.

One could argue that the images and metaphors may not sit well with the buttoned-down theocrats , and that, yes, perhaps the allegories aren't perfect at every level. But the over-arching nuance of Young's book is not that we need a theology class- it's that we need to actually live what we say we believe. That God is love. That His efforts towards us have always been completely done in love, and will continue so. That His primary purposeful intent in dealing with mankind is to make Himself and His love completely and gloriously sufficient for us, whilst giving us the freedom to reciprocate that love back to Him in words and lives of praise, thanksgiving and worship. I am purposefully not going to give away any of the book plot. You can find details on it here:

Hardcover http://www.popularchristian.com/product ... s_id=28720

Softcover http://www.popularchristian.com/product ... s_id=26107

Audio Book http://www.popularchristian.com/product ... s_id=28300

I do want to comment on the most controversial parts of the book, that are drawing criticism. Primarily, readers will discover that the book centers around the main character (Mack) and his weekend encounter with God. In Young's story, the Trinity is articulated through 3 distinct personalities. Specifically, the Father is portrayed as a joyful, and thoroughly loving, black woman. For some Christian leaders, even though this is a fictional story, this rendering has them railing against "the Shack". It's no wonder the truly brilliant creative voices leave the church with remarkable regularity. The point of the imagery in the story is stated and restated so that any clear-headed reader understands the portrayal. It's fiction after all, but with a purpose. It's too bad some Christian leaders who think they are "smart" have missed that point.

That said, I would also argue that even more controversial than the rendering of God as a woman, is a more fundamental angst that many have with "the Shack". Simply put, we can't deal with a God who is so personally in love with people that He would express Himself with such unguarded intimacy. In the pages of Mack's journey and visit with the Trinity, we find a God that is so overwhelmingly in love with each of us that it shakes us to the core. He isn't waiting for us to "go one step to far" before He brings down judgement. He isn't standing at a distance, concerned that He may get Himself dirty with the grime of our puny existence. In this book, we find a God so completely in love with us that He stands in the midst of our pain, of our judgment, of our destructive self-loathing, and even our anger charged accusations towards Him. He stands in the midst of it, and breathes out words of love, life, healing and invitation. He draws into our world with such intimacy, such "motherly" care (which is often a much better metaphor to which Americans could relate with real love) and comfort, that most of us simply recoil back.

While many may say that the most controversial part of the book is using a personality of a woman to portray God, I think more poignant to those same people is a deep seeded repulsion to see God as wholly and completely intimate with our very earthly, human and pain-filled lives. Would God walk with us, eat with us, hold us, cry with us, be patient with us?! Would He? "The Shack" resounds with a resplendent "Yes!"

What is sad is that it is very likely that the people most offended by "the Shack" are the people who need to hear it's message most desperately.

With suspenseful drama, well-thought subplots and astounding imagery, Young's writing of "the Shack" may be the best fictional book since the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You may not agree with the message of "the Shack", but that is the whole point- be challenged and forced to think on your prejudices about God. And all the while, you are taken on a beautiful journey of suspense, love, pain and restoration. Brilliant!

Review by Kim Gentes "


May the Lord of Light reveal His heart to you in this book. May he open the windows of you soul and breathe new life within...

Slan,
Marty

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Re: The Shack - Heresy or a Godsend?

Unread postby musicmonkey » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:53 am

My dad just bought it and is reading it. I think he met the author at a book signing.

He also recently read or is reading:

He loves me! [Wayne Jacobsen]
So you don't want to go to church anymore [Wayne Jacobsen]
Pagan Christianity [Frank Viola]

Marty Farrell
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Re: The Shack - Heresy or a Godsend?

Unread postby Marty Farrell » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:03 pm

Hey Dave,

I'd suggest you get a copy for yourself. Your Dad will recommend the same when he's done! Thanks for the list of books. I'll add them to my pile!!!

Marty

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Re: The Shack - Heresy or a Godsend?

Unread postby musicmonkey » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:54 pm

My dad is a total bookworm when it comes to these types of books. I'll just borrow his copy when he's done. Like the author of the review you posted, I, too, am a slow reader so it will take me a while to finish it. It doesn't sound too controversial to me.

I have two atheist friends in a band. They both have day jobs. A while ago they were considering hiring me to help them with their website and they were toying with the idea of a black Mary for their album cover. They know I'm a Christian and were surprised that I was thrilled with the idea.


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