In a previous blog I told you that I was making my way through a variety of books. I promised reviews of the books I read. I’ve been working on, Nurture, by Lisa Bevere, and it’ll be a bit longer before I finish that. At the same time, I’ve been reading The Shack by William P. Young. I’ve been able to finish it up while on vacation and I’m going to make an attempt to tell you about it.
The Shack is a hard book to describe. First of all, it’s an allegory, and I’m not good with allegories. For instance, I could never get into the Chronicles of Narnia. In general, my mind just doesn’t think that way. I was glad that my friend, Lindsay, told me ahead of time that The Shack is an allegory and what I might expect. As I read reviews of this book I realized that it has created quite the controversy.
The first thing that throws people off in this book is that God is portrayed as a woman. Some people find that very offensive and I probably would have also had Lindsay not told me about it ahead of time. You have to consider why it would offend you to have God portrayed as a woman. Of course, in the Bible, God is always referred to in the masculine sense, yet it is made clear that God is neither male or female. And, in Chronicles of Narnia, God is portrayed as a lion. Why is that not offensive? But, what I found as I read the book was that the sex in which God is portrayed is really almost secondary to the story. What is primary to the story is expanding your view of God.
As the book cover will tell you, The Shack is the story of Mackenzie Phillips and his encounter with God after his youngest daughter is abducted and presumably murdered. While it seems like a tough book to read, and at times is, I still feel it’s worth the effort of reading it. I will admit that as I read The Shack, I was skeptical of what I’d read. I was looking for theology that was “off” and I did find a couple of things that I can’t agree with. Keep in mind, however, this is a novel – a piece of fiction.
What I did get out of this book is a new way of thinking about God, and a desire to make Him the very center of my life. A lot is said in the book about forgiveness, God’s love for us and His desire to have us know Him and walk with Him every moment of every day. William Young tackles some tough subjects that most Christians struggle with almost daily. One of my favorite lines from the book is this, “Be willing to reexamine what you believe.”
The Shack left me feeling incredibly loved by God. I believe it’s worth the time to read it. Everyone will have to come to their own conclusion about this book, but don’t let what people say about the book keep you from reading it. Read it and decide for yourself. I welcome all comments delivered in love. (I’m very sensitive so don’t beat me up!)