16 October 2009

It's Feature Friday!

It's time for another book feature. Since we're talking about subjectivity this week, I thought I'd feature one of the most controversial books of the past few years: William P. Young's The Shack.

Have you read this book? Chances are you have. Or at least heard about it. It seems like no matter where I go, everyone has an opinion about it--whether they've read it or not. I've heard people say they refused to read it based on personal belief that it's heretical in nature, and others say that it showed them a completely new way of viewing God. I've heard some say that the book helped them heal from deep wounds and others who feel they have a better handle on the Trinity. And yet I've heard others feel like it's a direct attack on Christianity.

Who's right?

When I read this book, I had no clue about the buzz behind it. I'd just returned from Africa and was completely unaware of all the hoopla. My aunt gave me a stack of books which included this one. I put it aside because it was so short, saving it for when I had nothing else to read (I like long books). Anywho...

I was so taken with the book that I went online afterwords just to see if it was a real story or not. My thoughts went something like, "This can't be real. It couldn't have been.... Could it? What if? I have to know..." Honestly, whether it was real or not, I was so jealous of Mac--that he actually got to see/feel/hear (etc.) God when I would give anything to do that--that I kept reading just for that reason. I'm not going to comment on the theological aspects of the book because that's not for me to do. Whenever I had a response to anything that was said, whether negative or positive, I wrote down the quote, the page #, and decided to search the Bible to see what it said. It deserves the final word on everything.

If nothing else, this book got me to think. It was never meant to replace the Bible, or even to be a supplement to Scriptures. It was a story a daddy wrote for his children in order for them to better understand the Trinity. Young wasn't looking to start a movement or to do anything other than teach his children in story form. He just happened to do it in a way that rocked the world.

And then of course, there's the mesmerizing fact that he literally struck gold and his self published book became a bestseller. He's the exception to that rule we know all too well. And in light of Thomas Nelson's big move, it just adds more intrigue!

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend that you do. Take any questions you have and see what Scripture has to say. It's the ultimate authority. If nothing else, maybe this book will help you think about what you believe--whether it's for or against the story between the covers.

Happy reading!

See y'all Tuesday!!!


  1. This is a fabulous post. My mother is reading this book, and is passing it on to me when she is finished. It has totally changed her life, in a good way. Until I read it, I can't offer an opinion, but based on what my mom says, it's good. Thanks for your opinion and the suggestion to look to the Bible if we have questions. My mom said something similar.

  2. I read the book earlier this year and was intrigued. In fact our house-church group decided to use it a discussion tool in our monthly meetings this past Spring. After having read it, everyone came away with different attitudes and reactions, reflecting much of the current public opinion.

    For me, the wonderful "teamwork" aspect of the Trinity as displayed in the book, made so much sense. The idea of that much power and love being directed my way, was as comforting as being wrapped up in a soft, cozy quilt while the rain pelts away at the rest of the world. I am known by God, loved by God and He is "especially fond of me." I loved that part.

  3. VERY well stated: "It was never meant to replace the Bible, or even to be a supplement to Scriptures. It was a story a daddy wrote for his children in order for them to better understand the Trinity." I too have heard the chatter on the book...and I have read it...and I think it was one of the most thought-provoking, awe-inspiring (for God) things I have read in a long time. I made me, like you, hunger for His touch and jealous of the man who seemed to be with him.
    It's a book - it is labeled fiction - for good reason. :)
    Hugs to you tonight,

  4. I haven't read it but not because I think it would conflict with my personal beliefs. It's fiction, and even more, a metaphor... or is it symbolic? LOL Either way, fiction. It's not doctrine or anything. I've heard a lot about the book and think it sounds fascinating.

  5. Very smart and timely post. I read it and found it to be fascinating.
    ~ Wendy

  6. Kristen, I read the book and I loved it. I appreciate that you stated that it was never intended to replace the Bible. It cannot.

    It did do a wonderful job of making people pick up the Bible and find out more for themselves.

  7. I did read this book. Since I have a young daughter I found the subject matter disturbing. Perhaps not one of my favorites. It did shoot through my social circles like wild fire. Funny how everyone read this book! I didn't like the way the trinity was represented but I guess I'm nit picky that way. ;)

  8. I have not read the book yet. Am I the only one? Any book that get s you thinking and seeing another aspect of the "I am" sounds good to me. :O)

  9. I really appreciate your thoughts on this. I, too, heard much debate about this book. Some of the subject matter in it was hard for me to deal with it, but the book truly moved me. I loved the way it was shown that we can have a true relationship with God in more than one way. Have a great weekend.

  10. Hey!!

    I think the great thing about this book is that you can't not talk about it. It's one of those "in your face, you can't go back after you've read it" type of books. There are some things I'm still searching the Bible to determine my opinion, but I love the idea behind the fictional story. It makes me long for Him even more, you know? I mean, I just love Him.

    I think it's picture of grief was beautiful. I read it at a difficult time and certain parts really ministered to me.

    Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for letting me know your take on it! I love discussions like this!

  11. Oh, nice! I agree, the Bible is the only truth and we have to weigh our opinions against it. I haven't read "The Shack," but you make me want to. Thanks!

  12. Like you, I've heard varying opinions of this book. I just can't seem to get over the part about God being a woman. Did that bother you, or did the story override that?

  13. Kristen, I've had this book for quite some time and still haven't gotten to reading it. Now I must.

    I jsut read Jeanette's comment. That's interesting, I just watched a Nooma DVD called SHE, it's about thinking of God as a female and what we can gain in understanding of God if we did think of God with a feminine side that is super protective of His children like earthly moms are.

  14. Hi, Jeannette! You know, I have this weird ability to separate story from details... it's the same way I can read something like "the Golden Compass" and not be offended by the story, the daemons, etc. Not that I'm comparing "the shack" to that book. It was just meant as an example. Anywho....

    I didn't have a problem with it, but I think it's because I know that there's no way Young can even come close to depicting God--especially God the Father. Our human minds cannot fathom Him. We have a better shot at trying to understand Jesus, because he was fully human as well as being fully God. And the Holy Spirit defies full description to me as well. So when I saw Papa as woman, I just saw a relatable form in a fictional story written by man and didn't go any farther in my thought of whether that was wrong or not. Does that make sense? I don't think God the Father looks like that. I've never imagined him as a woman.

    Eileen, I think your question could spark a hugely awesome discussion! My initial thoughts are that God is neither male nor female, but since he created both in his image both of us reflect some part of him. I know that often we are the ones who attribute characteristics to him based on the pronoun "he" that we use so often.

    I don't think I could ever think of God as female. And a HUGE reason for that, besides the fact that he calls himself "father" (which, all contemporary issues aside, can only be attributed to a male), is the model of the family that he set forth in the Bible. The man is the head of the house just as Christ is the head of the Church. It is contradictory for God to be female yet establish the order of the family (etc) to a different model. Does that make sense?

    I'm no theology expert, which is why I refrained from going into that on my post. But I love discussions and digging into the Word. I'd love to know your thoughts on this!

  15. I loved the book! I ended up buying it for a bunch of my friends!

  16. Hi Kristen,

    I started The Shack but couldn't finish it. There was one line in particular from the book that struck me as so foundationally wrong that I'm afraid I had a hard time buying into it after that. However, it sure has generated much discussion and certainly a lot of sales!

    Have a great weekend!

  17. Hi Kristen -

    Great discussion here!

    I've read The Shack and enjoyed it very much. I wouldn't say it's my favorite book, but the author touched on some important areas.

    I loved the way he stressed relationship with the Lord. As you said, it's not Scripture. He's not starting a Shack church.

    Like one preacher said, "eat the meat, and spit out the bones."

    Susan :)

  18. Hey Kristin, it is funny you are posting about The Shack after my comment. I haven't read it yet. It's not a book that draws me to want to read it. When my oldest was 2/3 yrs. old, she refered to God as 'her.' Don't know where she got that, but who knows...maybe she was on to something. :} The thing I like about Young, he self-published when no one wanted to touch him. Makes me think of the scripture 'run with the vision.' Stay safe. Sarah

  19. Hey, Gwen! I really admire your conviction! It takes someone with incredible character to comment kindly on something so controversial that they don't agree with. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and for joining in.

    Sarah--I think if I'd known about the buzz, I wouldn't have read it. I assumed it was a novella and I usually don't read those either. It was just a weird coincidence where I received it in a vaccuum.

    Susan--I've never heard that quote before! It's awesome! Thanks for sharing it!

  20. I should really read t his book. I keep hearing stuff about it - even though it's no longer "new". But I've never gotten around to reading it. Tahnks for sharing, Kristen! Have a super blessed weekend!

  21. I love your take on it. I still haven't gotten to read it but would like to someday!

  22. I felt exactly like you did about the book. I can't recommend it enough. And I love your quote:

    "It was never meant to replace the Bible, or even to be a supplement to Scriptures. It was a story a daddy wrote for his children in order for them to better understand the Trinity. Young wasn't looking to start a movement or to do anything other than teach his children in story form."

    I hope you don't mind but I'd like to put that quote and a link to this post on my blog. I have previously reviewed this book and think it would add to it.

    I love your blog too, expect to see me more!

  23. I read it and had a lukewarm reaction. It has some interesting concepts but it didn't strike me as a particularly well-written book. Public reaction is interesting, though--like Dan Brown's recent books, it's pure fiction but people seem to forget that and get caught up in arguing about how controversial the analogies are. A positive aspect is that it has created a conversation with both secular and spiritual audiences.

  24. I've never read it but it sounds intriguing. I'm open to all ideas. Doesn't mean I'll agree, but I'll still hear the person out.

  25. It was a decent read for me and I appreciated the depth of his story. I found no problems with his portrayal of how and what God does so that we'll listen.

    The only difficulty I had was that I'm not sure of the Wisdom of putting words in God's mouth. But the story was wrapped around exactly that. So be it.

  26. My mother read the book and loved it. I've been meaning to go pick it up...thanks for the recommendation, Kristen! It's always good to think about what we believe.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  27. I read the book...and found some great quotes. My book club read it and found it definitely discussion worthy.