The Shack by William P. Young

There have been quite a few people coming into the store asking about this book so I decided to read it to see what the buzz was all about.  It’s a short book, but not necessarily an easy read.  The meat of the book is a series of theological discussions between the main character, Mack, and the members of the holy trinity.

Mack has suffered a horrible personal tragedy and has been trying to cope with the sadness and anger he and his family feels as a result of it.  He returns to the scene of the tragedy in an attempt to make sense of things and finds himself spending a life and heart-changing weekend with God.

I think that what a person takes from this book will depend largely on what their beliefs already are and their own spiritual questions and challenges.    The book tackles issues like forgiveness, judgment, obedience, faith, love and what God wants in terms of his relationships with people.  The discussions can get pretty deep, despite the author’s attempt to keep them simple, and I suspect that the ones that are going to make the most sense to each individual reader are the ones that are the most relevant in their lives.  I can’t really comment on the various discussions I’ve seen online regarding the deviation of traditional interpretation of scripture.  Some people are appaled by it, others find it refreshing.  I thought some of the ideas were interesting, but it’s important to remember that it is just one person’s interpretation.  After finishing the book I felt sort of sad and empty…not exactly what I’d hope to feel after reading a book that is supposed to be inspiring.

While I was reading this book I was reminded of another book I read, not too long ago, titled Joshua by Joseph F. Girzone.  The character Joshua is Jesus living in modern times.  I couldn’t help comparing the two books and I found Joshua to be much easier to understand and digest.  It also seemed to be more universal as a message for people of many beliefs whereas The Shack depends on a certain specific understanding of Christian theology.  Joshua lacks the drama and suspense of The Shack but I still found it more inspiring and motivational, perhaps because Joshua the character was more approachable, less supernatural and shared general messages on how to be a good person.  Such lessons are relevant for everyone, regardless of religious beliefs.

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Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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