Usually I think of novels as a pleasant way to while away (meaning waste) some time.  So, when I was given The Shack by a friend I was willing to read it, so we could discuss it, but I didn’t expect too much.  Twenty-four hours later I have not only finished reading The Shack but feel the need to blog about it and tell the world that this is an unusual and worthwhile book.

The Shack is a New York Times best-seller by Wm. Paul Young (Windblown Media, July 2008).  The subtitle, Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity capsulizes the plot:   Mack’s beloved daughter Missy is abducted, brutalized and killed and he lives under The Great Sadness, mad at God and the world.  Then God (aka Papa) writes him a note and invites him for a weekend to The Shack where Missy’s red dress and blood had been found on the floor.

This is a book that attempts to clarify imaginatively the way God works in the world – how he brings good from evil (though he doesn’t cause evil), how we have free will to follow God, or not – difficult questions that folks have grappled with for ages.  At one point Mack awoke from a dream and remembered:   “He was still at the shack with those three interesting characters, all of whom thought they were God.”   The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were present at The Shack in human form.  While many people think of God, the Father, as an old white man with a beard, Wm. Young prefers to present the human manifestation of God as a young black woman.  After all, we are all — young, old, male, female, black, white — made in the image of God.  Why not?  As God herself says to Mack:  “I am holy and wholly other than you.” Read the rest of this entry »