Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Shack: Review

Last week I finished reading another book from the Library of Mom & Dad. When I read the back cover, I thought maybe mom was recommending it to me as a nudge in the church-going direction, so I resisted. And then we saw bookshelves stacked with it at 'The Big Box of Books' store. And I thought maybe I was being a little defensive and literally judging a book by its cover, so I gave it a try.

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I'm not big on horror/mystery/psychological drama stories at all, and there's an aspect of that to The Shack (by William P. Young) that concerned me. I really didn't want to be reading about child abduction. But that initial frame of a story soon gives way to an incredible face-to-face meeting with God that explains and persuades but never preaches.

In fact, what I was left with, the more I read, was a feeling of peace and a clarity about relationship - with God and with others. The peace came partly from the beauty of the writing, but also from the author's premise - religion is man-made, and relationship is God-made, and separation from God has nothing to do with most things we associate with being a good Christian and everything to do with being related to Him.

I've often told people that my faith is my faith, and the fact that I no longer go to church has no bearing on what I believe. But to read an eloquent, loving, grace-filled explanation of relationship with God has allowed me to give up my defensive stance on the subject.

Young's story lives in the realm of fable or allegory. It is making a point rather than telling a story. But it is doing so beautifully and with great grace. It really takes something to write something this compelling with so little actual plot.


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