Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Shacks And Shackles

It's taken me awhile longer to complete this little book "The Shack" than usual. I was so intrigued and fascinated with it, that just a few chapters in, I had to put it down and look up what I could find about the author. That was a good move on my part, because knowing about the author, shed a whole different light and understanding as I completed reading the book. Also, I had no idea the amount of controversy within the christian community this little piece of fiction stirred up. Wow! I enjoyed reading about the author and the controversy about as much as I enjoyed the book itself. So with that in mind I'll share a little of what I learned.

Overview: Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and there is evidence that she may have been murdered. The evidence is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever."The Shack" is a somewhat unorthodox allegory demonstrating to us God's overwhelming love and acceptance for us. How He desires for us to be well emotionally, so that we can have a full and close relationship with Him.

The Controversy:From my understanding, there are some in the christian community who read Young's book in a literal fashion. Of course reading it this way would be problematic, because God is represented as a large African-American woman, Jesus, a Laborer, and the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman.

Without a doubt this book MUST be read metaphorically/allegorically. It was written that way and must be understood that way. What it is not, is a theological exposition nor is it presented as a factual account of Biblical events.

The Author:William P. Young was the oldest of four children. His parents were missionaries. He spent the first 10 years of his life in Papua, New Guinea where from the age of about 4 years old, he suffered childhood sexual abuse. His abusers were the young Tribunal ministers whom his parents were sent there to minister to. His parents never knew of the abuse.

Would I recommend this book? If you enjoy reading allegories and can appreciate that style of writing, then by all means read it. I have a dog-eared copy of "Hinds Feet on High Places" that I treasure, it too is an allegory albeit, it is more true to that style of writing.

I enjoyed reading this book very much. There are a few quirky things in it that still have me puzzled as to what the author was trying to convey. Overall though, it has a wonderful message of hope and redemption. It made me think and I will continue to think about it for a long time. Call me a simple minded christian, but I took this book for what it was written for, fiction, presented with some underlying truths. As the author has stated, "The Shack" is a metaphor for the place where we get hurt and stuck in life.

Mackenzie Allen Phillips had a "shack" in his life...

William P. Young had one...

I had a "shack" in mine...

amazingly, we all found healing.

~~~Where is your shack? Do you have one? If you do please know that there is a God of mercy and love waiting there, waiting with open arms... to give you forgiveness (through Jesus), healing, comfort (by the Holy Spirit) and rest.

Blessings, Peace, All Good,


Susan said...

I loved The Shack from the opening line. I am also a lover of Hinds Feet In High Places and Walking Among The Unseen (although it doesn't live up to Hinds Feed).

The Shack makes you think outside the "box" and sometimes we need to do that.

Susan said...

P.S. I also have Hannah Hurnards Mountain of Spices!!

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you loved that book. I've been criticized from some friends for liking it and love that I have a friend to talk about it with! Love you MeMaw!

Me Maw said...

Hey Kel...happy you liked it too, we'll get together sometime and have some great discussions! Who cares about "critics" right? Even Jesus had them!!!

Love ya kiddo...bunches!

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

I read this book back in the summer, not knowing anything about it, just picking it up at Walmart because it sounded interesting to me. I loved it.

Barbara said...

You did a good commentary and certainly it is a book worth reading.