I’m sure most of the folks reading this blog have read The Shack. In fact, most of you have been urging me to pick it up over the last few months. Ashley’s Mom even went so far as to loan me her copy, which I am starting to think may be with Papa now. Last week in North Carolina a family friend encouraged me to read it in a way that finally broke my resolve, and since my return home Saturday I’ve worked my way through the pages.
There are two reasons I did not read the book before now. Number 1: Except for the occasional foray into my Complete Works of William Shakespeare, I never read fiction. Number 2: I try to avoid “spiritual” books (more on that later). Let me be clear though: I was never a shack-hater.
Now to the meat and potatoes: my thoughts. I confess I enjoyed it. I found it an easy read and the author gently lured me into his world of tragedy and redemption. There are some timeless themes in the text that, if the world adopted completely, would forever alter our life experiences. Plus, it’s always fun to fathom what God would say. Anyone remember the Conversations With God series?
Having said that, and playing into my second reason for not picking up the book sooner, I don’t think there is anything in the text that hasn’t been screamed from the rooftops before. While I take issue with a few theological elements, it is critical to remember that The Shack is A book and not THE book. All that we believe and all that we understand about the trinity characters of The Shack has to come from the Bible. I agree with the assertion in The Shack that religion and institutions throw a wrench in things, but we are now free (thanks to the reformation and the proliferation of literacy) to study the Bible and find what Father, Son and the Holy Spirit means to us on a very personal level; The Shack is not the place for that exploration in our every day lives.
My prayer is that as entertainment, The Shack opens the door to healing and points people to the Biblical truths that we have been handed. Otherwise it’s just entertainment. Now where did I put my book on how randomness rules our lives . . .