the shack, by william p. young.
seriously, who hasn’t blogged about this book? the overwhelming number of people reading the shack almost kept me from reading it. two things pushed me over into choosing to read:
1. a month or two back, i posted about my struggle with male pronouns for god. and i mentioned that, while i love the father god metaphor in scripture, i wanted, but struggled to find, a workable personified feminine metaphor for god. a few commenters said i had to read the shack, since it has god revealed (in this instance, to the main character, who needs god this way) as a large black woman with a massive passion for cooking.
2. then, my boss asked me to read it.
since well over a half-million of these babies have been sold, and since most of those seem to have posted a blog review, i’ll not go into detail about the storyline. one sentence summary: dude struggling with life and faith due to a personal tragedy spends a weekend with the trinity in a mountain cabin and has helpful and long theological conversations as well as fresh baked scones.
don’t mistake my semi-snarkiness for not liking the book. i really enjoyed it — most of it, at least. i’d highly, highly recommend it. i mean, it has some giant weaknesses. the book was self-published after several christian publishers turned it down (industry insider bit: those publishers are all kicking themselves now, of course; and a few weeks ago, after serious negotiations, the book actually got picked up by a publisher). the beauty of self-publishing, of course, is that no publishing machine stops you — it’s just the little guy (now a big guy) bringing his work to the world. the downside of self-publishing, on the other hand, shows up in things like: weak editing, massive over-use of simile and metaphor, a story that takes huge discipline on the part of the reader to stick with it beyond the first three chapters (when it starts to pick up steam), and other problems.
again, semi-snarkiness aside, though, this is a wonderful book. i cried, literally, in about three spots. i usually felt compelled to keep reading even though i had other things to do (though there were a few speeches that just went on too long, but that seems to be part-and-parcel with this genre). while most of the author’s theology is in line with the conservative evangelical theology i’ve known my whole life, he does a wonderful job of providing an at-least-somewhat fresh perspective on things theological.
i’m being really rambly on this review. so let me sum it up with this: the shack is far from a perfect book, and it will be interesting – now that it’s been picked up by a publisher – to see if they re-edit it or create a revised version; but it’s still a book to be read, a book you should read, a book you’ll want to read, a book you’ll be glad you read (like i am).