Thursday, October 2, 2008

Have You Read "The Shack"?

If you haven't read The Shack yet, what are you waiting on? You better hurry or you will be the last person alive to read it. The book is being talked about everywhere I go.
The book is a fictional story about a man who goes through an extreme family tragedy, goes through the painful process of grief and bitterness, and ends up meeting the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). The four talk and do things together like one would hang out with friends. Through their conversations the man is able to work through his grief. And in the process he learns a whole lot about God and is able to view Him from a completely new perspective.
It is amazing how successful the book has been. Author William Young was turned down by the major publishers; so he decided to self-publish the book. And it is selling like hot cakes. Today, it ranks #3 on Amazon's bestsellers.
The book has raised the ire of some Christian pastors and leaders. The loudest complaints I have heard is that the story emphasizes the immanence (taking place within the mind of the subject and having no effect outside of it) of God to the neglect of the transcendence (being above and independent of the material universe) of God. In other words, some feel the book goes to the extreme of over-humanizing God. There were a couple of parts that made me uneasy, especially the author's take on what happened when Jesus cried from the cross, "Why have you forsaken me?"
I've heard others claim that Young is teaching universalism--that all people end up going to heaven. I recently heard an interview with him where he point blank said such notions are untrue.
Sometimes I think people just need to chill out and get a life. I found nothing in the book that would remotely lead me down a heretical path. And I found nothing that would keep me from recommending the book to others. I can see especially how it can help those who are trying to deal with painful pasts. Read it for yourself. But, remember, it is fiction and not a theological treatise of the doctrines of our faith.

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