Monday, 12 October 2009

Book Review - The Shack by William P. Young

Have you ever asked or been asked the question “where is God when the worst things happen?” If so, I highly recommend reading The Shack, it has a lot to say about life, God, the Trinity and religion. It made me laugh, smile, cry, sob, gasp and ponder; both for the characters and for my own self. So what is it all about….

The story revolves around Mack, who has been living in the shadow of his Great Sadness since an event at “the shack” four years previously. And then he receives a note from God (Papa) who invites him to return to the same shack for a weekend. Mack has no idea what to expect, and he gets the unexpected through his experience with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Sarayu) in human forms.

Mack’s weekend at the shack is organised to help him deal with his Great Sadness and its pain and anger. Through conversations with each member of the Trinity and by seeing their relationship with each other; Macks understanding of God is changed. His faith is unwound and then rebuilt through a new relationship with God. He leaves the cabin a changed man.

A word of warning though; this is no theological textbook. It criticises aspects of religion, it rarely mentions the Bible and it disapproves of much Christian doctrine. For these reasons it has received mixed reviews including being charged with heresy. If pushed I would tend more towards the proclamations that it is our generations’ Pilgrim’s Progress. It gives much to ponder, what can be more important than that?

I recommend it whole heartedly as a book which refused to be put down, which spoke straight to me heart and has given me much to think and pray about. I would love to chat with anyone who has read it, or wants to; I will put a copy in the church library.


UKViewer said...


Loved your three posts. I can see how hard you are working and the pressure and stress on you. But your joy shines through it all.

Oh, that I could have that level of joy and wonder under pressure.

Mine is yet to really start - but I attended a lecture on Ethics this evening, with a further 9 to come. Than the first Essay? Oh Joy.

But this is all a foundation for the future and I will see where God is taking me.

By the way, great to see you at worship yesterday evening on i-church.

Ernest said...

I have to say that "The Shack" by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book's worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog


France said...

One of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read. As soon as I received my copy of The Shack, I read it from cover to cover in one evening. This is a work that draws you in with a page-turner storyline. Then with a mind-bending turn, it proceeds to challenge all your preconceived theological notions. I have nearly finished reading The Shack a second time; next I plan to go through it with a pen to underline ideas that need mulled over.