The Shack by Wm. Paul Young is a thought-provoking book. The author has interesting perspectives on life. A small group of 6-8 women gathered each week to discuss one chapter at a time. The first time I read it independently. Reading for group discussion was great.
The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are presented by the author in alternative personages. It is refreshing to consider different views. My reading group used Scripture to validate the author's points and to question our own preconceived notions. I would recommend this book for independent reading and for group discussion. It might be helpful to look into one of the study guides that are sold separately.
Like the author, I have known deep tragedy, and more than once. The picture of God that he portrays in this book is not in any way, shape, or form, the God of the Bible. I made myself finish the book even though it made me heartsick to do so. If the author's intent was to provide comfort in some way, he failed miserably.
Well, who hasn't reviewed The Shack? This will just be a drop into the massive bucket that is online reviewing, but here goes.
If I've said it once, I've said it at least 5 or 6 times...it's terribly hard to do teaching fiction well. It always comes off sounding a little bit cheesy. In that respect, The Shack is to Christians what the Celestine Prophecy was to the New Age movement a couple of decades ago. Will we look back communally on our fascination with this title and wince once a few more years go by? It's certainly possible (although Christian readers are perhaps a bit more loyal.)
I was a bit late to the scene of The Shack, reading it a couple of years after it's release. It was honestly hard to see what all the hoopla was about. This book isn't great literature, it isn't a spectacular allegory, and it isn't great theology. To compare it to Pilgrim's Progress as an editorial review does here, is...well...rather misguided.
Another point to consider is that if you don't deal well with topics of child loss, you may not be able to stomach this book. I told my husband he probably shouldn't read it. He'd rather avoid that kind of content because we have seven children who he frets over.
I won't dig into the theology. Google Challies' huge in depth PDF review if you want some of that.
The Shack ultimately has some warm-fuzzy moments about God, and perhaps the biggest takeaway here is that Jesus is a real person, one you can have a real, authentic, loving relationship with. I'm not sure that reminder justified reading the whole book in my case, though there are probably seekers out there who will be pointed to Jesus through the popularity of this work.
If I enjoyed teaching fiction more, I'd rate this work higher, but as it is....meh, I can't really see the cause for all the applause.
I received a review copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
I stumbled upon this book. Loved reading it. I was so impressed by the book, I purchased it for several friends. We have enjoyed many conversations and Bible studies as a result of what we read. It has restored and revived us. Made us crave to understand, see and desire more of God in our lives. My friends and I realize there is some controversy over this book and it should never replace studying your Bible.