A now famous work of Christian fiction entitled, The Shack by author William P. Young became quite the phenomenon after its release in 2007.
Being heralded as a book that could change the face of Christianity, I had considered taking the time to read it; but my distaste for most Christian doctrines in general made it very difficult for me to do so. Still, every place I turned I kept running into this book, it seemed. When my wife told me she had recently received a copy as a gift from someone, I finally relented and began reading it.
'The Shack' Is Easy Reading
The Shack was a very easy book to read even through what I thought might be the most difficult chapters. In The Shack, William Young tells the story of a man who tragically lost his daughter, receiving an unusual opportunity to question God about it in-person. The answers the man receives eventually bring healing and transformation to his life.
'The Shack' Has Some Traditional Christian Ideas, but...
I must admit that I found it very difficult when confronted with a few traditional ideas from the author about God and Jesus, especially the view of God being separate from us and existing in three persons. Even though I disagree with the idea of the Trinity, I was refreshed to see it at least described in a distinctly different way. After all, our perception of who God is needs to change and that is the point of this book.
After I was able to overlook some of my minor disagreements, I was refreshed to read William Young share some very enlightening ideas. Young wisely shares that we need to learn not to succumb to our fears and that we should learn to live in the present instead of the past. This is distinctly different from the typical Christian message which often shackles people to the mistakes of their past while causing them to fear eternal punishment. Young also alludes to the fact that judgment is something demanded by man, not God. To William Young, God does not cause suffering; man does. God simply takes the suffering and uses it for good.
'The Shack' Calls Christianity What It Has Become: A Manmade Religion
And if those views were not refreshing enough, the author calls out the Christian church as a whole. He describes it as being a man-made system of religion, having missed the message of Jesus. In The Shack, Jesus declares he is not a Christian (or at least not the traditional church definition of what a Christian should be).
There are many more insights to be gleaned from The Shack that I recommend it for those who are feeling that the Christian message is lacking. This book just may be a tool that can be used to wake people up from a dead religion. - Louis Charles