My Thoughts On ‘The Shack’ by Wm. Paul Young

Just yesterday, I finished listening to the audible version of The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. After reading through some of the blogs and opinions on this book, I had no choice but to write my own. I’ll admit I listened to this during a time I’ve been particularly angry with God. I didn’t want to buy the book. I kept hovering my cursor over it, telling myself I didn’t want it. Truly, I did not want it. But, for some reason, I felt compelled. I got three books that day and I didn’t listen to this one first.

If you haven’t read this book yet and don’t like spoilers then I would stop right here. Go read it or listen to it and then come back. Notice I didn’t say to go watch the movie. Never watch the movie first. Books rule, plain and simple. Again, I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. See how I’m giving you ample time to close this window and go read the book first? I wouldn’t want someone to write about one of my books and give away the story without a spoiler warning. So here it is. If you scroll past the divider, you enter the spoiler zone!

 

For those of you who jumped over the quick blue fox, welcome.

Because I listened to the book, I want to take a quick second to give props to Roger Mueller, who did more than narrate. Personally, I love audio books and the narrator always has a huge responsibility. Their performance can make or break a story. Mr. Mueller’s performance did amazing justice.

If you’ve heard anything about this book, you know the story is built upon a most tragic event which I won’t go into. Like many of us, when tragedy strikes, we question God. This story strongly tackles the questions we’ve often asked. Why did You allow this to happen? Why didn’t You stop it? For someone like myself who is currently dealing with such a situation, though not one that is any way like the scenario in the book, it gave me comfort. Not a cure, but comfort. Not that I had any expectations, what God uses to work with me is totally up to God.

When God calls Mackenzie (Mack) back to the location of the tragedy, he first questions whether it’s really God. He chooses to go and is greeted at the shack by a large black woman. If my memory serves me correctly, before we find out who she is, she states that she cooks meals and picks up around the place. I immediately rolled my eyes. When an Asian woman appeared and seemed to be gardener, I sighed. I love diversity in books but I’m so sick of stereotypical ancient roles that I could gag. Thank God I didn’t stop listening at that point. My assumptions would have caused me to miss out.

Come to find out, the large black woman is God, the Asian lady is the Holy spirit, and the other Middle Eastern man is Jesus. There is a joke in the book about God looking like Gandalf before the three characters that make up the Trinity shatter that theory to help Mack work through his pain. I loved this aspect of the story. In America especially, God is so white washed that I think people truly believe that God is a white male figure instead of a non-human spirit without gender. How many times have you seen a photo or drawing of a blonde haired, blue eyed man that is supposed to represent Jesus? Take a look in some of the bibles that come with artwork. Despite the fact the Bible states Adam was created from the soil of the Earth, he is drawn as a white man. Also, in spite of the fact that Moses seemed to blend well enough with the Egyptian people to be accepted as one of their own, he is the one continually depicted as a Gandalf lookalike through various Bibles, books, movies, etc. It’s ridiculous really.

I peeked at a few blogs and articles about this book the other day. I knew the author’s unique way of bringing God in would ruffle some feathers. Well, those feathers needed a good ruffling as far as I’m concerned. While I didn’t agree on every single point, I can say the story felt inspired.

There was a discussion today in my favorite author group about profanity in “Christian” or clean works of fiction, which this one clearly is. Though, if the book is any indication, I doubt the author cares about whether someone labels him as “Christian” or not. Anyway, the discussion in my group went on about much profanity/cussing is allowed in a book and still be called clean? How man can it be included in a work labeled Christian Fiction? And on and on. As you can likely imagine, people were passionate about their opinions. I was one of them. I don’t look at every word that has been labeled as a cuss word to be sin. Language is an ever changing thing. I’d still love to be able to call my flip-flops thongs, but since I risk getting funny looks, I usually catch myself and refrain. While a book doesn’t need to be filled with expletives, I do feel that there are pieces that require it. There was only an instance or two in this book and it was well placed and needed. Not all books need it. In fact, I haven’t used any stronger language in a book yet. There’s been no reason to do so. But when the time comes, I’ll use what is needed for the story I’m writing and for what is true to the character.

The best thing this book covers is how often we all screw up. We’re constantly judging one another and being critical. It’s not something we can fix overnight, but it’s imperative we begin to untangle ourselves from such behavior. This is an incredibly simple way to put it.  As the story stated, this life is what it is to prepare us for what’s next. I truly believe that to be true. So, prepare well, friends.

Listen to the book and decide for yourself.

Buy The Shack on Amazon

By The Shack on Barnes & Noble

As I write this blog, I’m so tired my eyes are burning. I know I’ve missed a few errors/typos. If you see one… or two… or however many, shoot me an email so I can fix it. 🙂 clwells.author@gmail.com

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