‘Shack’ opens doors, but critics call book ‘scripturally incorrect’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By rights, William Young, 53, should be a mess.

Emotionally distant from his missionary parents. Sexually abused by the New Guinea tribe they lived among. Grief-stricken for loved ones who died too young, too suddenly. Frantic to earn God's love, yet cheating on his wife, Kim.

Young functioned by stuffing all the evil done to him and by him into a "shack" — his metaphor for an ugly, dark place hidden so deeply within him that it seemed beyond God's healing reach.

His adultery, 15 years ago, finally blew the doors off that shack, forcing him to confront his past. "Kim made it clear," he says. "I had to face every awful thing."

Now, his first novel, The Shack— centered on dialogues between a miserable main character, Mack, and three unorthodox characterizations of the Holy Trinity — telescopes Young's transformation to a man spiritually reborn and aware every moment of God's love. It slams "legalistic" religions, denominations and doctrines. It barely even mentions the Bible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture

3 Comments
Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. archangelica wrote:

Sounds like a book reappraisers will love and reasserters will love to hate. Since when does a novel have to pass an orthodoxy exam to be a good, spiritually uplifting read?
The Puritans have returned to Anglicanism to have another go at the Church. There will be blood. On some days Jesus still weeps. Why don’t reasserters join forces under one tent that already has a history, infrastructure, seminaries, and is traditional, conservative and orthodox: The Reformed Episcopal Church?

May 30, 10:09 am | [comment link]
2. Former Atheist wrote:

I liked the book.  It’s a novel and should be read as a metaphor not as if it were Scripture.  I plan to give copies away to family members who struggle with God over the concepts of justice and mercy.

May 30, 10:40 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “The Puritans have returned to Anglicanism to have another go at the Church.”

Heh—I love this kind of rhetoric from someone who clearly has no clue what a puritan in modern-day America would look like or believe.  The most conservative reasserters in TEC are liberal by puritan standards.

Further—I’ve already had highly conservative members of TEC weigh in in favor of the book.  They’re all for artistic license in the arena of fiction—just not in the arena of creeds, doctrines, theology, etc. 

Pity that our PB doesn’t recognize the difference.

RE: “Why don’t reasserters join forces under one tent that already has a history, infrastructure, seminaries, and is traditional, conservative and orthodox: The Reformed Episcopal Church?”

Same reason why progressives didn’t join forces “under one tent that already has a history, infrastructure, seminaries,” etc of their own wildly revisionist theology?  ; > )

May 31, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
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