‘The Shack’ offers a different perspective

© 2018-Brookings Register

“The Shack” by William Paul Young is for everyone who’s ever wondered "Where was God when this terrible thing was happening?"

Did you ever wish you could sit down with God and talk to the Trinity face to face? 

That’s exactly what Mackenzie Allen Phillips has a chance to do after his young daughter, Missy, disappears on a family camping trip.

Mack can’t reconcile his loss, even though no one, including his wife, Nan, blames him. He blames himself for not protecting Missy, but he also blames God for not being there for Missy. 

Like a lot of us, Mack asks, if God really cares what happens to us, why didn’t he stop it? 

Then one day, Mack gets an invitation in the mail to meet God in the last place Mack wants to go.

Would God still be God if humans could put him in a box? “The Shack” will challenge everything you thought you knew about God, religion, good and evil, and the world. Parts of “The Shack” will be hard to read and parts will be hard to comprehend. 

You don’t have to be a religious person or even believe in God to read “The Shack,” although knowing your Bible will help you pick up on the references Young uses. Most people will relate to Mack’s idea of God as a “really big grandpa with a long white flowing beard,” so they will understand Mack’s starting point and his shock at what he does find.

You have to go into “The Shack” with an open mind; those with very rigid ideas of God could see some of Young’s concepts as irreverent, if not downright blasphemous.  

The point he’s trying to get across is we are finite beings and can’t wrap our brains around what God really is and how he operates. And that’s the core of our problem and why the world is such a broken, sometimes terrible place. We don’t trust God to be God. And we confuse God’s responsibilities with our own.

Mack has a lot of anger and a lot of questions. That’s OK, he finds out God is big enough to handle all of his doubts, fears and brokenness. God has answers; they just aren’t the ones Mack – or we – expect. 

Mack learns that the world wasn’t meant to be as it is now, it was meant to be so much more and so was our relationship with God. 

Those are some of the parts that will take a bit to comprehend, but are well worth re-reading a few times because they are such radical concepts.

Will you accept this new way of thinking about God and how the world works? Maybe, maybe not; but it’s certainly worth turning over in your head a few times to give you a different perspective.


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