Monday, July 21, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I love to read book jackets. I enjoy seeing what other people have to say about a book; I look for the synopsis so I can see if the book might be something that appeals to me; and I love to read about the author. In the case of The Shack, two quotes by Eugene Peterson caught my attention. The first, on the front cover, says "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!" The second one on the back of the book said "When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize, the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. That definitely got my attention.

This book wrestles with the question of evil in our world and why God if he is a loving God and so powerful does not do something about it.

Mackenzie Allen Philips has a young daughter, Missy, who is abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she has probably been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Several years later, in the midst of what Mackenzie Philips calls his "Great Sadness", he receives a note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for the weekend.

What he finds there will change his world forever. This amazing book will challenge you to more closely examine every biblical cliche and spiritual insight you thought you possessed to reveal the true nature of the divine heart of God. If you were a person who always had a lot of questions about organized religion and the struggle between tradition and truth, you may need to read this book. The beautiful way that spiritual insights are woven through the narrative of this book will delight and amaze you.

This is a book of great wisdom and insight, and it has been something of a publishing phenomena, as it has touched people's lives in various ways and continues to do so. People have ordered copies and then ordered more to share with friends. In the first four months of publication, without the book appearing in one bookstore and without any national media campaign, more than 12,000 books were sold from a single website. Their dream is to sell enough copies of the book to open the door for a feature film that the world will want to see and that will present an accurate understanding of God's character and nature to a world that longs in the deepest places of their hearts for such a God.

This book examines pain, loss, grief, anger, longing, secrets, lies, forgiveness, and presents a loving God who's purposes are accomplished every time we reach out and touch a heart or a life with kindness and service. The Shack is a beautiful story of how God can be found even in the midst of our pain and will never forsake us.

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