Friday, May 30, 2008

The Shack--Revisited

The USA Today featured a story on The Shack a book that I previously wrote about on this blog. The Shack is fast becoming a book phenomenon. . It is a self-published book, which has over 1,000,000 copies in print, much controversy, and New York publishers scrambling to get their hands on it.

However, there is now a strong backlash against it. Below are two quotes that were printed in the USA Today (5/28/08).

Albert Mohler, a leading theologian of the Southern Baptist Convention, which takes the Bible literally, trashes The Shack in his weekly radio show, calling it "deeply subversive," "scripturally incorrect" and downright "dangerous."

Says Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle: "If you haven't read The Shack, don't!"

Here’s my take on the controversy. Make your own opinion. Read it yourself, because it is hot topic in our culture. How can you discuss it with friends if you haven’t even read it? It is a water cooler discussion and a blog topic—be informed! A couple a years ago, I attended Jerry Jenkin’s “Write for the Soul Writers’ Conference”. I sat in a workshop with 75-100 other Christian writers. The instructor asked, “How many of you have read The DaVinci Code? No one raised a hand. (Of course, maybe they didn’t want to admit it.) The instructor scowled and said, “Shame on all of you! How can you write with relevance on the Christian world view, if you are not aware of what people are reading and discussing around the water cooler.”

Hmmm . . . I believe he is right.

Personally, I liked The Shack. As I stated in my previous blog, it is a fiction book. It is not a theological treatise. Did I agree with everything written within the pages? No. Do I think the book has value? Yes. It has value because the book has gone mainstream. It speaks of God’s love and our worth. To me that is great starting point in any conversation where we might share our faith in Jesus.

Read it yourself! I would love to hear your opinion.


Margaret said...

I just finished The Shack. Yes, I agree it has some value. I particularly liked the portrayal of the relationship of Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu--no authority of one over the other, no power struggle, just loving, submissive interaction. A great reminder and model for us in our relationships.

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Hi Susanne,

I personally liked the book. However, I will say there were some parts that made me pause. Because it is a fiction book I was able to take the good and let go of the questionable.

She Speaks is 3 weeks away... can you believe it???

KelliGirl said...

Hi Susanne,
I hopped over to your blog to let you know that I'm praying for you and the P31 team as the final She Speaks details are being made.

This blog caught my eye...
I read The Shack about a month ago at the strong recommendation of a friend (a new Christian) who absolutely loved the book! I read the book with high expectations of being moved, enlightened and inspired. But, I really, really didn't like it. As a work of fiction I guess it's fine, but it seemed more like a theological treatise disguised as fiction. This concerned my because I thought the God character either misrepresented Scripture or left out key sin and Jesus' blood paying the price for our sin thereby bridging the gap between us and God.

I think that new or non-believers are left with a man-made, one-dimensional view of our multi-faceted God. (Or it could be that I'm too rigid in my thinking.)

Sorry to rant, but everyone seems to like this book so much and I've kept these thoughts to myself. I needed to get them out!

Hope to see you at She Speaks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susanne,
The Shack was such an incredible book. It is a short book but it took me a long time to finish it because alot of it was deep and I wanted to ponder a while on what the author was trying to convey.

It's sad that a book that points other to the one true God-3 in one is getting such backlash from the Christian community.

My favorite part of the book is on page 98.

It says and I quote"...The problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I am by taking the best version of themselves, projecing that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can percieve, which often isn't much, and then call THAT God. And while it may seem like a noble effort, It falls pitifully short of who I really am. I'm not merely the best version of what you can think of. I am far more than that, above and behond all that you can ask or think." pappa speaking.

just my two cents

Robin (the pensieve one) said...

Hey Susanne,

I popped over 'cause I'm tracking down email addy's for a writing opportunity to share, and I caught your post @ The Shack.

While I read it as complete fiction, I l i k e d the imaginative portrayal of the Trinity. The passaged your anon commentor referenced struck a chord with me when I read the book, then again just now; it reminds me that too often we try to fashion a God of our own making, fitting Him into what we believe (rather the converse).

Anyway, I agree...because the book's such a phenom, it's a wonderful springboard for engaging others.

(And SheSpeaks was WONDERFUL, btw!)

~ Robin

Leebird said...

Hi Susanne...I read The Shack while I was in the middle of watching my favorite uncle live his last days....he has been battling lung cancer for a year.

I found the book quite comforting. Although a few parts concerned me, my favorite part of the night when the main character and the Jesus character laid on the deck watching the stars together. Thinking of having such an intimate encounter with the Lord pleases my heart. Although I can't see Jesus, I know that I can be still and just "be" with Him. I don't have to fill my quiet times with endless prayer requests. I can just sit with Him...or even lie on the deck and watch the stars with Him.

Amy said...

Hi Susanne,

I met you at She Speaks. You are a witty woman! I clicked on your blog via today's P31 devotion. By no coincidence, I blogged yesterday about this very thing based on reading Proverbs 9 in my quiet time. I agree with you 100%!! God is looking for willing and more importantly, able warriors in today's world. Jesus did not tell us to isolate ourselves from the world, He told us to go into all the world and make disciples.

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday considering all that meant because of recent conversations my husband and I have had about our children's future schooling as well as the topic of Christian music vs. secular music. (My husband, the apologist, loves a good debate.)

I'm a fan of Al Mohler and tend to agree with most all of what he agrees with as well as that which he opposes. I don't want to get myself into trouble by paraphrasing what he means especially because I have not even read this book, but, there is certainly a lot of ficticious and non-ficticious material out there under the heading of "Christian Reading" that can indeed be dangerous to a baby Christian who is not as equipped with the Truth as a more mature Christian, let alone those who are seeking truth for the first time.

A dear, former pastor of mine once told me in relation to witnessing to people of other faiths, "It is far more important to understand what you believe than to worry with understanding what they believe." I think that can apply across the board whether we are reading a not-so theologically correct book or even one that has been coined "dangerous" by a well respected theologian. Personally, as I attempt another avenue of going into all the world by tip-toeing into the realm of book publishing, the very thing that makes me shake in my shoes is not the rejection, it's the fear of making sure that I dot my i's and cross my t's in the area of biblical accuracy and regardless of the behind the scenes work of editors, it's my name that will be on that book that will match up with my name as it is written in the Book of Life.

Was this ever a concern of yours?