Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Shack

Years ago a college professor encouraged me to write letters in my prayer journal from God to me. That’s right. To write out what I think the Creator of the universe would say to little ‘ol me. I’ve done that off and on for about ten years now. Usually these “letters” are simply love notes from the Lord, reminding me that He loves me fully and that He created me exactly to His specifications... the Psalms are a handy reference tool here. There’s no theology check like writing from God’s voice, trying to imagine His thoughts. It’s quite revealing to see what I believe about God when I take on what I presume to be His voice. Interesting. And it alters my perspective to try and imagine His responses rather than focusing on my own narrow thoughts.

So this idea of writing in God’s voice is not a new one. Authors throughout time have written from God’s point-of-view. But here’s an interesting read not like any book I’ve devoured before.

The Shack. A must-read. Came to me highly recommended, and I’m passing it on with a hearty thumbs-up. William Young artistically penned an intriguing story where God - the Trinity - brings about healing in an unspeakable tragedy. He reveals Himself through the Trinity to his main character, Mackenzie Philips, a father of five struggling with the murder of his young daughter.

Knowing the events that would unfold in The Shack, combined with my propensity to fully engage emotionally in really great books and films, I felt a little fearful about even reading the novel. But as Young masterfully mixes humor with intensity, he leaves us without excuse to read his story. And because I have not personally experienced struggles near the magnitude as illustrated in this novel, it offers me an opportunity to go to the depths with Mackenzie and then to experience his healing as well.

My favorite things about The Shack:
- Lyrical, illustrative writing - excellent.
- Humor. Just when you think you can’t read any more “heavy,” Mackenzie or God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit says something particularly clever and funny. Not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, but something to produce a smirk.
- Creative imagery illuminating how the Trinity presents itself to a modern day man. Did I say creative??!
- Not condescending - Young assumes the reader is intelligent and therefore doesn’t spell everything out. Kept me wanting to turn the pages.
- Even without the experience of personally suffering deep, soul-wrenching loss, the communication between Mackenzie and the Trinity resonates with me on a deep level. Anyone who reads this story - Believer or not - can glean an intimate understanding of the Lord’s innate love for us as His children.

This is the kind of story I can’t get out of my mind, the kind that swirls in my imagination during and after I’ve finished it. Hardly forgettable.
So, what are you waiting for?! Enjoy!