I only read the first six chapters of The Shack, and I won’t be reading any more. Author William P. Young uses a story about a man who loses a young daughter to violence, and then accepts an invitation from God to meet with Him at the scene of the crime, as a vehicle for his own pseudo-theological pontificating. I’d call it the philosophy of men mingled with scripture, but Young never quotes any scripture.
He’s a competent enough writer but, like too many I’ve read, he makes his protagonist have thoughts and feelings that are too easy just to move the story along.
Mack: “I’m angry about the death of my daughter.”
God: “Let’s talk about something else.”
That’s my next problem with The Shack: as soon as Mack comes to the cabin to commune with God, God proceeds to welcome him with…a lecture about the nature of the Trinity. And it goes on for the rest of the chapter. I’m not sure which bothered me more: that Mack would so calmly go along with the plan, or that Young would have the audacity to use his character’s pain as a vehicle for selling his own ideas about religion.
And make no mistake about it, that’s what The Shack is for. Young has an axe to grind with anyone who “limits” God by suggesting that he has any kind of concrete church, truths, salvation system, or other such apparently trivial nonsense like that. You know, the little things that religion doesn’t really need. No, the God of The Shack is a stereotypical, multicultural, I’m-OK-you’re-OK, let’s-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya kind of God, exactly the sort of silly, watered down, narcissistic Baby Boomer fantasy that gets made fun of with things like “Buddy Christ” statues. (more…)