the shack

lots of people have been reading the shack these days, especially those in blogland where word is on the street. what i am finding, though, is many people have never heard of it. it hasn’t made its way into the mainstream yet, but i definitely have a sense that its on its way there.  i am sort of over “the next great book that will change your life forever” mentality.  i will say this about the shack, though:  i am glad i read it.  it was a nice little mind & heart-bender during a time of a lot of spiritual wrestling, transforming, wondering & wandering.

the shack offered a wonderfully challenging view of the trinity, along with all kinds of examples of how we have such a distorted view of God & life.  these distortions continually destroy our peace, freedom….life.  we’ve gotten robbed by religion & rules & a crazy misinterpretation of the big idea.   i found the metaphors in the book intriguing; something about them really resonated in my heart.   i don’t think it’s something that can be really explained or fleshed out withut reading it.  i will just say that it is worth checking out.  it’s definitely not a literary masterpiece so don’t expect pulitzer-prize-winning writing,  but i was a little surprised that despite being a little corny initially i ended up feeling something stir in my heart that needed a little stirring.  

here are a few excerpts that i loved enough to write down, spoken by each of the three main characters–God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit: 

“there’s no easy answer that will take away your pain.  believe me, if i had one, i’d use it now.  i have no magic wand to wave over you and make it all better.” – God

“life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship” – God

“do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever pictures me there with you?” – God

“does that mean (asked Mack) that all roads will lead to you?”  “most roads don’t lead anywhere. what it does mean is that  i will travel any road to find you…”  Jesus

“love that is forced is no love at all”  – one of the three, i can’t remember and i already loaned out my book!

“it is true that relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart and they will never love you.”  – the Holy Spirit

“i am more attuned to verbs than nouns.  verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing and on and on.  humans, on the other hand, have a knack for taking a verb that is alive and full of gracea nd turning it into a dead noun or principles that reek of rules.”  – the Holy Spirit

“forgiveness is not about forgetting…it is about letting go of another person’s throat.”  – Jesus 

i really like the idea that maybe we are missing the point, that the expanse of God is so much bigger, wider, stronger, kinder, more loving and real than many of us have been taught.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

10 Comments

  • Yeah, I avoided the Shack for a while because of the hype I was hearing. I am sick of the idea that one book can change everything –
    I was pleasantly surprised – and it was timely for me as I needed to see God in a different frame than the evangelical fundamental whatever IC world had given me to hang on my wall.

    Reply
  • Thanks for the post, and the heads up, about this book. I had never heard of it, but it’s gotten quite a bit of back and forth on amazon. Some of the comments left there are probably about as entertaining as the book.

    Since I am fairly new to much of what is calling itself Emergent, and am enjoying the challenges and risks involved in widening my faith, this may be the next piece of fiction I check out. I’ll have to stop by the store tomorrow and see if they have a copy in stock.

    Thanks again.

    Brian

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  • i love these quotes. i’m definitely going to have to check out the book. thanks for the head’s up!

    have you run across any other great books lately? always looking for more…

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  • I agree with Jewlsntexas’ comment about being leery of the next life-transforming must-have book. So, I investigated first, I decided to check out who was endorsing the book by going to theshackbook.com. One link led to another and another as I finally ended up at lifestream.org. I was so intrigued by what I had stumbled onto, that I decided it was worth reading The Shack.It helped me to understand God as I had always hoped He would be, but had been taught not to believe.

    Without writing the book that it would take to express how my life has been positively affected by, not only The Shack, but also the other websites (thegodjourney.com) and the book So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, I must say that they have all helped me to shed a lifetime’s build up of relating to God through religion and “church”.

    Reply
  • I enjoyed the book quite a bit, as well.
    Not life-changing, as some may say, but maybe life affirming? I’ve been walking out this journey of getting to know God, without the rules, the religion. It was great to find others (via blogs) doing much the same thing.
    Good article..

    Reply
  • jewls – yeah, pleasantly surprised is a good descriptor

    brian – let me know what you think. it will be interesting to hear. i was down in san diego for a few days and none of my friends there had heard of it, which i thought was kind of interesting. online is where it’s gotten a lot of action, though.

    ellen – the other ones i recently read and loved, nothing to do with church, really. a thousand splendid suns, the glass castle, my sister’s keeper. i liked all 3 of those. did you read the irresistible revolution? i loved that and shane claiborne’s passion for the ways of jesus. i am still reading everything must change but at the end of the day i have just wanted an easy read!

    free spirit – i peek in on wayne jacobson’s site now and then, really good stuff. glad the books were really helpful to you…good to know.

    che – i like life-affirming as opposed to life-changing. good words.

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  • I thought it was excellent and have passed on copies to others. I’m sure that like most if not all things it won’t speak universally, but it is a very good book that may help some get out of their religious box.

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  • Good Morning! Getting a bit caught up with your blog this morning…must say, I love you and your heart..there said it!! 🙂
    I don’t normally read Christian fiction but Deborah had told me to read it so how could I not? Sure glad I did, even though it lived up to the standard of most Christian fiction in the poor writing dept. it surpassed them in the depths of describing God. This last Sunday I had an interesting conversation with a group of older people hanging out at HomePDX about this book, not sure how it came up but they want to read it, I’ll be taking some copies down next week…should make for even more interesting conversation after they read it!!!

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  • bryan, i agree, it’s not going to cover all the bases but i do think it’s a nice little mind and heart bender.

    donna – you are always so encouraging, and i saw deborah’s comment on pam’s blog, too. i would love to hear what conversations you guys have there. i need to get a few copies circulating around here. i hear they are hard to find (a friend of mine gave me mine and i already passed it on). talk to you soon

    Reply

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