Is The Shack Deep or Shallow?

I have had a couple of people tell me about The Shack by William P. Young and at first, I just blew it off. I’m not big on fiction so it really didn’t interest me. Then I saw it was a movie (didn’t really feel like watching it either) and started seeing reviews about it. In the end, I figured I should give it a chance and see what all the hubbub was about.

Let me say that I went into it thinking I wouldn’t really like it and was still 100% in that camp about 1/4 of the way into the book. Once, the story turned from the sad setup and got to the part where the main character got to the shack, it turned sort of delightful.

Yes, it was very simplistic at times but the innocence of the thing was enjoyable.  Even when the protagonist wrestled with deep philosophical and religious questions,  that interested me enough to keep me involved.

The last 20% of the book however the book fell short. Rather than being a positive look, it really spent a lot of time poo-pooing any sort of organized religion. Mr. Young cryptically wipes away the good that comes from religion with a cloth of vagueness while claiming that humans screw it all up.  Don’t get me wrong – I agree there is a lot that humans screw up, but to throw the baby out with the bath water is not the answer.

There are parts I love and parts I hate. It is equal parts enlightenment and blasphemy. The overall message seems to be a new old love philosophy co-opting Biblical stories and although it is a very effective parable, it is not gospel.

Read it for the good explanation of how bad things can happen to good people and why our Heavenly Father doesn’t heal all the bad in the world. Don’t read it for a new life view to replace all others.  Read it for the message of what love is. Don’t read it for the answer to what is wrong with one religion or another.  Read it for the explanation of free will.  Do not read it for it excusing anything you decide.

What are your thoughts? Have you read The Shack? People seem to love or hate this book.  What is your take?

by Chris Doelle