Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Shack--conclusion

Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes:
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."
Thus ends the incredible work of fiction called The Shack that William Paul Young created.
This masterful work of literature is perhaps akin to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. It's almost that good! Certainly, present in The Shack are the themes of God's love and grace, friendship, and God's never ending reaching out to humanity for salvation and redemption. Most books do not change your life. A few are enjoyable while being read, but the details quickly forgotten. But I know that I shall never forget this book. Young's exploration of the Holy Trinity and God's way of relating to the main character are fascinating.
One troubling point about the book: in Young's universe, the Church seems to be relegated to an outdated institution at the least and as an all-out sinful attempt to control and dominate people at the worst. Not true! The Church can be the very place where a relationship with God like the main character in The Shack experiences can begin, be nurtured, and grow. It seems that in The Shack, "church" is only experienced with Mack's nuclear family and closest friend.
I can truly see how someone who has had bad experiences in the Church would resonate with this creative conception of what "church" is.
Overall, I have received good ideas from The Shack: things fresh from Sarayu's garden, things like love, grace, redemption, reconciliation, sacrifice, honesty, and over all the LOVE AND GRACE OF GOD FOR ALL GOD'S CHILDREN!