The Shack – A Book Review

So I have just gotten done reading an excellent book called The Shack. I highly recommend this book to anyone regardless of their religion/spiritual path/non-beleif. It is a story of a man who suffers greatly in his life and has the chance to meet the abrahamic god in a shack. This is not the god I was taught about….it is reminiscent but this is not what your expecting. I am going to share some excerpts that I don’t feel give away the plot too much but shed light on the tone of the book.

For many non-beleivers of the abrahamic god the idea of god being male is difficult. I know for myself having a god and goddess creates balance. I am not particularly bothered by their being a male god in terms of monotheism, it just doesn’t feel right. God appears in various forms at the shack and at one point he is female. Naturally, it is asked about.

“‘But then’ he paused, still focused on staying rational, ‘why is there such an emphasis on you being a Father? I mean, it seems to be the way you most reveal yourself.’ ‘Well’, responded Papa, turning away from him and bustling around the kitchen, ‘there are many reasons for that and some of them go very deep. Let me say for now that we knew once the Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don’t misunderstand me, both are needed – but an emphasis on fathering is necessary becase of the enormity of its absence'”

Interesting point of view. I will argue that there are more fathers stepping up and doing what’s right but if you do look at the entire globe fathers tend to be lacking (what a thing to say on Father’s Day, eh?). And I have to say…I LIKE this explanation.

Now another thing that I like about this book is the discussion on religion and institutions. Just to set the stage, this is a discussion between main character and Jesus.

“‘I really do want to understand. I mean, I find the way you are so different from all the well-intentioned religious stuff I’m familiar with. (this is the main character).’
‘As well-intentioned as it might be, you know that religious machinery can chew up people!’ Jesus said with a bite of his own. ‘An awful lot of what is done in my name has nothing to do with me and is often, even if unintentional, very contrary to my purposes’
‘Your not too find of religion and institutions?’ Mack asked, not sure if he was asking a question or making an observation.
‘I don’t create institutions – never have, never will’
‘What about the institution of marriage?’
‘Marriage is not an institution. It’s a relationship.’ Jesus paused, his voice steady and patient. ‘Like I said, I don’t create institutions; thats an occupation for those who want to play God. So no, I’m not too big on religion.’ Jesus said a little sarcastically.

This sheds light that maybe people are going about life wrong. Or at least that religion has turned into the most wrong thing possible. And personally, my take on the issue of marriage being a relationship….it seriously reads to me that it wouldn’t matter if homosexuals WERE married.  But I have also read the book in its entirety so perhaps my interpretation is a wee bit biased.

Now the next excerpt is simply the one that caused me to go “”ahhhhh, this will make people angry!” In short, the ten commandments are not important.

“‘Jesus laid the demand of law to rest; it no longer has any power to accuse or command. Jesus is both the promose and it’s fulfillment’
‘Are you saying that I don’t have to follow any rules?’ Mack had now completely stopped eating ans was concentrating on the conversation.
‘Yes. In Jesus, you are not under any law. All things are lawful’
‘You can’t be serious! You’re messing with me again!’ moaned Mack.
‘Mackenzie’, Sarayu continued, ‘those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us to live in them. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.’
‘Is that why we like law so much – to give us some control?’ asked Mack.
‘It is much worse than that’ resumed Sarayu ‘ it grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You beleive you are living to a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bing freedom, they only have the power to accuse.'”

Some heavy stuff to think about isn’t it? I mean most societies, governments, countries have some sort of law system. And as humans I think we are prone to needing rules for comfort. The mere suggestion of anarchy scares the living hell out of people. I know I cannot imagine a life without rules. But it brings to mind a Wiccan phrase….In Perfect Love And Perfect Trust. That is exactly what stood out to me in that excerpt.

The book is profound. Even though I don’t beleive in the abrahamic god I can certainly appreciate the points that were made in the book. I would go as far as to say that I come away with my beleifs enhanced by this book. I heard that there was much to-do about this book. All I can say is have an open mind when reading the book. Go into it close minded and I don’t think you will enjoy it as much. And to say enjoy is a bit difficult as I cried several times over the things the main character endured. Regardless, I think no matter who you are you can walk away learning something about yourself, Christianity, or a viewpoint of the abrahamic god.


~ by alegna75 on June 21, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Shack – A Book Review”

  1. I read this book a while back. I liked many parts about it -especially that god was being portrayed as an African American woman.

    However, (spoiler alert for those who haven’t read this book!!)

    when I got to the end, and the dad is able to forgive his daughter’s killer, and go back and stay at the cabin with his wife? I just hated that part. Ruined the whole book for me. I could not get past the fact that he was basically “vacationing” where his kid had been murdered. It just made me mad! After I read this book, I did something that I never, ever do: I threw the book in the garbage.

    I know tons of people who have been really touched by this book, so I know that my reaction is the exception. The book was filled with some great sentiments, but maybe it’s just the overly fierce (crazy, lol?) protective mode in me that says if someone hurt my kid, I would never, ever forgive. I just hated this book.

    • I had an issue with that as well. I don’t know that I could ever forgive someone for committing such an atrocity. When he had the accident (another spoiler alert lol) I figured he wouldn’t remember any of that time in the shack so I was actually pleased that he could remember and they could locate the place where he hid the bodies AND identify the guy who did it. So although I was surprised at someone being able to forgive but at least he got caught and sent off to prison too, ya know? I wasn’t sure how I felt about the end to be honest.

  2. It looks to be a good read. Have added it to my list of books to read this summer.

    Thanks for the tip

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