Shack thoughts

Possible plot spoiler; reader beware.

click image to link to book site
click image to link to book site

Every time I talk to people who have read this book the responses are varied and very personal. With a tight story line and a quick pace the book addresses many of the hard questions that have plagued humanity for centuries. The language is simple to read yet presents concepts that invoke profound thinking.

Uninterrupted the book could be read in a day. Though I could hardly put it down I was not disappointed when it ended. It didn’t leave me wanting more. The story finished and finished well. It did leave me wanting to discuss what I had read with other thinking individuals, though.

The writing technique was fully engaging due to the precise imagery employed. The abstract ideas were illustrated beautifully by concrete objects such as pies, gardens, caves, desks, Native American folklore, head wounds, and even greens (you know, the kind you eat). This brought the ideas to a palpable level and challenged me to open my eyes and look around to see what God might be trying to show me within my surroundings.

The place where I was most challenged is the value that I place on humans. It is so easy to slip into categorizing people into prejudicial boxes. God sees each human life as precious. Various times He is heard saying about humans, “I am especially fond of that one.” That I, too, would treat people as precious creations is my heart’s cry.

To finish I would like to share a quote from the chapter “A Meeting of Hearts”.

“…just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors. “

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19 thoughts on “Shack thoughts

  1. I really enjoyed it too. I’ve heard others complain that they don’t agree with its theology. But even Christianity Today pointed out that it’s not a theological treatise. It’s a work of fiction. And with that in mind, I liked it a lot. It did make me think and question some of MY preconceptions. And I liked the surprising ways that he made God “speak”. Like the quote above. Clear, but thought-provoking.

    Oddly, Charlie can’t get thru it. He doesn’t like the writing. It IS a little tedious in the beginning, so I keep encouraging him to wade thru that to get to the captivating stuff. We’ll see. ;)

  2. Steph – Yes, this is not a theological work; this is fiction. Just as Brother Karamazov presents truths about human nature and even about who God is this book must also be taken as a fiction. I started reading it one night when I couldn’t get to sleep. Mistake! :-) I pushed through the first 6 chapters (first 1/3 exactly) before I stopped saying to myself, “This has got to get better.” Tedious is a good word for the first part. Captivating is a good word for the rest.

  3. I loved this book too! What I loved the most was how they portrayed Jesus. I found the chapters that had their conversations and interactions in it were my favorite. It’s just how I picture Him to be and I loved that he had such a sense of humor. I’d love to read through it again as it’s been a few months, but it was a good read.

  4. Sarah – That is interesting to hear you say about Jesus because most of the portrayal of Him rubbed me the wrong way. Not at all as I pictured Him. I did appreciate the sense of humor, though.

    Danielle – Why not? What about the events would cause you to shy away? I am curious to understand your thoughts.

  5. me, too, yeller…

    and while i didn’t think the actual writing was masterful, i enjoyed the book. there are some great nuggets of truth in there.

  6. Carin – I didn’t have as hard a time as I thought I would with the way God was portrayed.

    Alece – Some are calling this book the ‘Pilgrims Progress’ of our age. I don’t know that I would put it at that same caliber, but I did like the book.

    Mom – :-) Thanks!

  7. You did a great job with summarizing it. Glad you enjoyed it.
    As you probably know from my blog, I liked it a lot and it gave me lots to think about. I don’t think that I am done with reflecting on it. And it makes an interesting combination with “He loves me!” which is kind of complementary.

  8. Thanks for the review! It seems everyone is talking about this book. I always take the road less traveled. :) Or at least I try to. I did like the quote you posted. Thanks!

  9. Danielle – You have not misunderstood. And from what I heard the author suffered the tragedy of losing his child in a heinous way similar to that described in the book. I am not going to push and pry so please answer only if you feel comfortable doing so. I am still curious as to why this would cause you to shy away. I hope I do not sound calloused but that was one of the reasons that I wanted to read it. I wanted to hear how the great suffering and pain was addressed. I feel that this was one huge hole in my biblical and missions training. Maybe they touched it and I wasn’t listening, but I felt that when I came face to face with suffering there was no space for it in my gospel and I was inept at how to respond thus I fled in fear and extreme guilt. I have learned the hard way that God is not as interested in abolishing suffering before eternity rather he desires to bring us through and help us heal with his love and grace. The issues addressed in the book gave my much food for thought and prayer in regards to this area. I am not saying you should read the book. I would just like to understand your heart.

    Jutta – I would imagine that the book you mentioned is a great accompaniment. I am the same way as you: I come back to gnaw on books time and again long after I have finished them.

    Annie – I have a friend who is waiting to read the book until the popularity wears off because she, like you, prefers to take the road less traveled.

  10. Ric – You are more than welcome. I had no plans on purchasing this book. A friend of mine was deeply touched by it and when she was done she put it in my hands and said something along the lines of: read this. I trust my friend so I read it and I was not disappointed.

  11. Thanks for sharing. I just think it would be too painful. Not that I would rather be ignorant of suffering, but to willingly subject myself to it…I don’t know. I see your point and understand that “hole in our Gospel”.

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