The Shack (2007) Scraps

After reading The Shack by WM. Paul Young I flew into a word frenzy. Not everything made it into the main post or even the highlights. There were too many angles!

Luckily I’m the kind of person who doesn’t delete anything and instead separates whatever doesn’t fit into it’s own document. Here’s a couple of what I call “scraps”.

Meta Notes

The Top Controversy of this book? You can boil it down to “God is a black woman?” Of course, anyone upset by this is missing the point: God isn’t human, you big dumb.

Yeah. I’m not even gonna lob the racist angle at them.

You can tell anyone who complains about this hasn’t read the book. I’ll paraphrase:

Mack says “Real talk, I always figured god looked like Gandalf.”

And then God returns “I know. I purposely chose this form to betray your expectations, because dressing as Gandalf isn’t going to shock you into the spiritual healing you’re due for after your daughter was abducted and murdered by a serial killer.”

And Mack responds “That makes sense.”

Apparently people have enough to say about this book there were books in response. They took issue with his aforementioned representation of God. Then the publisher made a The Shack Study Guide?

Understand, I’m not a religious person, but I lean towards the opinion religion – your connection to God or some force greater than yourself – ought to be individual.

Because otherwise, when you publish a book about a communion with God (a black woman called Papa, a hebrew man named Jesus, and an asian woman known as the Holy Spirit, simultaneously) and how you learn to forgive your daughter’s murderer through unconditional love, you get called a heretic by your local pastor.

The Shack: Strike Edition

As I said in this post, there’s a couple… Questionable things God says in The Shack. I took the liberty of having my way with WM. Paul Young’s prose for my own satisfaction. Er, horror.

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

Oh dear. Ugh. I’m horrified by my own strikes. If you remove the negative phrasing and a couple spares, it all takes such a dark turn.

I don’t have to edit this next one much.

“… My love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.” Papa [God] said with a wink. “I used your choices to work perfectly into my purposes. There are many folk like you… Who end up locking themselves into a very small place with a monster that will ultimately betray them, that will not fill or deliver what they thought it would. Imprisoned with such a terror, they once again have the opportunity to return to me.”

“So you use pain to force people back to you?” It was obvious Mack didn’t approve.

That’s a yikes if I ever read one. I don’t know how God thought she was winning any of her arguments with Mack.

Too Critical?

I recently read a book, The Shack (2007) by WM. Paul Young, and I had some choice words for it. The beginning was great, but it quickly fell apart once the main character, Mack, left reality.

You have to understand that I am not a real author. I’m an accidental one at best and I’ve never published anything. I’ve always been a writer in the sense of writing gifts for my children and for my friends, but it never crossed my mind when I was writing this story for my children it would be published. So the first run and the only intended run of The Shack was 15 copies after Christmas 2005.

— WM. Paul Young

Because of the above quote from the author I wondered if I was being too critical. I bought the book in a bulk sale determined by weight; I finished it within 24 hours; The writer is an amateur. Are my thoughts invalidated due to his inexperience or my general agnostic tendencies?

At the end of this small project, I know the answer is “No.” Nothing is exempt from criticism. Nothing is exempt from comparison to other media and my kaleidoscope method of review has value.

// end.