Recently, Mike and I facilitated a book discussion group on The Shack. I want to share a few of my thoughts about the book.
First of all, let me say that although I consider myself a conservative Christian, I do tend to have an open mind when it comes to thinking outside the box. There has been some controversy about the book. From what I've read, it seems that the folks who have negative things to say about the book are threatened by the very theme of the book...which is that it's more about relationship than rules.
In short, I LOVE THIS BOOK!
God has used this book to touch many people and it was one of those books that was hard to put down. The story is riveting and even though it's fiction, the characters are believable. It caused me to think...and then rethink...about many of my beliefs to see if they line up with scripture, or if they come from a lifetime of denominational teaching.
The main character is a man named Mack. Mack's daughter was kidnapped and presumed dead. He struggles to get past that tragedy. A few years later, he received a note asking him to come back to the shack in the woods where it is assumed that his daughter was killed. The note was signed "Papa," which is a name that Mack's wife calls God. Curiosity drove him back to the shack, where he does indeed meet God...in ways that surprise Mack...and I would imagine most readers as well.
One of my favorite parts of the book was when God talked to Mack about the pain that he had experienced. I think this is something that every Christian struggles with at some point: Where is God when I'm hurting? God assured Mack that He was right there with him...and He was with his daughter as well. He told Mack "Will you at least consider this: When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me?"
Another very interesting part was when the Holy Spirit talked to Mack about his perceived "rights" and how in reality, God is the only one who has any real rights. "You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms. That is a hard pill to swallow; choosing to only live in me. To do that you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness."
I could go on and on about the book, but if you have not read it, please get a copy and see for yourself what all the talk is about.