More than a while ago... to be fair play, almost 3 years ago, my mother told me about a book called "The Shack". It was a book she loved and she dearly recommended it. I usually dont read books recommended unless I feel drawn to them, and in this case it did not spark my interest at all. I guess it did not help that mum gave it to me (in Romanian language) and to Marek (in English language) as a gift. Sometimes, things need to come naturaly so this seemed to me like a push. It took me 2 years to take the book Marek received into my hands and think of reading it. I always loved reading more in English, to tell you the truth... and to my shame, as the Romanian language can take a word a turn it upside down and give it a thousand meanings.
The book I will tell you a bit about today is The Shack. It is a Christian novel by Canadian author William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk, published in 2007. The novel was self-published but became a USA Today bestseller, having sold 1 million copies as of June 8, 2008. It was the #1 paperback trade fiction seller on The New York Times Best Seller list from June 2008 to early 2010, in a publishing partnership with Hachette Book Group USA's FaithWords imprint (Hodder & Stoughton in the UK). In 2009 it was awarded the "Diamond Award" for sales of over 10 million copies by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
The title of the book is a metaphor for “the house you build out of your own pain”, as Young explained in a telephone interview. He also told radio host talk show Drew Marshall that The Shack "is a metaphor for the places you get stuck, you get hurt, you get damaged...the thing where shame or hurt is centered."
The novel is intense and breathtaking and somehow you get lost in the story. You feel you are there with the main character, you feel his pain and you have the questions that he asks on the tip of your tongue. Mackenzie Phillips (also known to friends and family as Mack) takes his children camping and during the trip, his youngest daughter is abducted and murdered by a serial killer. I will not spoil the book for you, its questions / sorrows and its ending but I will tell you this: many Christians were upset with the novel's unconventional way of portraying the Trinity. God the Father was portrayed by an African American Women, Jesus as a Middle Eastern carpenter, and the Holy Spirit as an Asian women. I, on the other hand, believe that is very much appropriate! Considering the region where Adam and Eve came from, there is a very high possibility that they were not white at all! And who cares about the color of the skin anyway! I believe that we should focus on love and being open-minded.
The Shack makes me think of an idea that I had ever since I was a child, when I was taught that at the same time God is love but also vengeance. To be fair, The Bible does show God both loving and also coming down with anger. I was thinking that God is allpowerful and allknowing so even if he knows in advance what we will say or do, he still gives us free will. At the same time we are his children, so he loves us. He loves us differently than we love our own, and he holds no grudges as he is made all out of love. In Corinthians 13 we find out that from all the things in the world, only one thing will always remain: Love! and the book shows us just that :)
In order not to spoil the book for you, but give you a taste of it, I thought I may share with you a few quotes that I really enjoyed:
- Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to hold power over another is to choose to limit oneself - to serve. Humans often do this - in touching the infirm and sick, in serving the ones whose minds have left to wander, in relating to the poor, in loving the very old and the very young, or even in caring for the other who has assumed a position of power over them.
- Mack, the world system is what it is. Institutions, systems, ideologies, and all the vain, futile efforts of humanity that go with them are everywhere, and interactions with all of it is unavoidable. But I can give you freedom to overcome any system of power in which you find yourself, be it religious, economic, social or political. You will grow in the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and amont them. Together, you and I can be in it and not of it.
- Those who love me have come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims; some are Democrats, some Republicans and many don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers, some are bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters or my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.
- You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you - Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth
- An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others - A.W.Tozer
A LadyBug That Loves God