There is a book floating around Christian circles called The Shack by a guy named William P. Young. It is what you could call Christian fiction. I love reading novels, but I’ve never really gotten into “Christian novels.” Anyways, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it, and read some reviews that really rip the book apart theologically. Well, that’s the kind of thing that excites me (not bad theology, per se, but controversial theology), so I decided to pick it up and see what it’s all about.
The book is basically a story about one man’s experience meeting the trinitarian God in the shack where his daughter was murdered. Young captures pain and evil in a very personal way – the book was really emotional for me, but I also found that the way he captured the Trinity was equally personal. I found (and find) myself thinking about how I understand God – “the Father” and “the Holy Spirit” in particular.
Anyways, it is a pretty quick read, and I read it through in about a day of spare time, and really enjoyed and appreciated it. It isn’t systematic theology, but it deals with a broad range of issues and from a theological standpoint I can see why some people are getting riled up over it. Anytime you take a theological paradox and narrate it as a main character, I think you are guaranteed to get some things wrong…but at the same time, I think you can get a lot of things right.
So, I encourage you to pick it up, understanding that it is a fictional work that deals with some really important theological concepts, and not always in ways that I agree with. It might change your theology, it might contradict your theology, or it might make you want to develop some theology. Just for kicks, I’ll finish by linking to two reviews, one who is highly critical of it (Tim Challies) and another who loved it (Greg Boyd).