Posted by: pberry | June 2, 2009

Finish The Shack and my next travel read

The ShackI finished The Shack a few days ago. Before I go into what I thought, a brief word about “agreeing with everything.” To say I don’t agree with everything found in the book would be an overly obvious statement. This sort of statement could be applied to nearly anything. Dig hard enough and you’ll find something you don’t like. The question is whether or not they are heading in the right direction and if you’ll go there with them. Add “I don’t agree with everything” to my list of sayings that should be banished from the English language, along with “I don’t mean to interrupt” and “I don’t care who you are, but that’s funny.”

My take: The Shack heads in the right direction. A fictional work is well suited to tackle the problem of God’s justice and righteousness. Perhaps it’s the only one that can really do it justice. Non-fiction castrates the discussion, depriving it of the emotion that makes the discussion relevant. Fiction forces you to deal with the emotions that are such a part of who we are.

As a book, it was fair. Young is a fine storyteller, forcing you to either engage with the tale or quit reading. He hits some very good theological points. I don’t have any problem with the idea that God the Father would show himself as an African-American woman. Any objection to this is based in a sort of literalness that the Bible simply doesn’t embrace. Few have a problem with Jesus showing up as a lion in Narnia. Why such a problem with a woman in The Shack?

If I have a criticism, it’s that the writing could use some work. Good storyteller, but the writing needed some help. I usually give up on a book if it doesn’t take me in the first three chapters and was glad I stuck with The Shack through four. But this is a minor concern. More important is that The Shack is helping people deal with fear and pain and the redemption of God in tangible ways.

A Prayer for Owen Meany I’m heading for Africa with work this week. We’re paying for Amy to come along and I’m looking forward to seeing what pictures she gets for me. She’s an uber-talented photographer. Amongst my belongings making the journey to Africa will be my next read, A Prayer for Owen Meany. It was recommended to me by two of my more favorite people, Chad and Teresa. Both are writers and proclaim this to be their favorite book. I’ll also be taking Lord of the Rings (two chapters from the end of book four) and The Books of The Bible. With 20 hours of flight time, I think I’ll get through some significant reading. If you have any more recommendations, let me know. I leave Thursday morning and get back eight days later. Pictures will abound when I get back!

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Responses

  1. I don’t mean to interrupt, but I had to complement you on the use of the word “castrates.” Well utilized.


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