The Shack is not the kind of book I would normally read; in fact my book reading had actually gone into decline. After a bit of friendly cajoling (and a modicum of family pressure), I was eventually persuaded to give it a go. The idea was to do a bit of a ‘book club forum’ thing among family members. This was mainly because most of them are actually readers.
On first inspection I must say I was not exactly enamoured with the cover précis, “bugger a religious book” however; I couldn’t exactly go back on my promise now could I? And in any case, I actually do enjoy the debating process.
The idea behind the ‘book club’ forum was to read the piece and then offer other family members a review and, observations about any theory you formed about why and how the story came about. These included;
- For me the clincher was the forgiveness stuff.
- It illustrates life is simple but we make it so bloody complicated!
- Made me think about how I can continue to try to make it (life) much simpler and chill out.
Theory, do I have one? Don’t know about theory… And, it hasn’t really changed my viewpoint on ‘mainstream religion’ more like helped me understand why I think the way I do I suppose.
When the car accident appeared in the book, it brought back some thought-provoking memories. Personally speaking I came around from mine with a totally different outlook on life. I know people talk about ‘near death experiences‘ and the tunnels with white light at the end and all that stuff but for me, it was more like a whole life time of thoughts and emotions being subconsciously experienced within a matter of days.
To put life in simple scientific terms it’s all about ‘Ishikawa’ (The theory of cause & effect), everything happens for a reason! Sometimes we can influence that reason and sometimes we can’t however, there will always be an end result to action or inaction! I don’t think anyone with anything approaching a logical/scientific type of mind can (hand on heart) totally ‘believe’; they will always have an element of doubt. Perhaps that is part of the wonder of the process?
I think the secret is; try to live your life in such a way that ‘your god’ would be proud of and happy about, whoever your god may be. The danger is when humans start to do the “I’m right and your wrong” thing…It tends to start wars!
I don’t think you should ever beat yourself up about making the ‘wrong’ decision or blame yourself for the result. What we should do is move forwards in the belief that; I made a decision based upon my experience and all the factors I was aware of at the time. It could have gone better but hey, I’ll learn from it and perhaps be in a better place to deal with a similar situation in the future! Always remember, life is a learning curve that never ends…A bit like a rainbow!
Having completed The Shack and after taking a little time to reflect, I would say that; it is a well written book with an interesting and meaningful story to tell. Although perhaps written with a slightly evangelical tone (as is often the case with North American religious writing and teaching) and not a style that is popular to all. That said the subject actually managed to hold my interest (or curiosity) for the complete volume… And, that in itself is no mean feat.
Having later read some of the many reviews posted on the internet (check Google), by people of varying intellect and religious beliefs, there is a need to take the book at face value and for what it was intended to be i.e. a book written to ‘tell a story (predominately) to children’ and provoke thought. The Shack has undoubtedly been very popular but not without controversy. I would suggest the subject mater is likely to continue to create heated debate for many years to come after all; Darwin’s The Origin of the Species still continues to have that effect 150 years after publication!
Perhaps some of the adults who read this book should try doing so through the eyes and mind of a child…
Footnote: The Shack is a novel by William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk, published in 2007. The book was self-published but became a USA Today bestseller, having sold 1 million copies as of June 8, 2008. It has also maintained its status as #1 Paperback trade fiction seller on the New York Times best sellers list since June 2008.