J Walking

J Walking

Shacking It

Has anyone read The Shack?
If so, what were your thoughts?

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posted July 23, 2008 at 12:02 am

Nope, but I thought I’d say so. I look forward to hearing what Thinker thought of the fourth edition as compared to the third.

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posted July 23, 2008 at 10:02 am

Haven’t read it, but will make a trip to the bookstore and read it there. I’m not buying for awhile – what with the plumbing and air conditioning people taking my entire income for two months just so we can flush and be cool.

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posted July 23, 2008 at 11:26 am

Have you checked out your friend Greg Boyd’s review?
I haven’t read it yet…

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posted July 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I’ve read it and thought it was very good. It is a very thought-provoking and intense look into the heart of God and the problem of evil in the world. I know it’s gotten a lot of criticism for some of its theology (e.g., through much of the story, God appears to the main character in the form of an African-American woman). Even the book store I purchased it from had a shelf tag warning that the reader should use ‘extra discernment’ in reading this book. But it is a work of fiction, not a book on systematic theology. I would recommend it.

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posted July 23, 2008 at 1:56 pm

You put up this question too soon! I have BIG PLANS to read the book this weekend. I’ll let you know afterwards… although this discussion might be over by then.

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posted July 25, 2008 at 8:24 pm

mediocre by Can-Con standards

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Happy to be here

posted July 30, 2008 at 1:33 pm

It’s no Tempting Faith (which is awesome). Actually I haven’t read it yet but my fiance’s mother just gave it to us and said it was amazing. My expectations are not particularly high, but I’ll read it.

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posted July 31, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Like many things, the book is a contradiction of positives and negatives – people are going to have knee-jerk reactions to both.
From a literary standpoint, I felt the book was pretty flawed. At start, you have a very engaging, provoking story about a terrible tragedy. I found myself hungering to read each page to find out what happened next.
Then, just as the story is getting really good, everything stops so we can have a giant theological discussion that acts as a sort of deux ex machina that resolves everything. The powerful narrative that was being woven is dropped and nearly lost as the main character engages in a sort of “vacation therapy” session.
In addition, the dialogue involving God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit frequently sounded either overly trite or overly academic. Further, many ideas were introduced, but not fully concluded. For example, at one point the point is made that Jesus did nothing on his own power, but rather, was showing us what it looks like if a man were to fully rely on and trust God. Is the author suggesting that the only difference between Jesus and me is that I don’t trust God enough? If I really trusted God then I’d be able to walk on water, heal people, and never ever sin? Is my biggest problem simply that I don’t “believe enough”? Unfortunately, the dialogue in the book doesn’t answer these questions. Another example is the conversation on authority in which God suggests that all authority on the earth is rooted in man’s sinful quest for power. Not only does this seemingly contradict Paul’s discussion of authority in Romans 13, but it also leaves one wondering if the author is advocating some form of socialism or communism.
I don’t mean to be overly negative. There are some really good things in the book as well. I don’t want to give too much away to those who have not read it so I will mention briefly: the emphasis on daily dependence on and trust in God, the discussion on judging God (in fact the whole dialogue with Sophia),his handling of the trinity, and the scene with his dad (if you’ve read it, you know what I am referring to) are all to be commended.

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posted August 15, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Now that The Shack is reaching such a high level of visibility, it’s sad that so many people will not be reading it with either inflated expectations or programmed critiques going in. It’s a book that, at best, will help readers discover and freshly imagine the reality of God’s love and relationship with people (in the context of tragedy, but we all experience tragedy, so…).
I don’t know why you’re asking for comments. My advice would be to avoid all the hype and opinions of others and read it for yourself (if you want to). Don’t read it, or skip it, just because it’s popular.
If you’re really interested, though, I’d recommend listening to one of the interview’s with the author. Then you can appreciate that this mega-selling book comes from a real person not from any corporate “hit making” sales machine.
I recommend the interviews on “The Drew Marshall Show” (esp. the second one) and NPR’s “Think Outloud” (both should be easy enough to find on Google).
The Shack isn’t a perfect example of English literature, but neither is it another hack “Christian book” that forces it’s way toward a neatly packaged message. Different readers will leave with very different impressions, which is the nature of artful writing. Personally, it prompted me to celebrate the reality, depth, and dimensions of God’s love in ways I’d never done before.

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posted August 15, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Oops, please take out the “not” in my first sentence above. Sorry.

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