Friday, December 19, 2008
It seems everywhere I turn Wm. Paul Young's new-ish book, The Shack, comes up as a topic of conversation. No one could really tell the story, but everyone talked about how profound it was. I figured I should probably read it, so I checked it out at the library yesterday afternoon. I finished it this morning (all 248 pages plus acknowledgments, credits, and review clips.)
It is an "other-worldly" book; I can't describe it any better than most. While I doubt it will have the same impact as Pilgrim's Progress, as Eugene Peterson says, I do think it's a book worthy of reading--more than once. Young approaches our perception of God in a unique way. I tend to be suspicious of authors who try to make God approachable and "human", but Young manages to walk the line between the Word and the Inconceivable without falling into heresy or silliness. Just as I thought he was headed into a doctrinal misstep, he came around with an answer that brought him back in line with fundamental theology.
I haven't read many fiction books that made me think the way this one does. I plan to read it again--more slowly now that I know the story line. There are nuggets there that I breezed past with the intent of going back to ponder more carefully. Lines like this: Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions. (197) And this: Being always transcends appearance--that which only seems to be. (112)
The book is not hard to read, but the concepts it contains will take a long time to fully explore. I'm glad I read it right before Christmas; it gives me a fresh look at Emmanuel, God with us.