Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever and quite possibly your own.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!
ReviewsThis is a multi-million copy bestseller that has stormed the popular reading top-ten lists. It is currently number 16 on the Amazon bestseller list. It was number one on the New York Times list. It has captivated the imagination of readers to explore a Christian allegory in a way probably not seen since C.S. Lewis’ Narnia tales. Eugene Peterson (who wrote The Message Bible) likens its value to that of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which I think is overdoing it considerably. But, LOTS of people are reading this, and it just might help people engage with God and help us engage with our friends in talking about spiritual things. Where is God when it hurts?
The story depicts a Christian man, Mack, who has the harrowing experience of losing a young child, abducted and presumed murdered. This is told in the first few chapters. As a result he withdraws into himself with hardened and deadened faith, buried and protected emotions, and mistrust towards God. After some years, he receives a written note from God, in the post. It is an invitation to meet with God at the scene of the crime, the shack! The bulk of the book describes the weekend encounter of Mack at the shack with God, the three Persons of the Trinity!
As bizarre as this sounds, the book was a very enjoyable and easy read! Mack encounters each person of the Trinity, and through time together and conversations, the reader is led to explore various issues. The main topic is: what is the relationship of faith like, which God invites us to share in. This was the highlight of the book for me, and its greatest strength. It explores how each Christian might relate to each Person of the Trinity, in a lively, heart-warming and imaginative way.
The story is set in stunning physical surroundings – mountains, gardens, waterfalls, etc. – and reminds us of the wonder of creation, but also of God wanting to get the weeds out of our spiritual lives, pruning and digging, to make room for growth. Food features a lot too, sharing meals with God!
There is also imagination and compassion here: Mack is a grieving, hurting, disillusioned, tired believer. To those with dry faith, or bruised by some circumstances, or hardened towards letting God draw near, this book could be profoundly beneficial.
The Shack also brings the hard questions of Mack’s heart and head – loss, forgiveness, guilt, hope, life and death, the nature of faith, the reality of God and evil, the afterlife, heaven and hell – into a profoundly moving and personal story where these topics are raised. They are handled in a way which shows theological depth without being academic or dispassionate. I didn’t agree with it all but it made me wrestle with not just how I think about these subjects but what difference they make to me in my experience of faith; again, this could potentially benefit many readers.
One big note of caution though: this is a novel. It is fiction! It is not the Bible. So it does portray God, faith, the church, the Bible, how God works, in some strange and even wacky ways. It makes light of the demands of Christian discipleship. For some Christians it is offensive (it doesn’t do justice to the Trinity, the church, or sin), for some readers it is too weird or cheesy, for others it makes God too human (the weakness of any novel about God). I would recommend it as a prompt to thinking about what a relationship with God feels like, I wouldn’t recommend it to new Christians wanting to understand faith or what God is like. With these reservations, as a book that might warm believers and non-believers to a more vibrant, living, active faith which enjoys God’s presence, I recommend this to you. Give it a try. Your friends might be reading it already.
Andrew Goldsmith, April 2009
What a wonderful wonderful book. It draws you back into Father and gives back the simplicity of just walking with Dad. We can get so drawn into all the busyness and the seriousness of our christianity that you just forget you have a constant companion who commands our attention. Jesus our Saviour who died for us so we could have freedom and I think in our rushing around trying to be so so spiritual we lose sight of Him and forget how to chill. This book allows you to relax, to be honest with your feelings and to be able to deal with them before Father and get them swept away and laugh in a way you used to, to become a child again and to cry from the very depths of your soul and wash away all that pent up ness inside and just be. I am no longer a christian, I just follow the Shepherd, my Jesus my Yeshua my Lord. I have a saying I don't follow sheep I follow the Shepherd. Now I can say it in all truth, I follow the Shepherd! Amen. Bless you guys and thank you for advertizing this amazing book. If I could afford 6.6 billion of them I would give them to the whole world to read.
Jacky Granger, 22nd May 2008
This has got to the be the best Christian book I have ever read (except the bible of course). It was an emotional journey but one that brought me closer to God then I have ever been.
Catalogue code: N/A
Publisher: HODDER HEADLINE* - published 15/07/2008