Book review // The Shack by WM. Paul Young
Between being pregnant with twins and then being overwhelmed with actually having twins, I haven't done much reading in the past two years. It's one of my resolutions for 2018 to read a book a month and I couldn't have chosen a better book to break my reading dry spell.
The Shack by WM. Paul Young is the most thought provoking, inspiring books I have read in a while. Full disclosure; it's not an easy read. I had to re-read several parts several times but it was worth it. It's more of a "notes-in-the-margin" type book.
The general premise is about a grieving father whose daughter is taken by a serial killer from a family camping trip. After years of grief, the father receives a one of kind invitation from God to revisit the scene of the crime. The bulk of the story takes place during the days he spends there in God's company.
I will leave you with three of my biggest take aways from the book; the parts that I underlined doubly and loved reading the most.
God speaking; The problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I am by taking the best version of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can perceive, which often isn't much, and then calling that God. And while it may seem like a noble effort, the truth is that it falls pitifully short of who I really am. I'm not merely the best version of you that you can think of. I am far more than that, above and beyond all that you can ask for or think.
Jesus speaking; I don't want to be the first among a list of values, I want to be there at the center of everything. When I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you. Rather than a top of a pyramid, I want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life, your friends, family, occupation, thought, activities, is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth, in an incredible dance of being.
Jesus speaking; I'm not too big on religion, and not very fond of politics or economics either. And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of these three? Put simply, these terrors are the tools that many use to prop up their illusions of security and control. People are afraid of uncertainty, afraid of the future. These institutions, these structures and ideologies, are all a vain effort to create some sense of certainty and security where there isn't any. Systems can not provide you security, only I can.
As you can see, it's not a light hearted read but there is a ton of heart in this book and did my heart a ton of good.
The story behind the book itself is really cool as well. There has been 20 million copies sold and it was originally manufactured in the author's garage. If you decide to read this book and are like me and always skip the prologue and author's notes DON'T on this one. I won't summarize the whole story surrounding the book itself but instead I'll leave you with a quote from the author's notes that I loved.
One day I asked our son. who is finishing a five year Ph. D. in Statistics, about stories like this where the weaving of timing and events is beyond explanation, "Hey Chad, what are the odds of this happening?" He grinned, "Dad, it's 100 percent." "Of course." I laughed as the profound simplicity of what he was saying dawned on me. "Of course."
So in a nutshell, I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it! Cherry on top- after I finished reading the book, Bart picked up the movie from Redbox. It followed the book about as good as any movie can follow a book but I really loved seeing all of the mystical notions being brought to life. Very good movie!
Next month's book is Goliath Must Fall, Winning the Battle Against your Giants by Louie Giglio as recommended by a Facebook friend.
Disclaimer: So my first two book of the year are religious books, simply because that's the kick I am currently on book-wise. But my tastes are like a drunk person walks into Barnes and Noble and fills grab bag. My favorites are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I read every Sookie Stackhouse novel (True Blood,) every Twilight novel (judge me if you must,) and my biggest weakness is pop culture self help books (as in, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is like, my go to book.) So stick around as I'm sure there will be a diverse set of 12 books read before the year is up.