BOOKS: The Shack by William B. Young

I’m currently reading The Shack by William Young, if I remember it’s copyright is 2007.

Anyway, this book seems very insightful and makes you really question who the trinity is and how the trinity interacts. It forces you to breakdown the stereotypical “God vision” of a flowing white gown with a beard who is strict while Jesus is the loving son and the Holy Spirit is just a mystery.

A Protestant friend gave it to me to read and says that it is true to the Bible’s teaching. For the most part, I see nothing wrong with the book. I have noticed a few things that seem a little shady to me being a Catholic (hierarchy/papacy, once-saved-always-saved mentality, confession of sins between you and God alone, implying there are no ‘rules’ to follow). The book really stresses how limited humans are and that if every one has a relationship with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit you wouldn’t need rules, hierarchy, etc…which to me makes sense–but because we have these human limitations, rules are in place for our own good.

I was hoping someone out there has read the book and could shed some of their thoughts. I would like to pass the book along to friends and family but I don’t want to do that if there is something overtly wrong from a Catholic’s perspective that I have overlooked.

Thanks!

i am halfway through it right now. i’ll let you know what i think when i’m finished.

I hate to even admit this…but a group of women at our church are reading “The Shack”. I was invited to but declined. I haven’t actually read the book (except the first chapter) on the advice of one of our deacons. I have heard many controversial comments about the book. I am looking for direct (objective) reviews on the book from someone who has read it and who has a good formation concerning the teachings of the Catholic faith.

My deacon mentioned that though it had some solid Catholic views within the book he thought it was used to appeal to the emotions of the readers so that they would fall for the things in the book that were “pagan”.

Any comments would be helpful.:confused:

I thought I would bump your post because I would be interested in the thoughts of anyone who has read it. The second-hand material I’ve seen is not encouraging and suggests it is whatever-floats-your-boat spirituality.

Thank you so much. As a new member with little computer savvy as to blogging I appreciate your adjustment to my thread.

YSIC,

Anne

Have any of you read this book? A non-Catholic Christian friend of mine recommended it as ‘awesome’, so I looked at some reviews, and they are mixed to say the least. One said that the book is very anti-organized religion. That it goes against the teachings of the bible. I do not usually let reviews decide for me if I’ll read a book or not, but these did make me pause.

So here I am, asking fellow Catholics who may have read it, if it’s worth reading??

I haven’t read it, but after looking at Amazon.com I wonder if the author is William P. Young?

Yes, it IS! Darnit. I was talking about several authors to someone, and I mixed them up. Should have written it down before I came here.

And lets see if I succeeded in changing the title of the thread.

Thanks Dale! :blush:

Editing to say I can’t change the thread title, but managed to change it from this post on down. Sorry people…

I just read The Shack, and I must say, I can’t decide what I think about it. I went into it reminding myself that it’s not holy Scripture and not sacred Tradition, so I took it with a grain of salt. It was interesting, but not what I would consider orthodox.

I am scheduled to lead a discussion group about this book at a local Christian bookstore, and I’m almost sure I’ll be the only Catholic there. I have a feeling that everyone is going to be ga-ga over this book - you should see some of the comments on the discussion board at The Shack’s website - yeesh!

I’d love to know what you all think of the book and if you’ve discussed it with Protestants/evangelicals. Of course it was a work of fiction, but I have a little trouble with the ideas of distrust of authority, no sense of communion of saints/Church, and seeming unimportance of striving toward holiness in this life. On the other hand, it was an interesting exploration of the Trinity, creation and free will.

At any rate, I’m curious to hear what you all might have to say.

Well, I realized that someone combined a thread that I had started about this book and the original thread…thank you, whoever you are! :thumbsup:

Ok, I finished The Shack today, and I must say that I would not recommend it to anyone who isn’t strong in their Catholic faith. Or Christian faith, period!

It seemed ok. A nice feel-good book, even with the sad parts, which I won’t go into to spoil it for anyone. I was thinking, ok…yes…that’s what I was taught…that’s what I believe. And then it started to drift into what seemed like double-talk to me.

And THEN it got downright contradictory. To name only a few things that bothered me…

On page 136 ~ “Evil is only the absence of good, like dark is the absence of light.” God is supposed to be saying this to the main character. No mention of satan anywhere in the book.

On page 177 ~ While Jesus says that the church is his bride, he/God is also against religion. God says that “religion, politics and economics are the man-created trinity of terror”.

So much seems to go towards the ‘new age feel good’ attitude. It seems as if the author takes just enough truth to make you let your guard down, and then hits you with these weird ideas. Such as…

On page 181-182 ~ ‘Jesus’ “has no desire to make anyone a Christian”. (excuse me? What about His command to the Apostles to go out and make disciples of all nations???)

On page 202 ~ The Ten Commandments no longer apply. It says that “Jesus fulfilled it all, so that it (the law) no longer has jurisdiction over you.” (excuse me? What Jesus said was that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it…NOT abolish, as the book says)

On page 203 ~ It says that ‘In Jesus, you are not under any laws.’
(no laws? again…do what you like, it’s ok.)

Ok…I’m done naming pages. I think you get the drift. In this book, the author says it’s ‘all about relationships’, with God, with each other. No responsibility or rules as we know them. And I see in the back of the book that he has a non-fiction book that is for sale, which seems to mean to me that he will be teaching/preaching his theology, or whatever you want to call it.

This book worries me because it just seems that the ‘feel good’, ‘no I don’t really have to worry so much about sin’, etc. may appeal to many people and actually take them away from God. I have seen/heard people say that it has “changed the way I view God and the Trinity.”, and a very devout non-Catholic Christian friend of mine who is a leader in her church groups is all fired up over the ‘teachings’ in this book.

I’m done. Sorry for rambling.

Excellent points, Baptista. Thank you for them

What I’ve done in preparation for this discussion group is to go back through the book, then reference certain sections to Biblical passages to show the contradictions. The more I have thought about the book, the less favorably I view it.

I anticipate a VERY lively discussion, and I want to make sure the more orthodox Christian view is well represented.

And, for what it’s worth, it needed better writing and editing!

That’s actually pretty good theology, although the more accurate term is “privation.” Not every absence of good is evil. Rationality is a good, but the fact that dogs are not rational (in the technical, scholastic sense) is not evil. But I don’t expect scholastic technicality from a 21st-century devotional writer!

Satan is not evil embodied. That would be the heresy of dualism. Satan is a being created good by God, but whose will has been corrupted. So the existence of Satan does not disprove the point.

I have not yet read the book, but your other points coincide with what I’ve heard and with the quotes I’ve seen so far. I think I will have a lot of issues with this book. But on this particular point I’d defend its orthodoxy.

Edwin

I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding this. The author stated that “evil is only the absence of good”. Then you said that “Not every absence of good is evil…” Then later you said it was good theology. Which is good? What the author said, or what you said? The way I take it the author meant that “the absence of good is evil.” And you say not always. Do I have this right? I’m not being sarcastic here. Honest! I’m truly confused. The author seems to be saying one thing, and you another. :blush:

Satan is not evil embodied. That would be the heresy of dualism. Satan is a being created good by God, but whose will has been corrupted. So the existence of Satan does not disprove the point.[/UNQUOTE]

I’m not connecting satan as the embodiment of evil in my statement. I was only pointing out that the author never mentioned satan anywhere in the book. Unless I totally blanked out at one point. And we all know satan tempts us. He tempted Jesus. This is never mentioned.

[quote]
I have not yet read the book, but your other points coincide with what I’ve heard and with the quotes I’ve seen so far. I think I will have a lot of issues with this book. But on this particular point I’d defend its orthodoxy.

Edwin

Again, I’m confused about which point you mean. Or maybe you misread what I meant? Don’t mind me…I do get confused. :slight_smile:

And, I agree with panther. It could have used better editing. As could my post, but I can’t get the second ‘quote’ to work on this, so I’ll leave it as is. And hope that I made sense.
[/quote]

I just read the book last week. I got it as a birthday present. It is not scripture. It’s theology is a mishmash of everything from good Catholic Teaching to New Age whatever. It is a compelling story with lots of overdone sweetness. It is much like a storyline from “Touched by an Angel”. People who don’t care about orthodoxy will call it a great Christian story. I would call it a fantasy story witha hodge podge of different religions. I would recommend that people stay away from it.

Sorry. Obviously *my *post could have been better edited! My point was that the more technical way to put it would be “evil is the privation of good” (i.e., the absence of a good that ought to be there). But I presume this is what the author meant. It’s what I would have meant before I studied Aquinas and thought about the difference between absence and privation. It’s what I’m pretty sure my grandmother meant when she used this phrase (my grandmother was my primary religious teacher!). Therefore, I think that essentially the statement is good theology.

I’m not connecting satan as the embodiment of evil in my statement. I was only pointing out that the author never mentioned satan anywhere in the book.

Fair enough. Without reading the book and getting a sense of how comprehensive he meant the book to be theologically, I’m not sure if I have a problem with this or not. My point was that one can reasonably talk about evil without mentioning Satan. Evil is not identical with Satan in the way that goodness is identical with God. You can’t meaningfully talk about goodness (in Christian terms) without talking about God. You can meaningfully talk about evil without mentioning Satan. Satan just happens to be the most powerful being (according to Christian tradition) to have given his will over to evil. There could still be evil in the world if that particular powerful angel had not chosen to rebel against God.

Edwin

Evangelicals and fundamentalists (E & F) would respond: the Church is not “religion”. The Church is the group of people in relationship to Christ

On page 181-182 ~ ‘Jesus’ “has no desire to make anyone a Christian”. (excuse me? What about His command to the Apostles to go out and make disciples of all nations???)

E & F response: To be a “Christian” is one thing; to be in a real relationship with Jesus, is a whole 'nother ball-game.

On page 202 ~ The Ten Commandments no longer apply. It says that “Jesus fulfilled it all, so that it (the law) no longer has jurisdiction over you.”

E & F response: “jurisdiction” meaning “the exclusive power to determine your salvation”. The mere practice of works has no jurisdiction over someone who is in relationship to Christ (who, again, is not to be confused with a “Christian”).

On page 203 ~ It says that ‘In Jesus, you are not under any laws.’
(no laws? again…do what you like, it’s ok.)

E & F response: If you’re “under” the Law, then where is Love? Instead, Law is “under” Love – that’s the condition Jesus established.

I just finished the book and felt a sense of “something is not right” thoughout the story. Mr. Young writes his personal theology as if from the “Mouth of God” in the story, giving it (his personal opinion) a certain “infalilablity” to the reader. This is a very subtle, dangerous book, in my opinion, for a Catholics who are not strong intheir faith, and who don’t recognize the departure from true Christianity - Catholic teaching. Readers beware!

A friend wondered why Mr Young includes a feminine God the Father and Holy Spirit, and ventured that without Mary in the picture, protestents and others try to find “her” somepalce else. Thus, the “feminine god” in “The Shack”. Don’t recomend it to your Catholic friends, unless they can read it critically and see where the problems are.

I’ve read most of it but it was so heretical and blasphemous that I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it.

If your friend thinks it reflects the Bible’s teaching, then I’ve got to wonder what Bible she’s reading.

The book not only portrays God as a woman (three women), but presents a polytheistic nature of God.

It also teaches universalism and anti-nomianism and the main character routinely blaspheme’s God and takes His name in vain.

And yet, I get flamed if I say “Catholics say”.

Sooooooo glad I found this thread… a friend has suggested I read this book - she said that it will literally “change your life and how you think of God.”

Ummmm… thanks, but no thanks.

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