Today, I picked up The Shack, by William P.Young. I purchased at Family Christian here in Marion. I recently listened to a podcast from Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, he was critical of it. So, I’ll read it summarize it, and post some thoughts when and where I feel like it. I acknowledge that I am not a professional book reviewer, so take it easy on me.
We’re introduced to Mackenzie Allen Phillips, known as “Mack” in the the balance of the book. Mack had a rough childhood; his father was an alcoholic and beat him. In his mid-teens, he was off on his own, but not before putting poison in every bottle of alcohol on his way our the door. He’s now in his mid-50’s and has been married to Nan, a nurse, for 33 years. He attends church at the 55th Independent Assembly of Saint John the Baptist. Something called “The Great Sadness” entered his life 7 years earlier, and the story itself is being ghost written by the author. It is a work of fiction.
Chapter 1-A Confluence of Paths
It’s been a while. I’ve missed you. I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together.
After an incident with an ice patch on his driveway, we learn that Mack’s wife is out of town with their children. Their daughter Kate is quiet and withdrawn. It turns out that “Papa” is Nan’s favorite name for God and they have been praying to Him to help them get through to their daughter.
Chapter 2-The Gathering Dark
“The Great Sadness” was the disappearance of their daughter Missy. It happened on a camping trip to Wallowa Lake in Oregon. Much of the chapter focuses on the the origin legend of the Falls. You can check out the legend here. A discussion ensues about whether of not the legend is true. There are obvious similarities to the sacrifice of Jesus that are not lost on the 6 year old Missy. A conversation ensues, with some questions asked by the girl: If the legend of the sacrificing daughter is untrue, why not the story of Jesus? Is “Great Spirit” another name for God? Is the Great Spirit mean because he demanded the sacrifice of the girl, is God mean? Why or why not? Did God demand that Jesus die? He gave it willingly. The chapter ends with sleep.
Chapter 3-The Tipping Point
The family meets up with some other families and goes hiking. As Mack gets the family ready to return home, Kate and Josh go canoing. The canoe tips over at one point, and Josh almost drowns but Mack rescues him.