Wm. Paul Young. The Shack. Los Angeles: Windblown Media,
2007. 256 pp.
Reveiwed by Scott Horrell, Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary.
I resisted reading this when it first came out in 2007 and everyone was talking about it. It was very controversial (God as a black female?!) and I heard it wasn’t all that well written. But I found it well worth reading and forgave the didacticism and occasional purple prose for the stimulating way it dealt with ideas. (The plot works way better than The Case for Christ, which, despite agreeing with the conclusions, I didn’t like at all.)
“Papa,” the main character’s wife’s name for God, explains her appearance to Mackenzie this way: “I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it’s because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me ‘Papa’ is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning…To reveal myself to you as a very large, white grandfather figure with flowing beard, like Gandalf, would simply reinforce your religious stereotypes, and this weekend is not about reinforcing your religious stereotypes.” (205)
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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