A skeptic reviews The Shack

Lyn G. Brakeman is an Episcopal priest and the author of two books, "Spiritual Lemons" and "The God Between Us" and a blog, www.spirituallemons.blogspot.com. She writes:

This book is vulnerable, open to all kinds of scholarly nitpicking, literary scorn, religious defensiveness, much of it justified. But does it work anyway? I think it does for one reason only: the characters are lovable, charming, their voices convincing. You want more. You fall in love. You want this kind of love, this kind of God.

"The Shack" is also fragile because it is a bridge, a string bridge to be sure, but a bridge nevertheless between wherever evangelical Christianity on the "right" and wherever liberal/progressive Christianity is on the "left." To cross this bridge will take more than reading one book. But "The Shack" invites us to start.

What's your opinion?

Comments (3)

I had to force myself to read the last 85 or 90 pages. It wrapped up a little to neatly for my taste. I think our faith journey is typically messier than that.

I appreciated the encounter with Sophia in the cave, and that Mack was able to have such an open and honest dialogue with all three persons of the Trinity. I didn't like God's response when Mack lashed out about his daughter's death. It was a little sappy for me.

As one who just graduated from seminary, I felt like much of it was a systematic theology paper.

[Paul - If you're wondering why your comments have not been approved it's because we require your last name too. - eds.]

I was prepared to hate this book. However, it came recommended by a good friend so I read it anyway. Boy, did I learn something about judging a book by its cover!

Overall, I found The Shack to be profoundly moving. Sure, there were some parts that were hoaky but the message that there is nothing that God cannot redeem is a powerful one and one that I believe we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

I also loved the way the author helped the reader "experience" the Trinity. It really is an accomplishment to take a heady, theological concept like the Trinity and make it accessible.

Finally, I liked the way humanity is portrayed. The complexity of our existence and our struggle to understand is all there.

I didn't mind the neat ending. Yes, life and faith can be complicated but sometimes they aren't and those occasions should be recognized and celebrated.

I was going to write a review on my blog, but before I did that, I tweeted the following:

"The Shack - kudos for breaking stereotypes of God. Shame about the prose and dialogue."

After talking to a lot of people who pretty much agreed I didn't feel the need to elaborate any further.

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