Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Shack: a compelling read

"Have you read this?" he asked me over coffee? "This" was a slim paperback book with a romanticized picture of a shack in the snow on it. The cover alone dissuaded me from wanting to buy it. It looked too Norman Rockwellish for me. 
But since I was currently in a devotional book slump and because I really trust this friend spiritually, I went on-line and ordered "The Shack."
The first word about the book is compelling. It is a well written story about a normal guy who is  dealing with loss. But what makes it compelling is more than the psychology of loss and grief, but the way the author, William Young, addresses the issue of the Trinity. Yes, that's right, the Trinity. He does some of the most creative writing about the Trinity I've read. In many ways it's shocking and disturbing, then come zinger lines that made me highlight them in the margins. 
In a world where church-driven theology is very Christocentric, this guy takes the Trinity very seriously. He even spends some time exploring the difference between the Holy Spirit and "Sophia" or Wisdom personified. At times the book is like a blend between an up-dated Job, with the Trinity in the lead role and not God alone and Revelation with images of consummation joy at eternity. 
Young plays with our notions of religion, expectations, responsibility, guilt, and most of all forgiveness as the key to a joy-filled life. I am positive systematic theologians will carve at its flaws and gaps. But I finished it this morning closer to our redeeming and reconciling God.


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