Is “The Shack” Heresy? Part 2

//Is “The Shack” Heresy? Part 2

Is “The Shack” Heresy? Part 2

As promised, here is “Part 2” in our little blog series, “Is the Shack Heresy?” –but before we delve into that, let me first give you a little update.

Quick Movie Update:

img_7416In just over a week, the Official Shack trailer has garnered close to 30 million views!  As filmmakers eager to see it released into theaters on March 3, 2017, we’re thrilled. What’s even better is to read through the myriad of heart-warming comments of how deeply this story has touched so many lives.  That has been a wonderful Christmas gift of it’s own.  You have no idea how meaningful it is to go through those.  So, “thank you!”

Having just returned from watching The Shack movie gloriously “wreck” yet another screening audience, leaving most everyone in tears, freshly tenderized by God’s love, this is fast becoming one of those “pinch-me”-moments in life.  Is this really happening?   It is!  

Having labored as long and hard as we have, wondering if we would ever make it to the finish line, it is quite gratifying to see the response we are getting.  The Shack has somehow emerged from the challenging waters of Hollywood unscathed, faithful, and something that God’s presence is resting on and communicating through.

One of the folks from the marketing team came up to me at the end; clearly emotional, her voice cracking, with tears about to spill over, she whispered, “Thank you, thank you! You have no idea how marvelous this is… ”  She went on to tell me how she did not grow up with any kind of religious background whatsoever.  She had wandered into Scientology, and only recently “escaped” its grip.  She didn’t know much about God.  She hasn’t read the book, but has seen the movie six times now, and it’s changing her life.  

She is praying now-days, talking out loud to God, and He is even talking back!  In fact, they are having quite a relationship!  She feels so incredibly loved, is hungry to learn, has been reading the Bible and can’t put it down.  By that time, the tears were flowing freely, from both of us.  I have got to tell you, if you didn’t already know it: God is sooooo good.  

Nevertheless, having lit a little candle and held it aloft in the darkness, it would seem that we as the Christian community have the unfortunate capacity of being uniquely gifted at blowing out our own candle.  Quick to judge, a failure to examine, if something doesn’t line up just exactly with our particular preferences and preconceptions, instead of judging a tree by its fruit, we assume the worst, impugn motives, declare the intent to deceive, and decry it as “heresy!”  … Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!  

As William Paley once said (a really smart guy from the 1780’s – an English clergyman, a Christian apologist and philosopher): “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

The Shack is no stranger to controversy.  We didn’t go looking for it, it sort of came looking for us.   It’s not as if we intentionally sought to stick our collective finger in the eye of “religion.” (Well, maybe we did a ‘little’).

When a couple of former pastors, who still passionately love Jesus, get mixed up in a story of pain and tragedy with another guy thinking outside the box of traditional organized religion, you can see how a few missile shots might get launched over the institutional bow—especially when the one common denominator between the three is that they each have been run-over by the religion bus in one fashion or another.  

Being someone else’s road kill, whether intentional or not, has a tendency to lead you toward asking the question:  “Is this what Jesus was talking about when He said, ‘Come, follow me!’ or  ‘I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it’?” I do know Jesus is not in the business of running people over with his bus.  I think He was talking more about the simplicity of friendship with God and how whenever two or three of us are gathered together in His name, He is there in our midst.  How that morphed into the institutional machinations of some non-profit (or non-prophet) 501.c.3, I’m not sure, but somewhere along the journey we have made this far more complicated than perhaps it needs to be.

Speaking of the church as a Bride betrothed to her one Husband, Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul was afraid that we would be led astray from “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2Cor.11:3) This is all about our being transformed by God’s love into sons and daughters, and brought into a family of relationship.

Millions of folks love and have been profoundly impacted by this beautiful little story.  It became a massive word of mouth phenomenon, not the product of some grand marketing scheme.  People discovered this little treasure and out of their own desperate desire to talk about it would buy multiple copies to give to their friends.  Scores of folks bought them by the case to just give away.  (Once you get touched by Papa’s love, that kind of stuff just happens, you get silly generous and want everyone to know and feel what you felt).  

But, we also have a fairly active group of haters—those who are afraid we are out to deceive the masses.  They have written books, published articles, built websites decrying their worries and fears.  Little did we know all the things they would declare about us.  Who knew that we were a bunch of New Age Hindu worshippers?  I certainly didn’t.  ☺

For a long time, we simply ignored it.  Let the fruit reveal what’s true, and the truth is quite capable of defending itself.   But along the way, we were prodded to provide some measure of response, if not to just bring a breath of fresh air to cut through the cloud of suspicion.  Wayne Jacobsen, one of the co-authors, without whom we would simply never have produced and published the book, wrote what I think is a masterful article giving appropriate, thoughtful response and perspective.  I think you will find it incredibly helpful.   Enjoy!   

 

Is THE SHACK Heresy?  by Wayne Jacobsen  

( Co-author of the Shack, Co-Founder of Windblown Media)


brad-and-wayne-in-front-of-the-shackWe knew it would happen eventually. Frankly we thought it would happen far sooner and in far greater quantity than we have seen to date. But we knew 
The Shack was edgy enough to prompt some significant backlash, which is why so many publishing companies didn’t want to take it on at the beginning.

I never thought everyone was going to love this book. Art is incredibly subjective as to whether a story and style are appealing. I have no problem with a spirited discussion of some of the theological issues raised in The Shack. The books I love most are the ones that challenge my theological constructs and invite a robust discussion among friends, whether I agree with everything in them or not in the end. That is especially true of a work of fiction where people will bring their own interpretations of the same events or conversations. I never view a book as all good or all bad. It’s like eating chicken. Enjoy what you think is the meat and toss what you think are the bones.

What is surprising, however, is the hostile tone of false accusation and the conspiracy theories that some are willing to put on this book. Some have even warned others not to read it or they will be led into deception. It saddens me that people want to use a book like this to polarize God’s family, whether it’s overenthusiastic reader thrusting it in someone’s face telling them they ‘must read’ this book, or when people read their own theological agendas into a work, then denounce it as heresy.

If you’re interested, read it for yourself. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you. If it helps convey the reality of Jesus to you, great! If all you can see is sinister motives and false teaching in it, then put it aside. I don’t have time to give a point-by-point rebuttal to the reviews I’ve read, but I would like to make some comments on some of the issues that have come up since I’m getting way too many emails asking me what I think of some of the questions they raise. I’ll also admit at the outset, that I’m biased. Admittedly, I’m biased. I was part of a team who worked on this manuscript for over a year and am part of the company formed to print and distribute this book. But I’m also well acquainted with the purpose and passions of this book.

What do I think? I tire of the self-appointed doctrine police, especially when they toss around false accusations like ‘new age conspiracy’, ‘counterfeit Jesus’ or ‘heresy’ to promote fear in people as a way of advancing their own agenda. What many of them don’t realize is that research actually shows that more people will buy a book after reading a negative review than they do after reading a positive one. It piques their curiosity as to why someone would take so much time to denounce someone else’s book.

But such reviews also confuse people who are afraid of being seduced into error and for those I think the false accusations demand a response. Let me assure any of you reading this that all three of us who worked on this book are deeply committed followers of Jesus Christ who have a passion for the Truth of the Scriptures and who have studied and taught the life of Jesus over the vast majority of our lifetimes. But none of us would begin to pretend that we have a complete picture of all that God is or that our theology is flawless. We are all still growing in our appreciation for Him and our desire to be like Him, and we hope this book encourages you to that process as well. In the end, this says the best stuff we know about God at this point in our journeys. Is it a complete picture of Him? Of course not! Who could put all that He is into a little story like this one? But if it is a catalyst to get thousands of people to talk about theology—who God is and how He makes himself known in the world—we would be blessed.

This is a story of one believer’s brokenness and how God reached into that pain and pulled him out and as such is a compelling story of God’s redemption. The pain and healing come straight from a life that was broken by guilt and shame at an incredibly deep level and he compresses into a weekend the lessons that helped him walk out of that pain and find life in Jesus again.

That said, the content of this book does take a harsh look at how many of our religious institutions and practices have blinded people to the simple Gospel and replaced it with a religion of rules and rituals that have long ceased to reflect the Lord of Glory. Some will disagree with that assessment and the solutions this book offers, and the reviews that do so honestly merit discussion. But those who confuse the issues by making up their own back-story for the book, or ascribing motives to its publication without ever finding out the truth, only prove our point.

Here are some brief comments on the major issues that have been raised about The Shack:

Does the book promote universalism?

Some people can find a universalist under every bush. This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, while it affirms that Jesus can find His followers wherever they may have wandered into sin or false beliefs. Just because He can find followers in the most unlikely places, does not validate those places. I don’t know how we could have been clearer, but people will quote portions out of that context and draw a false conclusion.

Does it devalue Scripture?

Just because we didn’t put Scriptural addresses with their numbers and colons at every allusion in the story, does not mean that the Bible isn’t the key source in virtually every conversation Mack has with God. Scriptural teachings and references appear on almost every page. They are reworded in ways to be relevant to those reading the story, but at every point we sought to be true to the way God has revealed Himself in the Bible except for the literary characterizations that move the story forward. At its core the book is one long Bible study as Mack seeks to resolve his anger at God.

Is this God too nice?

Others have claimed that the God of The Shack is simply too nice, or having Him in humorous human situations trivializes Him. Really? Who wants to be on that side of the argument? For those who think this God is too easy, please tell me in what way does He let Mack off on anything? He holds Mack’s feet to the fire about every lie in his mind and every broken place in his heart. I guess what people these critics cannot see is confrontation and healing inside a relationship of love and compassion. This is not the angry and tyrannical God that religion has been using for 2000 years to beat people into conformity and we are not surprised that this threatens the self-proclaimed doctrine police.

One reviewer even thought this passage from The Shack was a mockery of the true God: “I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation….” That wasn’t mocking God but a view of God that seems Him as a demanding, self-centered tyrant? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself as the God who would lay down His life for us to redeem us to Himself.

The words, “I don’t want slaves to do my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me,” are simply a reflection of John 15:15. Unfortunately those who tend toward legalism among us have no idea how much more completely Jesus transforms us out of a relationship of love, than we could ever muster in our gritted-teeth obedience. This is at the heart of the new covenant—that love will fulfill the law, where human effort cannot.

Does it distort or demean the Trinity?

One of the concerns expressed about The Shack is that it presents the Trinity outside of a hierarchy. In fact many religious traditions think they find their basis for hierarchical organizations in what they’ve assumed about the Trinity. To look at the Trinity as a relationship without the need for command and control is one of the intriguing parts of this story. If they walk in complete unity, why would a hierarchy be needed? They live in love and honor each other. While in the flesh Jesus did walk in obedience to the Father as our example, elsewhere Scripture speaks of their complete unity, love and glory in relating to each other. Different functions need not imply a different status.

This extends in other ways to look at how healed people can relate to each other inside their relationship with God that defines authority and submission in ways most are not used to, but that are far more consistent with what we see in the early believers and in the teaching of Scripture. It is also true of many believers around the world who are learning to experience the life of Father’s family without all the hierarchical maintenance and drama that has plagued followers of Christ since the third century.

People may see this differently and find this challenging, if only because it represents some thought they have not been exposed to before. Here we might be better off having a discussion instead of dragging out the ‘heretic’ label when it is unwarranted.

Does it leave out discussions about church, salvation and other important aspects of Christianity?

This is some of the most curious complaints I’ve ever read. This is the story about God making himself available to one of His followers who is being swallowed up by tragedy and his crisis of faith in God’s goodness over it. This is not a treatise on every element of theological study. Perhaps we should have paused in the story to have an altar call, or perhaps we should have drug a pipe organ into the woods and enlisted a choir to hold a service, but that was not the point.

Is this a feminist God?

The book uses some characterizations of God to mess with the religious stereotypes only to get people to consider God as He really is, not how we have reconstituted Him as a white, male autocrat bent on religious conformity. There are important reasons in the story why God takes the expressions He does for Mack, which underlines His nature to meet us where we are, to lead us to where He is. While Jesus was incarnated as man, God as a spirit has no gender, even though we fully embrace that He has taken on the imagery of the Father to express His heart and mind to us. We also recognize Scripture uses traditional female imagery to help us understand other aspects of God’s person, as when Jesus compares himself to a hen gathering chicks, or David likens himself to a weaned child in his mother’s arms.

Has it touched people too deeply?

Some reviewers point to Amazon.com reviews and people who have claimed it had a transforming effect on their spiritual lives as proof of its demonic origin. Please! How absurd is that? Do we prefer books that leave people untouched? This book touches lives because it deals with God in the midst of pain in an honest, straightforward way and because for many this is the first time they have seen the power of theology worked out inside a relationship with God himself.

Does The Shack promote Ultimate Reconciliation (UR)?

It does NOT.  While some of that was in earlier un-published versions because of Paul Young’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call “UR,” Brad and I made it clear at the outset that we didn’t embrace UR as sound teaching and neither of us wanted to be involved in a project that promoted it. In our view UR is an extrapolation of Scripture to humanistic conclusions about our Father’s love that has to be forced on the Biblical text.

Since we don’t believe in UR and thoroughly reworked the manuscript unto different conclusions, we can confidently declare that The Shack, the finished published product, does not promote, nor embrace such doctrines.  I think those who see UR here, either positively or negatively are reading into the text. To me that was the beauty of the collaboration. Three hearts weighed in on the theology to make it as true as we could muster. The process also helped shape our theologies in honest, protracted discussions. I think Paul would say that some of that dialog significantly affected his views. This book represents growth in that area for all of us. Holding Paul to the conclusions he may have embraced years earlier would be unfair to the ongoing process of God in his life and theology.  And it would certainly not be fair or accurate to interpret the book in that light, as The Shack was not the product of one person.

That said, however, I’m not afraid to have that discussion with people I regard as brothers and sisters since many have held that view in the course of theological history. Also keep in mind that the heretic hunters lump many absurd notions into what they call UR, but when I actually talk to those people partial to some view of ultimate reconciliation they do not endorse all the absurdities ascribed to them. This is a heavily nuanced discussion with UR meaning a lot of different things to different people. For myself, I am convinced that Jesus is someone we have to accept through repentance and belief in this age to participate in His life.

Throughout The Shack Mack’s choices are in play, determining what he will let God do in his life through their encounter. He is no victim of God’s process. He is a willing participant at every juncture. And even though Papa says ‘He is reconciled to all men” He also notes that, “not all men are reconciled to me.”

Is The Shack promoting the emergent movement?

This guilt-by-association tactic is completely contrived. Neither Paul, nor Brad and I at Windblown have ever been part of the emergent conversation. Some of their bloggers have written about the book, but we have not had any significant contact with the leaders of that movement and they have not been the core audience that has embraced this book.

That said I have met many people in the emergent conversation that have proved to be brothers and sisters in the faith. While I’m not nuts about all they do, a lot of the statements made about them by critics are as false as what some say about The Shack. They do deeply embrace the Scriptures. As I see it they are not trying to re-invent Christianity, but trying to communicate it in ways that captures a new generation. While I don’t agree with many of the conclusions they’re sorting through at the moment, they are not raving humanists. I have found them passionate seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who are asking some wonderful questions about God and how He makes Himself known in us.

Does The Shack promote new age philosophy or Hinduism?

Amazingly some people have made assumptions about some of the names to think there is some eastern mysticism here, but when you hear how Paul selected the names he did it wasn’t to make veiled references to Hinduism, black Madonnas, or anything else. It was to uncover facets of God’s character that are clear in the Scriptures.

It’s amazing how much people will make up to indulge their fantasies and falsely label something to fit their own conclusions. Some have even insisted that Mack flying in his dreams was veiled instructions in astral travel. Absolutely absurd! Has this man never read fiction, or had a dream? Just because someone screams there is a demon under that bush, doesn’t mean there is.

* * * * *

We realize this would be a challenging read for those who see no difference between the religious conditioning that underlies Christianity as it is often presented in the 21st Century and the simple, powerful life in Christ that Jesus offered to His followers. Our hope was to help people see how the Loving Creator can penetrate our defenses and lead us to healing. Our prayer is that through this book people will see the God of the Bible as Jesus presented Him to be—an endearing reality who wants to love us out of our sin and bondage and into His life. This is a message of grace and healing that does not condone or excuse sin, but shows God destroying it through the dynamic relationship He wants with each of his children.

We realize folks will disagree. We appreciate the interaction of those who have honest concerns and questions. Those who have been captured by this story are encouraged to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so and not trust us or the ravings of those who misinterpret this book, either threatened by its success, or those who want to ride on it to push their own fear-based agenda.

By | 2017-01-02T22:13:49+00:00 December 30th, 2016|The Shack Movie|22 Comments

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22 Comments

  1. Pippa Duffy December 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to see the movie. The trailer is beautiful..even in its pain…because I know what happens.

  2. Chris Wendlandt December 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Than you for this book and now the movie. I don’t understand the negativity around this story. But then again I’m not surprised. Just try to ask to different Christians on their idea of what’s makes Christian music Christian. Or what is Christian worship supposed to be and where can that take place. I have communed with God on a quiet fall morning from a tree stand. I have worshipped Him with around 1000 others with amped up music (and I’m 61). There will be those that have and will prejudge you because of this story. All I can say is thank you and keep on keeping on. To God be the Glory.

  3. Chip Smith December 30, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Best book I have read this n 30 years.

  4. Danny December 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Beautiful article, so sad you had to write it. It’s all fun till a “Christian” shows up!

    • Ed Noseworthy January 30, 2017 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      All comments seem to reflect the depth and understanding of each contributor, It is beautiful to learn where one is in relationship to God, We are all in our own place and time with the great I AM. It is so good to meet so many in different places o the journey of faith.

  5. David Fredrickson December 31, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Excellent response to the criticisms aimed at The Shack. The religious backlash is always a good sign that a word or work is effective and close to Father’s heart. It’s so exciting and heart warming to see and hear what God continues to do through the book and anticipate the forthcoming fruit of the movie.

  6. Krys Hunter January 2, 2017 at 12:30 am - Reply

    I very much appreciate your offering this form of “apologetics;” young believers, particularly those who’ve found the beginnings of relationship with Papa, need the reassurance that their faith has not been misplaced. I can think of so many Christian “classics” that would likely get the same treatment in their time by the same naysayers as your book has. Say, for instance, Pilgrim’s Progress, anything by CS Lewis, etc. I was a Christian for thirty plus years, with a Master’s Degree in Theology from a very prestigious seminary in Southern California, and I’d never been as moved by anything I’d read or studied prior to reading your book. I was humbled, on my knees, and repentant to a degree I’d never experienced before. I bless you all for this book; I believe with all my heart it came from the Throne of YHVH. I can’t wait to see the movie. Blessings and Shalom!

  7. Linda Farley January 2, 2017 at 1:00 am - Reply

    My husband and I are on our 4th reading of The Shack. Each time we find new things to discuss and fall in love with the Trinity again. Tears of joy, laughter, anger are all part of what God has put in us, not to be pushed down and not to be questioned. Please do not judge this book before reading and read it wanting to find God and rest in the assurance He loves you. Bless all the people that were involved with this life changing book. Crossroads is another book you will read more than once and enjoy each time. The latest book we have read was Eve. It was a little harder to follow and we will have to read it again to understand what we are reading but it surely gives you something to think about. Thank you………

  8. Margie Ghaffari January 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    The fact that there are strong critics of The Shack is no surprise to me. The Shack, as I read it, is a parable. Parables, including those Jesus used to teach multitudes, are not meant to be taken literally at every point. Rather, they are intended to get people thinking about the point that is being alluded to. For example, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like….” Many of Jesus’ critics were taking His allegories and arguing about them as if they were meant to be taken literally. The Shack team is in good company. C.S. Lewis also used allegory in the Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan is similar to Jesus in many ways, but I would not venture to say that Jesus has a lion’s mane and tail.

    Mack’s journey in the Shack is a process of grieving. I recognize that journey because I have taken it myself–in more ways and times than I care to count. Like Mack I have had to lean that I don’t need to have all my questions answered and there are things that I wouldn’t understand even if the answers were given to me in plain English.

    Blessed are those who don’t try to twist words to mean things that were never intended. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

  9. Larry Wiseman January 3, 2017 at 1:26 am - Reply

    The Shack changed my life; I should day, it enhanced my walk with God. In my Christian experience, me and my family have been subjected to many kinds of legalistic mistreatment and scorn (long story, not worth repeating)., But the bottom line is that we love Jesus, the Jesus who created all of us, and then entire Universe! By Him and For Him were all things created! It still amazes me that so many Christians seem to think that they have “arrived” spiritually, and deem it their job to do God’s work, and demean others who are bold enough to see that the Lord can do anything He wants to! Thank You all for being willing to step out in Faith to help so many. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” I will borrow a saying that my sweet wife uses often … “There is Great Peace in knowing the truth” I will close with a little story. A pastor friend of mine and I wee talking about the doctrinal differences among the many denominations. He turned to me and said this, ” You know when we all stand before God in Eternity, we will then know all things as the Scripture tells us, and at that point we will all mostly like say one word to God ….that word is ‘OH”so that’s how it really is!”

    • Larry Wiseman January 3, 2017 at 1:28 am - Reply

      It should read … The Shack changed my life; I should say, not day

  10. Stuart (Joe) January 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I read The Shack about two years ago after it was given to me by a good friend. I shed a few tears and I know I will once again as I pick it up again to take up the journey through the pain and anger of loss. It was not something that I had considered doing but after having read the comments and experiences of other people in (is The Shack) Heresy Part 2 I plan on doing it in the near future.
    Thank you
    Stuart (Joe) Daws-Knowles

  11. Ed Noseworthy January 30, 2017 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    When I put this book down following my first reading I wasn’t sure how I felt. I knew I should read it again. That was several years ago. I just completed the second reading and I will read it again. My understanding of relationship building in the light of the Gospel is so much better off because of “The Shack”

  12. Barb Craycraft February 10, 2017 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Yesterday a cousin shared a link from a (I learned today) satirical site, referring to this book as heresy. I nearly exploded on the poor, young man! So I decided to read it again, both in anticipation of the movie and to see if I had missed anything heretical. This was my third reading. Besides finding nothing heretical, I was somewhat surprised at how deeply this book still resonates with me. I’m very much looking forward to the movie!

    Here’s what I commented yesterday and how your book touched my life:

    When my book club chose this book one month back in 2008, I knew I wasn’t going to read it. I downloaded the Kindle sample, then ended up buying the book because I wanted to be fully knowledgeable so I could blast it at our meeting.

    You see even though I’d been raised in the church my entire life, at that time, I considered myself an atheist. This book, however, saved my life and brought me back to God!

    The book is a work of fiction and I haven’t read it for nine years, but in that reading I discovered God as a loving God. Something that my entire upbringing in the church had never conveyed! I never read it as a biblical work, but as a work of fiction trying to help a parent deal with an incredible loss.

    If someone needs to think of God as a black female to connect because of his earthly father’s abuse, I don’t see the problem! It is legalistic Christians such as those calling this fictitious book, heresy that gives Christianity a bad name. EVERY SINGLE HOLLYWOOD BIBLICAL MOVIE EVER PRODUCED is heresy, if you expect perfect adherence to the Word of God.

    Sorry for my rant, but this one really hits home. I heard this is being made into a movie. If only one life can be made to seek God as a result of viewing or reading this supposed heretical novel, then it is worth every bit of poetic license used in creating this beautiful work of art.

  13. Chaplain Darla Vogelsang, OSU, BCC February 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I have just finished reading the Shack for the third time in anticipation of the movie coming next month. My first encounter with the story and the message was as I was beginning my CPE Chaplain training in 2010 – having today no doubt as to how and why it came to me. There was much controversy about it then – but it drew me like a magnet, touched and affirmed my belief in God’s unconditional love for each of us. And in my Chaplain training it helped me understand suffering and loss as I minister to others through their grief and anger with God. I was so enthralled with The Shack, that I bought and gave copies to my CPE Supervisor, some friends, two of my siblings, and even my 85 yr. old Mother read it. We even had the privilege of meeting Wm. Paul Young when he was sponsored for a lecture in Akron, OH. I found many of my hospital co-workers reading it and was drawn into their conversation. At the time, I was not aware of the Missy Project – but was moved to share The Shack with others – and am still doing so. I am thrilled that the movie project has come to birth. And I thank all involved for their part in making it happen. The Shack has been a much needed revelation for our times.

  14. JOEL HENRY HAWKINS . February 19, 2017 at 4:55 am - Reply

    I have just finished my sixth reading of the Shack and have found new insights I missed at other times. As a pastor, I taught a Bible study for one year using The Shack as insights into the meaning of certain Scriptural passages. It was insightful and deeply influential in the formation of our groups Spiritual life and their relationship with God.

    I thank you for the Shack and can’t wait until I get to see the movie. God has blessed this endeavor and it is plain for anyone of deep faith to see. Thanks!

  15. Judy Thomsen February 20, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I just reread The Shack and I am so excited as to how how God will use this book/movie to open up discussion on who God is and where the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ fit in! What an opportunity for those of us saved by Grace, to use the words of your book, interlaced with the Truths of Scripure to open the eyes of a lost world to the Good News! Thank you for taking the time to write your blogs as it helped clarify some of my questions. I did search commentaries in Genesis, I Cor., and I Tim., regarding God’s design for women. I appreciate how your book encouraged me to the extra study to solidify my belief on that subject. At first I was a little skeptical about God being depicted as a “large beaming African American woman” but upon finishing the book I totally understood why. But my imagination of God in the book was her being much larger than in the movie so that when she would hug Mack, he would get lost in her embrace. God was a reflection of my grandma, her unconditional love, the warmth of her touch, the security Of her presence, and the aroma of her kitchen, reflecting hours of cooking to please those she loved, yes…..that is the closest earthly vision of God I could relate to. So thank you for that 😊!

  16. Joe Faulk February 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    After loosing my 22 year old son 2008 in a motorcycle accident that was not his fault, the anger at God was overwhelming given all the prayers and efforts to bring him up as a christian. In the depths of despair and anger, this little book shook me to the core and helped me more than any person was capable of doing at that time. It gave me hope of finding a way to see that in spite of what happened, he was going to find just the right times and ways to help me want to go on with my life (which was also in shambles from a financial and cheating wife – NOT MY SON’S MOTHER). Feeling like the old testament Job with out all his fine character and could not imagine how I would ever understand, much less, adore God. This little book revealed love like nothing I have ever experienced and changed me to a fully committed Christian and lover of the Trinity who now lives vibrantly in my soul. Thanks for The Shack. I truly feel sorry for those that want to lash out at it. They’ve never walk that trail I walked.

  17. Donna Porter February 25, 2017 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you to the authors for this AMAZING story. Someone ‘told’ us about the book years ago; we read it….LOVED it; gave copies to our family for Christmas that year!! And verbally shared and encouraged others to READ THIS BOOK.
    Whenever I feel lost, unsure of MY feelings, or wonder if God, indeed, loves me, I pick it up and read it…again. I just now finished it, once again. I NEEDED to re-read, and reaffirm for myself, the total, real, simplistic and GLORIOUS love that my Lord has for me! It IS and always WILL BE my go-to-feel-good book, to awaken and assure myself that God loves me BEYOND my ability to understand it!.
    My husband and I are going through what WE feel is severe tribulation, in the form of physical illness. For 3 years we’ve struggled with it, and , sadly , struggle to keep ourselves surrendered to God’s will. It can be a daily struggle. Hence, my most recent need for my ‘Oh,Yes! God Loves Me,’ fix.
    The prince of this world, the ‘father of all lies’, will desperately continue to use week-minded people to ‘nay-say’ anything and everything that points to Christ and His work for our salvation on the Cross. That isn’t going to change, given the prophesies of the Bible that are already coming to completion. “Come, Lord Jesus!”
    I will continue to encourage others to read “The Shack;” and, I am VERY EXCITED for the chance to SEE the MOVIE!! THANK YOU!

  18. Mari March 4, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    The Shack presents a life changing story as it defies established religious dogmas and shifts paradigms. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the way God reached out to Mack and found him in his pain not leaving him there but bringing healing and restoration. One of my favorite things about this book is that it encourages tough conversations about God, theology, religion and humanity… I can see why it stirs controversy, but I can also see how it can inspire people to find and accept His love.

  19. Ann berry March 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    I thought the movie was fantastic. I was very pleased how the book and movie were so moving. I can’t understand why people are so negative about it. I think each one of us gets something different out of it but people who condemn it I just don’t understand. The movie brought me to tears and I’m not ashamed of it because I do judge people and now I need to rethink my life and be a better person because every one has there own problems we don’t see. I think the most impressive thing I got out of it was to forgive don’t hold the hate inside let it go even if the other person doesn’t.

  20. Katherine Ann Law March 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    The Shack, the book was given to me by my brother when I was angry, sad, depressed and barely hanging on! I had trauma after trauma happen as a child and now as a adult I was fighting my faith, because my second husband had abused my 14 year old daughter and at age of 16 I found out, I tryed to press charges but she would not back me, I left him and she went to be with him. 17 to 26 now they have been together still, In all these years I have seen my daughter a few times, She lives 5 miles away!. This book helped me cry, and cry, and have faith again, have a life again. I went and saw the Movie it was Great! I cried during the sad times, and rejoiced during the healing, Beautiful settings, love is expressed, Forgiveness the big one, we still have a lot of unfinished business yet, but I am no where near where I was before! Still over ten years clean and sober One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus!

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