Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shacking up

(Just kidding. I am NOT shacking up.)

This is a non-comprehensive, subjective review of a book called The Sh*ack. If you're not interested, move along - it's ok! I just have a few comments about it.

I won't lie to you - it did make me cry. (So did Bridget Jones' Diary, though, so take that however you want.) It's an interesting premise for a book - it's primarily about God's compassion. In that respect it will encourage you to confront some of your preconceived notions about HIm. And that's good. I have always been a fan of books that make you do that.

But - and it's kind of a big junk-in-the-trunk but - that's about it. After two days of reading it I realized it kept leaving me feeling empty. It was like a weekend of eating snack food - it tastes good at the time but by the time you're done you're sort of bloated and don't feel well. The reason? It presents a very one-dimensional view of God. I prefer my deity in three dimensions, as He reveals HImself in the scripture. If you google around you will find plenty of theologians who are complaining about the gaping doctrinal holes the book contains. I don't need to restate them here - just know that the theology is incomplete, not always a full-developed picture of God's nature, and may make you very angry, or at least confused. It doesn't actually answer the question it sets out to address. And it's very tediously written. The first five or six pages felt like I was walking in sand.

Be careful of taking your theology from a novel. The minute you say it's okay to do this, you give me the power to write a novel with a main character named Jesus who says whatever I want and has automatic credibility because of his name.

If, however, you are looking for a fantastic allegory that actually addresses the issue of human suffering, check out Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. You will never, ever regret it.


Blogger Julie said...

Thanks for your thoughts on The Shack. I have not read it, but I've heard mixed reviews. It seems like most people love it, but a few (whose opinions I really respect) didn't care much for it. Honestly, I don't have much desire to read it myself. And yes, yes, YES to Hinds' Feet!

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pastor's wife recommended Hinds' Feet on High Places, as a sort of feminine equivalent to Pilgrim's Progress. She bought it for her young daughters. I still have it on my to-check-out list, since my last visit to Family Christian bookstore (the only Christian store in our area) proved fruitless for that book (although I found a nicely illustrated child's version of Pilgrim's Progress).

Will probably pass on The Shack though. My absolute hands-down favorite Christian fiction books are both by an author named Randall Arthur: "Wisdom Hunter" and "Brotherhood of Betrayal." They deal with the topic of "spiritual abuse."

Grace to you, Jen...

11:16 AM  

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