The first time I ever heard about The Shack was on The Bryant Park Project on NPR. I was intrigued to say the least. Here was a publicly funded radio show that in no way catered to a Christian demographic interviewing an author who had written a book about reconciling pain with a loving God. The interview was fascinating in a very normal person sorta way, but I will let you listen for yourself. A few weeks later I found myself bombarded with people telling me I should read it and reviews saying it was controversial. I just had to read it myself.
The first part of the book is hard to get through. Young introduces a crime against a child that that anyone with a conscience would be horrified about. This is how he leads the main character, Mack, into an interaction with the Trinity about how a good God can allow such evil.
I found the story beyond the initial shock of the crime to be warm, peaceful and very personal. Many reviews criticized his doctrine and theology but I didn’t see it as a commentary or exegesis. It felt to me like a hurting man working through one of the most common questions of good and evil. I was impressed that the author had such a firm hold on my interest when most of the story was actually conversation. I could relate so easily to Mack’s questions and struggle and I did feel a sense of resolution with him at the end of the book.
I would recommend this book. It was interesting, thought provoking and very, very human. If you’re like me you’ll feel like you just heard a fantastical story from an old trusted friend. Most people would think it was pretty crazy but more than anything you want to believe that so many things about it are true and deep down the truth is you do.