2/23/09

Have you shacked up yet?

There is a part of me that is a bit of a Literature snob. I guess it’s got something to do with all those Lit. classes I took as an undergrad. But I’m afraid the better part of it comes from the fact that I consider myself a writer. Which means I must be ultra critical of my competition, does it not?

Every now and then, however, a book comes along that causes me to turn down the snob knob and tune in to the heart, soul and womanly parts of Janna Y. Barber. The Shack, by William P. Young, is such a book.

And you should read it. Not because it’s great literature, it’s not. Not because it subscribes to your exact brand of theology, it doesn’t. Not because it clearly explains everything there is to know about God, what could? And not because I just told you to, either.

You should read The Shack because of the idea behind it. The idea that God wants to enter into the story of YOUR life, that he cares about your hurts and wants you to find healing, is just about the best thing you could ever hear about God. Isn’t it?

If you’re anything like me, then you know all about John 3:16 – how God so loved the world yada, yada, yada. I don’t mean to make light of that, but when you’ve heard it and believed it as long as you can remember (the way I have) but you still grew up with a broken heart (the way I did).  .  . the whole “Jesus is all I need” can be a little hard to swallow. If you’ve been baptized, gone to summer camp and pledged your life to Christ, but still don’t know what God thinks about you, as a specific, unique individual, it’s time to pick up this book.

Pick up a journal while you’re at it, and write some questions like these on the first page: Dear God, do you know who I am? What do you think of my life so far? I know you’ve got the hairs on my head numbered, but do you really care how I feel everyday? Will you show me what my “shack” is – all those things about me that I decided no one could ever do anything about?

Then read. And don’t take it too literally. And get over the fact that God shows up as three different people, none of whom are white, and only one of whom is male. Allow the Creator of the Universe to bust out of the little box you put Him in. See if He can show you what it really means to have a “personal relationship” with Him. Go talk to a counselor if you need to, and find out what “abundant life” is THIS side of heaven.

Then, if you’re feeling really brave, try these books:

The Sacred Romance

Traveling Mercies

Ragamuffin Gospel

They talk about all this stuff a bit more poetically than Mr. Young. (Sorry, I don’t know who turned the “critic”al volume back up.)

6 comments:

Greg said...

The Shack... quite the hype which is in part why I haven't yet, I think. Your 'review' is added to the growing reasons why I just might though. Ragamuffin Gospel - so very much: yes...

Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

I really loved THE SHACK, and it convicted me of my tendency to think I have God all figured out--what He looks like, how He likes to operate, etc. How dare I!!! I was humbled, enlightened, and excited by reading this book.

The Tucker Family said...

Wonderful blog about The Shack. I love your encouragement, "Allow the Creator of the Universe to bust out of the little box you put Him in." YES! Not just when reading The Shack, but EVERY DAY!

tamsaunt said...

I have The Shack in the bookstore and I have truly tried to read it, about three times. I have not been able to get past the first chapter.

Maybe it is because as I get older I don't read things that I don't truly enjoy. I figure that if I were going to improve my mind I would have already done so!

Janna said...

Greg:
Thanks for reading. My sister only picked it up because some people were saying it was bad. Then God really used it in her life. I thought that was cool how He knew what it would take to get her to read it.

Carrie and Susan:
Glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

Aunt Nancy:
I've heard many people get stuck at the beginning, and I won't fault you if you never finish it. Your "God" ideas are pretty good as far as I can tell.

All:
Hearing how this book has impacted so many people positively is what most prompted me to give such a positive review.

Rachel said...

He's especially fond of you, you know. :-) Thanks for the review.