There’s a book sweeping the Evangelical landscape called “The Shack“. I finally got a chance to read the book this Christmas. The book is about a man who encounters all three persons of the Trinity while on a weekend visit to a shack in the woods. Going into my reading of the book I was aware of some controversy surrounding the book which somewhat colored my reading. I had listened to a review of the book which I think did a great job of hearing out the books supporters and detractors.http://familylife.edgeboss.net/download/familylife/earreverent/ear-0012.mp3?rss_feedid=536
I heard someone once say that it’s okay to like bad music, it’s just not okay to think it’s good. That’s the way I felt about this book. The author breaks some fundamental rules of fiction and the level of editing the book received highlights how unexpected its’ success was. It’s not a “great” book but I really enjoyed reading it. After I accepted the book’s shortcomings I enjoyed the beautiful way God chooses to interact with the main character and help him walk through pain.
For a Mormon audience I think the book does a great job of showing how Evangelicals think about the ways in which the Trinity acts with one another, what the personalities of each member is like, what Heaven is like and our solution for the problem of pain and suffering. There was nothing in the book that I that I hadn’t heard before, but in a fictional setting the truths come alive in a much more vibrant manner.
After reading the book I think the theological controversies surrounding the book are pathetic. The author presents the story as nothing but fictional. It is not a text book on Systematic Theology. The author makes sure that God explains why he is representing himself in a human form and why he is limiting himself in one way or the other and all of those reasons play to the story. I don’t think you could seriously walk away from the book convinced that God the Father is a black woman named Eloise.