OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 27, 2014, 04:56:50 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Willliam Paul Young's The Shack  (Read 1291 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,247



« on: May 06, 2009, 10:34:32 PM »

I've been reading The Shack now for the last week.  This has been on the NY Times bestseller list for a long time (try checking it out from the library--you can't!).  I don't want to get into any spoilers, but the plot involves a man who has endured great personal tragedy that he is invited to share some personal time with God in a shack where that tragedy first occurred.

I'm still trying to determine if I should recommend this to fellow Orthodox.  It is not an Orthodox book nor written by an Orthodox man.  However, there are lots of different themes present in the book--Trinity, faith, indwelling with God, sacrament, ecclesiology--that I think could be discussed.  I cannot determine yet if this is just pop Christianity gussied up with some decent writing (it's not written badly) or if there is something that goes well beyond the typical Osteen, Warren, etc. books that we are apprehensive about (legitimately). 

Thus, if anyone else has read this, I'd like to get a discussion going. I've not yet finished the book, but I'm fairly close, but if anyone wants to start sharing their thoughts on this board.  Thanks.
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 11:02:45 PM »

I'm glad you brought it up. So many of my evangelical friends have been reading it over the past year. They really seem to like it very much. I haven't read it yet, and am curious to know what other Orthodox have to say about it. For instance, I wonder if Ozgeorge has read it. I don't know why, but I thought of him.
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 11:13:35 PM »

I've not read it, but a review from a priest I very much admire and whose opinion I trust can be found HERE.
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009, 11:42:16 PM »

Is it bad if I've never heard of this person or this book?
Logged
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2009, 11:56:28 PM »

Is it bad if I've never heard of this person or this book?
Venial.
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
PrincessMommy
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 734


OCA


« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 06:39:02 AM »

I read it... i hated it.  Not only is it badly written, I found the "theology" to be typical modern American Protestant tripe.  Not that I have strong feelings about it or anything  Wink

However, there have been a couple of people at my parish who have read it and loved it.  Although, they agree that God as a black woman (I called it "God is Oprah") was just silly. 

The only redeeming quality in the book, IMHO, was that the author did emphasize that God is love and wants a relationship with us.  I think he's been hurt very deeply by Calvinistic theology and this book seems to be a reaction to that. 

There are a lot of blogger reviews out there that do a good job of picking apart the problems in the book.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 06:39:32 AM by PrincessMommy » Logged
PrincessMommy
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 734


OCA


« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009, 06:40:17 AM »

Is it bad if I've never heard of this person or this book?

I consider you very lucky.
Logged
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,247



« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2009, 09:24:00 PM »

Ok, I've finished reading The Shack and I'm now prepared to share my thoughts.  I'd very much like to hear what other people on this board have to say provided that they have actually read the book.  Please don't comment unless you have or unless you have a question to raise.  But, hey, do what you want! Grin

Please keep in mind that these views are my own.  If anyone wishes to draw from other peoples' opinions, I'd like to know who said what.

My overall conclusion is that I cannot recommend this book to Orthodox persons for any kind of spiritual insight or revelation.  I know that many book clubs have sprung up, literally overnight, because of this book and using it as their spiritual focus.  That's good for them, but I would not recommend it for the Orthodox.

Were there any positives?  Yes.  I thought the book was decently written (a far cry from brilliant) and was a good overall story.  I liked the imagery and the sequences.  However, I thought most of the characters, especially the main one, Mackenzie, were horribly underdeveloped.  I thought the overall theme of the book was definitely worth the time I put into to completing it and that is something that we, as Orthodox, should be cognizant of in our daily lives but all the while being mindful that such reading should always be tempered by our Holy Fathers, Scripture, the Liturgy, the prayer offices, etc.

Ok, my problems.  There are a number of them and I shall only go on  about a few.  First, I really do appreciate how the author did emphasize, throughout the book, that God is a person and that relationship with him can only help us to realize our true personhood.  Too many, especially among mainline Protestants, counter that God is merely an idea and that everything in our salvation is a metaphor or symbol.  Of course, the other Protestants, mainly evangelicals and such, emphasize God as a person to the point that he becomes your best chum, the person you invite to your BBQ.  I think this book was definitely somewhere in the middle ground emphasizing that the Trinity is a unity of love, of lover and beloved, obedience and humility.  However, what this discussion of personhood and relationship lacked was any kind of discussion as to how this relationship is achieved.  Yes, it is by Grace, but again the lack in Protestant theology of anything sacramental is where the intended relationship ceases to be any actual, physical, spiritual, personal communion with God and is explained and "experienced" more in the realm of ideas which is where the liberal mainline Protestants fall.  Again, the lack of any kind of sacramental  theology or its lack of practice hinder relationship for Protestants on a more fulfilling level.  Another pitfall is that this relationship is explained to be the polar opposite of rules/regulations.  Not too long ago, I read a letter in the "Public Pulse" section of the Omaha World-Herald where the author lamented that people are more interested in rules/regulations than seeking a relationship with God and that's why churches are losing membership numbers.  In a way, he's right, but we must also remember that for a relationship to exist, there has to exist some sort of framework by which or with which you relate to someone else.  If a guy and girl start dating, there is a relationship, but there are a prescribed (whether implicit or explicit) about what each person can do at certain times.  You don't just start by sleeping with each other (at least I hope not) and then ask their name!  Relationship cannot be divorced from some sort of rule/regulation.  Again, I think the Protestant over-reaction to rules/regulations or rituals, stemming from their adoption of Paul's dictum, "The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life" into their new battle cry, is the cause of seeing these as polar opposites.  Relationship must be guided by some rules. But at the same time, Christ's saving Passion and Resurrection have lifted us up so that we no longer need fear rules but can start living by the statutes given us by God.

Although I did really appreciate the insistence on God's grace and his mercy as opposed to the Calvinistic heavy handed "You're a sinner and a worm" mentality, there was very little or no mention of repentance.  Even Luther acknolwedged in this 95 theses that the Christian's primary duty was to lead a life of repentance, in fact, he lead off with it. "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said 'repent', he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." (Thesis 1).  There was so much talk rather of purification, of being cleansed by the grace and mercy of God (which I have no problem with) that there was no discussion of what we are called to actively do.  We need to actively "turn back."  All the times "turning back to God" was mentioned in the book, again, it was dealt with in the realm of ideas.  Repentance is not an idea; it is an actual transformation by deeds.  Considering how much we hear from people like Osteen and Warren about how Christianity should be "more deeds, less creeds", I was surprised by this.  There has to be some actual tangible change worked by our deeds for the indwelling, for the relationship with God to work.

The lack of any sacramental theology or ecclesiolgy was hardly surprising.  When Jesus (in the book) describes the church as a mere assembly and not just an "institution" but a "man-made institution" I knew we were dealing with the whole visible/invisible church dichotomy typical of Protestantism.  As much as God (in the book) condemned independence of God from man, there was no discussion about any communal aspect to salvation save for extending forgiveness.

These are just a few problems I had with this book.  However, I am glad I read it, if only to make me realize that I am so thankful for all that God and the Church have given to me as means to achieve theosis and true communion with our Lord.  I would recommend this book as a work of fiction and maybe light philosophy, but as a spiritual platform, no way.

I'd like to hear other opinions.
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Orest
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 999


« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 04:02:15 PM »

I heard this book being mentioned in an office recently.  I have to admit I was thinking of getting the book out of the library but I checked here first to see if anyone else who is Orthodox has read it.
Also I was directed to this interview with the author here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/march/love-shack.html

He said only one thing that struck mer:
Quote
Your books playfully but insistently picture God as Trinity. Why is the Trinity so important to you?

Because it grounds both relationship and love. If you have a distinctiveness of persons within the very nature of God, and you have oneness (which is absolutely essential), you have a basis for love inside the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is what Athanasius and Irenaeus and the early church fathers started and ended with. To me, everything relational gets grounded inside of that.



I don't think he had much education in the Patristics or even knowledge of Church History in general.  It struck me as odd if he wrote the book a few years back that he didn't try to read the early Greek patristic fathers more extensively in order to understand the concept of a the Triune God and theosis versus the Western view of atonement etc.
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.062 seconds with 35 queries.