Monday, March 02, 2009

Resource Review - The Shack

The Shack By: William P. Young 256 pages Published by Windblown Media

OVERALL - This is a little different than the other resources I've talked about. This is a novel and right now a novel getting a lot of attention. The story approaches the questions of "What is God like?" and "How do I relate with God?". If you're looking for something to take a group a little deeper into their faith this could be an interesting tool for discussion. The book itself has been called everything from brilliant to heretical. I fall somewhere in between. I have some reservations about some of the theology here but I was challenged to examine the underlying reasons. One of the best things I can say about a book is "It made me think" and this one certainly does.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? This is the story of a man facing terrible personal pain (his young daughter is kidnapped and killed basically right from under his nose)and a personal experience meeting God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. During their time together they discuss God, Faith, Choices, Forgiveness, and a lot more. It opens up a lot of questions.

RESERVATIONS The early chapters are choppy and the writing style was irritating to me. But he quickly finds his rhythm and the rest of the book reads very easily. I also thought the "surprise" at the end was artificial but that may be just me. If you decide to use this with young people I would be very leery of using it with middle school aged kids. The story of the child's kidnapping and death while not especially graphic is quite powerful.

RECOMMENDATION This book could be a great discussion starter with the right group of young people. They've even provided a free study guide resource at Take the time to read it fully before you start the program. Take a long look at the questions raised. And be prepared for some folks to get grumpy about it. But for that right group this is a resource you should definitely consider.

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