Category Archives: guest post

The Shack: A Myriad of Impressions (pt 3)

Today’s guest post by Tracy P.


There has been a lot of controversy in churches surrounding William Young’s novel, The Shack. Some leaders are using it as a springboard for discussion and sermon topics related to God’s healing and redemptive love. Others are viewing it as heretical, and insisting that their parishioners should refrain from reading it.

The book is clearly fiction, and not an attempt by Young to lay out a systematic theology. Yet it is so vivid in its depiction of God, and so powerful in the way it illustrates His pursuit of relationship with the individual human that it is clearly compelling, as evidenced by its surprisingly widespread popularity.

  • Why do you think it is that so many seem to be wrestling with the compelling nature of the book on one hand, and its seeming unorthodoxy on the other?
  • Did you find yourself wanting to “fix” any element of the book so you could like it with a clear conscience? How would you rewrite it, and why?
  • Would you recommend this book to a Christian friend, or to a friend who was searching for his/her faith? Why or why not?

The Shack: A Myriad of Impressions (pt 2)

Today’s guest post by Tracy P.


In the comments on the last post, there was a reference to the church’s role in defining for believers who God is.  In The Shack, Mack and Jesus talk about the church within a broader conversation about society and its institutions. Mack’s frame of reference towards the church and the people in it is somewhat cynical. Jesus responds to him in this way (p. 181):

Mack, I love them. And you wrongly judge many of them.  For those who are both in (the world) and of it, we must find ways to love and serve them, don’t you think? Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda.

  • What do you think the church’s role is in defining who God is for the Christian?
  • What do you think is the individual Christian’s role in defining who God is for the body of believers?
  • Is there any overlap between the two?
  • Is it wise or even possible for the mature Christian who finds his/her definition of God differing from the definition put forward at church to love and serve the church without any agenda?

The Shack: A Myriad of Impressions (pt 1)

Today’s guest post by Tracy P.


Having heard a variety of responses from other readers of William P. Young’s novel The Shack, I finally picked it up and read it for myself last week. I have been amazed in the handful of days since then at how many people are eager to share either how much they liked it or disliked it. Hopefully some of those, and others, will stop by The Rewind over the next few days and explain why.

We will have several questions in separate posts in the days ahead to generate discussion.  Today’s discussion centers around Young’s portrayal of God. On pages 91-94, “Papa” and Mack have a discussion about Mack’s discomfort with the nature of this encounter.  The following quotations are excerpted from that conversation:

Mack says to Papa, “I think it’d be easier to have this conversation if you weren’t wearing a dress.”

Papa replies, “Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature.  If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it’s because I love you.  For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.”

The text goes on to say of Mack,

“He believed in his head at least, that God was a Spirit, neither male nor female, but in spite of that, he was embarrassed to admit to himself that all his visuals for God were very white, and very male.”

  • What was your reaction to Young’s portrayal of God?  What about it was helpful to you, or what about it bothered you?
  • Have you ever had an experience that caused you to realize you envisioned God in a way that diminished or confined his true nature?

Note:  If this is your first visit to “The Rewind ”, you may want to click here for a quick orientation so you know how things work, and then discuss away!