Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rumors of Glory in THE SHACK

In his novel, The Shack, author William P. Young writes, "...Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales."

Sounds familiar. Almost like a mirror... Hmm...

As a writer, I had been intrigued by the unexpected success of this little book; The Shack had been on my reading list for a while, but I hadn't gotten to it yet. One day I met a friend for lunch and she told me about the spiritual explosion she'd experienced as a result of reading The Shack. With easily digestible sentence and paragraph-sized morsels of the Holy, my friend's perceptions of herself, her world, and her God were dramatically changed by the truth mirrored within the pages of this amazing work of fiction. Resting in the new found wonder of "living loved", she possessed a joy I'd never seen the depth of in all the years of our friendship. I knew I had to get my hands on this novel. And I'm so glad I did!

The story started out surprisingly slowly; after my friend's comments, I assumed I would be smack dab in the middle of the action from page one. I have to admit I sighed a few times at first, but her change had been so real, so authentic that I had to give the book the benefit of the doubt and hope I just wasn't so shallow that I was missing the profound along the way. I patiently waited through the first chapter or two... and then I began to lose track of time. The "telling" of a story turned to the showing of a remarkably surprising and sedate adventure.

Quite suddenly, I was enraptured by the tale. I was in the shack, in the lake, in the woods, in a wood shop, and in a garden... and all the while in the midst of the divine.

There were moments I was uncomfortable with what I was reading; moments when my personal paradigms and preconceived prejudices about the traditional Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were challenged. I squirmed, I furrowed my brow... and I realized how cramped the great I AM would be if He limited Himself to showing up within the three compartments of the box my mental pictures had painted for Him.

So... I opened my spirit to the Holy Wind. When I lifted the protective lid off the funnel of my soul and soaked up the tender dialogue and carefully wrought prose of Young's work, beauty and truth poured into my heart and mind.

Questions and uncertainties I had long written off as inexplicable (this side of Heaven) were suddenly illuminated. Through reading The Shack, the Trinity became mentally approachable as an inseparably unified Person... and three distinct Persons... in a way which erased the abstractedness of the concept. I was there with Mack and his companion(s)... I was there, asking the questions; I was held, loved, and, yes... changed.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote that "Hope and Despair meet on the porch of Death." and I say, Theology and Imagination meet on the porch of The Shack... And while you recline in the very center of a truly circular love relationship, you are offered coffee and pastry and love without limits.

Myths and tales abound, but seldom has our generation been privy to such a glorious rumor. A beautiful reflection of truth has been funneled through the pen of William P. Young and it should not be missed.

Get your feet wet and read The Shack -- because Fiction Mirrors Truth...
...and Truth should be bathed in regularly.