y readers and friends know that I am sometimes (on a whimsy) spiritual. But I am not religious. And last year, when I lost my dear Mookie, I really had an issue with God. After all, if He’s willing to snuff a cat at her halfway point, to erase all her lives, then he’s not much of a God, is He?
Well, that’s the idea behind The Shack, a metaphysical/religious debate masked as a story. And here it is – Mack, our hero, is a loving father. While on a camping trip with his kids, a serial killer kidnaps his daughter, drives her up into a high country shack, does sick things to her and then kills her. And Mack, he’s understandably never forgiven God for this. He also feels himself being torn apart by grief and failure afterwards.
His wife has a private little nickname for God, that of “Papa”. So it comes as a shock to Mack when, one day while alone at home, he finds a note in his mailbox inviting him to come up to the shack and discuss things. And it’s signed Papa.
And so he goes.
I don’t want to give much of this away. Yes, the Trinity is there, that much I’ll reveal, God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And each of them talk to Mack, discuss things, and essentially propose to the reader a way of looking at the universe (and our religion) in it. So I read it, waiting for some sort of crappy logic I’ve read (and heard) from holy-rollers. Didn’t find that. What I did find was a way of rethinking one’s place in this thing we call reality, something that absolves us of the blame and pain we carry around, of explaining God’s will over everything. Yes, so this changed me. I’m not church-going, no (and the book notes that you don’t have to be, not really). For me, it was a very good way of reviewing self and soul in this crazy, angry, chaotic, uncaring world.
And holding that thought, I think I’ll make it through things a little easier.
So, yes, if you are willing to read at a pace to permit pondering, I urge you to order this down and have a look. Very inspirational.
p.s. And I’ll spare you the back-door out that simplistic audiences crave. His daughter was really murdered. There is no surprise solution to this, no out.
p.s.s Thanks to Michelle on the bus link who bought this book for me as a gift. Free books. It’s good to be an amoral crank, eh?