Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the shack

There is an amazing miracle going on in my Life right now. One that keeps growing and growing, with each passing day. Books that are absolutely PERFECT for me at this point on my journey are showing up, just "because". Incredible books with stories that are not merely well-written, but deeply affecting. All of them very different, all of them precisely what I 'need' right now. Inspiring but light. Profound but fun. Perfect mixtures of messages I've been asking to hear.

One in particular is worthy of a little 'review'. For a few reasons. One, because I really think that if every person on the planet read this book, the world would be a very different place. In a very good way. The other because the author, at the end of his story, asked that those of us who enjoyed the story and felt it's impact pass it along so others may read it too. Like I said, it's one hell of a book!

So, the name of this book is "The Shack". The author is Wm. Paul Young. And he began the writing of this book, not to sell or have anyone else read it, but rather as a story for his children. He was trying to find a way to tell them about his love affair with god, without it being some 'religious' thing. In other words, religion had nothing to do with it. It was about the LOVE. (he tells of the beginnings on his blog...very cool stuff). In the end, a few people gave it (in Kinko's form...you know, just paper with a 'cool' Photoshopped cover, bound for his kids and a few friends), who then gave it to a few people....and suddenly there was this flurry to have it published. With the help of a few friends, they got 10,000 copies printed...and they all sold QUICK. Next came the actual publication, making it available to 'the masses'. (I'll provide a link at the end of this...just in case you want to get your own!)

The story...is about a man who has faced an impossibly horrible tragedy. In the words of one review:

"Finally! A guy-meets-God Novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring. "The Shack" cuts through the cliches of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life's integral dance with the Divine. This story reads like a prayer--like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it."

And I can tell ya, this is an understatement. This man writes with delicious passion from a place you just know must be some sort of conduit to the Divine. It must be. Because from the very first words, I was unable to put it down. And I'm kinda persnickety about writing...not to mention my own distaste for anything that has to do with what I'd always believed "god" was about. Nothankyouverymuch. I wanted no part of such things, based on what I 'learned' as a child and even beyond my childhood. To me, it was all a bunch a phooey, mired in hypocrisy and fear. You can have it. Not me. God? HA! Just something created by 'man' to keep the world filled with fear and under control. Hogwash.

The beauty of this is that the book was actually given to me by one of my closest friends..who'd waited for "the right time" to send it. She said she wanted me to 'be ready'...so when she felt that time had arrived, she mailed it to me, with the most beautiful message written inside the front cover. I knew it was coming and dove right in. This book was so enthralling, so beautifully imaginative...so compelling that I read it in less than 2 days. Just couldn't put it down. The way he 'describes' god and Jesus and the spirit...you know, that whole "trinity" thing...well, let's just say it wasn't anything like I'd ever even imagined, let alone heard before. Really unique...and FUNNY! All three of these 'characters' were hilarious. For someone who's ALWAYS bristled at any mention of 'god' or even Jesus...well, it surprised me how much I wanted to 'hear' what they had to say. As if I was finally 'ready' for whatever they had to offer.

The landscape, and I mean that in literal terms, was equally beautiful. As someone who's not only lived in the Pacific Northwest, but also happens to love that part of the country, I could easily 'see' the places he describes with such splendid detail. The mountains and the waterfalls and the millions of trees....all those things that make the Pacific Northwest so magnificent...they were painted in the most vivid manner as to make you feel like you were there with him. Stunning!

And then there was the whole 'interaction' with god. He made the scenery so real, so comfortable, so much like you were home, that it wasn't like reading a book at all. It was like you were there, being the character, experiencing what he was. I'm tellin' ya...this guy can write!

I could really get into great detail about this book. But I'm not gonna do that. You can go have a look at some pages over on Amazon. Or go to your local bookstore. Or to his website. However you choose to 'find' it, I'm quite certain you won't be disappointed. That is, if YOU are ready. If not...maybe another time.

A word of thanks to Willie:
I don't know if you'll ever get to this Blog, but if you do, I just want you to know that I'm deeply grateful that you shared this with us. I don't think I've ever read a book (and I read LOTS of books!) that touched me as deeply as The Shack. Arms around ya and BIG Love for you too!

Link to The Shack
Link to the Site (you'll find his Blog here as well)


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