Sadly, religion has created a distant impersonal God that few can identify with or understand. The Shack resonates with readers because it tears down this false image built up over the centuries. Deep in our hearts we long for the kind of God portrayed in the pages of The Shack, not the rules, regulations, and pharisaic expectations of today's religious establishments.
In the book we find delightful, intimate scenes where "Papa" (God) is in the kitchen baking a batch of muffins for supper, encounters with Jesus in the workshop and out by the lake, and garden work with the Holy Spirit. In these common encounters we find God absolutely tuned in to every detail that has ever taken place in our lives. Not a single tear drop escapes, but even these are collected in a special purposeful bottle. To see how loved we are, and to see the Father, Son, and Spirit in such perfect love, harmony, and purpose is what we long to see and understand in this mixed up and confusing world where nothing seems to make sense.
When I went to hear the author, Paul Young, at a House2House conference in September of 2008, I was delighted to learn he grew up as an MK (missionary kid.) MK's are TCK's and very unique individuals. The Shack could not have been written unless he had lived through the suffering and tragedy that he had endured as an MK. The book, while fiction, is very much his own story of pain and suffering inflicted upon him as a child and the long journey of coming to terms with the pain and abuse he suffered and the "God of love" he served. To hear his personal story was even more powerful to me than even the book. I hope that someday Paul will publish in some form what was shared at the conference in that there are many people whose lives have also been raped, torn, trashed, abused, and shattered. A life who has lived and survived such pain and suffering is powerful in ministering to others in like circumstances in offering hope and courage.
There are scores of video interviews out there which you might want to check out, but the best thing is to simply get hold of a copy and read the book!
The following is the first of a 3-part interview with Paul Young which is quite good and gets more into the aspects of the author's background on the mission field where he talks about being an MK/TCK and how this has impacted him. After hearing this interview it explains many things that come out in the book, such as God being depicted as a black woman named "papa." He speaks of his own sexual abuse as a child and how "the shack" is a metaphor for the soul where secrets are stored. Paul shares that for 38 years he built "his shack" of shame and the years that it took to deal with the healing process (eleven as I recall.) This is powerful stuff, don't miss it...
Atlanta Live, Prt.3