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‘The Shack’ is worth reading

Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

The silence at 5:45 a.m. the Sunday before Christmas was broken by the chanting in Arabic, a call to prayer. What surprised me wasn’t the sudden burst of boldness, but the silence that followed.

There were no catcalls, no “shut ups,” no “Jesus in your face” retorts – only respectful (or tolerant) silence. Slowly, one could detect the humming of razors, the flush of toilets, and the whispered chants of the faithful as the incarcerated arose to make sense of another day.

The ideas, images, and opinions of God are most ubiquitous around the holidays. Decades ago, during a discussion about the Divine, one student said, “She’s black, you know.”

“Fascinating,” I thought as I tucked away that image, an image almost blasphemous to many, but of which I was recently reminded. Missy, a 6-year-old, is kidnapped and brutally murdered while on vacation with her family in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, her father is given a mysterious message, supposedly from God, to meet in the abandoned shack where evidence of the crime had been found.

“The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young is, of course, a work of fiction, but the ideas that it explores are real and relevant. “[Religion, politics, and economics] are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those that [Jesus cares] about.” (181)

Some might find “The Shack” as dangerous as the Bible, all this talk of forgiveness and peace on earth, but it’s worth a read.

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