What’s New with The Shack

“Nothing that matters has changed for me. I’m not shipping out soldering tips and cleaning toilets, but if all this went away tomorrow, I would be fine.”

So said William P. Young, author of The Shack, a year and a half ago in an interview for an article in Writer’s Digest. Apparently he’s rethought this position.

Three days ago the Los Angeles Times reported that the author of the “Cinderella” book and his publishing/collaborative partners are suing each other.

It’s all about the money. Publishing partner Hachette Book Group has gotten into the act too and is suing all parties concerned.

The sad thing, as I see it, is that once again God’s name will be dragged into the mud because of the behavior of people professing Christ.

After all, one of the main themes in The Shack was love:

Clearly, Mr. Young stresses God’s love and relationship—within the God-head, between God and Man, and ultimately between Man and Man.
– A Christian Worldview of Fiction, “God and Fiction – A Look at The Shack, Part 4”

So when Mr. Young wrote The Shack, he valued love and relationship. And as late as January 2009 he didn’t care if all his money and fame from the book went away. But three months ago, all that changed.

Now apparently he wants a bigger share of the pie. His partners want recognition as co-authors, and Hachette wants to protect itself from being taken to the cleaners.

I can’t help but think that none of this is surprising.

When Man thinks he knows God apart from the revealed truth of Scripture, there are bound to be weaknesses in his belief system. I don’t pretend to know what Mr. Young’s belief system is exactly other than what I read in his book.

There he preached a non-judgmental gospel, but I suspect he’s hoping for judgment in his favor when his suit against Windblown Media goes to trial.

Why is it OK to seek judgment here on earth but not expect God to seek judgment in heaven?

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm  Comments (6)  
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  1. Do I detect a bit of glee in your tone? No. Of course not. I agree with you: “I can’t help but think that none of this is surprising.” Why? Because even while we eloquently extend the love and grace of God, we are sinners. Paul Young, and those involved in The Shack’s success (however many there are), were never as enlightened and “good-hearted” as we made them. For me, this doesn’t tarnish the Shack’s legacy, because I never afforded it any. It’s people who adore this type of stuff (i.e., “This book changed my life!”) who need to rethink their worldview. As Chesterton said, the most “provable” biblical doctrine is the depravity of man. Just look at this proof!


  2. One of my daughter’s memory verses from AWANA comes to mind:

    “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

    Which just goes to show that no matter how good our intentions, do we really know our own hearts and motives?

    I’m disappointed to hear there’s a quarrel and it’s going to the courts, but since I don’t know the facts of what exactly they’re fighting about, I’m gonna reserve judgment. It’s neither good or right what’s happening, but we’re living in an age, where, like in Judges, “Every man does what is right in his own eyes.” I expect that by now, there’s plenty of fault on every side.

    And my disappointment and your disapproval unfortunately isn’t enough to stop any of them from running headlong on their fate.


  3. I can’t help but laugh, just a little — and I did — then instantly become sober and note the irony. As you and others have already noted, “love” defined apart from Scripture will always collapse into selfishness. To claim we can have the love, but not the God Who is both love *and* holiness, and do just fine, is to make up a universe that doesn’t exist — and pretend that it’s real. But the facade is always doomed to dissolve. …


  4. The worst part is like you pointed out: God’s name will be dragged into the mud. It should make us look at our own lives and ask if we are really living what we profess to believe in?


  5. Mike, I suspect I chuckled at the irony, as Stephen said he did. But this kind of dispute is exactly what Christians are NOT supposed to do. I was just reading in 1 Corinthians about Paul instructing that group of believers to rather take being defrauded than haul a brother into the courts. After all, he said, we will one day be put in a judge’s role, implying that we ought to be able to handle our own disputes. And certainly Scripture gives lots of principles to guide us in doing this.

    Another irony is that I just posted about unity on Thursday.

    Krysti, I agree that we are living in a Judges-like society. All the more reason for us Christians to be different. This dispute, no matter who is “right” or “wrong” (chances are, the truth lies between the conflicting opinions), how much better if we put the matter in God’s hands and trusted Him to take care of our needs rather than squabbling over what’s fair.

    Yes, I think an offended party who believes he’s being sinned against should go to a brother and speak the truth in love. Yes, I think he should take a witness or two along if the matter isn’t resolved. After that, it should go to the church, but given the present circumstances, I’m not sure what that means. I do know it doesn’t mean civil courts.

    As Morgan reiterated, a dispute among Christians, squabbling over money, can defame the name of Christ our Lord. Look at Mel Gibson as an example. Too often his current problems and his previous ones have been accompanied with commentary about his conservative Catholic beliefs, his production of the Passion of Christ, and affirmation that it all verifies his racism. Implication: Christians are hateful bigots. It just feeds what secularists already believe.

    In this case, I suspect it will feed “Christians are greedy hypocrites.”

    How are people to listen to us tell the truth about God and His Son Jesus when they think those things about us?

    If nothing else, this mess should be a reminder to us as believers that our lives are our witness as much as our words are.



  6. That’s just sad.

    Why is it OK to seek judgment here on earth but not expect God to seek judgment in heaven?

    I could hug you for that.


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