The Shack, William P. Young (Bonus: Jeff Shephard Band’s Song, Traffic Lights)

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Listen NowTo enter to win a copy of The Shack:

  • Comment below and/or
  • Call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice mail message about your thoughts on The Shack, our interview, or maybe your own faith story
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  • Deadline – February 15th, 2009 (midnight EST)
  • U.S. and Canada residents only; NO P.O. Boxes

“I truly believe we are as sick as the secrets we keep,” shares Paul.

“It’s all about relationship, not religion”

ShackDescription (Amazon):
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant “The Shack” wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!

Some of Paul’s “future tripping” blog post ~ a term now part of my common vernacular among friends:
A couple of years ago, I decided to stop ‘future tripping’.  ‘Future Tripping’ is ‘taking thought for tomorrow’, it is creating imaginations of what is going to happen and then actually take a mental and emotional trip to live there for a bit.  It is ‘what am I going to do if _________ (fill in the blank), what am I going to say if __________, what would our family go through if _____________.  I confess to you that I have experienced many un-realities and their attendant emotions this way.  Paul

I have repeatedly suffered huge financial losses, ended up living under one of the city bridges, been abandoned by my family, suffered the loss of each of my children, had my closest friends turn out to be villains, embarrassed myself in public, was put on the spot and said something stupid, been to my own funeral (more than once), unsuccessfully tried to stop something horrible from happening, failed repeatedly to live up to somebody’s expectations, been horribly maimed in every kind of imaginable accident known to man, lost all my teeth, lost every job I ever had, came down with every disease possible, regularly looked like an idiot, got my lights punched out for no reason, explained my driving to a police officer, lost my friends, went to school and found out I wasn’t wearing anything, got mugged, imagined the situation that I currently was in was permanent…that nothing could ever or would ever change…

…you get the idea.  I have written volumes of imaginations in my own head, things that have no substance, no reality, and are empty, vain imaginations.  But I treat them as if they are real.  I feel all kinds of terrifying and horrible emotions, and scramble to control my life so that these imaginations won’t actually come to pass.  THESE IMAGINATIONS ARE NOT REAL!!!!  But I had spent most of my life in or around them.  GOD DOES NOT DWELL IN ANYTHING THAT IS NOT REAL!!!  In these imaginations, Papa is conspicuously absent.  Why?  Because Papa has no interest in living inside something that isn’t even real to begin with.  So in my ‘vain’ empty imaginations, I am the only ‘god’ there is.  I have to fix things, make sure things turn out right, try to get a handle on people and events…and frankly, I do a very poor job of it…this playing god thing.  So, my life tended to be gripped by fear and I worked hard to get some ‘control’ to prevent these imaginations that I feared.  I had a habit of treating something that had no reality or substance as if it were truly real.

A couple years ago I stopped this insanity.  And here is what I discovered.  JOY has a name (for more…visit Paul’s wonderful blog website).

Jeff Shephard Band ~ Visit the website and hear Traffic Lights and the rest of the band’s repetoire for Free ~ add it to your Myspace profile.


There Are 33 Responses So Far. »

  1. OOOooo…I’ve been wanting to read this. My husband has even expressed interest in this book and he’s not much of a reader, so that says something! I’d love to be entered into the drawing.

  2. I don’t want this book, but wanted to put a little feedback on here. I’ve read The Shack, and I don’t recommend it to anyone. Even some strong Christians get pulled into the god of The Shack, and it’s not the God of the Bible like they pretend it to be. It’s so close, that people are being pulled in right and left and it’s really been sad for me to see so many of my friends and family effected by this story. Here is a story written about the Trinity that we will never fully understand on Earth, but people are buying the Shack version of The Trinity and it’s not beneficial to your walk with Christ. There is so much more to say, but I just wanted to put out a warning to seek out other counsel before reading this book, it could effect where you spend eternity. Here is a great link of another view of The Shack.

  3. Carrie,
    When this book first came out somehow I stumbled across it and then after reading I gave a copy to almost everyone I knew. I also told several of my regular bookstore stops about the book and that they had to put it on their shelves!
    This is a great read!!!
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  4. I would love to read this book.I read a lot and I think I could relate to this book. I am finding out from personal experience that we all have secrets even if we do not realize it. These secrets can affect our lives. I am a very Spiritual person and I know how that Spiritual guidance directs our lives and helps to keep our lives in order.

    The Author’s video chat sounds so much like Richard Paul Evans. He went through the same process and then published it for his daughters. It too went on to become a great best seller.

    I love to read and review books. I review books on a regular basis on and

  5. Connie,
    Please feel free to submit a book review I can post on Words To Mouth and share with the rest of the community. You can either repurpose one that’s already been posted elsewhere (I’ll link to it) or do a brand new one especially for Word To Mouth. Thanks for your participation. I just peeked and I can’t believe I neglected to put Gather on my blogroll. I’ll add ijustfinished, too!

  6. This book was definitely worth reading. I recommend stepping aside from the controversy and read it for the STORY. I don’t believe it means to dictate who or what God is to the masses. It’s an interpretation—a CREATIVE and lovely interpretation—and the story of one man’s grief and road to recovery.

  7. I had no intentions of reading this book until I heard this interview. I am very glad I did listen to your podcast today.
    I believe that relationships have saved me many times in my life. I believe those relationships were God. These people have come and gone, but if they were not in my life, at that time, I don’t know what my life would have been like. Thanks Paul for sharing your story.

  8. I would honestly really like to win a copy of this book. It sounds like an interesting read.

  9. Wow, Wisteria ~ So thrilled to hear that our conversation piqued your interest. Truly, you would have missed out…so glad you’ll give The Shack a shot!

  10. I have a copy and don’t want to win another because I want everyone to read this wonderful book. I love that book so much that I won’t even loan it out. This man answered so many questions that I’m sure were in the back of my mind somewhere but had never surfaced. He explained the circle of God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit in a way that I’ve never heard before. He is a wonderful writer. I still go back and re-read the “weekend.” Thank you so much for sharing this interview with us. And thank you William P. Young for writing such a heart opening book.

  11. Very interesting interview…I generally wouldn’t be interested in this type of book, but the interview really pulled me in and piqued my interest. Now I’m very interested in reading the book!

  12. After speaking with several people who have already read The Shack, and hearing consistent, positive feedback, I am now very interested in reading this book.

  13. I did not know what to expect. I saw that this was a very fast selling book and I had downloaded in months ago from I listened to your podcast and immediately started listening to it. In a few weeks I want to go back and read the book this time instead of listening to it as I think I will learn even more the second time through. Then when I am done reading the book I am going to send it to my mother as I think she will love it.

    Great podcast – it intrigued me to listen to the Audiobook.

  14. The following heartfelt comment was mailed to me with a request for anonymity:

    “I can not thank you enough for your interview from the author of The Shack! It is, by far, my favorite interview that you have done. But for personal reasons. My therapist recommended that I read this book. For reasons that are very personal. I was abused by our family minister and his family (wife and 16 year old son, there are several “victims”-I hate that word! ) when I was a child and it happened in the church setting. And the abuse, according to my therapist, was very traumatic. I can not concede that yet. This has so totally messed with my perception of God. I see Him as “monster” big and not so safe, yet I am still in awe of Him and I love Him but am so afraid of Him. This book is amazing. I am well aware of the controvery around the book. It is so sad to me. I don’t know if it is from people who just have never been in a place that never really have had to really know what Grace is about. Or have never had bad things happen to them that they have not had to question God. But, I can not thank my therapist enough for sharing this book with me. And I can not thank William Young enough for writing it. And now I thank you for the interview. I struggle alot bringing my thoughts into words when I am in therapy sessions. And when Mr. Young said that he had a schizophrenic view of God, it was a lightbbulb moment for me. It was like, OMG, that’s me. Thats what I feel like! I could not wait to explain it to my therapist. I have been trying to put it into words for so long and it had been so frustrating. Its such a relieving moment when that happens! I decided not to enter the drawing. I own the book. I want someone who really needs the book to win it. Once I read it I started to recommend it to my friends. But they have to be really open to who they believe who God can be. And I am learning who that is. That He is loving and caring and full of Grace and wonderful and that He truly would just love me if I were the only person on earth. Thanks, once again, so much! Please feel free to share…”

    So, Anonymous Listener, I thank you so much for your willingness to share and I have this feeling your words will touch someone else out there who’s struggling…so BLESS YOU!

  15. I’ve been wanting to read this! I hope I win:)

  16. Everyone seems to be reading this. A novel about the trinity hasn’t successfully been written since C. S. Lewis wrote his science fiction novels.

  17. I love this book. I gave mine away, so I would love to win a new copy. This book really moved and inspired me.

  18. I’m curious to read this. It must be something to affect people so profoundly.

  19. I enjoyed the interview. He has real insight into spirituality. I thought the book was a horror story but now I know otherwise. I am fascinated by the concepts in the book. I would love to win a copy. I look forward to reading it.

  20. I haven’t read this book yet and have heard such great things about it. I’m really curious to ead it since it seems to have such an impact on so many people

  21. Thanks so much for offering this book and providing the interview for us. This has been highly recommended to me as a great and inspiring story. Everyone’s perception and interpretation will be different but that’s as it should be. That’s what is so amazing about reading. We all take something different from the experience. I really look forward to this book. Thank you for another great contest.

  22. Such a fabulous interview. I have not yet read the book and am really looking forward to it. Would love to win it! As someone who feels pretty grounded by her faith, I look forward to exploring the some of the controversy surrounding the story.

  23. I’ve read the book. I gave mine away as part of the Missy Project. It’s a beautifully written interpretation. Possibly will bring lives to Christ. I hope I win and thanks for the interview!

  24. […] up before you make the plunge and we definitely support you making the plunge. We discuss the book The Shack and some of it’s meaning as told to Carrie by the author.    Standard Podcast: Play […]

  25. I heard about this book when listening to The Diva Cast podcasts. It sounded like a great book and I went to the library to check out the book. The local library has three copies and all three copies have about 10 people on the waiting list. I can not wait to read this book.

  26. Carrie…thank you so much for this author interview. I had picked up “The Shack” on a couple of occasions, thinking about reading it, but, as I have a two-year-old son, the beginning premise of Mack’s child going missing was too much for me to want to read the book “for pleasure.” But then I listened to your interview with the author, and read up some more about him, and decided I HAD to read this book. I took it with me on vacation last week, and found myself crying while laying by the pool! It is truly the most convicting book I have read since the Bible, and it has impacted me and how I want to look at my relationship with God. I am passing this on to everyone I know! Thank you for your work spreading the word on great books and authors!

  27. Hey,
    I’ve picked up this book several times and even held onto it awhile in the bookstore but haven’t bought it. After listening today I will make sure I pick it up on my next visit. I really enjoyed the interview. I really felt the/his passion in his voice. I love the fact that people will read the book and his meaning differently.

  28. I loved the interview. I can’t wait to read this fiction about forgiveness and relationship. Both are so important to daily life. Thank you addressing the personal questions in your interview.

  29. I have a hard time wraping my head around this jesus thing. Somethimes I feel I want to believe. I have heard this book has made an impact on a lot of people.Couldn’t hurt to try & find out for myself.

  30. […] I shared some insights about the author that I gained from listening to an interview that my friend, Carrie Runnals did on her Words To Mouth Podcast. […]

  31. […] In this episode, I mentioned these two resources: * About The Church Episode 73 – A Full Review Of The Shack * Words To Mouth Podcast – Interview with William P. Young […]

  32. My name is Aram and I just finished reading The Shack. I then went online and happened across a bunch of people arguing about it, for what looks like a few years now. People are calling this a heresy, a dangerous book, and warning people not to read it.
    I normally never comment on these things, but being an unbeliever – yes that’s right, I am not a Christian – I thought it might be useful for some of these theology spouting authorities to take a moment and look at what I, not a churchgoer in any way, have gleaned from this little book. And then ask yourself – because I really don’t know much about the Bible – is anything I learned leading me in the wrong direction? Perhaps all the way to this burning lake of fire so many Christians love trying to scare non-Christians with? If this is the case, then I guess you’re right, and based on what you believe people shouldn’t read this book.
    For me, I don’t believe fear and rules to be the answer, I never have. This has been the main reason for my avoidance of the church. However, when you preach love and forgiveness, through whatever means conveys it the best, whether fiction or otherwise, well now, my heart begins to open a tad. It makes me actually want to pick up a Bible perhaps and maybe read a little further.
    Teach love my Christian friends, because people like me, we don’t respond well to fear tactics. And we definitely don’t get turned on by arrogant church leaders who think they have it all figured out.
    Below are 57 new ideas I took away from this little book. Many are direct quotes from the book itself.

    1. The different appearances of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were used to help Mack break his religious conditioning.

    2. You don’t get brownie points for doing something through obligation; only if you want to.

    3. Life takes a lot of time and a lot of relationship.

    4. How free are we really? – family genetics, social influences, personal habits, advertising, propaganda & paradigms etc. Freedom is an incremental process that happens inside a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    5. When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of God.

    6. Pain has a way of clipping our wings, so we can’t fly. After awhile we forget we were ever created to fly.

    7. When Jesus became a man he gave up his own ability to heal people and do miracles. His miracles were accomplished by Jesus’ (a man, a dependent limited human being) trust in the Father God. We are all designed to live like that, out of God’s life and power.

    8. God exists in three persons so we, his creation, can also live in love and relationship, just like God does. If God didn’t, we couldn’t. “God cannot act apart from love.”

    9. Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid wanting power is to limit oneself – to serve.

    10. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not God’s purpose to punish it; it’s God’s joy to cure it.

    11. When people choose independence over relationship, we become a danger to each other.

    12. If people learned to regard each other’s concerns as significant as their own, there would be no need for hierarchy. God does not relate inside a hierarchy; God wants us to trust him because he will never use or hurt us.

    13. When Christians don’t trust God it’s because they don’t know they are loved by him. They think God is not good.

    14. Mack says: “I just can’t imagine any final outcome that would justify all this (pain, suffering etc).” Papa replies: “We’re not justifying it. We are redeeming it.”

    15. The choice of God to hide so many wonders from man is an act of love that is a gift inside the process of life.

    16. For any created being, autonomy is lunacy.

    17. When something happens to us, how do we determine whether it is good or bad? By whether we like it or if it causes us pain. This is self-serving and self-centred.

    18. We become the judge of good and evil; so when each person’s good and evil clashes with someone else’s, fights, even wars, break out.

    19. Eating of the tree tore the universe apart, divorcing the spiritual from the physical. All of us died, expelling the very breath of God.

    20. We play God in our independence. The only remedy is to give up the right to decide good and evil and choose to live in God and trust and rest in his goodness.

    21. God is light and God is good. Removing ourselves from God will plunge us into darkness. Declaring independence will result in evil because apart from God, you can only draw on yourself. That is death, because you have separated yourself from God, from Life.

    22. This concept is difficult for us because the good may be the presence of cancer or the loss of income, or even a life. Sarayu answers: “Don’t you think we care about these people who suffer too? Each of them is the centre of another story that is untold.”

    23. About having ‘rights’: “‘Rights’ are where survivors go so they won’t have to work out relationships.”

    24. Jesus gave up his rights so his dependent life would open a door that would allow us to live free enough to give up our rights.

    25. Each of us is wild, beautiful, and perfectly in process when God is working with a purpose in our hearts. We are an emerging, growing, and alive pattern – a living fractal.

    26. We tend to live either in the past or the future; dwelling on the pain and the regret of the past, instead of a quick visit to learn something from it. Or fearing the future, letting our imagination run wild with worry, and forgetting to see the future with Jesus. This happens when: a. we don’t really know we’re loved and b. we don’t believe that God is good.

    27. Apart from Jesus’ life, we cannot submit one to another. Jesus’ life is not an example to be copied. Jesus came to live his life in us; so we will see with God’s eyes, hear with his ears, love with his heart, and touch with his hands.

    28. Some say love grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. Love is the skin of knowing.

    29. We human beings are constantly judging others because we are self-centred.

    30. We say: “Predators deserve judgment, their parents, too, for twisting them, and their parents, and on and on, until finally we go right back to Adam, and then, why not judge God? He started it all…isn’t God to blame for our losses? He could have not created, or he could have stopped the killer, but he didn’t.” If we can judge God so easily then, of course, we can judge the world. We must then (e.g.) choose two of our five children to go to heaven and three to go to hell, because that’s what we believe God does. Mack could not choose any one of his children because he loved them no matter what they did. So instead, he begged that he could go to hell for his children. This response is exactly what Jesus did. Mack judged well. He judged his children worthy of love, even if it cost him everything. This is how Jesus loves. ‘And now we know Papa’s heart.”

    31. God’s love is so much larger than our sin could ever be.

    32. Evil was never a plan of God’s. We must return from our independence, give up being his judge, and know God for who he is.

    33. When we receive God’s love and stop judging him we let go of the guilt and despair that had sucked the colours of life out of everything.

    34. God never abandons his children. We are never alone. God could no more abandon us than he could abandon himself.

    35. “Live loved.”

    36. When we leave the light of God and retreat to the darkness all alone, the darkness makes our fears, lies, and regrets bigger in the dark. Sometimes, as a kid, doing this is part of survival, but now we must come to the light.

    37. Jesus will travel any road to find his children. But only one road leads back to heaven.

    38. Stories about a person willing to exchange their life for another reveal our need and God’s heart.

    39. Even though God can work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies, it does not mean God caused it. Where there is suffering, you will find grace in many facets and colours.

    40. ‘Love’ bothers to keep trying to touch people and never gives up.

    41. Sometimes we hide inside lies that justify who we are and what we do.

    42. Ask for forgiveness and let the forgiveness heal you. Take the risk of honesty. Faith does not grow in the house of uncertainty.

    43. Our transformation is a miracle greater than raising the dead.

    44. All evil flows from independence.

    45. God’s purposes are always and only an expression of love. God works life out of death, freedom out of brokenness, and light out of darkness.

    46. Emotions are neither good nor bad. They are the colours of the soul. They are spectacular and incredible.

    47. The more you live in the truth, the more our emotions will help you see clearly.

    48. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control. Keeping the law grants us the power to judge others and feel superior.

    49. Responsibility and expectation are dead nouns, full of judgment, guilt, and shame. Our identity becomes wrapped up in performance. The opposite is when God gives us an ability to respond that is free to love and serve in every situation, with God in us; and expectancy is alive and dynamic with no concrete expectation – only the gift of being together.

    50. To the degree we live with expectations and responsibilities is the degree we fear and the degree we don’t trust or know God.

    51. If God is the centre of everything, then together we can live through everything that happens to us.

    52. Forgiveness is big.

    53. When bad things happen, what God had to offer us in response is his love, goodness, and relationship with us.

    54. God doesn’t do humiliation, guilt, or condemnation. They don’t produce one speck of wholeness or righteousness.

    55. Forgiving isn’t about forgetting; it’s about letting go of another person’s throat.

    56. Forgiveness does not create a relationship; it simply removes them from your judgment.

    57. Because you are important to God, everything you do is important.

    I gotta tell you, this book made me want to explore the idea of God a little more, and I just can’t see how that is a bad thing.

  33. I have to say that “The Shack” by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

    After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book’s worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

    I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog


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