Author William Paul Young wrote The Shack for his children. It was
only after friends read it and urged him to publish that he went along
with the two friends who formed Windblown Media to publish it in 2007.
Word of mouth built its fame.
A lot of people find The Shack healing. It offers a comforting explanation for why God allows pain and suffering. The protagonist, Mack, has lost his youngest child to kidnapping and presumed murder. Her blood-stained dress, though not her body, was found. Four years later and still oppressed by “The Great Sadness,” Mack gets a note from “Papa” (his wife’s name for God) inviting him to the shack where the bloody dress was found. There he encounters the three persons of the Trinity, talks faith with them separately and together, and returns filled with forgiveness, love, and joy. The Shack was also controversial, mostly with orthodox and biblically literal Christians who found heresy in its theology.
Unfortunately, much of the dialogue sounds like New Age pablum. But maybe the people who find The Shack life changing are not hearing an obvious message of love and forgiveness in church.
The Shack was on the New York Times bestseller list for 70 weeks starting in June 2008, at which point it had sold more than 1 million copies. Sales by now have topped 20 million.
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