December 18, 2007

Fiction, Truth, Reality and all that stuff…

It has been a long day; a lot of walking and talking.  Not enough eating if you ask me.  These crowds seem to be getting bigger every day especially as the rumors about  Jesus have stirred up things.  He pays no mind, as if a reputation is nothing of any real value; nothing that required any attention to maintain.  So as near I can tell, he has none, but still everyone shows up; as many people as motives.

Me, I tend to stay in the background.  Not very fond of the attention we’re getting, so I hang around the fringes; suits me just fine.  I’m not one to put myself out there, like some of the others.  To be honest, I’m not very brave and not above being disappointed.  But here is the strange thing.  I don’t know what it is about me, maybe because of my baby face (I’ve never been able to grow a full beard), whatever it is I seem to attract the strange ones.  You know the ones, that hang around the fringes of everything that is going on, people who don’t really have the want or nerve to approach Jesus directly.  So they seek me out.  I actually try and blend in with the crowd, but it usually only works for awhile.  I must have this sign on my back that says, "He’s one of them" because sooner or later some guy will sidle up next to me and start asking me questions as if I were some sort of expert on Jesus.

So today, I am sitting down, minding my own business, trying again to figure out where I fit into all this, and sure enough this guy plops himself right down next to me.  I close my eyes; pretending to be praying.  Perhaps I actually am.  Does "Go Away!" qualify as a prayer?  Even with my eyes shut I can feel him waiting, silent…ready to pounce.  I finally barely open one eye for a sneak peak and he is about a foot away staring right at me.  He sees that I am conscious and it’s all the permission he needs.  He’s dressed like a Galilean, but you can’t really tell these days.  Rumor is the Jesus is a Galilean, and now everybody wants to look like one.  This guy is probably a fake Galilean, maybe even from uptown Jerusalem.  I am not in a very graceful mood.

"May I ask you a question?" he begins.

I grunt, "Besides that one?"  He’s either not impressed by my wit or too dumb to get it, his face remaining impassive.  He then glances around a little furtively, as if to make sure that no one is close enough to eavesdrop on our conversation.  He scoots even closer and leans my direction.  I want to scoot away, but out of rebellion I hold my position.

"So," his voice is hushed and secretive, "Who is he then?"

 "Oh, here we go," I think, "another person who wants to ask me questions about Jesus that I can’t answer."  I try and be evasive, but I find myself whispering too.

"Who is who? I ask.

He scoots a bit closer.  "You know."  His face now shows ready anticipation; eyebrows raised and waiting my response. 

I return his inquiry with the best ‘I have really no idea what you are talking about’ look and a little shake shrug of my shoulder.

He is perturbed, but only for a moment.  He then grins and scoots even closer until I fear he will crawl onto my lap.  His breath radiates goat and garlic. 

"I get it," he smiles, "you are just playing with me.  C’mon, you can tell me."  He nods as if to encourage my response.

"Who are you talking about?"  I mutter, wishing this man would leave me alone to tend to my sore and dirty feet. 

"The good Samaritan, you know, that guy that Jesus just told us about.  I want to know who he is.  I would like to meet him."

Now I am wide awake.  I grin at this man thinking that he is joking, but the intensity of his face communicates that he is dead serious.  "You want me to tell you who the good Samaritan is, like…his name?"

"Exactly!  I want to go and talk to him. I would like to understand what I can about his journey, anything really that might give me insight into how he got to the place where he could exhibit the kindness and compassion of God like he did."

We sat there for a frozen moment, he looking expectantly at me and me trying to find the right words to let the boy down gently.  What I really want to do is laugh and not too quietly either. 

"Uh…that story Jesus told you?  You know…that…it’s a parable right?

"Of course.  That is what everyone is calling it."  He pauses, glancing around and then back. "Tell me, what exactly is a parable?"

"It’s a story."

"Oh, like the story of Moses or Abraham or David?"

"Well, no…"  I am still searching for the right words.  "It isn’t a story like history, but a story, well…that he made up."

It takes only a moment for what I said to register, but I can see the inner realization paint a a furrowed look on his face.  "He…made it up?  Are you telling me that the story isn’t even true?"

"Yes," I answer, "he made it up.  But…" I quickly add, "It is true!"  As soon as the words escape my lips I know they will not help.

"So, if it’s true, then who is he… the Samaritan guy in the story?"

"There is no specific Samaritan guy.  Jesus made him up.  But the story really is true."

He sits back, a look of disappointment clearly visible.  "OK, I am confused.  You are telling me that the story is true, but Jesus made up the Samaritan guy, the main character…just ‘poof’ made him up?"

"Exactly!"

"And the Priest…made up too I suppose?"  I nod.  "And the lawyer."  I am nodding still as he continues the litany.  "…the bandits, the innkeeper, the kindness…all made up?"

I shrug and he sits back, looking skyward, gesturing with hands upturned.  He finally looks back at me.  "And the story is true."  He states it like an accusation.  I nod again.

"Oi, how can it be true?  Everything is made up.  The Samaritan, the Priest, the robbery…the only thing that is real is the road, cuz I’ve been on it."  He is allowing the emotion to build inside.  "I must tell you, I am very upset about this.  Your Jesus…you are with him right?"

He pauses, and I nod, "Yes, I am one of his students and he is my rabbi."

"Well, your rabbi really had me going.  I truly felt what he was saying.  I could embrace this man’s pain and I was thrilled at this Samaritan’s actions.  You must understand…" he glanced around and leaned closer, "…this ’story’ meant a lot to me personally…you see…" he whispers, "I am a Samaritan."  A tear slowly slides down his cheek, his jaw slightly quivering, "And now…" he was fighting the emotions, "…now you are telling me that it isn’t even true."

I was stunned.  I had not seen this coming.  My sore and dirty feet were no longer a concern for me.  Pain and anger and disappointment masked his face and he was looking to me for something, some kind of healing, some explanation that would return some hope.

"But don’t you see?  It is true.  That’s what a parable does.  It uses a story to tell the truth in a way that gets by your training and your defenses.  I think you might be confusing facts with truth, thinking that what seems to be ‘real’ should be the same as what is true!"

"Please," he is almost begging.  "Help me understand."

 ’Me?’ I am thinking.  I look up, trying to appear to be in deep thought, but I am really looking around to see if Jesus is anywhere nearby.  He is not.  "Ok, let me see.  Well, everything in the story is real, that is, the road between Jericho and Jerusalem is real, there are real bandits on that road, real people including priests, lawyers and lots of us normal people travel that road when we have to, and there are such ‘real’ people as Samaritans."  I gesture toward him, but not in any way that would draw attention.

"But this didn’t really happen?"

"Maybe it did.  Frankly, I have never thought to ask.  But that is not the point of the parable.  All the elements are real and this could actually happen.  Parables are not as concerned with facts and reality as they are about communicating the truth."  He still wasn’t getting it.  "Uh…it’s like a joke," I offer.

"This is a joke?"  He looks incredulous.

"No, it’s like a joke, you know, there was this rabbi and this priest and a donkey…"

"I’ve heard it…not too funny."

"You’ve heard it?  The one where the mother-in-law…"

"Yup, heard it.  I didn’t think it was that funny."

"I thought it was hilarious…oh, well, the point is that it doesn’t really matter if the events actually happened or not.  We laugh because the joke points to something that we know is true.  So, Jesus is telling the parable to open our eyes to something that is much more important than the individual pieces that make up the story.  The truth of a story like this parable is much more significant than just the sum of its parts, in fact, Truth belongs to a different realm of existence and significance than facts and reality."

The man had dropped his gaze to the ground between his feet, listening, and suddenly sat straight upright, his eyes dancing.

"I understand!  It’s not about the actual elements of the story.  It is really about the Truth…that is what truly matters.  It is not about me meeting the Good Samaritan, it is about me meeting the Truth."

"Exactly!"  And now I am dancing inside and I too understand in a way I had not before.  "The kindness of God has no boundaries; not social, not religious, not political.  The choices made by the Samaritan are contrary to all the hate and prejudice so much a part of the world we live in."

"In fact," now he jumps in, "the Samaritan was the only truly free man in the story.  No one else is free.  And Jesus calls him the ‘Good’ Smaritan because he is exhibiting the very life of the only Good One, who we know is only God."

Now the tears are flowing and I am wiping my own off my face.

"You know what this means?"  His face is full of light.  "It can be me.  I can be the Good Samaritan.  I can be the one who is free.  I don’t have to do what my hurt and pain tell me.  It can be me that acts with the goodness of God…me!"

And we embrace, a Jew and a Samaritan.  And I am thrilled, but at the same time grieved at my own darkness of heart.  For even as we embrace, even as we thrill to the glory of the Truth of what we are sharing, I was still glad that he looked like a Galilean and not a…"

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73 Comments on Fiction, Truth, Reality and all that stuff… »

December 19, 2007

Kimett @ 11:42 am:

I love writing that makes you go “hmmm…something to consider”. To me it’s like eating a meal slowly, savoring each bite.

Thanks for that Paul!

Mark Silbernagel @ 1:39 pm:

Ok, that’s what I get for reading this during a break at work.. Now I have to figure out what to do with the tears!

I love the distinction between Truth and facts.. reality.

Truth is so much more powerful.

Mark

Thomas L.Jones @ 2:22 pm:

My son gave us this book a year ago. It is if not the best, one of the best books I have ever read. I told my wife ,who has read it twice, that no one could write such beautiful story like this without an encounter with God. It is such a revelation of how the Father,Jesus,and the Holy Spirit love and care for there creation. Thank you

Dave A @ 3:02 pm:

Wonderful there, Bro. You painted such a great picture… made me feel like I was really there and in the place of that disciple. Thank you!

I hope you’re writing that next book. :-)

Scotty Benjamin @ 4:10 pm:

I was shopping in the middle of the day recently, in a good size store with only myself and a couple of clerks. Two men, different than me, walked in and were a bit loud. My first reaction was that I was about to witness a robbery and I had a few moments of fear, looking around as to how to get out of the store. The two men ended up looking at merchandise and as I came to my senses that my fears were based on prejudice, I continued with my shopping and purchase. How sad that in me still lives some of the religious person that walked on the other side of the road so as not to be contaminated. Where does that irrational fear come from? Thanks be to God that I can be FREE, and free indeed in Jesus.

Thanks for putting me in the story, and allowing me to be there in the pages of truth. Better yet to be with THE Truth.

Grace.
Scotty

December 20, 2007

Richard @ 4:15 am:

Paul,

This quote was so right: “The truth of a story like this parable is much more significant than just the sum of its parts, in fact, Truth belongs to a different realm of existence and significance than facts and reality.”

So many ‘facts and realities’, but coming to Know the Truth, therein lies true freedom!

Hopefully when you come to the Toronto-Kitchener area, we’ll be able to meet.

Rich

December 21, 2007

Chad Estes @ 1:24 am:

“I don’t have to do what my hurt and pain tell me.”

That’s good, Paul. I think I need a fast from my emotional feasting.

Chad

December 22, 2007

The Thin Edge - Truth, freedom, dancing inside @ 10:24 am (Pingback)

[…] both men by the end of their conversation. Here's a little sample—I hope you'll visit Wind Rumors for the entire story—where the impatient follower of Jesus discovers the reason he has been approached by this […]

December 26, 2007

todd @ 11:03 am:

Lovely Post Paul….God help us…. “it could be us!”

December 27, 2007

Michael J. @ 2:32 pm:

Yet once again, something that strikes straight to the heart. The slow to realize man, it can be me. The one that cares for another, it can be me. The element I liked about this was that the disciple did not give up on the man till he got it and the man did not give up till he got it. Showing it doesn’t matter how long it takes, just don’t give up till you got it.

Michael

January 3, 2008

Robin Hatcher @ 10:37 pm:

Wonderful story - I tend to learn best through stories - thank you for sharing yours!

January 12, 2008

Random Acts of Linkage #43 : Subversive Influence @ 5:47 am (Pingback)

[…] Young on Fiction, Truth, Reality and all that stuff… the parable of the Good Samaritan and other insights that creep up on […]

January 13, 2008

Brian Shimer @ 10:57 pm:

Dear Willie — is it okay to call you by that name from the book? I just finished the book (The Shack) tonight. I have not been this affected by a book in a long time. What a wonderful depiction of the truth of Trinity, the beauty of the magnificent fellowship of our God. Thank you, it was rich to read this book, took me into that locale, invited me to allow Jesus to touch my heart at new places and spoke to my heart. Thank you for the freedom and joy with which you wrote. I loved this book and am so thankful for it.

How God has used you. I agree with another of the comments that says it is the kind of book that caused me to say “hmmm” and consider what you had written. I will be a part of the Missy Project seeking to spread the word on this book.

May God, the beautiful, triune, wonderful Father, Son and Spirit continue to pour himself into and through you.

I am a pastor of a local church in Banks Oregon.

God bless you.

Brian

January 17, 2008

Pastor Ron @ 10:29 am:

You’ve put handles on what may be the most important truths in the Bible. I’m considering going through the book (again) and connecting the dots between The Shack and The Word - unless someone has already done that (and I would be surprised if they haven’t).

Thank you for this wonderful tool for expressing God’s heart.

January 18, 2008

bonnie @ 7:23 pm:

I think Pastor Ron has the same inclination I have had reading this AMAZING book…THE SHACK. I want to connect the dots with scripture. Re-connect myself to the TRUTH sometimes hidden in HIS Word. I will read it again, and again to get this digging going better…a favorite quote…”I tell you one thing, if you learn it by yourself, if you have to get down and dig for it, it never leaves you. It stays there as long as you live because you had to dig it out of the mud before you learned what it was.” Aunt Addie Norton, or Rabun County, Georgia - quoted in a Foxfire Book. So, it comes to me that you dug some truth out of your experiences, and God be praised that this book has been printed. I will do my share to tell about it.
Sincerely written,
Bonnie Walker

January 27, 2008

Marlene @ 5:14 am:

Hey a guy who has tears from reading a book!!! Wow

What are you doing reading it at work??

Bob Fromm @ 9:19 pm:

Parables are stories made up of false parts that contain truth that is larger than their sum. The Shack is a first class parable. It is not a theology but a story of life. Life can be analyzed by theology but only lives in life. Theology is akin to looking at analyzing amino acids and DNA strains. We can lay them all down on the floor in the right order and cry out “Live” but it will never arise and breathe. Only the Breath of God (the Spirit) can do that and He does that in life… and always in a relationships. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.” The Word is our foundation… theology is our analysis but when the Spirit moves it seems messy to our categories and offends our boundaries because our attempt at circling God with pen and ink always falls short of the Glory of God. That’s why stories like The Shack tell us about the life of God better than our systematic theology. Oh… doesn’t God ususally reveal the most about Himself when He meets us in the Shacks of our lives?

January 30, 2008

Mary Karnezos @ 4:10 am:

I can’t stop smiling !!! Thank you

February 4, 2008

Richard Anderson @ 1:01 am:

Greetings,

The wife brought another Christian book home a few weeks ago.

To calm her rave reviews, I read a couple of chapters late in the book. Sorta confusing, but I liked the parts that took shots at traditional organized religion. We are conveted Jehovah’s Witnesses (though, neither ever baptised as JW’s) now embroiled in the local Presbyterian Church in Camas, WA.

After more urging from my wife, I finally started reading “The Shack” from the beginning. Thanks for all the tears and keeping me up late on a work night - at least I didn’t miss all of the Super Bowl.

“Papa” in The Shack brings up a strong sense of deja vue a’ La Matrix (the Hollywood movie) wherein the protagonist (Neo Anderson) meets the Oracle who is a large, motherly, wise and loving black woman.

I’m left wondering if Willie ever sat through The Matrix - Or perhaps The Shack predates The Matrix. Either way, both have left lasting impressions on my theological outlook…

Shalom,

-King Richard
Washougal, WA

February 16, 2008

JLHatch @ 8:38 am:

I wasn’t sure after reading this book how correct it was theologically but I did know for sure that my heart, mind and soul had been changed. I asked my husband to read it and he too felt the impact of the book. Although there were some things we didn’t agree with theologically, the truth was so stunning. What a burst to my imagination to see God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit interacting in a way I could never have allowed my self to believe was true but makes so much sense. After reading “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn and now “The Shack”, my imagination has soared with the possibilities that I never would have dared to dream. It has made me long for my eternal home and the God that I felt was so high that my only interaction with him would be to worship and adore. How limiting for Him and for me. I fell in love with God in a way that I never thought I could.

Iliana @ 4:48 pm:

Please tell me if there’s a Spanish version of this book! You have to translate it in at least 5 major languages. I am willing to translate it any time. I have so many people that could use the Shack, but unfortunately do not live in the US or speak English. Ayway, all that to say “thank you God, thank you Willie.”

February 18, 2008

Laurel @ 8:59 am:

PERFECT! This entry explains The Shack’s perspective perfectly.

You tell beautiful stories, stories that matter in a world of feel good entertainment.

Well done.

Laurel
aka The Pissed Off One - wish I could write like that! :)

February 26, 2008

Al R. @ 2:28 pm:

Paul:
I have been waiting to say this and feel like this is a great time.
Having met you in sept, after reading “the Shack” I was affected much more by spending time with “The Author” than just reading the Book.
What a privilege to have met you.
You kinda remind me of Papa,Jesus and Sarau
Thanks
AL

February 27, 2008

lala @ 12:09 am:

I just finished reading your book…. I read from about the 3rd chapter on to my husband….. we sat all day last Saturday reading it, crying and at times so hard I had to put the book down. I was crying not only as a mother who has lost 6 children to miscarriage and as a mother of 4 little girls here on earth, I was crying because I saw so much of myself so independent and not living in the relationship He desires because I know He is especially fond of me. I feel my eyes have been opened and I feel an excitement and stirring growing, books like these help the Bride get ready!
thank you for your obedience to write this book….it was messy and hard and exactly what this family needed!

February 28, 2008

Pamela Dewing @ 10:49 am:

WOW!!! My brother told me about “The Shack”, I laughed and cried and most of all seeing the grace of God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit is all about love, forgiveness, grace, faith and hope. Thank you for such an inspiring look into the presence of our Lord. I will be giving this book to all I come into contact with. God Bless you!
Love in Christ,
Pamela Dewing

March 2, 2008

Diane @ 6:53 pm:

Thank you for a wonderful book. Truth and fiction are so close here. I’ve personally known two people in life who have had documented death experiences and have told me a similar story, of their encounter with God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit. It was difficult for me to read this as fiction.

I have a list of people the Lord has told me to gift this book to. The theology is as close to what I’ve always believed about the Father/Son/Holy Spirit and I pray this book reaches far and wide into our culture.

Thank you so much for writing it and being obedient to printing it for us.
Diane

March 3, 2008

Linda Stepp @ 1:25 pm:

I read The Shack last week, just after being too busy for too long, being too busy with mostly church work… how refreshing and wonderful to see God face to face at the end of a busy week! I’ve given 2 copies to my co-workers hoping to have conversations here.
So many times this week I’ve heard people say things that sounded a little down or off center, I wanted to tell them not to worry, and that God is particularly fond of them.

From the other post it seems to be having the same effect on everyone!
Glad to be in the number this time.
Linda

March 4, 2008

Crystal @ 12:01 am:

i had started reading it at work and had to stop that cause it made me too emotional at work. it is a beautiful story that really affects the heart. loved it and thank you for it!

March 5, 2008

Julia @ 4:39 pm:

I nearlly fell out of my chair as God came out as a Black
African-American because as a younger lady I dreamed nearlly every night that I would come home from an exhausting day at work and a black woman would greet me at the door and say, “honey chil, jest sit youself down in this big ole chair and let me rub youse feets.” She always had a smile and hug for me as I entered the house and her name was Glorie. Could God have been trying to break some of my religious barriers even 35 + years ago? Do ya think?
I am glad I fly now, the book has even made it easier.
Thank you for writing it.

March 7, 2008

Tammy @ 11:37 am:

There’s a family in my neighborhood who I pray for often. You see, they too love Papa and once believed, and maybe still do, that He loves them too. Last year their son was taken from them and his body was never found. He just vanished. No one has come forward with any clues to what happened to him. Because the family lives close I have seen them in the neighborhood from time to time. They have long given up hope of him returning to them and I can see “the great sadness” weighing them down. Everytime I see them I pray for them to… I don’t even know what, get healed, free, forgiveness, peace… When I read this book I wept from beginning to end not just for their pain anymore but now, finally, for their answers. I will drop this book on their step and pray that the next time I see them “the great sadness” will be replaced with a new found joy in knowing that He is especially fond of them. Thank you.

March 10, 2008

fingers2piano @ 4:14 pm:

Willie,
Grace Mercy and peace to you my friend.What a great work[The Shack] in the pages of your book of fiction are hidden
some of God the Fathers deep truths…God has used you in a might way and I am sure He has much in store for you to do and will keep guiding you in the work that He has given you .I think that “The Shack” would make a even better movie
if it is possible to get better:-)
LORD HAVE MERCY
JIM

March 11, 2008

olivia @ 6:53 pm:

I just finished reading the Shack. I loved it. I was so pleased at the way God the father,Jesus,the Son and the Holy Spirit were portrayed. I have just gone through a difficult divorce,and now have a teenaged daughter expecting twins. After reading Blue Like Jazz, i vowed never to read another “christian”book again. But God in his infinite grace and mercy brought this lovely work of fiction into mylife. I constantly imagine Papa and the warm embrace that only He can give.

March 13, 2008

Lydia @ 1:12 pm:

God’s laws are not restrictive but open. What man calls nature is actually within the openness of God’s law and yet God does the supernatural, why? Because He is above His nature which He created. I think of it as a painting that God is forever changing His mind about what goes where and how this works and that works. I also think, correction, KNOW, He is working in all dimensions, rather than just three as we are.

Lydia @ 10:42 pm:

I should have written this prior to my mini-sermonette but I did want to say, “Right On!” I truly believe a lot of the concepts you wrote about and believe your grasp on the truth is indeed rich and deep. THanks for writing such a powerful book!!!

All my love (and I have more comments!!!)

March 14, 2008

Joanne @ 8:38 am:

I just finished reading the Shack yesterday and Wow… I can’t stop thinking about it, the impact it is having on me is incredible. I laughed & cried,but mostly pondered, as my picture of God was being reshaped as I read… Wow…I have been a christian for a long time and am a pastor, and this is such an incredible story of the love of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit, it has definately impacted me deeply and caused a fresh look at everything….Thank You so much for writing well and drawing us into the story!

March 16, 2008

paul @ 4:50 pm:

just wanted to throw my 2 cents worth in as well.

i spent the better part of a weekend entertaining this book, and i have to say Gods hand seems to be apon it. It brought me to a place where i had to examine my own precepts of Jesus (well GOd in general). i have an 18month old daughter and found myself struggling with the story, from anger to rage to tears to wanting and craving that Love that has always been there.
I admitt i struggled at first with disagreements in theology, only to blasted by the Holy Spirit into Truth not fact. Im not sure if anyone else sees it in me but i have to say i feel (although you cant trust emotions =) ) like when the Lord first took me. i feel a softening of the heart and wanting and willingness to just love as Christ loves, no matter how hard it may be. I do strugle deeply inside with the anger that arose from the thoughts someone harming a child, yet i understand if only a little where Papa is coming from with FORGIVENESS.
I personally am telling others of the book, and pray that the outcome shall challenge others as well to recieve TRUELY the one that Loved us first.

March 17, 2008

Donna @ 10:56 am:

Very well said….

March 23, 2008

kent @ 1:12 pm:

Willie, since we talked yesterday this story ended up playing a role in my Saturday adventure. The Spirit certainly moves in mysterious ways.

http://nthegarden.blogspot.com/2008/03/love-that-heals.html

March 24, 2008

Mark Christenson @ 3:23 am:

I’m curious why olivia said she wouldn’t read another “Christian” book after reading “Blue Like Jazz”. I recently read that one, then was given “The Shack”, and found both to be very good. Anything that makes you think about your relationship with God and forces you to push into Him and to get closer to Him to find the Truth can’t, to me, be a bad thing.

Sandy @ 4:19 pm:

I bought this book for my 14 year old daughter because I am encouraging her to read more. Well she ended up reading most of this book to me as we spent time together over the weekend. As she read to me, my heart and eyes were opened to see how much daddy loves me. He has been telling me that all my life but I didn’t really believe it. This book has made me laugh and although I bought it for my daughter, I think Papa wanted me to experience it with her. I know He has a wonderful sense of humor and I love the warmth and truth that is shown in this book. Truly this writer has been with God….thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am enriched all the more and will read this for myself more than once.

Curtis Delk Rose @ 7:43 pm:

i cried too……..c

March 26, 2008

Ron Camp @ 7:56 pm:

Wonderfull Book about Dad. It is good to hear that I and you both of us are one’s He is particularly fond of. I was especially thrilled to hear about “dream flying.” I have not done it in along time or from our Dad’s perspective, a few nanoseconds. Perhaps soon THE Spirit will put me aloft again. I will order copies to distribute. I also know that for you to hear that your writing has helped me is most important to you. Hoping to meet you some day either here or there, while occupying and awaiting His sson and Glorious return, I remain
yihs

ron

March 31, 2008

Lydia @ 6:24 am:

And as promised….

I do believe that anything that causes you to consider your relationship with Papa is so wonderful. Anything that enriches it truly enriches your life. My life my prayer life my life in general is so much richer because I know that God is there in control of the car about to hit me or when I get hit in an accident or when I fall asleep or go into surgery. God’s knowledge and foreknowledge and wonderment is there.

Lydia

April 2, 2008

Jeanette @ 10:30 am:

What a book! I don’t read fiction much but felt the leading to buy this book and I am so glad I did. I will never be the same, it just keeps me thinking about papa, Jesus and HS. I too, pray it will become a movie. I plan to give it to many.

Blessings, Jeanette

April 8, 2008

Shane Johnson @ 10:58 am:

I began reading The Shack upon departure from Istanbul this morning. Being in a foreign environment and not knowing the nature of the book–other than it was a good Christian fiction recommended by a friend–I had no idea how captivating it would be. Nay, overwhelming. I fought a dozen times to hold back tears, a couple of times unsuccessfully. I am about half way through but the wonderful cadence, the thoughtful honesty of its author shines through transparently. I lost my dad shortly after college–he was my best friend–and my little sister took her life two years ago…so the pain and anguish in the book resound deeply. Like Mack, the story has a healing nature and so I am excited to continue this life changing book. Thank you Willie. May God continue to shine through your pen!

April 12, 2008

Stacey LaMontagne @ 9:00 pm:

OH man! I loved this book so much. I am so happy to find others I can share with about this. My pastor reccommended it and has our church reading it. So many of us love it. Thanks Pastor Bob! I want to share this also with so many. I wish I could afford to buy tons and hand them out everywhere. I may have to settle with letting go of my copy at first.

Honestly I totally struggled with truth versus fiction on this one. I have a good imagination as it is and this was just so exciting. I cried through it all. I got into the habit of having my towel near by while I read. I just wish words could let you know how much this has truly left me in awe of God.

I am working on my husband. I have to get him to read this. HE needs so much of the truth about forgiveness, as have I. I am very excited to see this in a movie. I can totally picture it. It will be the most moving film from a Christian book.

I love the way God’s heart is poured out on paper. That is what I try to do with my poetry. I will stay in touch and do all I can to spread the news of this book. I am on board.

Thanks so much, again, for more than I ever expected and may never get over. :) Hopefully! :)

God Bless You and Yours.

April 14, 2008

Karen D @ 12:33 pm:

I laughed, I cried and I pondered how far off the mark I had been regarding God’s love and purpose for me. It was like the biggest, warmest hug that touched my very soul!
Thank you…I have put the word out for all to read “The Shack”…you cannot read it and not be changed.

May 14, 2008

Tyrone Isaacs @ 4:37 am:

An amazing book. It has deeply touched me and made me rethink my relationship with god, jesus, the holyspirit and people in general. I am from South Africa and I sincerely believe that this book will help heal this land and people from it,s past and current situation with respect to violent crime in all forms. I will be involved in the Missy Project and do my bit to get book and story out there.

Rene A @ 8:47 am:

Your book was given to me as a gift. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down until I was finished. What an inspiration!! God has really used YOU here. Today, I am still pondering the whole thing. Amazing!!
God bless you on your writings. I do pray He guides you to yet another book “hit”

May 26, 2008

LeAnne @ 7:44 pm:

I just finished the Shack today after camping at Wallowa Lake State park for the week-end! I brought it with me. I was told it was based on a true story? As I searched the web site I am not finding information that really answers that question. I still love the contents of this book I have cried off and on through the whole thing and it gives a renewed inspiration for a relationship with God (Papa), The Savior, and Sarayu (Holy ghost) Beautifully done. It has come in my hands at a time in my life that I needed renewed direction on my path with out a church. Been hurt deeply by a church with a lot of those enforced rules that create following by law but they say they are from God. You are shunned if you do not silently follow a unspoken dress code and other rules that you do not understand how they became a requirement in the first place. Many do not question these unspoken rules they just follow or there is not going to be further encouragement and/or fellowship. I plan on passing on this book to other wounded lambs that I have enjoyed a personal loving godly relationship with , with out our continued attendance to this church. It will help to heal some hurts that come and go for all of us through the years of spiritual abuse. This is a great book for me to recommend to my vast network of loved ones. I plan on getting more copies.

LeAnne Walling
Walla Walla, WA

June 5, 2008

Janice Wright @ 7:28 am:

The most amazing book - filled with truth even if it is fiction (well most but not all) - I was sad when I finished the book. My relationship with God made possible by Jesus Christ and living out of me by the Holy Spirit has validated my belief and trust in PaPa! I, too, have been through pain and wondering why me………hurtful relationships….but I know God is in control and He will work all things to my good and His glory. Thank you for sharing.

June 12, 2008

Julie M @ 11:00 pm:

Incredible book! I am not much of a reader, but like most, my thirst for the truth kept me turning each page. I often close my eyes at night and see myself lying on the dock with jesus looking at the stars and feeling absolutely loved, complete & content. Isn’t that what we all really want? My relationship with Papa will never be the same. Praise God for that!

June 17, 2008

Jen @ 1:12 pm:

So, the question is…is this a parable or a true story?

June 24, 2008

Wendy L @ 5:10 am:

Born with vision loss, I have always dodged the discomfort of reading, but I am reading THE Shack AGAIN, writing down quotes of Papa. For it is these which strike my heart as Gospel Truth of the Trinity as never experienced before. I want to pass it on. To heal, to understand, to gain knowledge and wisdom into the character of our Lord is never fiction.
I was blessed to experience Papa two weeks before a 3 day retreat on experiencing God’s love. Before the retreat I ended up spending the night at a cabin, waking up to the sun rising over Warden’s Pond I awakened to a new loving perspective; healing. The retreat only confirmed the deepest love of God which I previewed in your book–the Spiritual Leader for the weekend was a jovial, large black woman!! Forty-seven years of looking for answers which would piece together an arduous journey. The surprises of God are new every morning, the irony that He knew to reach me in one of less than 10 books I have read in my life.

God will find you, too, wherever you are, in this book which will individually find you and bless you with a new perspective!
Praise and Glory only to God!

June 25, 2008

Renee @ 10:00 am:

Thank you for writing this book.

Ruth @ 12:41 pm:

My brother was diagnosed with cancer, and is in prison. I took my mom to go see him. The first few days were rough. One evening, after a tear-filled visit, we went to go grab some stuff at the stoire. The Shack caught my eye. i picked it up, read the back, and put the book back down. I stood ther for a moment…I picked the book back up. i told my mom, “You know I am not a reader, why can’t I put this book back?” Thru the book that night, I cried, I laughed, I had many thoughts run thru my mind. My main question was,”Why, if God really is there, why did he givve my brother cancer?”
Now that I am done with the book, I now why. And as I talked about Jesus, Papa and Sarayu to my brother, thru the tears, everything became ok. We now know, my brothers life is in Papa’s hands, and we are all ok with it. He looks forward in fishing with Jesus, as trout is one of his favorite meals.
This book was a life changing event for me and my family. I don’t know how to ever repay you Paul. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

June 29, 2008

Sherri McGregor @ 9:36 am:

This book stretched me, but the heady perfume of truth and glory surrounding it kept drawing me back. I discovered the Grace message 6 years ago through Bertie Brits, a healing evangelist from South Africa, and since then I ‘ve found it hard to get through a Christian book or sermon as there’s so little revelation of the fulfilment of the law and the magnificent love of the Trinity around. Bertie taught me that the bible isn’t about what we must do for God but what He has done for us - and that is the aroma I found in The Shack. Bless you and thank you. I trust that millions will get to read it.

July 5, 2008

Therese @ 12:37 pm:

I cried too!! Went through a whole box of tissue…Thank you so much for writing this wonderful, touching, inspiring, heartfelt and heartchanging book…

July 7, 2008

Lisa @ 6:05 pm:

Amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and this story as well. Truth through fiction has always spoken to me in a much louder voice than anything else, and this explains perfectly why that is ok. Thanks!

July 11, 2008

Lydia @ 11:25 am:

Hey there

Yet again the truth blind sides us all by dismissing the facts of any case. HIS truth is not our truth, His thoughts are not our thoughts and small wonder His parable makes no sense in this society of “Reality Television” and game shows. We want so much reality we forget the only reality is God and that he knows more than anyone how to reach us and wants to reach us.

Lydia

July 13, 2008

Tommy @ 12:59 pm:

I am English major. I have a master’s degree in English. I have taught in college for 10 semesters and have taught for 10 years at the Jr. High level. Needless to say, I have read a lot. THE SHACK is the best book I have ever encountered. The story is so full of the love of God that it is staggering. It gave me a whole new look at the way I had things neatly tucked away in my mind. It stretched me, and I feel closer to God than ever before. This is a book for our day. I hope it reaches many, helps heal many, and points everyone who comes into contact with it to our Lord and Savior Jesus. Thanks for writing this wonderful story.

July 14, 2008

Jerry @ 8:27 am:

I have bought the book for several friends and we have all been so blessed to have read it. Can anyone answer this ? Did Mack kill his Father? did the poison he put in the bottles lead to his fathers death? I never thought so, but I have several friends that feel this is the case. Any thoughts?

Jerry

Vanessa @ 2:49 pm:

Thank you for this book! In many ways it articulated perfectly what I knew in the corner of my mind yet could never quite say right. In other ways it clarified things and answered so many questions … I feel like He has been leading me to this book for some time. So glad to have found it!

Thanks.

kent @ 3:42 pm:

Jerry, that is never answered in the book.

July 16, 2008

Sam @ 8:41 am:

What a great book!! There is so much truth in this book that it doesn’t really matter if it’s “fiction” or not. Thanks so much for sharing this vision with us.

Lydia @ 8:49 pm:

Jerry and Kent:

If the question isn’t answered it sure is implied. That is not the point of his writing though. He was trying to speak of forgivenness and generically how much forgivenness is required to really regain our peace especially in GOd.

July 24, 2008

Cynthia @ 1:55 pm:

Dear Paul,

This part was the killer - the kick in the gut of where I live when I’m honest with myself… and this is exactly what I need - the confrontation and accountability delivered with a calfskin-covered hammer. Thank you!
Cyn

“And I am thrilled, but at the same time grieved at my own darkness of heart. For even as we embrace, even as we thrill to the glory of the Truth of what we are sharing, I was still glad that he looked like a Galilean and not a…” “

July 31, 2008

Rebekah @ 10:57 pm:

Hi,
I live in Adelaide, Australia, and recently read ‘The Shack’. I have to admit, I read it as a true, factual account, and felt pretty silly when my husband broke the news to me that it was actually fiction! Then I began questioning whether the message would have impacted me as much if I knew it was fiction. Would I have been as deeply affected? Would it have challenged me so much? Reading this blog has really helped - the fact that it is fiction, revealing truths about God, means that it is even more impacting. I can experience God in the same way that Mack did. Thankyou :)

August 1, 2008

April Martin @ 6:25 pm:

I finished reading “The Shack” today. I started it yesterday. I greatly enjoyed it. People have different views of God. Mine has always had a tendency to be that he is a harsh judgeing God that is waiting for me to slip up and do something wrong. I greatly appreciate the new found realization that God is truly love and does not sit in harsh judgement of me. He just wants me to live in him. Abundantly and in peace. I view things a little differently now. Thank you so much.

April

August 2, 2008

Christina Brown @ 11:31 pm:

Hello!

I read your book because it was one that my Pastor recommended from the pulpit a few weeks back. I must tel you that usually when I read fiction I devour it like a hungry bear but not so with this book, this one I ate slowly like a fine meal at a fancy restaurant. Many times I had to put the book and simply let the ideas simmer.

Blue Like Jazz and a few other books have touched me deeply but this book, this little work of fiction has opened my heart to a new way of helping others see Jesus more clearly.

Thank you for that. It put words to a flavor I have been eating for years, to the sweetness of Papa and to the idea that God is the great I Am but that doesn’t mean that He can’t be a She if we need that kind of love at the moment.

I am planning on reading it to my husband (who does go to church too, but hates to read) and the giving it wings to a friend who would love it more than she knows.

August 3, 2008

Kim Manning @ 9:59 pm:

Tears are welling in my eyes as I think of what to say about “The Shack” If only I was as prolific a writer as you! My mind and heart have been opened and enlightened to the goodness and love of our God.

I am bursting to share my good news with those around me. The Shack buzz has justed reached my neck of the woods and I’ll never be the same.

Thank you for this wonderful tool. Just told my 21 yr old son that I’d give him $50 to read it! I may just up the anti if he doesn’t read it soon.

May you be blessed abundantly!

August 10, 2008

john @ 8:55 pm:

well,im not sure what to say exactly, but here goes nothin! in my life i have rarely picked up a book and actually finished reading it. i guess that explains why i didnt make very good grades in high school. the book was awesome,i loved it!i found myself crying during some chapters,and laughing on the inside during others. i think keeping an open mind is key in reading this book. it surely seemed to open mine even more to wonders of god. it really made me think about alot of things and how i have viewed them in the past. god bless you!

August 17, 2008

Janine @ 9:44 pm:

I was given the book by a friend and she told me about the book briefly. I have a hard time reading about children being subjected to brutality. So the book sat. Soon after I overheard my pastor recommend it to someone. Then the next day on a Christian TV show it was recommended again, and the third time was the next day as it was being offered as a gift. I thought “okay, maybe I can read just a little.” I started on the chapter just past the hard part for me to handle. I began to read it for about an hour and I was deeply touched. The next day I read until I finished. This book actually gave me an answer to a prayer I had prayed recently. It was a beautiful read and one that I will ask my son and husband to read for themselves. One thing that I thought was particularly poignant the book showed how His ways are higher than our ways. We tend to believe things that are filtered through our eyes and we suffer the consequenses of believing our own lies. Thank you Jesus for reaching down to us…again.

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