The book, which without of doubt had the greatest impact on me in terms of that it permanently changed my way of thinking about something so important as religion is “The Shack” by William Paul Young. It talks about the spiritual journey of a man, whose terrible, personal tragedy forced him to reconsider his faith and his own understanding of God. These are issues that certainly we all think about every day. The only difference is that, unlike us, he got the answer to his question.
The main protagonist of the book is a man named Mackenzie Allen. He is a family man, loves his wife and their children, but especially his youngest daughter Missy. She was taken during the family vacation and evidence that she was murdered were found in an abandoned shack. Here begins his great suffering. Estrange from his friends, he closed up because he wanted to know: Why her? If you exist God, why did you let this happen? After a few years, someone who signs as God leaves him a message in the mailbox. He wanted to meet with him in a few days in that shack where his daughter was killed. It sounded totally crazy, but the desire for an answer won over the common sense and he went there.
In the shack he meets God, Jesus and other Goddesses and in some kind of trance receives knowledge about the manner of the divine conception of the world and people. He recalls the sins of his youth and all of this helps him in a truly new and fascinating way to find his peace. “This book does not provide easy answers, but invites us to approach God and if we want, to let him in our hearts.” The hand of God will not lead us, our choices are only ours, whether good or bad. We can always ask him for forgiveness, and we will receive it. But why do bad things and pray for forgiveness when with faith in him we can all be worthy of his smile, do great things, change this world for the better.
I do not agree with the majority of known critics of this book. It is not dangerous to the Christian doctrine, it is not dangerous for the church. The greatest danger for the Church is the Church herself. Nobody because of this book will leave the path of Christianity, we will remain on the path because of it. This book offers an alternative for those of us who no longer trust priests of all religions on Earth. It offers peace, it offers forgiveness for all those who thought they did not deserve it, and it offers reconciliation, if we want it. Even if this book is a lie, even if it was all an illusion of a broken man, frankly I prefer his lies over this modern truth. I would rather live in a utopian illusion of Allen McKenzie than in the modern war of religions that are currently taking place around the world. Religion should reconciled the people, and instead its preachers on earth are waging war on its behalf.
Along with Allen Mackenzie I also found my peace. I realized that if we believe in God, if we feel his presence, we do need to go to the church, whose teachings we do not like, we don’t have to kiss the hands of corrupted priests, it is enough to close our eyes, where ever we were in that moment and turn to him not with the hope that he will hear us, but with faith and knowledge that he will, while not expecting any sign of him, because we all know what is good and what is bad. This book is not the Bible, this book does not oppose it, it’s her little gospel, just one opinion about God, because who of us can know the absolute truth about this. To claim that we know, and that everything is just like we think it is, equals the claim that we are Gods. We are only people who often like to play God. God is in us if we want him to be, and if we don’t want, it’s ok, he will not be angry.