(Bea, you may want to give this one a miss until you're gotten through it)
Reading The Shack as a book group book. I had little to no interest in trying this alone, but I figured that it might be fun to discuss it with some like-minded individuals.
You may or may not be aware that when it comes to literature and/or writing, I am not much bothered by various heretical speculations, thoughts, or postulates. The DaVinci Code did not bother me nearly as much as it did some parts of the Catholic World, perhaps because none of it was particularly original or "news" to anyone who had spent time in Arthurian studies. What was MOST distressing about DVC was its deplorably bad writing and half logic. In sum, the cardinal sin of any bad novel isn't it's flawed theology but it's uncanny knack for saying precisely the wrong thing at every turn and saying it poorly.
Similarly with The Shack--the writing is so deplorably bad, I'm hard-pressed to know whether or not anything heretical is being espoused because I'm too busy trying to force myself through the congestion of terrible prose and rod McKuen-like evocations of landscapes that were better left in someone's travel diary. Consider this indigestible Tolstoy-history-lecture-like lump that introduces a chapter
from The Shack
There are times when you choose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is suprarationaltiy: reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic; something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture or reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in.
To which, I must respond, thank you for that commercial advertisement Professor, now can we get back to the novel? These delightful digressions stud the prose like pebbles in an oatmeal cookie.
The sensation thickens as I continue through it and as I try to choke down theology lectures disguised as dialog.
So, if I make it through, I'll let you know what I think. Don't count on some rigorous theological analysis--for one thing, I lack the wherewithal to undertake such an analysis--for another, it would be like a semiotic analysis of the Bobbsey Twins novels.