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REASON #5–WHY I LIKE THE SHACK–FAMILY IS BIG…REALLY BIG!
I like Wm. Paul Young. Sure, it’s true, I don’t know him that well…and sure, I may be biased towards him simply because Paul was born in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada (and I was born a few hours south in Edmonton, Alberta) and yes, Paul does embody every writer’s dream (I’m a writer, by the way) since he bucked the publishing system and went the self-published route–and succeeded. Yes, these are all good reasons to like Paul Young. But my main reason is because I REALLY like his book.
I have to confess, however, that I never read his book the first year it came out or, for that matter, during the first four years it came out. Why didn’t I read it right away? Well, reason number one was because I was working on a manuscript about the biblical evidence for the femininity of the Holy Spirit and I didn’t want Mr. Young’s book to sway my thoughts. And the number two reason was that, honestly, so many of my friends were reading this book that I didn’t even feel the need to read it–my friends constantly tried to explain the story to me! Every person in my city (which at the time was Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) was reading The Shack. It seemed that as soon as this book came out, I was getting phone calls from friends who told me “You just have to read it!”
Well, I did eventually read it…and I liked it. Of course, I knew I would like it (I knew the story pretty well by the time I read the book, despite my pleas for friends to refrain from telling me about it). Now for those people who know me (Deidre Havrelock), you know I like the book because it portrays the Holy Spirit as God/Spirit and, yet, also in the image of woman. But I like the book not just for this reason, but for many reasons.
My first reason for liking this book has to do with why Paul Young wrote it. He wrote it for his family. As a writer I adore this simplicity. After all, a lot of us writers start out by wanting to use our innate desire to tell story as a way of giving a gift to our family (I gave my first piece of writing to my parents as a Christmas gift): we love story, we love our family, so it makes sense to tell a story for our family. In Paul’s case, I just think God wanted to show him how BIG his family actually was. His book The Shack has sold over 12 million copies since 2007. I don’ t know exactly how big Paul’s immediate family is (six kids + a wife + some daughters in law…add in a pinch of grandchildren), but Paul’s family is obviously much bigger than he first concluded…and that’s something wonderful. That’s something that I think is a bit of a revelation. God’s family is bigger than we imagine. I mean, just think: having family members reach out to you from all across the world, saying “Gee, thanks Paul for writing this wonderful book for me…it really helped.” Love, Deidre.
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