New study on “The Shack” beginning tonight.

I posted this on my facebook and got some inquiries from friends far away if they could join the study long distance.  Made me think I could post some ideas, questions, musings on my blog as we go through the study. I am welcoming some new gals joining our study tonight and am looking forward to conversation and exploration.

You can pick up “The SHack” by William P. Young at the Costco for like $8 bucks I think. It is pretty popular so I imagine if you have a coupon at Borders you could find it there.

We are covering Intro, Chap 1 and Chap 2 tonight.


First sentence tells us this is about a man spending an entire weekend with God, in a shack!

What would you do if you spent a weekend with God.  How would you feel?  What questions would you ask?

(I have this desire to write a bible study based on the questions you would ask God….if you could ASK any questions and He would give you an answer, what would you ask?  If you want to contribute to that future study, leave me the questions you would ask in my comment field.)

We are introduced to Mack and his inner world.

Mack’s childhood was spent at the hands of a father who was abusive and a church goer.   Brings up right off the bat, the age old complaint of people seeing “religious people” as hypocrites…..going to church but living in evil ways.  We discover Mack also feels guilty for not defending his mother from his alcoholic and abusive father.

Do you struggle with this issue of hypocrisy?  Has it kept you away from church?  How have you understood it, if you have resolved it?

I think the key challenge of the book is hinted at  where the narrator describes Mack as usually making “uncomfortable sense in a world where most folks would rather just hear what they are used to hearing….”      Are we used to thinking of issues of faith and God in a fuzzy way, with images that are a mixture of childhood fragments of memories, popular culture, our own notions of what is right and good and how God should act, bits and pieces of our grandmothers counsel, dreams, etc?  Are we just used to that fuzzy image we have ….being half afraid to expose these ideas to critical thought….maybe you would even feel guilty or think it was a lack of faith to question issues of faith or who God is and what is His character!?

The Introduction is setting us up to have our old and comfortable notions about God rocked.

The narrator tells us that Mack’s relationship with God is wide and his wife Nan’s relationship with God is deep. How would you describe your relationship with God?  Why?

We hear for the first time about the Great Sadness but no details yet….intrigue.  We know it has to do with some great loss.

He also challenges us to consider looking at and describing our inner world…..where only me and God are…….”if you believe in him,” he says.  “Of course, God might be there even if you don’t believe in him.”   What is going on in your inner world.  What issues are you struggling with that maybe put into question your “notion” of God?

Chapter One introduces us to the note from “Papa” asking Mack to join him at the shack.  What would you think and do if you received a note like this?

Would you ever address God as “Papa”?  Could Papa God leave someone a note today?

Chapter Two. Takes us back to the camping trip……we know they are going to tell us about the Great Sadness.  Weird that it was Labor Day weekend!  Mack takes his three children to a lake near Multnomah Falls.

They stop and Mack tells Missy the story about the Indian Princess who gives her life to save her beloved and her entire tribe from an illness.

Mack has an experience with God as he is enjoying beautiful, pristine nature and an evening where he can consider the stars and the depths and beauty of what God has created.  Do you recognize God’s hand in the making of the beauty of creation?  Do you have a greater sense of God or does this bring you closer to God?  Does that inspire you to want to explore more about the God that created the heavens and the earth?


One Response

  1. I began reading The Shack several months ago but never finished it. I have the bad habit of starting 2 or 3 books at once. I will return to it and keep up with your blog. The question I would ask God? Easy. “Why in the world did you make men and women so completely different??? Surely you knew they were going to have to live together!!” Also, “Why couldn’t you automatically build into parents and grandparents AT LEAST as much energy as you gave little children?” Of course, He would probably ask me why I don’t take better care of myself, since my body is, after all, the temple of the Lord.
    I definitely see God in the beauty and awe of creation and how everything works so perfectly, like a well-oiled machine. Sometimes it amuses me when scientists make major “discoveries” which God had planned all along. Take the human body for example. Just a coincidence how it keeps plugging along even with all the abuse we heap on it? I hardly think so. God is definitely in control, and I’m so glad he is!!

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