Book: William P Young “The Shack”

May 2, 2009

the-shackA tricky one to review, as I know lots of people who like this book and I found it a poorly written waste of time.

As a novel the plot is more or less OK, but too simple and uninvolving so it is really all about the encounter between Mack (the main protagonist) and God. So something happens – Mack spends time with God, gets sorted out – things are resolved.  The ‘something’ that happens and is resolved at the end just isn’t written well enough.

So, let’s face it the only thing that has got anyone talking about this is a story about Mack spending three days in a Shack with God who [spoiler alert] is a big black woman who he calls Papa – Jesus is there, and the personification of the Spirit so the trinity is “explained” and experienced.  Mack gets some real intimate care and love from a physically present God, finds himself relaxing, understanding, changing his life, yada yada yada…

Each conversation Mack has with any of the God-head, or time spent with him/them seems to follow the same sort of pattern…

  • Mack feels this is unusual
  • God explains something
  • Mack doesn’t get it
  • God explains it in a slightly different more wordy way
  • Mack gets it, laughs / crys / forgives someone or himself / deals with something
  • Mack then remembers the ‘something’ and “The Great Sadness” comes over him again

Repetitive, unrealistic an boring!  And why does the author keep using this cryptic “The Great Sadness” phrase rather than simply talking about depression.

Other than not thinking it is a very well written book I find it difficult to figure out what this is, is it a work of fiction, theology or fantasy?

  • It doesn’t sit right with me calling it fiction because God is real so ‘could’ work in these ways.
  • I don’t think it is totally theologically sound, because God doesn’t act in these ways.
  • Christian fantasy – I suppose, some kind of “I wish God would do this”

There are some nice moments in the story, some funny interactions between Mack and God but mostly I just found it wordy, overly self-worthy, unengaged and boring.


What is it with Chinese people ?

February 13, 2009

I saw this article on Gizmodo that used the google auto-complet feature to see what people are searching for.  In this example if you type in “I am extreemly” as the screen shot shows, google lets us know that there are 4,750,000 hits for “I am extreemly depressed”, in fact most of the results are fairly depressing…


However, the figure that jumps out is that there are 303,000 results for “I am extremely terrified of chinese people”

But before you rush off to search for all these sites about people suffering from this phobia it seems that since Gizmodo posted this news there have been lots of other people pointing to the post and discussing why there are so many sites about “I am extremely terrified of chinese people” (in much the same way that I am now).  So much so in fact that if you are now actually terrified of chinese people it would be difficult to find support online becuase all the top hits are pointless blogs (like this one) talking about the fact that there were 303,000 results for “I am extremely terrified of chinese people” and now there are many more.

BTW, the fear of Chinese or Chinese culture is real and is known as “Sinophobia

Also, for the record, I like chinese people – but don’t get me started on Belgians!!

Broken dreams and loss of hope…

December 7, 2007

It seems like only yesterday (but it was in fact 2 days ago) that I shared my dream of a perfect Christmas Eve trip to the GFT to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life“…  well it’s not!

It is not a Wonderful Life and this is not the year for the prefect Christmas Eve!  Why?  Because I left it too late and the entire thing is fully booked!

My own fault I suppose, but I’ve left it much later than this before and still been able to get tickets :-((  I will be really annoyed now if it does snow on Christmas Eve – Bahh Humbug!

I Feel…

March 15, 2007

I feel like I’m in a tumble dryer
upside down and back to front
facing in and out at the same time
I don’t know how to get out
I don’t know if this will ever change
I don’t know why this is happening to me

I feel like I’m being ground to bits
crushed and chopped, loosing pieces of me
I don’t know how long it will go on for
I don’t know who put me here
I don’t know why this is happening to me

I feel like a scrap of paper blowing along the street
No use to anyone, stood on, crumpled, forgotten
Rubbish not even good enough for the bin
The hopes I had have gone
My dreams – being given to others

I am alone in a café waiting
I was left here while my dad went for a ‘swift one’
I don’t know how long it’s been, but I’m bored
I don’t know why this happened to me
I don’t know who cares

I don’t want to ‘feel’ anymore

– anon,  2002

memories, life being crap and sprouts

March 1, 2007

I don’t do ‘life’ very well. I had to do a bit of tidying up which involved clearing out some boxes of ‘stuff’ that have been moved from cupboard to bedroom to pile in a corner to … well now a large mess all over the carpet. I’ve been putting it off because I know I don’t do this stuff very well.

The contents of the boxes is mostly rubbish, old bits of stationary, tapes, planning notes from YF, Vestry, old events I used to be involved in even a couple of bits from the old ‘River’ events. Mostly going back about 7 years. But also some more personal things. Old photo albums, letters and drawings (I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone no wonder the Royal Mail want to charge more for postage), cards, diaries, notebooks, reminders of various points in my life – some of which were happy some not.

The thing is with my ‘glass half empty’ attitude even going through the things that should be nice to remember don’t go down well. Either it is ‘look how bad things were then’ or ‘look how much I was doing and things were so good – why isn’t it like that any more?’ so a lose / lose situation. It’s like sprouts – some people just like them some people just don’t, in the same way some folk tend towards seeing the positive in situations I just don’t. sprout

Oh well, bad night I suppose – and not just because I found that photo of me from the 80s with a perm (and no I’m not going to post that – ever)!

BTW, I don’t like sprouts.