Saturday, March 7, 2009

"The Shack" Attack

Ok, ok, it's on.

Perhaps she didn't know it, but yesterday, in my kitchen, my mother-in-law threw down the theological gauntlet.

"You know you should read 'The Shack,'" she offered, putting on the best imitation of nonchalance I've seen in a while.

This all started because I was asking questions about becoming a deacon, something my mother-in-law is studying for at the moment. This segued into a general conversation about religion, of which she knows I have none.

And that's when she fired off her literary suggestion. But suggesting I read "The Shack" is like telling your fat friend to read something by Richard Simmons. It's less of a recommendation and more of a threat, it's a taunt to change your ways. I realize you don't know me, but I don't cotton to threats too kindly --- so I reckon I'ma read that book (sorry, intellectual challenges make me talk like Old West prospecters). Today I am going to the library to go get "The Shack" and you lovely readers should expect regular updates as I read it and share my excellent thoughts.

But before I start with my weeks long review, you should get a little background.

Here's what I know about "The Shack."

1. I almost picked it up last summer because I thought it was a Dean R. Koontz book (if you see the cover, you'd understand).

2. My main man Hank Hannegraf (radio's Bible Answer Man) does NOT dig the book, saying it made him "more than just a little queasy." Now, considering that I only like Hank in an ironic way (see my earlier post about him), I'm not sure how to take his criticism but there you go.

Honestly, I'm not expecting much from "The Shack," mostly because all the Christian fiction I've read or seen is just really bad (remind me to tell you about the failed "Left Behind" experiment of 1999 -- I got six pages in before hitting eject). I understand that Christian fiction are morality plays, but do they have to FEEL like morality plays, much less plays for fifth graders?

I point to Kirk Cameron to make my point:

Take this scene from "Fireproof," Kirk's latest God-happy flick about a fireman trying to save his marriage. If only I could figure out what I'm supposed to learn from this scene.

Anyway, you get the picture. My expectations are low, but I'm willing to read -- especially because it's free. Honestly, at this point, the only thing I'm dreading more than reading the book is going to the library to get it. It's like going to the porn store where you are firmly judged as one of THOSE kinds of people. I realize I don't owe everyone an explanation but I feel like I need to tell the librarian "I'm only reading this book to snark all over it, not because I need enlightenment."

Hmm, maybe I'll just print it on my t-shirt -- "I Read Christian Literature For My Blog." Consider it done.