“The Shack” author says he never meant to write a book.
William P. Young said he first wrote “The Shack,” for his children, and didn’t think anything more of it, until friends and family encouraged him to publish the book, which he did, with the help of friends, some savings and some credit cards. He thought it would take years to get rid of the first 10,000 books stacked in that friend’s garage. But now, as the sales of the books are closing in on the 4 million mark and the book has stayed on the New York Times best seller list for 18 weeks, Young told a packed audience last month at the Garfield Book Company that God is using the book, and the story, in ways he never dreamed of. Drawing on pain he experienced in his own life over an 11-year span between 1994 and 2005, Young told the rapt crowd at the book signing that he picked a large African American woman to be God to blow away preconceived notions.
“I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that God is Gandalf with an attitude…or Santa Claus,” he said.
The book has inspired conversations about the nature of God, healing and human nature, and dealing with everything that comes with living in a world in which terrible things happen.
In the book, Young explores a meeting Mackenzie Allen Philip has with God, as well as Jesus and the Holy Spirit, all of whom he finds in a shack in the middle of the Oregon woods. He challenges God on why terrible things happen to innocent people, such as Philip’s young daughter, who was adducted and brutally murdered.
“I guess one of the reasons I wrote the books is that I wanted to ask the questions that allowed to ask when I was growing up,” said Young, who grew up as a missionaries’ kid. “I wanted to communicate these thoughts to my kids (he has six, ages 28 to 15) if I wasn’t there some day.”
The signing and discussion was sponsored by Campus Ministry and the Garfield Book Company.