Guru Fiction

Cover of
The Shack

Sometimes I just never seem to get around to reviewing books that I have read. This is particularly true of non-fiction as it often takes more work – at least in my mind – to do these type of books justice.

One of the books I have been meaning to discuss is The Shack.  In lieu of such a review, howeve, I offer Richard Lewis’s mini-rant:

THE SHACK is what I call “guru fiction.” It does for Christianity what THE CELESTINE PROPHECY does for New Age, and what Paul Coehlo’s books do for Neo Age Feel Goodism. These are books that use a thin cosmetic makeup of fiction to present didactic teaching.

As fiction, THE SHACK sucks. It’s not even good allegory. Fiction, even as allegory, needs characters in moral dilemmas (or at least life threatening situations), and when Mack makes it to the shack, God as the trinity of Papa, Jesus and Sarayu are so full of love and goodness and humor that there’s no dramatic tension. It’s all lesson lesson lesson for wounded Mack, who asks all the right questions at all the right places for even more lessons. I got to thinking, why couldn’t Papa and Jesus have a good old family argument over something? Some shouting and plate smashing? Or must the Trinity be lovey-dovey all the time? I think I’m straying into heretical waters here.

I’d read this book for my Christian Theology 101 course, but not for my lit class.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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