The Shack Attack

Posted by Heather Conrad at 7:40 PM

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Greetings! Sorry to have been away for awhile. New-found-fun projects have been on the forefront of my mind in my "spare" time... painting, painting, and some more painting (not to mention finally attacking those drawers that I seem to open, grab, and quickly shut again). Reorganization, redecoration is good for the soul. I gotta strike while the iron's hot, not sure when I'll run out of steam, anyone with me?

My few spare moments of waiting (parent-pick-up lines) has allowed me to grab the book called The Shack. It's all a buzz right now, many commentaries have been written, but alas I've chosen to turn a deaf ear so that I could complete it in an unbiased fashion. In a word - wow! If you ask around, and can become a lending library with a friend, I highly suggest this one as your next read. I can say that I understand where others' "red flags" have been thrown, and keeping in mind it is a fiction book, there were parts that really got me thinkin. I'm going to attempt to talk in generalizations so as not to spoil it for those of you yet to read it, but I do want to throw out a topic discussed just to wet your whistle for today (sorry for all the throw-back phrases, Aaron's always great for a few doosies).

The topic that caught my attention dealt with two words - responsibility and expectation. The author challenges the reader to think of these words as related to free will verses the law. Because God gives us the ability to respond, our response can be free to love and serve in every situation, making each moment different, unique, and wonderful. Because HE is our ability to respond, he has to be present in us. If he simply gave us a responsibility, he would not have to be with us at all. It would now be a task to perform, an obligation to be met, something in which to fail.

The author goes on to use friendship as an example. For instance, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within the relationship. An expectancy of being together, laughing, and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic, everything emerges from this unique gift shared by one one else. But what happens if I change that 'expectancy' to an 'expectation'? Suddenly, law has entered into the relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about me and you, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend. Has this caused any rifts in a relationship of yours?

The author goes on to describe how responsibilities and expectations are the basis of guilt, shame, and judgement and provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value. The idea behind expectations require that someone does not know the future or outcome and is trying to control behavior to get the desired result. My response... ouch. How simply astounding to be reminded that God does not have an expectation of me, and that I can never disappoint him. He already knows everything about me, I do not have to earn his love. He does have an expectancy for me to respond in this living relationship, AND the degree to which I resort to expectations and responsibilities corresponds to the degree in which I neither know him nor trust Him. WOW... not my intention at all, yet there it is.

What are your thoughts?


ang said...

I'm on chapter 13. I have post-it notes all over the places in the book that I want to discuss. Can wait to chat about it:)

kucole said...

There have been so many people commenting on this book, but is hosting an online chat with the author, William Paul Young, on Oct. 22 to get questions asked directly from him. I work with and am really excited about the chat. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT at You should join if you can! said...


Your Mr. found my blog. I am so glad. I enjoy his heart felt and funny writting. I just realized he has a link of you on his blog (no duh, right :0). Anyway, you are a neat family. I would like to add you to my link list. Is this ok?


Amanda said...

My MIL just read that, she had lots to say for it too. I've been thinking about picking that one up. You know... for spare time passing!!! ;) Sounds good!