Back to the Shack

My friend (and bookstore colleague) Fr. Tom has discovered William Young’s The Shack, and is now recommending it to everyone who will listen. I’m pleased to see that it has become a New York Times Bestseller. I pointed Fr. Tom to my own review — written almost a year ago now — and so I thought I’d dig it up again for newcomers to this blog.

Click here to read my review of The Shack.

Concerning Emergence, Contemplation, and the Faith of the Future
Five Approaches to InterSpirituality
In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
Faith, Doubt and Perseverance
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • zoecarnate

    Ha! That’s awesome that Fr. Tom’s so into it. I keep saying, it’s the most well-deserved Christian bestseller in memory; one that sells (2.5 million copies and counting!) and is spiritually substantial. Steve Knight at Emergent Village does a great roundup of recent Shack news, including a Jay Leno clip about it!

    If you all ever want to do a joint Fr. Tom/Paul Young Trinitarian retreat at the monastery, let me know and I just might be able to work it out!

  • zoecarnate

    Whoa – are you banning HTML code these days? (Or did I not just close my tag properly?) Either way, the link I alluded to is at

  • irishanglican

    The Shack? Not for me mate! I even have a 1912 copy of ‘Christian Mysticism’, by William R. Inge, D.D….who quotes at the very end: “Mysticism is an assertion of a means of knowing that must not be tried by ordinary rules of evidence – the claiming authority for our own impressions.” Though he in the negative, i.e, Inge. But I in the positive.

    Fr. Robert

  • Carl McColman

    Have you actually read The Shack, Robert? If so, I don’t see how the good dean’s quote applies. Young makes no claim to have written anything other than a novel — but one with some fascinating things to say about the Blessed Trinity.

  • irishanglican

    My wife read it. I must confess I am somewhat burned on fiction (as is our time). The Trinity of God is nothing to mess with. In fact Christianity can really only be expressed by dogmatic theology! I am closer to the Orthodox here. It is my conviction that we need a good dose of Barth’s “kerygmatic” and Trinity of God! (minus the fililque) Barth is much more Christo-centric too.

    Fr. Robert

  • irishanglican

    That quote by Inge was from James Hinton. We can never argue against historic Christianity. This might be a western error? The East and Orthodoxy are very mystical, but never at the loss of the historical.


    PS I am not without criticism for the Orthodox however.

  • Peter

    Father Robert,

    Pardon me if I respectfully disagree, but dogmatic theology has distanced itself so far from the reality of life in the Holy Spirit, indwelt and quickened by His sovereign gracious presence and blessing, that by this point in history it HARDLY EVER express any significant aspect of living Christianity.

    I believe in being totally Christocentric, and I love the mysticism of the East as well as the West. But I have learned a long time ago (and very deeply) that the historical is NOW! The eternal, timeless, endless realities of our faith are just as current and permanent and solid in the current, present time as they ever have been before (or will be in the future).

    Our theologizing is an ongoing, growing process. Christ in you, the hope of glory, is a substantial, spiritual, timeless reality. There really is no comparison!

    God bless you, and thank you for your input,

  • irishanglican


    My view of dogmatic theology would be more from the Orthodox persective. Which is hardly “distanced” (thats a western view). Let me recommend Fr. Serguis Bulgakov’s book: The Comforter! If you can find his “dogmatic theology” distanced here? Then I am at least near him.

    Got to run mate. Later?

    Fr. Robert

  • Joy

    Hi, Carl! I’m tickled to hear that Fr. Tom enjoyed the Shack so much — and not at all surprised. I’m so glad I got to know him before we left, he’s such a sweet, funny, wise man. I wonder if Fr. Anthony’s read it yet…

    Ciao for now!