It was pretty much inevitable that a version of The Shack, the bestselling novel by Canadian-born author William Paul Young, would find its way to the big screen.
Any book boasting worldwide sales numbering close to 20 million has, in the lingo of the publishing and film industry, a huge platform – a large base of people likely to want to see the film. That said, the motivation to bring this project to screen is much less about its money-earning capacity than the passion of its supporters. The fruit of that labour debuts this weekend in theatres across North America.
What follows is a review of the film intended to assess its merits as a film and not, as much as possible, to be an assessment of its theology or its utility as an outreach tool.
For avid readers, there is just something about the summer. Some little hint of permission to read thick, juicy paperbacks that smack of vacation time. Maybe it’s extra time available to read a theological work that builds your spirit, even if you’re reading it on a chaise lounge. Or, better yet, maybe it’s both. Maybe your summer reading includes play and pray?
We asked some of our Faith Today family and EFC colleagues to let us peek at their reading lists. Maybe it will inspire your own reading this summer?
Aileen van Ginkel is vice president, ministry services at the EFC. Here’s her ambitious (and a little bit intimidating) list:
Robert White is a writer for Faith Today, and takes cool pictures. Here is his summer reading pile:
Rick Hiemstra is director, research and media relations for the EFC
“I’m always trying to understand what is going on in the church and in culture. I like to read books that others have already digested, and come with their recommendation. These four came recommended to me by people I respect for their insight. (Looks pretty gloomy just reading all the titles together, doesn’t it? As I read I’ll just take comfort in the fact that Christ “upholds the universe by the word of his power.)”
For fun, I hope to re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a historical fantasy set in early 1800s England. I stumbled on this lengthy novel as an audiobook at the library a few years ago, and look forward to reading the paper version. It’s slow-moving in spots, but it offers a fascinating otherworldly experience with remarkable period detail, memorable characters and a compelling alternative mythology.
As a gift I recently received the novel Lila by Marilynne Robinson, the acclaimed Christian literary author. It’s the third of three novels set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, and undoubtedly beautiful and thought provoking.
Lastly, I am also trying to keep up with some of the books my sons like to read, and so I am currently in the middle of Book 8 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series by Australian novelist John Flanagan. These semi-medieval adventures continue for at least three more books, and then there is the related Brotherband Chronicles, so I don’t think I will be free of Will, Halt, Horace and friends for a while.
We hope that you will include Faith Today as part of your summer reading! Let us know what you plan to read over the next few months.