Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Controversy over The Shack
From the Christian E-Tailing Newsletter:
As surprise hit The Shack makes the New York Times best-seller lists, the newspaper notes that its million-plus sales have been "fueled partly by a whiff of controversy."
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler has joined the list of critics of William P. Young's novel, calling it "deeply troubling" and warning that it undermines orthodox Christianity, said the newspaper this week.
But as well as a subject of sharp debate, The Shack is "the most compelling recent example of how word-of-mouth phenomenon can explode into a blockbuster when the momentum hits chain bookstores, and the marketing and distribution power of a major commercial publisher is thrown behind it."
Kathryn Popoff, vice president for merchandising of adult trade books at Borders, told the Times that the book was appealing to audiences beyond Christian readers. But not everyone agrees. Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books, an independent store near Kansas City, Mo., said she had sold only nine copies in four months.
"The buzz never made it here," Jennings told the Times. "What it tells me is that it is still pretty much restricted to the Christian audience."
You can read my review of The Shack in an earlier post here. I don't agree with Mohler's quote, above. I think there's a lot of good stuff in The Shack. It doesn't contain the entire orthodoxy of Christianity, but that's not its focus. Its message is of God's love, and it is, in the end, a novel. However, there certainly is some controversy, although the naysayers are far outweighed in number. I do recommend reading the book because so many people are talking about it. It's not fair to voice opinions without reading the thing.