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Authors: William P. Young

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #General, #Religious

The Shack

The Shack

by William P. Young

Copyright © 2007 by William P. Young.

All rights reserved.

This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.

Published by
Windblown Media
, 4680 Calle Norte, Newbury Park, CA 91320 •
[email protected]

(805) 498-2482, Fax: (805) 499-4269

Published in association with Hachette Book Group USA.

Lyric used in chapter 1: Larry Norman, “One Way.” © 1995 Solid Rock

Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.`

Lyric used in chapter 10: “New World,” by David Wilcox. © 1994 Irving

Music, Inc. and Midnight Ocean Bonfire Music. All rights administered by Irving Music, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-964-72929-2

The Shack

A novel by

William P. Young

In collaboration with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings



1. A Confluence of Paths

2. The Gathering Dark

3. The Tipping Point

4. The Great Sadness

5. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

6. A Piece of π

7. God on the Dock

8. A Breakfast of Champions

9. A Long Time Ago, In a Garden Far, Far Away

10. Wade in the Water

11. Here Come Da Judge

12. In the Belly of the Beasts

13. A Meeting of hearts

14. Verbs and Other Freedoms

15. A Festival of Friends

16. A Morning of Sorrows

17. Choices of the Heart

18. Outbound Ripples

After Words


The Missy Project



When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of
The Shack.
This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s
Pilgrim’s Progress
did for his. It’s that good!

Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

While reading
The Shack
I realized the questions unfolding in this captivating novel were questions I was carrying deep within me. The beauty of this book is not that it supplies easy answers to grueling questions, but that it invites you to come in close to a God of mercy and love, in whom we find hope and healing.

Jim Palmer, author of
Divine Nobodies

The Shack
is a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God. Through my tears and cheers, I have been indeed transformed by the tender mercy with which William Paul Young opened the veil that too often separated me from God and from myself. With every page, the complicated do’s and don’ts that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son, and Spirit for the first time in my life.

Patrick M. Roddy, Emmy Award winning producer for ABC News

Wrapped in creative brilliance,
The Shack
is spiritually profound, theologically enlightening and life impacting. It has my highest recommendation. We are joyfully giving copies away by the case.

Steve Berger, pastor at Grace Chapel Leipers Fork

Finally! A guy-meets-God novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring.
The Shack
cuts through the cliches of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life’s integral dance with the divine. This story reads like a prayer—like the best kind of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it.

Mike Morrell,

An exceptional piece of writing that ushers you directly into the heart and nature of God in the midst of agonizing human suffering. This amazing story will challenge you to consider the person and the plan of God in more expansive terms than you may have ever dreamed.

David Gregory, author of
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger

The Shack
will change the way you think about God forever.

Kathie Lee Gifford, Co-host NBC’s
Today Show

I really thought that this book was just another book. Trust me folks—IT’S NOT! When bandwagons come along I usually let them go right on by. When it comes to
The Shack,
I’m not only on the bandwagon, I keep asking the driver to stop and pick up all of my friends. I can’t remember the last time a book, let alone a work of fiction, had this much of a healing impact on my life.

Drew Marshall, radio host,
The Drew Marshall Show

If God is all powerful and full of love, why doesn’t He do something about the pain and evil in our world? This book answers that age old question with startling creativity and staggering clarity. By far one of the best books I have ever read.

James Ryle, author of
Hippo In the Garden

Riveting, with twists that defy your expectations while teaching powerful theological lessons without patronizing. I was crying by page 100. You cannot read it without your heart becoming involved.

Gayle E. Erwin, author of
The Jesus Style

This book goes beyond being the well written suspenseful page-turner that it is. Since the death of our son Jason the Lord has led us to a small number of life-changing books and this one heads the list. When you close the back cover you will be changed.

Dale Lang, (, father of student killed in Columbine copycat shooting

The Shack
is a beautiful story of how God comes to find us in the midst of our sorrows, trapped by disappointments, betrayed by our own presumptions. He never leaves us where He finds us, unless we insist.

Wes Yoder, Ambassador Speakers Bureau

You will be captivated by the creativity and imagination of
The Shack,
and before you know it you’ll be experiencing God as never before. William Young’s insights are not just captivating, they are biblically faithful and true. Don’t miss this transforming story of grace.

Greg Albrecht, Editor,
Plain Truth Magazine

Your work is a masterpiece! There are tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. All I can think of is the others that need to read your words and I’m just as convinced that each one that reads it has those who also need your words.

Chyril Walker, Ph.D.

This story was written for my children:

Chad - the Gentle Deep

Nicholas - the Tender Explorer

Andrew - the Kindhearted Affection

Amy - the Joyful Knower

Alexandra (Lexi) - the Shining Power

Matthew - the Becoming Wonder

And dedicated first

to Kim, my Beloved, thank you for saving my life,

and second, to:

“...all us stumblers who believe Love rules. Stand up and let it shine.”


Who wouldn’t be skeptical when a man claims to have spent an entire weekend with God, in a shack no less? And this was

I have known Mack for a bit more than twenty years, since the day we both showed up at a neighbor’s house to help him bale a field of hay to put up for his couple of cows. Since then he and I have been, as the kids say these days, hangin’ out, sharing a coffee— or for me a chai tea, extra hot with soy. Our conversations bring a deep sort of pleasure, always sprinkled with lots of laughs and once in a while a tear or two. Frankly, the older we get, the more we hang out, if you know what I mean.

His full name is Mackenzie Allen Phillips, although most people call him Allen. It’s a family tradition: the men all have the same first name but are commonly known by their middle names, presumably to avoid the ostentation of I, II and III or Junior and Senior. It works well for identifying telemarketers too, especially the ones who call as if they were your best friend. So he and his grandfather, father, and now his oldest son all have the given name of Mackenzie, but are commonly referred to by their middle names. Only Nan, his wife, and close friends call him Mack (although I have heard a few total strangers yell, “Hey Mack, where’d you learn to drive?”).

Mack was born somewhere in the Midwest, a farm boy in an Irish-American family committed to calloused hands and rigorous rules. Although externally religious, his overly strict church-elder father was a closet drinker, especially when the rain didn’t come, or came too early, and most of the times in between. Mack never talks much about him, but when he does his face loses emotion like a tide going out, leaving dark and lifeless eyes. From the few stories Mack has told me, I know his daddy was not a fall-asleep-happy kind of alcoholic but a vicious mean beat-your-wife-and-then-ask-God-for-forgiveness drunk.

It all came to a head when thirteen-year-old Mackenzie reluctantly bared his soul to a church leader during a youth revival. Overtaken by the conviction of the moment, Mack confessed in tears that he hadn’t done anything to help his mama as he witnessed, on more than one occasion, his drunken dad beat her unconscious. What Mack failed to consider was that his confessor worked and churched with his father, and by the time he got home his daddy was waiting for him on the front porch with his mama and sisters conspicuously absent. He later learned that they had been shuttled off to his Aunt May’s in order to give his father some freedom to teach his rebellious son a lesson about respect. For almost two days, tied to the big oak at the back of the house, he was beaten with a belt and Bible verses every time his dad woke from a stupor and put down his bottle.

Two weeks later, when Mack was finally able to put one foot in front of the other again, he just up and walked away from home. But before he left, he put varmint poison in every bottle of booze he could find on the farm. He then unearthed from next to the outhouse the small tin box housing all his earthly treasures: one photograph of the family with everybody squinting as they looked into the sun (his daddy standing off to one side), a 1950 Luke Easter rookie baseball card, a little bottle that contained about an ounce of Ma Griffe (the only perfume his mama had ever worn), a spool of thread and a couple needles, a small silver die-cast U.S. Air Force F-86 Jet, and his entire life savings—$15.13. He crept back into the house and slipped a note under his mama’s pillow while his father lay snoring off another binge. It just said, “Someday I hope you can forgive me.” He swore he would never look back, and he didn’t—not for a long time.

Thirteen is too young to be all grown up, but Mack had little choice and adapted quickly. He doesn’t talk much about the years that followed. Most of it was spent overseas, working his way around the world, sending money to his grandparents, who passed it on to his mama. In one of those distant countries I think he even picked up a gun in some kind of terrible conflict; he’s hated war with a dark passion ever since I’ve known him. Whatever happened, in his early twenties he eventually ended up in a seminary in Australia. When Mack had his fill of theology and philosophy he came back to the States, made peace with his mama and sisters, and moved out to Oregon where he met and married Nannette A. Samuelson.

In a world of talkers, Mack is a thinker and doer. He doesn’t say much unless you ask him directly, which most folks have learned not to do. When he does speak you wonder if he isn’t some sort of alien who sees the landscape of human ideas and experiences differently than everybody else.

The thing is, he usually makes uncomfortable sense in a world where most folks would rather just hear what they are used to hearing, which is often not much of anything. Those who know him generally like him well enough, providing he keeps his thoughts mostly to himself. And when he does talk, it isn’t that they stop liking him—rather, they are not quite so satisfied with themselves.

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