Going Back In: A Look at Publishing to Christians in the 21st Century

Three years ago when I was working on rewrites of The Shack with Paul and Brad, I wasn’t even sure we’d be able to find a publisher for that book, much less an audience for it. And, as many of you know, we couldn’t find a publisher who would take the risk. This has been my frustration with so-called ‘Christian publishing’ for so long. It was why I left it in 2000 to publish my own works, so I wouldn’t fall victim to the control and lack of imagination that I have experienced in that environment.

The industry seems to pander to a religious mentality deeply ingrained in Christianity-as-religion that is based on performance not grace, rules and rituals instead of vibrant relationship, exalting the trappings of institutions and leadership instead of the reality of the ever-present Christ, and turning the joy of community into an obligation to sit through a meeting, rather than the irresistible opportunity to share the life of Jesus with other followers.

And I’ve found I’m not alone. The run-away popularity of The Shack has opened a lot of doors for Paul, Brad and me to be in conversations with some of the key publishing people around the nation. We are hearing from authors, editors and executives who have struggled under the same constraints and are celebrating the fact that The Shack has helped to identify a massive spiritual hunger that lies outside the lines of our tightly-package Christian machinery.

This came from an email exchange with an author based in the Chicago area:

You have an eloquent way of putting words to thoughts I’ve had after writing five books and several articles for Christian (and secular) publishers. I couldn’t agree with you more that, ‘It is tough for Christian publishers to do a good job on books that challenge the status quo, and almost impossible for secular publishers to deal in positive terms with the reality of Jesus.’ This – ironically – makes authentic, cutting-edge, Christ-loving, truly grace-driven writing into some kind of anathema.

And this, from the Mick Silva, the editor of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House and one of the leading Christian publishers:

Briefly, my dream is to bridge the gap between safely packaged (often sanitized) Christian messages, and honest, warts-and-all God-encounters. I’m sure you’re aware that too. Too often God is given short shrift in Christian publishing. And that supposedly simply reflects American Christianity—many trappings, little substance.

That’s what I’ve had to accept—until the success of The Shack. Now I can ask: what if CBA (Christian) publishing doesn’t necessarily just reflect the problems in the church, but also perpetuates some of them? I used to believe that changing people’s hearts was the only way to show that the commonly held publishing assumptions about the “what’s-in-it-for-me?” audience have been off. But now The Shack may be proving there’s an audience hungry for something different—or at least intrigued enough to buy it.

I believe, like many of us, Eugene Peterson has seen this shift coming. The big Christian houses may not be ready to cut ties with their big accounts to chase this awakening audience—and the secular market is certainly not ready for that. But a small company like Windblown can be much more strategic. And that’s exciting to me, not least of all because God has been tapping me on the shoulder to consider my next step.

Honestly, I’ve been surprised to find so many people among the rank and file of Christian publishing who have longed for something that better reflects the breath of God to our culture. They, too, feel stymied by the corporate culture that markets to a demanding demographic instead of taking the risk to put something real and creative into the marketplace.

Brad and I have called this space ‘the Missing Middle’. We are convinced that there was a large group of Christian readers who are looking beyond the plastic answers and petty power structures of the Christian marketplace, and nonChristian readers who are ready to interact with stories and literature about the God of the Bible if they are engaging and relevant to the human struggle.

And now we’re finding that some publishers have been looking for that kind of material as well. Due to the success of The Shack, we are being invited to participate in some of the dialog that goes on in the top echelons of publishing across the U.S. Yes, we know they are wanting to share in the popularity of The Shack, but the invitations and the conversations have been wider than that. First of all, they have the capability to distribute far more books in far more places than we can. But more than that, they are inviting Windblown Media to a place at the table of putting books out there that encourage an out-of-the-box view of relationship with God, Christian community and engagement with the world that demonstrates that love and reality.

This is an excerpt of an email exchange from a C.E.O of one of the top-tier international book publishers:

Now that we’ve read So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore and He Loves Me, we are even more enthused about utilizing our skills to spread the messages of these books, plus the Shack. In fact, ever since we acquired (our Christian imprint), we have been in discussions with them about finding books which would appeal to those Christians who feel dissatisfied by the traditional Church, who are challenging the tenets of received dogma, who are no longer happy with the religion they acquired as children (emphasis mine). So it was with great pleasure that we discover these books at Windblown Media and see the strength of the message and stories in them!

I was quite impressed with the ways in which Wayne and his co-author, Dave Coleman, were able to put into words many thoughts I’d had myself about the ways in which today’s churches had become mostly rituals and rules, mostly about judgment and not about love or forgiveness. So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore is an empowering book, which can really enable the reader to discover not only his or her own relationship with God, but also where and how he or she wants to express that relationship and, yes, worship.

I realize this is a market-driven industry and we’re a message-passionate team. We wouldn’t even be having these discussions if The Shack hadn’t been such a run-away best seller that has caught the industry by surprise. And I realize our opportunity to publish into that space will only last as long as we find an audience there willing to buy it. But Brad and I have felt for a long time that we wanted to speak into that space—not just through books, but movies as well. Now, we’re being invited to do so at a shockingly high level. Whether it will work out or not, is more in Father’s hands than ours. We realize he has been behind all of this.

We haven’t made a decision yet as to which company we will work with, but that decision is immanent and involves finding contractual language we can all agree upon. No matter which way we go, however, this will decisively impact my life and vocation for the foreseeable future. In many ways the last 12 years has been almost retirement for me. I’ve been in the background working on the books I love, traveling and meeting with people who are living this journey and dabbling in other opportunities such as BridgeBuilders and other people’s books as God has opened doors. I couldn’t have been more blessed at the simple life I was allowed to live. But it seems Father is inviting me into a different season that will put different demands on my life.

And add to all of this the fact that we are ramping up now to make the movie version of The Shack in which I will be significantly involved and you’ll see that my life is changing. We have been in meetings over the past few months with so many people in believers who are in the film industry, that we see Father assembling a pretty incredible team to help make that adaptation.

As fun as all of this might be, however, this increasingly invites me out of carefree schedule I’ve treasured for these past few years and into a workload and responsibility that will change some of those realities. I won’t be free to travel as often, at least in the short term. I won’t have as much space to do the articles and blogs as I have in the past, or even to have the extensive email dialogs I have had with people. But I am a firm believer that fruitfulness comes by our being responsive to different seasons in our lives and realizing that God calls us to different things at times, and we must have the freedom to respond.

Even with all of my misgivings, I am convinced that God is asking me to step into some space that will bring some radical changes into my life. I will be able to get back to some of the books I’ve wanted to write and to help others, who have something valuable to say to the body of Christ, find the place to say it.

I wish there was more I could say at this point, but there is so much that is still up in the air. Don’t worry about The God Journey. We have every intent of keeping that going as well as expanding it in some interesting ways in days to come. But I covet your prayers and your wisdom as God might speak to you about all of this. I will need some resource people alongside to help in the tasks that I’ve been able to do myself over the years and I have no idea who those people might be. One very specific request here is that God will provide an administrative assistant that is gifted in administration, editing and writing. I have no idea how to even begin to find such a person where we live.

But I know God is an amazing provider. And that he has things already lined up that I couldn’t figure out if I spent all day racking my brain. So, I’ll just move on like every other day—doing what he has put before me, knowing that my view of these things will get better in days ahead.

Stay tuned. There will be more details to follow.

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38 Comments
  1. Charles Graham April 27, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Thank you! Thank You! Thank you for being open to Papa’s leading and for sharing His love with us. I for one will greatly miss your blogs, as they reflect Papa’s heart. You, Brad, and Paul have made a difference in my life by sharing the reality of Papa’s love. I am learning to walk in relationship on a daily basis and love the simplicity of it all. God is Now and that’s all he has asked us to live in.

    I will be in prayer with you. I know that you will walk through the doors that Papa opens. The world really needs to hear the true heart of God as they are tired of religion and all of it’s trappings.

    Chas

  2. Charles Graham April 27, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Thank you! Thank You! Thank you for being open to Papa’s leading and for sharing His love with us. I for one will greatly miss your blogs, as they reflect Papa’s heart. You, Brad, and Paul have made a difference in my life by sharing the reality of Papa’s love. I am learning to walk in relationship on a daily basis and love the simplicity of it all. God is Now and that’s all he has asked us to live in.

    I will be in prayer with you. I know that you will walk through the doors that Papa opens. The world really needs to hear the true heart of God as they are tired of religion and all of it’s trappings.

    Chas

  3. kent April 27, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Wayne, this is such exciting news and I’m really not all that surprised. With my business and the close interaction with a large number of people I have everyday I have been sensing the growing hunger and desire that has begun to cause people to question many things. Religious people and non-religious alike. Even though the majority seem powerless and without any idea of what it’s all about, they seem more unsettled and frustrated than I have ever experienced. The Shack comes up almost everyday while I am at work, along with The Jake Book and He Loves Me and last week a client who is a believer told me she saw a non-religious (actually very anti-religious) friend of hers, who is a client of mine also, and she was telling the group of women they were with about the book she had just finished. She was describing the book and it being a stroy about God and that it described a God that she had always believed he would be like if he was real. Turns out it was The Shack.

    No expectation…but undescribable expectancy as we stand and watch Father with his love and affection capture people hearts and imaginations.

  4. Joel Brueseke April 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Wayne and all,

    I don’t recall ever commenting here but I’ve been following the blog for a while. I’m excited to hear what is going on in regards to the “alternate” message of God’s love, grace and community. Of course, by “alternate” I mean “real.” 🙂 As I look around in Christian bookstores, it’s hard to find anything that’s not performance-based, or some sort of guide for living by “Christian principles.” It’s hard to find anything that’s based on an authentic, personal, moment-by-moment, intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Having spent 11 years in Christian radio, I understand that most of what gets marketed is based upon what will play on the radio and what will sell to the masses, and I imagine it’s pretty much the same in the book world. Christian churches are based upon spiritual disciplines, rituals, principles, “going to church,” sitting in your pew, hardly interacting with others, setting the right “mood for worship,” preaching a five point sermon, and sending everyone off… to come back next week for more, etc, etc, you know the drill. It’s not too hard to understand why the ‘mainstream’ Christian music and book world is marketed as it is.

    So… that’s why I’m happy to hear that the alternate (authentic) message is getting out. I know some “alternate” authors have found good homes. Steve McVey’s Grace Walk, for example, has sold a lot of copies over the past dozen years, as well as his subsequent books and study materials. It’s a book that, in my opinion, is filled with the authentic message of God’s grace and unconditional love, but yet I know it’s gotten a lot of heat from mainstream Christianity.

    I’ve had it on my heart for over a decade to write a book or books, and I’m waiting on Father’s direction in this. I’ve always wondered how I would go about getting a book published. Self publishing has always been on the forefront of my mind, for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. I want to be able to be authentic and not have to bow to the pressure to change anything just to make it more marketable. Hey, with you guys paving the way (as Father leads), perhaps there will be some better options in the future!

    Anyway… thanks for all you do, in helping others live authentic, grace-filled lives in Christ.

  5. kent April 27, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Wayne, this is such exciting news and I’m really not all that surprised. With my business and the close interaction with a large number of people I have everyday I have been sensing the growing hunger and desire that has begun to cause people to question many things. Religious people and non-religious alike. Even though the majority seem powerless and without any idea of what it’s all about, they seem more unsettled and frustrated than I have ever experienced. The Shack comes up almost everyday while I am at work, along with The Jake Book and He Loves Me and last week a client who is a believer told me she saw a non-religious (actually very anti-religious) friend of hers, who is a client of mine also, and she was telling the group of women they were with about the book she had just finished. She was describing the book and it being a stroy about God and that it described a God that she had always believed he would be like if he was real. Turns out it was The Shack.

    No expectation…but undescribable expectancy as we stand and watch Father with his love and affection capture people hearts and imaginations.

  6. Joel Brueseke April 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Wayne and all,

    I don’t recall ever commenting here but I’ve been following the blog for a while. I’m excited to hear what is going on in regards to the “alternate” message of God’s love, grace and community. Of course, by “alternate” I mean “real.” 🙂 As I look around in Christian bookstores, it’s hard to find anything that’s not performance-based, or some sort of guide for living by “Christian principles.” It’s hard to find anything that’s based on an authentic, personal, moment-by-moment, intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Having spent 11 years in Christian radio, I understand that most of what gets marketed is based upon what will play on the radio and what will sell to the masses, and I imagine it’s pretty much the same in the book world. Christian churches are based upon spiritual disciplines, rituals, principles, “going to church,” sitting in your pew, hardly interacting with others, setting the right “mood for worship,” preaching a five point sermon, and sending everyone off… to come back next week for more, etc, etc, you know the drill. It’s not too hard to understand why the ‘mainstream’ Christian music and book world is marketed as it is.

    So… that’s why I’m happy to hear that the alternate (authentic) message is getting out. I know some “alternate” authors have found good homes. Steve McVey’s Grace Walk, for example, has sold a lot of copies over the past dozen years, as well as his subsequent books and study materials. It’s a book that, in my opinion, is filled with the authentic message of God’s grace and unconditional love, but yet I know it’s gotten a lot of heat from mainstream Christianity.

    I’ve had it on my heart for over a decade to write a book or books, and I’m waiting on Father’s direction in this. I’ve always wondered how I would go about getting a book published. Self publishing has always been on the forefront of my mind, for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. I want to be able to be authentic and not have to bow to the pressure to change anything just to make it more marketable. Hey, with you guys paving the way (as Father leads), perhaps there will be some better options in the future!

    Anyway… thanks for all you do, in helping others live authentic, grace-filled lives in Christ.

  7. Dave April 27, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    It’s got to be exciting, Bro, to see what you’re seeing and experiencing. I really wish I could have seen you while you were out here. His very best to you and all involved in the decisions ahead.

  8. Dave April 27, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    It’s got to be exciting, Bro, to see what you’re seeing and experiencing. I really wish I could have seen you while you were out here. His very best to you and all involved in the decisions ahead.

  9. shawnalyne April 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    I will pray for you! I used to work for a well-known Christian publishing house–and I worked for a secular newspaper at the same time. Without a doubt, I encountered more integrity and freedom in my craft with the secular venue. I only lasted 9 months at the Christian publishing company . . .

  10. shawnalyne April 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I will pray for you! I used to work for a well-known Christian publishing house–and I worked for a secular newspaper at the same time. Without a doubt, I encountered more integrity and freedom in my craft with the secular venue. I only lasted 9 months at the Christian publishing company . . .

  11. jeff April 29, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I am finding it difficult to get excited about seeing your work, Wayne, and the work of those like you, being moved into the “mainstream” and especially into the hands of major corporations. Doesn’t it seem antithetical to the message of The Jake Book, etc…? It seems to me that the “success” of The Shack is special because it is clearly the work of the Spirit, not man. Doesn’t it seem like you are moving toward replacing the Spirit with Mega Publishers? Doesn’t God always Choose Davids and not Goliaths to do His work so that the whole world will know He is God? I’m sure you have prayerfully considered this more than I have, but I want to add my voice. I just keep thinking, “What would John (from The Jake Book) say?”
    I was actually hoping that you would take the surprising (I assume) proceeds from The Shack and then allow the Spirit to work even more by putting The Shack out there FOR FREE! I actually haven’t read The Shack yet, and I never would have read So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore if it hadn’t been free.
    Am I alone in my thinking?

  12. jeff April 29, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I am finding it difficult to get excited about seeing your work, Wayne, and the work of those like you, being moved into the “mainstream” and especially into the hands of major corporations. Doesn’t it seem antithetical to the message of The Jake Book, etc…? It seems to me that the “success” of The Shack is special because it is clearly the work of the Spirit, not man. Doesn’t it seem like you are moving toward replacing the Spirit with Mega Publishers? Doesn’t God always Choose Davids and not Goliaths to do His work so that the whole world will know He is God? I’m sure you have prayerfully considered this more than I have, but I want to add my voice. I just keep thinking, “What would John (from The Jake Book) say?”
    I was actually hoping that you would take the surprising (I assume) proceeds from The Shack and then allow the Spirit to work even more by putting The Shack out there FOR FREE! I actually haven’t read The Shack yet, and I never would have read So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore if it hadn’t been free.
    Am I alone in my thinking?

  13. kyra slater April 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I tend to agree with Jeff here, have seen this before. A work of the spirit tries to go mainstream and well, you know. I wasn’t a believer back then but I have read about a time when Keith Green went through wanting the message to get out there so badly that he refused to sell tickets, receive money for albums or play that game in any way. He was resisted vehemently. The Spirit is capable in moving on people’s hearts without gimmicks. Watching a precious thing get trampled is painful. I really really hope that doesn’t happen with The Shack or any of these truth filled volumes. We must pray for them.

  14. kyra slater April 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I tend to agree with Jeff here, have seen this before. A work of the spirit tries to go mainstream and well, you know. I wasn’t a believer back then but I have read about a time when Keith Green went through wanting the message to get out there so badly that he refused to sell tickets, receive money for albums or play that game in any way. He was resisted vehemently. The Spirit is capable in moving on people’s hearts without gimmicks. Watching a precious thing get trampled is painful. I really really hope that doesn’t happen with The Shack or any of these truth filled volumes. We must pray for them.

  15. Mike Morrell April 29, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Jeff, Kyra–I hear what you’re saying, but don’t you think that they’ve been faithfully stewarding what’s been given to them? If you’ve kept up with this blog or the God Journey podcast, then you’re well aware that they’ve had scores of offers to co-opt their vision and use their dreams–and these folks have all been flatly refused. If the Windblown Media team is considering offers now, you can bet that the offer-ers are in the utmost integrity. While I share a deep suspicion of corporate culture, as someone who works in publishing I know for a fact that it doesn’t do to demonize everyone who happens to work in a corporate context–just like it doesn’t do to demonize someone who has “Bishop” or “Reverend” in front of their name. In fact, as friends and followers of Jesus we’re to do the opposite of demonize–we’re to spread the real enlightenment of deliverance, of humanity’s reconciliation to God, which always hopes the best of all people, everywhere. Part of being wise as serpents but innocent as doves involves taking calculated risks for the sake of this incredibly good news that we’ve been entrusted with-sharing it not just with fellow “Jewish peasants” but “Roman centurions” as well.

    Wayne through his teaching has always maintained that its never about the particular form of the wineskin, but always about the content of the wine. He never set out to ‘damn the man’ of mainstream publishing, but simply found (in his own writing experience and then confirmed in shopping The Shack around) that mainstream publishers ‘received him not.’ So he dusted his feet without acrimony and moved on to setting up a publisher. But not being mainstream-published was never the goal: the ‘wine’ of the message was. And is.

    I still sense the aroma of Holy Spirit all over this…anyone else?

  16. kent April 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I certainly do. But the unpredictability of it all can never be removed. You take a step forward if you are feeling the invitation and than see what happens next.

  17. Mike Morrell April 29, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Hi Jeff, Kyra–I hear what you’re saying, but don’t you think that they’ve been faithfully stewarding what’s been given to them? If you’ve kept up with this blog or the God Journey podcast, then you’re well aware that they’ve had scores of offers to co-opt their vision and use their dreams–and these folks have all been flatly refused. If the Windblown Media team is considering offers now, you can bet that the offer-ers are in the utmost integrity. While I share a deep suspicion of corporate culture, as someone who works in publishing I know for a fact that it doesn’t do to demonize everyone who happens to work in a corporate context–just like it doesn’t do to demonize someone who has “Bishop” or “Reverend” in front of their name. In fact, as friends and followers of Jesus we’re to do the opposite of demonize–we’re to spread the real enlightenment of deliverance, of humanity’s reconciliation to God, which always hopes the best of all people, everywhere. Part of being wise as serpents but innocent as doves involves taking calculated risks for the sake of this incredibly good news that we’ve been entrusted with-sharing it not just with fellow “Jewish peasants” but “Roman centurions” as well.

    Wayne through his teaching has always maintained that its never about the particular form of the wineskin, but always about the content of the wine. He never set out to ‘damn the man’ of mainstream publishing, but simply found (in his own writing experience and then confirmed in shopping The Shack around) that mainstream publishers ‘received him not.’ So he dusted his feet without acrimony and moved on to setting up a publisher. But not being mainstream-published was never the goal: the ‘wine’ of the message was. And is.

    I still sense the aroma of Holy Spirit all over this…anyone else?

  18. kent April 30, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I certainly do. But the unpredictability of it all can never be removed. You take a step forward if you are feeling the invitation and than see what happens next.

  19. Amada McIntosh April 30, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Wayne, your tapes and The Shack have taken so much guilt out of decision making. Recently we had a huge decision to make in regards to a call to ministry and the lovely joy of Holy Spirit whispered a clear message: if you go go because of love and not out of obedience; if you don’t go I won’t love you less. We went. What a lovely assurance to have as where before it had to be black or white, God’s will or not. Now it is ALL GOd’s will in a loving relationship learning to trust that what is unfolding before us is OK. Mistakes and uncertainties will not disappear but Father is strong when we are weak.

  20. Amada McIntosh April 30, 2008 at 4:48 am

    Wayne, your tapes and The Shack have taken so much guilt out of decision making. Recently we had a huge decision to make in regards to a call to ministry and the lovely joy of Holy Spirit whispered a clear message: if you go go because of love and not out of obedience; if you don’t go I won’t love you less. We went. What a lovely assurance to have as where before it had to be black or white, God’s will or not. Now it is ALL GOd’s will in a loving relationship learning to trust that what is unfolding before us is OK. Mistakes and uncertainties will not disappear but Father is strong when we are weak.

  21. Dave Aldrich April 30, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Mike Morrell said:

    “I know for a fact that it doesn’t do to demonize everyone who happens to work in a corporate context–just like it doesn’t do to demonize someone who has “Bishop” or “Reverend” in front of their name. In fact, as friends and followers of Jesus we’re to do the opposite of demonize–we’re to spread the real enlightenment of deliverance, of humanity’s reconciliation to God, which always hopes the best of all people, everywhere. Part of being wise as serpents but innocent as doves involves taking calculated risks for the sake of this incredibly good news that we’ve been entrusted with-sharing it not just with fellow “Jewish peasants” but “Roman centurions” as well.”

    Mike, that was very well put, Brother. Thanks.

    Good thoughts as well, Kent. Hi Bro!

  22. rob lane April 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Peace upon you and the rest of the “Shack team.” Seems that Father is moving you into an area that he has had planned forever. We are behind you here in Sacramento keeping you in our prayers and trusting Father that what he is creating is his plan and intent. If there is anything you need as far as assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask. Peace and grace!

  23. Dave Aldrich April 30, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Mike Morrell said:

    “I know for a fact that it doesn’t do to demonize everyone who happens to work in a corporate context–just like it doesn’t do to demonize someone who has “Bishop” or “Reverend” in front of their name. In fact, as friends and followers of Jesus we’re to do the opposite of demonize–we’re to spread the real enlightenment of deliverance, of humanity’s reconciliation to God, which always hopes the best of all people, everywhere. Part of being wise as serpents but innocent as doves involves taking calculated risks for the sake of this incredibly good news that we’ve been entrusted with-sharing it not just with fellow “Jewish peasants” but “Roman centurions” as well.”

    Mike, that was very well put, Brother. Thanks.

    Good thoughts as well, Kent. Hi Bro!

  24. Jim Wehde April 30, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I think Jeff, Kyra and Kent (et al) are offering a perspective that should not be written off. Like any book written by a person, this book has the potential to be used by God…or not. THERE IS NOTHING OF INHERENT VALUE IN THE BOOK ITSELF.

    I have shared with others I know here how reading “The Lord of the Rings” all through my childhood set me up for the gospel, but I have seen it used just as often as an object of fascination by those in love with the occult. Similarly, nothing about “The Shack” guarantees that it will ever be used by God ever again. We can say that Father HAS used it to touch many people (me being one) – but it was Father, not the book, that did any good whatsoever.

    It has been disturbing at times to see Wayne leaning toward a public defense of the book, as if it had some internal value and that it is Wayne’s job to protect something. I know Wayne’s heart after reading him and knowing him all these years, but nobody is immune from the “big time”, or from protecting the things they’ve been involved with. Nobody.

    I pray that Wayne, Brad, Paul and all who are involved will be willing to let this thing dissolve in the wind, if that is what God wants. I would never, EVER deprive someone of reaping financial reward for work done, but no work of man is guaranteed to be baptized, no matter what the subject matter.

    Jim in Spokane

  25. rob lane April 30, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Peace upon you and the rest of the “Shack team.” Seems that Father is moving you into an area that he has had planned forever. We are behind you here in Sacramento keeping you in our prayers and trusting Father that what he is creating is his plan and intent. If there is anything you need as far as assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask. Peace and grace!

  26. Jim Wehde April 30, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I think Jeff, Kyra and Kent (et al) are offering a perspective that should not be written off. Like any book written by a person, this book has the potential to be used by God…or not. THERE IS NOTHING OF INHERENT VALUE IN THE BOOK ITSELF.

    I have shared with others I know here how reading “The Lord of the Rings” all through my childhood set me up for the gospel, but I have seen it used just as often as an object of fascination by those in love with the occult. Similarly, nothing about “The Shack” guarantees that it will ever be used by God ever again. We can say that Father HAS used it to touch many people (me being one) – but it was Father, not the book, that did any good whatsoever.

    It has been disturbing at times to see Wayne leaning toward a public defense of the book, as if it had some internal value and that it is Wayne’s job to protect something. I know Wayne’s heart after reading him and knowing him all these years, but nobody is immune from the “big time”, or from protecting the things they’ve been involved with. Nobody.

    I pray that Wayne, Brad, Paul and all who are involved will be willing to let this thing dissolve in the wind, if that is what God wants. I would never, EVER deprive someone of reaping financial reward for work done, but no work of man is guaranteed to be baptized, no matter what the subject matter.

    Jim in Spokane

  27. Peter April 30, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    It seems a bit like Wayne’s future has become the “group project” here. The opportunity before Wayne is either of God (and my change the world), or is merely a diversionary temptation (that could “change” Wayne). Either way, the only person who can ultimately determine the will of God for Wayne, is Wayne. I pray that you will get it right my brother; but even if you don’t, it will still be a blessed opportunity for the growth and learning that is “the journey”.

    Peter in Warrnambool

  28. Peter April 30, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    It seems a bit like Wayne’s future has become the “group project” here. The opportunity before Wayne is either of God (and my change the world), or is merely a diversionary temptation (that could “change” Wayne). Either way, the only person who can ultimately determine the will of God for Wayne, is Wayne. I pray that you will get it right my brother; but even if you don’t, it will still be a blessed opportunity for the growth and learning that is “the journey”.

    Peter in Warrnambool

  29. jeff May 1, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Wow! I really thought my earlier post would lead to some heated and defensive remarks, even attacks, but you have all been very reasonable in your posts. I think I could agree with every one of your responses. I am so glad to see that there are several thoughtful people out there who are just waiting to see what God does.

  30. jeff May 1, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Wow! I really thought my earlier post would lead to some heated and defensive remarks, even attacks, but you have all been very reasonable in your posts. I think I could agree with every one of your responses. I am so glad to see that there are several thoughtful people out there who are just waiting to see what God does.

  31. kent May 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Wayne, I had the chance today to talk to the client I mentioned above. She was so excited about the book and she said she has been handing out copies to many of her disillusioned Catholic freinds. She seemed to be so surprised that her friends husbands were even talking about it.

  32. kent May 6, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Wayne, I had the chance today to talk to the client I mentioned above. She was so excited about the book and she said she has been handing out copies to many of her disillusioned Catholic freinds. She seemed to be so surprised that her friends husbands were even talking about it.

  33. skylla May 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Y’all,

    I totally trust Wayne, (Jesus in Wayne) the thought of him reaching out for personal glory or earthly riches makes me laugh. And if the overall message of The Shack could be widely received and practiced by lots and lots of people, our first thought is how “good” that would be…..but let’s not forget that we fix our eyes on the unseen, for what is unseen is eternal. God can move a thing in millions of different and creative ways. If God is in it (this move into corporate and mainstream and big media stuff) then nobody here will object to a thing. None of us would balk at God being unhindered in this realm as HE IS GOD and we can’t wait to see Him work! But…..(why are there so many buts in this world??) having seen what can happen and we love The Shack so much, we get like a mama bear sometimes and just wanna protect it, so we get scared. I for one will be in prayer about this expansion and moving ahead, while I continue to promote and give away this book everywhere I go. Like I heard someplace in the book, its not about winning and losing, its all about relationship. Maybe Wayne and Paul and the others will come in contact with some walking in darkness and Jesus wants to touch them through them? We HAVE to be willing to go where the wind blows to see the opportunities in the Kingdom here and now. woooooohooooooo !

  34. skylla May 12, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Y’all,

    I totally trust Wayne, (Jesus in Wayne) the thought of him reaching out for personal glory or earthly riches makes me laugh. And if the overall message of The Shack could be widely received and practiced by lots and lots of people, our first thought is how “good” that would be…..but let’s not forget that we fix our eyes on the unseen, for what is unseen is eternal. God can move a thing in millions of different and creative ways. If God is in it (this move into corporate and mainstream and big media stuff) then nobody here will object to a thing. None of us would balk at God being unhindered in this realm as HE IS GOD and we can’t wait to see Him work! But…..(why are there so many buts in this world??) having seen what can happen and we love The Shack so much, we get like a mama bear sometimes and just wanna protect it, so we get scared. I for one will be in prayer about this expansion and moving ahead, while I continue to promote and give away this book everywhere I go. Like I heard someplace in the book, its not about winning and losing, its all about relationship. Maybe Wayne and Paul and the others will come in contact with some walking in darkness and Jesus wants to touch them through them? We HAVE to be willing to go where the wind blows to see the opportunities in the Kingdom here and now. woooooohooooooo !

  35. Margaret Wills June 10, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Could you help me? I have been on the web for four hours reading all sorts of critiques of The Shack. I have read respected evangelical who say, “stay away from The Shack” and I have read those who do not want any structure to their view of God…those who have no scriptural background to make a biblical evaluation. I realize the book is not a book on theology and I respect the limits of that point. I would however like to use scripture to under-gird the story with Biblical doctrines rooted in Church history. Is there a study guide would do this? In other words I would like to consider using this book to teach the scriptual truth of Biblical Worldview with the relational dynamic of the Spirit.

    Margaret F. Wills, Ed.D.

  36. Margaret Wills June 10, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Could you help me? I have been on the web for four hours reading all sorts of critiques of The Shack. I have read respected evangelical who say, “stay away from The Shack” and I have read those who do not want any structure to their view of God…those who have no scriptural background to make a biblical evaluation. I realize the book is not a book on theology and I respect the limits of that point. I would however like to use scripture to under-gird the story with Biblical doctrines rooted in Church history. Is there a study guide would do this? In other words I would like to consider using this book to teach the scriptual truth of Biblical Worldview with the relational dynamic of the Spirit.

    Margaret F. Wills, Ed.D.

  37. Wayne June 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    First, we have not yet completed the study guide we want to put out to help people wrestle with the theology of this book. So I cannot help you there. We hope to have it available this fall.

    But I can assure you that everything we put into this book we felt that the three of us could fully support through Scripture, and the breath of the Spirit. We wouldn’t claim that we accomplished that perfectly, but we that was our standard as we opened up what we’ve come to understand about the God of the Bible. At the same time, we realize that church history has in various seasons and times distorted the Scriptures to accomplish its own agenda. While we are by and large committed to the big-picture doctrines of the church throughout history, we are also willing to push back on applications of those doctrines we considered twisted.

    In the meantime, you might want to read HE LOVE ME, which will give you a lot of background for much of the theology of Father’s love that is seen in THE SHACK.

    I hope that helps for the time being,

    Wayne

  38. Wayne June 12, 2008 at 2:56 am

    First, we have not yet completed the study guide we want to put out to help people wrestle with the theology of this book. So I cannot help you there. We hope to have it available this fall.

    But I can assure you that everything we put into this book we felt that the three of us could fully support through Scripture, and the breath of the Spirit. We wouldn’t claim that we accomplished that perfectly, but we that was our standard as we opened up what we’ve come to understand about the God of the Bible. At the same time, we realize that church history has in various seasons and times distorted the Scriptures to accomplish its own agenda. While we are by and large committed to the big-picture doctrines of the church throughout history, we are also willing to push back on applications of those doctrines we considered twisted.

    In the meantime, you might want to read HE LOVE ME, which will give you a lot of background for much of the theology of Father’s love that is seen in THE SHACK.

    I hope that helps for the time being,

    Wayne

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