Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meeting W. Paul Young - author of The Shack

Went to the Oregon Christian Writers one day conference today and our guest speaker was Paul Young (he doesn't use the William!). These are some of the notes I took during his three talks during the day: He told us he only has two prayers he prays on a daily basis anymore - #1 - "I don't want to die as an old man who never took the risks involved with faith and trust." #2 - "I will never ask you again to bless what I do - but if there is something you are blessing, can I hang around that just because I want to be around you."

He talked about how sometimes he spent so much time trying to find a worthy enough idea to have God bless it - that the idea becomes the idol, and in the end, it becomes something about our life that we can control. Until you deal with God, he won't let you keep idols that damage you.

He said the book was a gift to his children, so they understood the big things in his life and sometimes he feels that its 'success' is because God said, 'yeah, give it to your kids, then I'd like to give it to mine.' He talked about our significance to God, and how if something can be taken away from us, then it's not a part of who we really are. How we know how to justify our fears, the place where we're not going to let anyone else in, and we build our new facades to match the people we want to please. God refuses to let us build facades, or put up with the paint jobs we paint as fast as we perceive people's expectations.

His 'weekend' in the shack lasted 11 years (January of 1994 to June of 2004), and it took him 50 years of this life to stop trying to earn God's love. The father of the prodigal and the righteous son loved both of them 100%, all the time. Fear is a gift that shows us where we need to trust God. He said that after God took everything away in 2004, with 6 of them living in a 900 square foot house, the joy of God fell on them like a ton of bricks. Sometimes God lets everything go wrong just so he can heal you deep inside. If your burden is heavy, you're picking up things that aren't yours. He is the only one that can heal your unique damage and sometimes the surgery has to cut deep. It's all right to grieve for the person God created you to be.

He's dealt with having members of his family killed (a niece who was just 5), with adultery (the beginning of his own 'great sadness') and was abused sexually since he thinks about 4 or 5. He says he has no more secrets from anyone, and one day hopes that he and his father will have their relationship healed. In the book he is both Missy and Mac.
Paul has a website: where he talks about the things that matter to him. We laughed with him a lot, and he talked about husband and wife submitting to each other quipping "I submit stuff to my wife all the time, articles, letters, my writing...." He is also firm that his wife selects his engagements "that way I know I have her approval to go!"

His main theme, God loves us, completely, all the time - what freedom and joy!


Anonymous said...

That's really good. =)