Wm (short for William) Young's debut novel, The Shack, tells the story of a father being visited by human manifestations of the Trinity as he grieves for his murdered daughter, and was an international bestseller. The book was written in 2007, initially just for his six children. But Young was persuaded by some friends to self-publish the novel and from there The Shack has become a phenomenon, reports The Catholic Herald.
To date, it has sold more than 18 million copies worldwide in 41 different languages.
Despite this enormous success, the 57-year-old tells me his trust in God helped him take the pressure of devising a follow-up in his stride.
And Cross Roads is what he came up with. Once again he tells a tale in which a troubled central character is visited by humanised versions of the Trinity. The story has a touch of A Christmas Carol about it.
Tony Spencer, a morally bankrupt businessman who has been rendered unconscious after a fall, wakes to find himself wandering around an ever-changing landscape where he is shown the consequences of a life lived without thought for others or a strong faith in God.
Young admits that readers in a few countries, such as Japan, have struggled with the idea of humanised versions of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In The Shack Jesus appears as a Middle Eastern carpenter, while the Holy Spirit turns up in Cross Roads as an old Native American woman.
On the whole, though, he says people have embraced this aspect of the books. “What surprised me with The Shack was how much people took to the idea of the Holy Spirit being a person and not just a mist or a force,” he says.
“It isn’t about defining God. It’s about understanding elements of his nature and power. Can the Holy Spirit reside within the wisdom of a Lakota elder? Absolutely. The Holy Spirit is not limited by our imaginations.”
FULL STORY: Humanising the Trinity (The Catholic Herald)