The Shack is a fictional book about the spritiual journey of a father, Mackenzie Allen Phillips. In the book, his six year old daughter, Missy, is abducted on a family camping trip. The family discovers that she was taken to a shack in the Oregon Wilderness and murdered. "At times he could feel The Great Sadness slowly tightening around his chest and heart like the crushing coils of a constrictor, squeezing liquid from his eyes until he thought there no longer remained a reservor," Mackenzie feels (Young 25). They found evidence, but have not found the body. Four years later Mackenzie Phillips receives a mysterious note in his mailbox, signed God, telling him to return to this shack where his daughter was brutally murder. Unsure, he returns to this rugged shack by himself one day. "Other times he would dream that his feet were stuck in cloying mud, as he caught brief glimpses of Missy running down the wooded path ahead of him, her red cotton summer dress gilded with wildflowers flashing among the trees. She was completely oblivious to the dark shadow tracking her from behind. Although he frantically tried to scream warnings to her, no sound emerged and he was always too late and too impotent to save her," Mackenzie dreams (Young 25). Scared out of his mind, he enters the shack on a winter day. The shack completely transforms into a beautiful cabin and Mackenzie finds a surprise waiting for him. He finds God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the form of human beings. During this amazing encounter, he discovers things about the murder, God, and himself that he did not know before. I do not want to say more because i do not want to give away the ending, but this crazy encounter at the shack changes his life forever.
1) There are many debates on whether the author intended for Mackenzie's encounter with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was supposed to be a dream or was intended to be real life. What do you think and why?