Let me start by saying that likely everything that there is to be said about this book has been said. Just click here and look at the number of hits you get! I haven't seen too much that is both sympathetic and cautious. I'm going to try to go for that. This can not be done in one post. Bear with me. Please. Or don't. Come back later. But do come back.
First off, as a story, this is a good one. It stands as good literature. Plot-wise, it kind of fits in with a "The Five People you Meet in Heaven" genre of books, though definitely more Christian. I don't remember reading much backlash about that book though, after all the positive press that Mitch Albom got with "Tuesday's With Morrie" and the "heretical" stuff in "Five People". Maybe the point there was that that book wasn't published as a "Christian" book...whatever that means.
For some of the early pages of the encounters with God, there is a sense of pushing the envelope, pushing to feel something pushing back. I know the feeling, I feel like doing it sometimes when I type here. Sometimes we just want to see if anyone is there, if anyone cares whether we are right or wrong. Sometimes we just put out a thought or an opinion to see if we can raise a rash. A modern poet has said,
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real
I’ve been thinking more and more about blogging and why people do it. I’m sure some of it is pride and some of it is to try to feel. A famous writer once said, “You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”
If we send things out, do they bounce back, like sonar? Is there an echo out there? If there is, then somewhere out there in the darkness is something solid, something to tell me there is more than "me."
Are we alone?
Are the things we feel normal?
Am I normal?
Does anyone care?
Why do I hurt?
I think that this helps me understand William Young and also leads to why he wrote this book in the first place.