Perhaps the validity of a theological proposal can’t be properly assessed until it has been kitchified. William P. Young’s novel The Shack, a runaway success—it’s been on top of the New York Times best-seller list and has sold 2 million copies—features a particular vision of the Trinity. In theological circles, the vision is called “social trinitarianism”: the three persons of the Trinity are seen as a community of mutual love and a model for social relationships.
The main character is the rustically named and rustically attired Mackenzie Phillips, who sells gizmos for a living and grew up with a mean drunk for a father, but is “totally at home in [his] own skin.” He may even be a bit of a liberal—we’re told he admires Bill Moyers. He is at home in boots and flannel shirts—as if right out of the REI outdoor outfitters’ catalogue—and is outdoorsy and proudly individualistic. He doesn’t care much for church.