FaithMatters with Wm. Paul Young

Come spend two days with Wm. Paul Young, best-selling author of The Shack, Eve, and Lies We Believe About God, as we explore faith and our relationship with God. We’ll gather in the evening Friday, November 15 for a public lecture on “Faith and The Shack,” and then do a deeper dive into “Lies We Believe About God” in a full-day workshop on Saturday, November 16.

Friday Lecture, Nov. 15: Faith and The Shack
7-9 p.m., All Saints' Chapel, the University of the South (map)

The Shack, in both book and movie form, has been an international phenomenon, a “unicorn” in publishing terms. Why? Together we will explore why this novel found a world-wide audience with those who are stuck somewhere between edgy and Jesus. As a parable it gives language for many who want to know a God who is relational and not religious, as well as giving voice to grieving and questioning broken hearts. This gathering will be a conversation about the nature of God in an increasingly secularized world, or perhaps it is part of the intrusion of God from within our humanity in order to encounter even the most religious. The lecture is open to the public. Please register below to ensure a seat. A “love offering” will be collected to support the event.

Saturday Workshop, Nov. 16: Lies We Believe About God
9 a.m.–4 p.m., Convocation Hall, the University of the South (map)

Lies don't exist alone. They are usually part of a connected and self-referential web that empowers their ability to delude. But like any house of cards, when one is exposed, a number of others will naturally follow. Beginning with the lie that we as human beings are separated from God, we will explore how this paper tiger has kept so many in religious bondage and perpetuated religious institutional power. Registration required below: $79 tuition includes lunch and morning coffee & tea.

About Wm. Paul Young

“I thought the way I grew up was ‘normal’ but I think most would probably agree that my history and journey have been a bit unusual.”

According to Wm. Paul Young, “We live in a world where ‘normal’ does not truly exist except as a concept or wishful thought. For each of us, where and how we grew up plays a foundational role in our sense of ‘normal’, and only when we begin to experience the ‘bigness and diversity’ of the world are we tempted to evaluate our roots.” The facts of Young’s life are fascinating: he was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada and yet lived for the majority of his first 10 years with his missionary parents in the highlands of Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua), among the Dani, a technologically stone age tribal people. He worked in a wide array of jobs, including some in the church, and had never written for public consumption until a story called The Shack made its way out into the world and became a publishing phenomenon.

Here’s how Paul describes the “real story” not immediately apparent through the facts of his life:

The journey has been both incredible and unbearable, a desperate grasping after grace and wholeness. These facts don’t tell you about the pain of trying to adjust to different cultures, of life losses that were almost too staggering to bear, of walking down railroad tracks at night in the middle of winter screaming into the windstorm, of living with an underlying volume of shame so deep and loud that it constantly threatened any sense of sanity, of dreams not only destroyed but obliterated by personal failure, of hope so tenuous that only the trigger seemed to offer a solution. These few facts also do not speak to the potency of love and forgiveness, the arduous road of reconciliation, the surprises of grace and community, of transformational healing and the unexpected emergence of joy.

The data of history might help you understand where a person has been, but often hide who they actually are. The Shack and Cross Roads will tell you much more about me than a few facts ever could, but a writer is always more, intentionally illusive behind the curtain of words. For me as a human being, everything is about Jesus and Father and Holy Spirit, about relationships, and to live is to participate in an adventure of faith which can only be experienced inside one day’s worth of grace at a time. Aspirations of success, visions of significance and dreams of grandeur all died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them. I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith and trust. I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa’s grace and presence.

Wm. Paul Young is the author of the worldwide bestsellers The Shack (2007) and Cross Roads (2013). With nearly 23 million copies sold and 49 consecutive weeks at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, The Shack has inspired conversations about God around the world. The Shack has been included in the PBS list of America’s 100 best-loved books. His 2015 novel, Eve (also a New York Times Best Seller), explores harmful assumptions we have about ourselves and the relationship initiated by God with us in the Garden of Eden. It is a book about the healing mercies available to all. In 2017, Atria Books released Young’s Lies We Believe About God, a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.

To find out more about Wm. Paul Young, visit his website at:


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