KABOOM! or A BLAST from Inside Stories From The Shack

Photography by Bill Dahl

KABOOM or A BLAST from Inside Stories From The Shack

Smoking Viagra?

What are two Boomers – one in his late fifties (gray and balding), the other in his early sixties (totally gray) – doing by putting their energies behind a new form of entertainment that involves a bunch of money and the participation/integration of:

a.       An author and former pastor who has morphed into a guide to cultural thought leaders.

b.      An author who has sold 20 million copies of his book – The Shack – Where Tragedy Meets Eternity – what FORBES has called a “publishing miracle.”

c.       The author’s readers – and their stories of how the book, The Shack, has impacted their lives.

d.      A world-class musician of American Idol fame (Danny Gokey).

e.       Cirque de Soleil aerial artistry

f.       Sand Painting

g.      Textile art

h.      This production will be rolled out in major venues beginning in Seattle on May 8th (Mother’s Day) and then on to San Diego (May 20th), Boise (June 4th), and Denver (June 17th).

Stories From The Shack is not a film, play, author reading, convention or conference. It’s a new form of entertainment – a combination of elements normally associated with Cirque Du Soleil and Charlie Rose-like interviews – which is why they call it, Interactive Spectacle Art.


Are they smoking Viagra? Hanging out with Charlie Sheen? Do their children and grand children know what they’re up to? Are these two Boomers evidencing symptoms of early onset dementia? Shouldn’t the guy who has sold 20 million books be seated on a lounge in the sand on his own tropical island sipping a pina colada in the shade of a palm grove? Shouldn’t these guys be hunkered down, hoarding their respective nest eggs, tinkering quietly in their garage, taking their prescription meds and dining nightly at their local senior center – as they slip quietly into irrelevance?


Damn Boomers! We’ve really never understood them in this country anyway. Why don’t they just they keep quiet and stop causing cultural upheaval in America? Just listen to your nightly news. These guys represent two of the 75 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. who are causing the entitlement budgetary crisis that the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States have just begun yelling at each other about. You can always depend upon Boomers to do the wrong thing. Why can’t they just age gracefully without making waves?

Well, part of the answer to the last question involves exploring the popular folklore about Boomers in the U.S. Here are a few central ones:

1.      We Americans are fair, impartial and informed about the aging process and the   Boomer generation in particular. WRONG! – Joy Moncrieffe, sociologist and Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies suggests that we humans are a species that use labels. “Labels that have the power to stigmatize are propped up by discourses that dehumanize and discriminate, and that explain the labeled group’s inferiority in terms such as inherent/essential biological differences, status etc. Stigma theories can be used in ways that generate fear.”[i] Huh?

2.      Regarding the Boomer generation – aging means decay and decline (These two guys Henderson and Young – seem to have overlooked this fact). WRONG! According to Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, “Aging means change, but change does not mean decay.”[ii] What!

3.      Maybe these two Boomers are simply another example of Dumb and Dumber. As we age, our intelligence declines – right? WRONG! According to Dr. Garnett Millar of the Torrance Center for Creative Studies at the University of Georgia: “Longitudinal studies of the relationship between aging and intelligence suggest that intelligence, if used, continues to develop and even increase throughout life rather than decline with age, as was once thought.”[iii] You’re puttin’ me on!

4.      For the Boomer – creativity disintegrates as we age. WRONG! Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written: “Recent studies suggest that not only quantity but quality is retained with age, and some of the most memorable work in a person’s career is done in the later years.”[iv] What?

5.     The Boomer has already made their contribution to America. The inertia is toward their irrelevance. These guys should just take their place on the couch and chill. WRONG! Author Daniel Pink says; If, at age fourteen or forty-three, we’re passive and inert, that’s not because it’s our nature. It’s because something flipped our default settings.”[v] I didn’t know that…


I guess you’ve gotta be a little nuts to do something like this. Then again, for William P. ‘Paul’ Young The first 1 million books entitled The Shack were shipped out of a garage – The same environment that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Dave Hewlett and Bill Packard, Paul Allen and Bill Gates started in. Shacks seem to spawn success in America.

Paul Young – a simple man. He sat down and wrote a story for his kids – from his heart. A man who bent the rules to create a novel and a novelty – Then again, “A culture can evolve only if there a few souls who do not play by the usual rules.”[vi]

Jim Henderson – a spiritual sojourner, explorer, counterintuitive, and provocateur. A man who has spent a lifetime questioning what is, guided by the principle that we “learn – and improve – and need the disruptive questioner.”[vii]

Jim Henderson and Paul Young – together. KABOOM! Two Boomers who can accurately be characterized among those who  “see a different world than the rest of us and make different decisions as a result, decisions that make no sense under the old rules of old industries that are now blown apart thanks to these new ways and new thinkers.”[viii] (emphasis is mine).

It has been said that “the highest compliment we can ever pay anyone is our desire to be like that person.”[ix] Jim and Paul, I am fond of you.

Like the ingenious innovations we’ve all enjoyed from Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett & Packard, and Gates and AllenStories From The Shack is Made in America.

With 20 million books sold, Paul Young could be America’s Most Spiritually Influential Person – You’ve Never Heard Of….

Well, not much longer…. Join Jim and Paul  – Danny Gokie and a whole cast of other characters, won’t you?

Trust me – it’s gonna be a BLAST!!!


[i] Moncrieffe, Joy and Eyben, Rosalind The Power of Labelling – How People Are Categorized And Why It Matters, Earthscan London, UK. Copyright © 2007 by Institute of Development Studies, p.90.

[ii] Langer, Ellen J. Counter Clockwise – Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, Ballantine Books, New York, NY Copyright © 2009 by Ellen Langer, Ph. D. p.160.

[iii] Millar, Garnet W. The Power of Creativity – Results of the 50 Year Follow-Up to the Torrance Longitudinal Study of Creative Behavior The Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. Bensenville, IL Copyright © 2010 by The Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. p.15.

[iv] Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Harper Perrenial, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, New York Copyright © 1996 by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. P. 211.

[v] Pink, Daniel H. DRIVE – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Riverhead Books – A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York, NY Copyright © 2009 by Daniel H. Pink. P.89

[vi] Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Harper Perrenial, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, New York Copyright © 1996 by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. P.208.

[vii] Langer, Ellen J. Counter Clockwise – Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, Ballantine Books, New York, NY Copyright © 2009 by Ellen Langer, Ph. D.p. 143.

[viii] Jarvis, Jeff What Would Google Do? HarperCollins Publishers New York, NY Copyright © 2009 by Jeff Jarvis. P.4

[ix] Gulley, Philip If The Church Were Christian – Rediscovering the Values of Jesus by Philip Gulley, Published by HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers NY, NY Copyright (c) 2010 by Philip Gulley. P.27

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