Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool

In my role as a marginally successful blogger, I will occasionally receive requests to review books, specifically non-fiction Christian books. There’s been at least one instance where I disliked the message of the book so much that I chose not to review it. There are plenty of bloggers who will give a book a bad review, I’m just not one of them. I also won’t write a good review for a book I feel doesn’t truly warrant it.

Several months ago, I received a copy of Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool by T. J. MacLeslie for review. When I first began reading it, I thought this book would be in the aforementioned category. It seemed to be another “I once was lost but now I’m found” sort of stories. And while I think it’s important to celebrate the redemptive power of the cross, I wondered if the world needed yet another such story. But as I kept reading, I began to realize that MacLeslie’s honest account of his failures and shortcomings as a child raised in the church could be a helpful one. Christians are quick to forgive the past sins of those coming to Christ for the first time, but forgiving ourselves and other Christians who “should know better” is an area many of us come up short.

One of the themes this book puts forward well is the notion that if we love Jesus we must also love other Christians. MacLeslie makes the following observations after a mountain top conversation with God where he promised to follow Him the rest of his days.

I was embarrassed by my faith and not at all sure I wanted to embrace Christianity, even though I had embraced Christ. I believed in Jesus and wanted to know Him, but I wasn’t at all sure about His people.

I was frustrated by the superior responses of others as the news of my conversion began to get out. I was humiliated as they pointed out that they had been right all along and I had been wrong. I was angry when they told me they had prayed for me to see the light. Their superior smiles and self-satisfied stares were almost too much! Still, I couldn’t go back. Jesus was God. It was undeniable truth. It was the only right way of understanding life, the universe and everything. Where could I go? What could I do?

I was caught by the truth. I couldn’t deny I had been wrong. I couldn’t deny that He was actually God. If God was now my Father then these patronizing and unintentionally antagonizing Christians were now my brothers and sisters. I couldn’t love Him and hate them at the same time. That was probably the hardest part for me about coming to faith. I was ready to humble myself before God, but humbling myself before people was much more difficult.”

The term “self-help Christian book” is a bit of an oxymoron. Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool is no such book. It is an honest, often unflattering personal testimony of a man who is on a journey to find less of himself and more of Jesus. If you’re looking for a 12-step program to becoming a better Christian, this is not the book for you. If you’re looking for a story of a person who is just as broken as you are yet still finds redemption at the feet of Jesus, it’s definitely worth a read.

For more information about the book, visit Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool.

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7 Responses to “Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool”

  1. Glynn August 24, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    I get requests to review all kinds of books, including one today asking me if I would do a “complementary” (spelled that way, too; in fact, spelled that way three times) review of a non-fiction, self-help book on a subject I know nothing about. I was polite, and said I wasn’t feeling complementary.

    I don’t do bad reviews. Well, that’s not quite true. I don’t do reviews of bad books. I tried that once, and discovered that hell hath no fury like an author and friends and relatives and editors and assistant editors and neighbors, who were all outraged.

    Once I was sent a novel by a publisher right out of the blue; it just showed up in the mail. It was a big-name company so I started reading it, thinking it must be good if that company was publishing it. I didn’t make past page 10. It was badly written, badly edited, badly just about everything. I called the publisher and said I just couldn’t do it, it was that bad. The contact at the firm agreed with me, but said they had to publish it. I didn’t ask why; I didn’t want to know. And yes, it was a Christian publisher.

  2. karenzach August 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I’ve been rereading AW Tozier’s I talk back to the Devil & it’s got me to thinking that conviction is from the Spirit & guilt is not.

  3. Simply Darlene August 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    This may be the first time I have heard “an unflattering personal testimony” given as part of a positive book review. 😉 I like the realness of his quote. He talks about the very things we think but quickly try to override lest anyone should hear our thoughts.

    Is this his first book?

    Thanks for doing this review.


  4. Jason Stasyszen August 25, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I have this book too and you’re making me feel guilty because I started it and never finished. Thanks a lot Kat. I did enjoy the parts I read though. 🙂

  5. Sandra Heska King August 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I just flipped over over to Amazon and read the first few lines. Definitely a rude awakening and made me thirsty to read more.

  6. jake August 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I keep getting asked to do these now… I was flattered at first. Now I’m not. I’m glad you’re selective about it. It fits you.

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