Two days after I started my blog I was invited by Pioneers to read a Kindle book to share with you. As a new blogger, I was thrilled to enjoy an unexpected perk so soon into my writing adventure. The joy was increased by the fact that I fairly recently procured a Droid and was able to accept the challenge thanks to my free Kindle app. I received my free Kindle file of Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool by TJ MacLeslie and eagerly began to read. And read. And read. So long has it been since I literally read myself to sleep at night (at least with a book I actually wanted to read) or had to limit myself on how much I could read in one sitting. TJ’s story is absolutely fantastic. He was honest. He was candid. I was sad when the book ended.
And then I ran into a problem.
I had highlighted certain parts that were particularly good so I could touch on them in my book review. When I looked back over these I found that there were about a hundred. I knew that if I used them my review would be too long for anyone to read. . . and that there would be no point in your actually reading the book anymore. So I did what any rambling writer must do in this situation. I put it away and waited a few weeks. The only way for me to tell you about this book without telling you the book is for me to forget a lot of the book. So now, with the details of the story blurred somewhat in my memory, let me share with you the imprint that remains:
The first of the three main things I love about the book is just TJ’s general writing style. It’s a lot like mine: simple, effortless, without fancy words. This is not “literature”. . . it’s a conversation. I felt like I was sitting in his living room and he was telling me his story. I think this is why I couldn’t put it down. I can call him TJ because I feel like I know the guy.
The second thing that made TJ’s story unique was the blatant unabashed honesty. Not only honest about himself, but also about others. Not in a mean or vindictive way, and with respect and redemption by the end of the story, but honest about how the mistakes of others affected him in both positive and negative ways. I’ve often thought that if I ever write a book about my life I’ll have to wait until everyone I know dies – simply because I’m not sure if everyone could handle how their mistakes were used by God to mold and refine me. I really respect TJ for his courage in doing so, and the grace with which he was able to accomplish the task.
TJ is honest about how his church deceived him early in his life. About the confusing and at times abusive treatment he received at the hands of those entrusted with his spiritual well-being. About how his father raised him both to be a strong man, and taught him coping skills that would forever challenge and test his self-control and willpower. About how he acted like a good Christian leader while living like a good selfish human. About how he one day found himself in a place where he never realized he was heading. About how, even now that his path is corrected, he struggles sometimes to believe God can do all the things He can do.
The third thing I love about his story is that TJ takes great pains to demonstrate how God used all of the pain, abuse, loss, and stupidity to refine him and make him the man he was meant to be. He shares candidly how God shattered him, healed him, restored him, guided him, and grew him. He is honest about learning to be receptive to redemption from God, forgiveness of himself, restoration of relationships, and believing that God does unbelievable things.
As I read this book I couldn’t help but think of several men in my life of whom TJ reminds me. These men have struggled with many of the same things: loss, abuse, pornography, sex, pride. They have made their digressions to these destinations. But these guys are some of my favorite people on the planet. Like TJ, they have a passion for truth. They discovered their digressions and trudged back through the drudge of their lives to the top of the mountain, running into the arms of their watching and waiting Father. These men in my life remind me that though all of us are at times big fat fools, we must remain Thirsty Fools. We must recognize that our Father pursues us despite our stupidity. In our thirst, we must slow down enough for Him to catch us. When He does, we must grab on and hold tight for dear life.
My conclusion about this book: Read it. Just read it.
To get a taste of TJ’s writing, you can follow his blog, Thirsty Fool.
Just do it.