Book review: Wanted

by Chris Hoke

★★★★★

Dark and yet hope-filled, this book carries you along on the journey of a young pastor through gangs, prisons, and illegal immigrants. These are desperate people. But these are the people–like the huckster tax collector Matthew in the Bible–that Jesus made a point of befriending.

It’s an emotional and frightening journey. Chris at first felt uncomfortable with the title of Pastor, but that’s what his outcast acquaintances insisted on calling him. Pastor means “shepherd” … in this case, a shepherd to the black sheep. It’s where Chris seemed to belong:

“Growing up in many churches, I never found them to be raw or extremely honest places–not places where you could show the worst side of yourself. But I found the jail to be a place where inmates didn’t have the option to hide their problems. Hard as one may try with weak laughter or macho fronts before guards, you can’t pretend your life is working out just fine when you’re locked in the county jail. Here, people are left staring–innocent or guilty of the specific charges–at the wreck of their lives. And in this place, in these rooms of unadorned life, I found something that clergy call sacrament, mysteries I could feel. More than bible studies, the one-on-one visits with the men were the sites of holy encounters for me.”

The fellowship in prison grew, and Chris’s faith grew alongside it.

“I felt like I was falling deeper in love as all this happened. It wasn’t just with these broken lives at the table with me. It was love for the One through whose eyes I was possibly learning to see. I began to suspect I was sensing the desire of Another–God’s desire for the locked-up.”

Raw and real, this is a book you don’t want to miss if you’re serious about being a Christian. I hope to provide a few excerpts from the book in future posts.

Harper One, © 2015, 367 pages

ISBN: 978-0-06-232136-7

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