I really enjoyed Wisdom Hunter. The story took off quickly and was captivating. God really used this book and the two that follow to minister healing to me. For any one that has ever been wounded/rejected by a church or professing Christian, these books can be a Balm of Gilead. For any one that is feeling like there is more to being a Christian than attending church and doing all the "right things", hopefully these books will point to the heart and character of Jesus. As Jason Faircloth, the main character discovers, Jesus stated it was most important to love God with all your heart and love others as yourself. To esteem others above yourself. To lead by serving. This example is displayed so beautifully in the characters in this book. Wisdom Hunter portrays the grace, mercy and forgiveness that is available to all of us by God. My relationship with God has been greatly affected by this book. I would reccomend this book to anyone!!
I read rapidly through the pages of Wisdom Hunter, digging for the gold that would most certainly be hidden within if the praise Id read was to be believed. Confronted by shallow characters for whom I felt little, surprising and not entirely explained shifts in character, lengthy passages of sermonizing and reflection, and more telling than showing, I persevered.Through stock characters an elderly Asian pastor who speaks like the mystic Karate Kid sensei transplanted into a Christian setting the stiff-necked legalistic minister suddenly transformed into a free-wheeling wanderer, and so on, I found Wisdom Hunter soon becoming a painful reading experience. Though I expected a well-written book from the glowing reviews, I soon discovered that this novel is what I call teaching fiction (which Ive never found to be well written).While I truly appreciate Arthurs heart for the church, and resonate with his desire to see believers reaching out with the love and compassion of Jesus into a hurting world, to see believers humbly ministering to each other in honest, transparent relationships, I wish his message had been packaged in a subtler, well-written package. My Sister Dilly by Maureen Lang is an excellent, yet underappreciated example of such an approach; a touching, message-driven, yet well executed novel.Its times like this that Im reminded of the tendencies in the Christian reading community to elevate message over style. I firmly believe that the two can be skillfully combined; Christian readers shouldnt have to settle for less.
When I read the introduction I was under the impression that there was something controversial about the story, but I didn't find anything out of the ordinary at all. The story is about a right-wing pastor who is rather dictatorial in his beliefs: my way or the highway type. He loses his family and suddenly realizes that perhaps he has been wrong about how God works. He quits his church and goes on an odyssey to find his grandchild. The journey takes him across the States and to the Mediterranean and Europe. Finally, in Norway he discovers a church that is really based in the basics of Christianity. There he learns how wrong he had been and that his early teachings had taught him to put God in a box. There are a few memorable passages like where it is pointed out that all the disciples were completely different kinds of men who made each other strong. The mystery is a good story and the religious theme continually points out that we need to be careful about the type of church that we attend, it is good to ask questions.
Wisdom Hunter is split between two storylines that intersect but never overpower each other. Faircloth goes on an exhaustive search for the grand-daughter hes never met. At the same time, he searches for the truth in regards to unadulterated ministry. In the end, the more he tries to manipulate and control each endeaver, the further from his destination he goes. Once he gives in to what it is that God wants him to learn, he witnesses the things he adamently searched for coming to him. Literally. This is not an easy read for those wanting to cling to traditions or the teachings they have come to hold near and dear. It is, however, a real eye opener for those willing to believe there is more to what man was created for than following a list of rules and regulations. In fact, if you are convinced those man-made rules and regulations push you further away from God and man, this is the exact book for you. Who would have guessed when it was originally released in 1991, it would become a source of prized comfort to those tired of legalism and ready for real ministry. With Mulnomahs release of their print last month, it is available once again for those wanting to ditch the bottle and tackle the meat of ministry. The information in this book is real and can be applied starting today. It took guts and real passion for Arthur to tackle legalism in the church. He writes of questioning and reasoning what is taught and not just blind acceptance. He exposes the root of evil in following rules and regulations to the point of severing relationships. In fact, his emphasis is strong when he shows how it is responsible for uprooting family ties instead of making them bind tighter. Only God could have guided Arthurs hand as he penned this modern classic. Not to be confused with a how-to, this is more of a how-not-to. Its time to quit parroting what we believe to be between the lines of our Bibles. If youre willing, Wisdom Hunter is primed and ready.
Wisdom Hunter is a fast-paced, exciting book. I read the book in just a couple of days because I did not want stop reading it. It was not only exciting, it also forced me to think about my preconceived notions of how a Christian should look and whether those ideas are based on the culture instead of the Bible. I agreed with the author that living a life filled with legalism is not God's plan for His children. However, I did not agree with the author's implication that everything about the way we do church needs to change. There is nothing inherently legalistic about a traditional worship service with singing and preaching. In Wisdom Hunter the author presents an idealized picture of a church with discussion and exchange of ideas instead of preaching. I think there is certainly a place for discussion among Christians, but I also believe that the Biblical model for church is built around preaching from the Word. (Nehemiah 8:8, Acts 2:41-42)Disclosure: As a member of the WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books program, I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur is a thought provoking look at legalism within the Christian church and having a true relationship with God. Pastor Jason Faircloth has been praying with absolute surety for 516 days that God will return his runaway daughter, Hannah, to him, she will repent of her rebellion, and he will forgive her. When he instead receives a phone call on Christmas that she has been killed in a car accident, leaving behind a granddaughter, Renee, he will never know because the father wants nothing to do with him. In the wake of her death, Jason's wife accuses him of Hannah's murder and wills herself to die as well. With both of them gone, he questions his faith in God and the faith that he's been teaching the congregants at his church for the last fifteen years. He abandons the church and his old faith, heading off into a new world to discover what it really means to love the Lord and with the everpresent hope of finding Renee. Initially published in 1993, this book ruffled some feathers with its presentation of legalism within the American church, and it's still relevant today. I had a difficult time truly relating to Jason; he went from hardline Pharisee to accidental drug smuggler and escapee from jail. Some of the story seemed a bit far-fetched, but once it settled down in Norway, I enjoyed Jason and his faith, although his almost stalker-esque pursuit of Corinna seemed unusual. There are some rough spots in the writing. The dialogue and descriptions could use a little polish, but the story still has a powerful message that needs to be heard in today's climate of moral relativism on one side and us vs them mentality on the other.
Legalism in Christianity has always been such an interesting subject to me. This book brings up the topic and questions it and shows that it's not always the right way to follow. One topic that came up that I found extremely thought provoking was whether these rules were what God said, or whether this is just one person's personal views and opinions. This book started off extremely interesting. There's suspense and drama but it's balanced very well and the story is page turning. You don't know what's going to happen and, I sound sadistic, but it's quite moving to see Jason going from extreme legalistic pastor to a guy who has no idea what he wants or what to do.Then about halfway through the book, it just went downhill. Story lines were never answered. Characters did complete 180s. The tone of the book became extremely preachy. First off, Corrina just disappears. There was so much of the book focused on her and the storyline is just dropped. I'm half convinced Jason invented her in his mind. Then that once scene involving the "bath powder" was just really unbelievable naive on Jason's part. The situation with Cody and Renee could have been handled a lot better in my opinion. I know the book takes place in the 70s so the laws that are effective now weren't as strict back then. However, the situations that take place just seem so over the top. It just makes me feel like the author was making it as dramatic as possible just to create effect. As for being preachy, there were parts of the book that felt like a sermon, mostly Jason's journal entries and the scenes with the church in Norway. I just felt like this story could have been so much better. The writing is not really top notch. However the book does present a good argument and I did appreciate the topics that were brought up. If you are interested in reading more about legalism in the Christian church this is a good book to pick up. It just could have been better for me.
What do you do when your world is turned upside down? You lose everything that is precious to you. Do you disown the God you believe in? Or do you cling to Him because He will not let you go? Jason Faircloth is a man who thought he had the world in the palm of his hand, but tragedy causes him to rethink everything he ever believed in. As he seeks the answers to his questions, the God he thought he knew guides him on a journey far beyond his own plans a path of trust, faith, and Gods sovereign timing. He becomes a Wisdom Hunter. A thought provoking book of overcoming and God's care of His children.
I found this book very enjoyable. As a pastor, it's always a challenge to read a fictional account of other pastors, good or bad. The plot of Wisdom Hunter drew me in right from the start and held me through to the tearful ending (happy or sad? You'll have to read it and find out). Pastor Faircloth's search for answers and meaning after the opening tragedies seems very real and genuine. There might be some settings he gets into which I simply can't imagine ever happening, but the bring him to a breaking point a breaking point at which God can finally speak and he'll listen.There were two flaws I found this book, however. First was Jason Faircloth's "wisdom journal." This is essentially his journal/diary of discoveries he makes along the journey. The observations have everything to do with the legalistic background which Jason comes out of. These moments, while probably true in real life, not just in a fictional novel, get very preachy. It's almost as if the author has made these discoveries himself and just has to have an avenue to get them out to the world. Perhaps, if he would have simply summarized these discoveries in one or two sentences, they might have been bearable. The second weakness I found was in the International Community Church Jason discovers in Norway. If this were real life, I would rejoice that Faircloth finds his way back to a true church of loving believers. However, since the author got a bit preachy with his critique of the legalistic church from the beginning of the story, why does he not then allow the true, loving church to "preach" the Word into Pastor Faircloth's life. There is much wisdom shared, experiences referred to and love shown, but very little of the Word shared to bring Jason back to God, back to the church and back even to pastoring.Despite these two weaknesses, I found this book very readable, very enjoyable and I can highly recommend it.
How much tragedy could you face without giving up hope and turning your back on God? Jason is faced with tragedy and closed door after closed door and through it all, he argues with God, sharing his feelings, anger and questions why. Wisdom Hunter will grab your attention from the beginning and you will not be able to put it down until you follow Jason to the end of this journey that would cause most of us to give up hope.
It is hard to even know where to begin with story. As I dove into these pages I have to say I grew myself as I learned through the life of Pastor John Faircloth. He is a man who was the Pastor of the church, had a beautiful wife and daughter, along with a congregation that followed every word he said, that was the beginning of all his troubles to come as God showed him through trial after trial just how small he was and how big God was. John thought his way was the right way, and all should agree with him, or they must be punished for their wrong thinking. This book reminded me of Job, and how Job lost all he had, never cursing God, but always believing, and was blessed by God for his faith even though all around him didn't have it. But with Pastor John, he began cursing God, blaming God, and was thrown about in many trials that in the end showed who Christ really was, and once he surrendered himself to God, God had many blessings in store for him. This is an eye opening book about faith, about the church, and is a humbling story that brings a man to his knees to find Jesus. I loved reading this book. Each page leaves you waiting to see all God is going to do to make Himself known in Pastor John's life and those around him. He is on a wisdom hunt to find out truth, to find his real faith, and to find all that he has lost. This is one of those stories that will last a lifetime, that we can learn from, and grow from. God teaches us and reaches us in many different ways, and He did so through this wonderful story of grace.
Pastor Jason Faircloth thought he had God all figured out. He knew the rules, and he made sure his congregation knew them too. There was no excuse for failure. He expected the same at home, but his teenage daughter could not abide by such standards and ran away. Jason prays faithfully that God will send his daughter home, and he is certain that God will grant his request in time. Jason is visited out of the blue by a lawyer who brings horrible news: his daughter died giving birth to her daughter. Her husband is shipping her body back to Jason and his wife, but he has declared that the Faircloths will never see their granddaughter. Jason didn't even know his daughter had married, let alone was expecting a child. He cannot understand how God could allow such tragedy to happen to him, a man who has given God everything. Jason is suddenly lost in his faith. He no longer knows what to believe, except that he cannot go on as he had been. He leaves his congregation and sets out in search of the one thing he hopes will bring meaning to his shattered life: his granddaughter. This book was amazing. Jason's journey for new faith reached out and grabbed my soul. I've never read a story where the character experienced such a life change as a result of tragedy. It was inspiring, though-provoking, deep, and a wonderful look into Christ's heart. This book gives new insight to 1 Corinthians 10:23: "`Everything is permissible'--but not everything is beneficial. `Everything is permissible'--but not everything is constructive." Jason's journey to understanding humanity, love, and forgiveness changed the way I will look at it forever. It also changed the way I teach faith to my children. This book was heartbreaking and touching. I highly recommend it for readers looking for a gripping story that just might change their lives.
The beginning does not surprise you. In fact, youre almost hoping something bad happens to Pastor Jason Faircloth. When it does, you feel guilty for wishing ill of a man who, despite his anger & hurt, is still searching for God in truth & wisdom. This story engaged me in the main character, a fellow pastor (even though fictional). There were times I was really angry with him. I think there were times my family wanted to know why I was talking to my book. Other times found me empathizing with him, almost agonizing for him in his search. Elation. Joy. Sorrow. Heartache. So many emotions came through the reading of this book. If you enjoy being grabbed by the plot and characters, then this is a book youll want to get a hold of, even as it gets a hold of you.A warning should be given however. There are some dark moments in this novel. Nothing graphic, but clearly alluded to as the narrative builds. This wasnt necessarily disturbing to me (I love reading Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, and others, so Im accustomed to the disturbing). However, it was a bit surprising coming in a christian novel. Yet I found this actually made it all that much more real to see and feel the reasons why so much heartache can break a person to near nothingness, only to see God raise them up to Himself through the gospel. I think more Christian fiction can do with a dose of the hard realities of your former manner of life (Ephesians 4.22), as long as the real glorious grace of God is revealed through Jesus Christ.There were times I also felt that Arthur got a little preachy in his narractive: excerpts from Pastor Faircloths Wisdom Book (his personal journal); descriptions of the International Church, both in Norway and New York City (he really seems to have an axe to grind against legalistic churches not that this is a bad thing, just very evident here); and, in the descriptions of nearly all of the main people at Faircloths first church.