Guest Blogger: The Story Behind ‘Designed for Relationship’ by T.J. MacLeslie
Designed for Relationship is a book that has been begging me to write it for nearly 20 years. However, I’m glad I didn’t write it before now as it distills the lessons I have learned in my search for truth and meaning, as well as the paths I now use to guide people to fullness of life. Along the way, I have met wonderful people who challenged and encouraged me. Now, I have the opportunity to help others on their way. Some of those I have journeyed alongside kept asking me to write something down for them so they could share it with others. It was in the process of listening to and serving people on their journey that this book took shape.
Designed for Relationship invites you to rediscover the relational nature of God and humanity in two parts: Part One examines ancient truths in the Bible to renew our vision of God and humanity; Part Two applies these truths to our lives, using The Five Circles, a practical tool to understand what it means to be human and providing a framework for growth. All of this has come as a result of my own search for God in the confusion and chaos of the real world.
There are so many ideas about God floating around in our world today. Many present God in terms that are uninviting and startlingly inaccurate. I grew up with a view of God as a distant and forbidding king and judge. I have joyfully discovered that while God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, He is also much more. The God of Scripture is relational at His core—Father, Son, and Spirit—a constantly loving and interacting community. God decided to expand this community of love and created humans to be partakers of the divine nature and little images of His relational self. This is very different than the picture I received as a kid growing up in church.
The details of my meandering search for truth and meaning actually became my first book, Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool, while Designed for Relationship captures and clarifies the lessons learned and makes them available for others as well as providing practical tools to help fellow travelers.
As my search for meaning continued, I found I was not alone. Others had walked similar paths through the years: from St. Augustine and St. Patrick, right through to Henry Nouwen, Dallas Willard, and David Benner. The lessons I gleaned from others have been tried and tested against Scripture and in the laboratory of the real world. In a sense, my whole life has been research for this book. I draw on my own experiences as well as those of people I have worked with through the years, to share the principles and tools that we have found helpful for our journey.
My commitment to the truth that everything is about relationship is borne out by how I live and create in community. I invited people to read and respond to the manuscript, throughout the creative process. My hope was to hone and improve the book by getting a variety of perspectives, sharpening both the message and the messenger. An unintended consequence of this creative process was a friend showing it to a small publisher who approached me about the project.
I feel like a small publisher had a lot of the benefits of self-publishing without the complications and loss of control that comes with a major publishing house. This is my second book, and my second small publisher. I like that small publishers are responsive and are invested in marketing and selling the book, the parts that I find most difficult. I wrote the book because I wanted to help people and I believe in the message, but selling anything is hard for me. I find the creative process to be a joy, but the publishing process to be really draining. I am happy to let someone else take the lead in the design, printing, distribution, and marketing of the book.
This book has been a lifetime in the making, and it is a joy to share it with anyone looking for something more in their life, faith, and relationships.
Purchase paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Designed-Relationship-Learning-Love-God/dp/0989016609
Purchase digital: http://www.amazon.com/Designed-Relationship-Learning-Love-ebook/dp/B00DJZW286
T.J. MacLeslie has been involved in a variety of Christian ministries since 1990, including pastoring, church planting, leadership development, prayer, and spiritual formation. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation. You’ll often find him walking the fields with his dog, reading a book, or enjoying a warm cup of coffee.
Visit the author online at http://www.about.me/tj_macleslie and his publisher at www.ParvaimPress.com.