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Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Interweaving his own story with moving vignettes and gritty experiences in hidden places, a jail chaplain and minister to Mexican gang and migrant worker communities chronicles his spiritual journey to the margins of society and reveals a subversive God who’s on the loose beyond the walls of the church, pursuing those who are unwanted by the world.

Wanted follows a restless
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by HarperOne (first published January 15th 2015)
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Average rating 4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Start your review of Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders
i have decided to be honest with myself and admit that i'm never going to review this, and then i can take it off my massive "review pending" shelf and feel that much less stress in my life. this isn't something i ever intended to read, but it was sort of pushed at me back when i was reading for the bn discover program and they needed more reads on it. it was fine, but i had read Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America pretty much right before this, and i felt that some of the events and a ...more
Jonathan Hiskes
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hard to know what to say about this one. Chris, my dear friend, takes the way and words of Jesus more seriously than anyone I know. He follows him into the darkest corners of our world – jails, solitary confinement wards, migrant camps, Central American slums. And he finds Jesus in the tattooed, scarred faces of homies just as hungry as Chris for a glimpse of the beloved. Over and over in this book, small gatherings of wounded young men erupt into laughter at a surprise banquet prepared before t ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finished in 3 days. It's like a true crime drama meets Annie Dilliard.
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-reviewed
*disclaimer on this review: Chris is a good friend of mine that I look up to, so this review will no doubt be biased. But that’s ok. It really IS a great book.*

I came across this line in a book I read recently: "I never found a club or clan or idea that was more important to me than the men and women who believed in it." And I see in Wanted, and in Chris in this book, a type of love for people that gets Chris to where he is - finding God, maybe, through the people. I think what most struck me
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are some great things in this book. Hoke's ministry to people in prison, and his pastoring of those who've been in trouble with the law in a variety of ways is admirable, and shows the way in which Jesus works through lives that seem lost and hopeless.
It's also interesting to read about Hoke's own journey and how he's 'found his vocation', as it were, bit by bit over the years.
There are some extraordinary characters here too: people who've found Christ, or Christ's love shown through oth
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm very glad I read this book. It is an important indictment of our incarceration system and of the way societies throw people away. I'm grateful for those like the author who love the outcasts no matter what and in all circumstances--a witness to a grace that will not be defeated.
Okay we're going to do this review.

I’m in Calculus right now and I’m crying.

I'm crying

In the middle of my CALC CLASS

Congratulations Chris Hoke, if that was your goal, you have fully accomplished it.

At least making me look doubly embarrassing in this dead silent post-quiz environment.

I am now going to spend the next half hour convincing you, whoever the reader of this review may be-or convincing perhaps empty space, that you should take every other book off the top of your to read list (beside
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I heard Chris Hoke on Snap Judgment I was hoping and hoping he would put a book out because that podcast moved me deeply.

I loved this book and the way he shares the stories of the way the people he is serving teach him. The stories and writing are so real and beautiful. I grateful for people like Bob Ekblad and Chris that are sharing their stories and reaching the people society wants to throw away, following Jesus into the places the rest of us avoid and showing us how to love and S
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. Hoke writes beautifully about his experiences as a night-shift chaplain at a men's correctional facility. The emotional range of these stories is breathtaking -- I was crying one minute, guffawing the next, jittering with my heart-pounding in suspense another, sitting silent in numb disbelief the next. You get the idea. Go ahead and put this one at the top of your to-read list. Both the stories themselves and the graceful prose through which they are told are stunning.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Because of his willingness to tell hard truths about himself and his subjects, Chris Hoke's portraits of the men he has learned from and loved during his prison ministry transcends the syrupy, feel-good triumphalism so common in memoirs about ministry. Hoke is able to provide damning illustrations of the dehumanizing effects of prison policies--and even prison itself--without valorizing the men in those prisons or the officers working in those prisons. While set in dark places, the book does not ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to hate this book. To be cynical and antagonistic to the cheesy, bible thumping, over reaching story that had to be between the covers, but I couldn't. Regardless of what religion you believe in (if any at all), this story is about empathy and connection and finding the things that we all have in common as human beings with hearts and brains.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I appreciate what Hoke is doing (and maybe even moreso, the evocative way he writes about it). I kept having this sneaking suspicion that Hoke was willing to kick doctrine (or at least dogma) to the curb, in order to emphasize a certain kind of approach to life. I recognize that response could be more about me than him. I love the approach, but I need the dogma, too.
Tim Otto
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kale for the soul

If you struggle with doubt as I do, this book will fortify your soul. Chris Hoke tells the terrifying truth in both its pain and joy. It's exactly what we humans need to nourish faith.
Becky Nasralla
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very eye-opening and shows the extent of spiritual warfare and the compassion of those called to minister .
Sarah Sanderson
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mfa
Just a gem.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
"The love of God is greater far than any tongue could ever tell…." When I was a kid I heard this opening line to a song sung at church enough times for me to remember it over 50 years later. At the time these words didn’t mean much to me; they were just random words in a random song. Strangely, though, those are the words that come to mind when I think about this book. And this time they’re not just random words; they express a deep and profound truth that is life-changing.

Chris Hoke writes abou
Lee Harmon
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Murderers. Drug addicts. Gang leaders. Thieves. The troubled men in this memoir by Chris Hoke, a gang pastor and jail chaplain, are known to society by these dark labels. To Hoke, however, these “men starved for kindness and care” are so much more than their criminal actions or statuses; they are his unconventional congregants and his true friends.

WANTED: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders traces Hoke’s first years of visiting with, praying with, and listening to
M.J. McDermott
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Powerful and moving stories of Chris Hoke's journey of the spirit that takes him to the prisons and the inner cities to work and pray with criminals. The individual stories are heart-wrenching and page-turning. I yearned for the redemption of these men who appeared to be letting their hard hearts crack a little. It was painful to read about the crushing penitentiary system and how it destroys the souls who arrive there. It takes a special person to enter through those clanging doors to pray with ...more
D.L. Mayfield
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fr. Greg Boyle calls this a book of "exquisite mutuality"--and I couldn't agree more. Chris Hoke tells stories of his life as a prison chaplain with Latino gangsters in the pacific NW. Raised in a Christian home like myself, he is electrified to discover what happens to his own faith as he starts to pray and read the Bible with those at the bottom of the totem pole in America. He slowly starts to orient his entire life to pursuing these flashes of a very good God, one who speaks affirmations to ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story about yet more injustices meted out to people of color. Chris was living & working mostly in the state of Washington & writes beautifully about his observations of the birds, land, waterways, etc. A big learning for me in this book is about what happens to immigrants that are transported to Mexico and dropped off over the border in an area where they have no people to help them and nothing to sustain their lives. They are picked up by the drug cartels and made their slaves. If ...more
Lee Bertsch
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
When we interact primarily with people who are very much like us we can sometimes begin to think that our way of encountering the gospel and our ways of expressing faith are standard for most everyone. Then you read this account of a man who brings the presence of Christ and the words of Christ inside prisons and into the lives of gang members. The language is not for sensitive ears but it is honest and refreshing and underscores how Jesus shows up everywhere in ways that are real and transformi ...more
Steve Watson
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hoke is a skilled and poignant storyteller, and he has beautiful stories to tell. This is not a book about a brave privileged pastor bringing Jesus to poor prisoners. Instead, it's the tale of an empty guy who discovers Jesus amongst immigrants, gang bangers, and prisoners and comes most alive when he's with them. Reading this book moved me like few have. I want to go find Jesus in loving people as well....
Jon Andrews
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
A wonderful inside look at the ministry of jail chaplains and those they minister too. It makes me grateful for those like our own jail chaplain Cory Martin. He serves as pastor of our counties 4th largest congregation. If you think about it, pray for your local jail chaplain, and those they minister too every day.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Hoke is a prison chaplain who outlines some of his ministry over the years. Interesting stories of reform and renewal and also heart breaking stories. Hoke works hard to explain how prisoners come to this place in their lives and also to explain the corruption of the prison system both in the USA and in other countries, especially amongst migrant workers.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-booklist, ebooks
While I initially bought the book because I know the author, I found myself laughing out loud at points, with tears creating a barrier between me and the words on the page at other points, and a yearning to tune my own antenna to the "spiritual frequencies." Very well done.
Dave McNeely
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This collection of theological memoir vignettes really starts to pick up steam and pathos about halfway through and continues strong to the finish line. An excellent addition to the growing literature that has emerged out of the phenomenal Tierra Nueva ministry in Washington state.
Steve Craig
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very inspirational way to look at sharing your faith to the marginalized part of our society. Very Inspiring and thought-provoking. I could not put it down.
I am actually planning a trip to meet the author to see how I can support his ministry.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this is a really, really good book. I was sorry it wasn't longer.
Tim Hoiland
In the genre of 'Tattoos on the Heart' and 'Just Mercy' - the characters in these pages are rough around the edges and refreshingly unforgettable. Will be thinking about these stories for a while.
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“Opening yourself directly to the spiritual sources—be they evil or holy—is dangerous business. You risk opening the front door of your heart to forces as complicated and conflicted as the streets and prisons. (As inmates have made sure to remind me, regarding such environments: “Not everyone’s there to help you, Chris. You can get fucked up really quickly.” Those words, I think, apply to the unmediated spiritual realm.) But there’s an even greater danger. You risk making contact with a Love somewhere out there that is so pure, so good, it makes you feel more, hurt more, notice more, care more, makes you embarrassingly odd and terribly sensitive, welcoming strangers, touching the lepers like Francis in Assisi, or getting dragged to court and stuck with the death penalty between two thieves like Jesus did. Or—and this is most common—if you lose that connection that filled you like the sun, it can be a loss so disorienting that even the hope required for real prayer—someone suggesting you open up again, say, to God—can drive you mad. Any way you come at it, it’s a dangerous game.” 1 likes
“all spiritual training is learned through actions, like apprentices. Not through ideas.” 0 likes
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