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Interview with T.J. MacLeslie, Author of ‘Designed for Relationship’

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Designed for Relationship cover

T.J. MacLeslie is the author of the Christian living/spiritual relationship book, Designed for Relationship. He has been involved with Christian ministry since 1990. He lives in the UK with his wife and two children.

Visit the author online at http://www.about.me/tj_macleslie

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in America, but have spent most of my adult life living in other countries. I have lived in four countries on three continents, studied four languages, and continue to enjoy the wonder of learning. I’m naturally curious and love diving into different cultures and perspectives. I have spent the last 23 years as a pastor and missionary and am still eager to grow and to share the lessons I learn along the way. I love my job as a soul friend and support for missionaries and ministers around the world.

What made you first decide to become a writer?

I love to communicate. I love reading, talking with people, as well as teaching and preaching. For me, writing is another form of communication engaging in the ongoing dialogue of ideas. Writing is hard work, but writing has the potential to touch people I have never met, and become a part of their story. Some of the biggest influences in my life are people I have never met, like Jonathan Edwards I or Dallas Willard. I love that! The idea that we are in dialogue with people living and dead about ideas and truth is just tremendous!

Can you tell us about your latest book?

My latest book, Designed for Relationship, is the distillation of the paradigm for life and ministry that I have developed throughout my life. It is a book about the nature and character of God as well as the nature and character of us as people created in His image. We were purposefully designed to relate — to relate to God, to each other, and the universe. As we begin to understand, and live from, this perspective we move toward a fuller experience of life and everything. This relational orientation has changed my life and is changing the lives of others as well.

What inspired you to write it?

As I have been helping others along the way, people kept asking me if there was a book that encapsulated this relational paradigm. There were a number of books that leaned in this direction, but nothing that really captured it. Through my own life experience, and examination of the Scriptures, I’ve had the opportunity to clarify and refine my thinking and presentation of this model. Once I began to see the inherently relational core of the Trinitarian God, it opened everything else up, and has transformed the way I relate to God and others. So, I wrote this book to help my friends, and to invite others into our community of sojourners.

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope that they will take away a renewed hope and desire for a genuine relationship with God, as well as some tools to help them on their search. My own search has been somewhat torturous and winding, and I hope that others can learn from my gleanings and save themselves some pain along their way to finding God and becoming all that He has created them to be.

How is your book different from others on the market?

I think there are a few things that are different about this book. First, this is a very honest and personal book, rooted in my own search and informed by the community of people God has brought me into contact with around the world. Second, The Five Circles paradigm, in Part Two of Designed for Relationship, is a unique and useful tool for understanding ourselves and how we grow. Third, the book is full of reflection questions and useful tools that have propelled my own growth as well as many others that I have had the privilege to walk alongside in their journey; so it is a very practical book for growth and discipleship.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It is currently available through Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and Book Depository, but it can also be ordered through virtually any bookstore; if it isn’t currently in stock. It is also available digitally for the Kindle platform exclusively through Amazon, which means it can be read on most digital devices.

What is up next for you?

Well, I still have my daily work of caring for ministers and missionaries around the world. I also still feel called to write, but perhaps in a different way. I’ve always loved stories, and am eager to write some fiction. I have a few projects I’m working on now, some children’s stories in the vein of Lewis, MacDonald, and Nesbitt, as well as some historical fiction exploring the interactions between faith, culture, and personality. I have a few chapters written for each of these. We’ll see what happens!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I am so grateful for this opportunity to talk with you, and hope that others will enter into the conversation. While I feel like my book is a contribution to the conversation, it is not meant to be the final word. I’m eager to talk with readers and learn from each other. I hope that people will visit www.dfrbook.com and join the conversation.

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About Cheryl C. Malandrinos