Friday, May 31, 2013

Presumptuous: Fourth Fisherman

From November 2005 to November 2006, my family was distracted by an overseas deployment and a self-imposed moratorium on news. We were perhaps one of the few families in the US who had never heard of "Los Tres Pescadores" (The Three Fishermen) until we read this book. I had never heard of these men who had been lost at sea. I had never heard of people surviving for 9 months on raw sea animals and rainwater, much less drifting 5000 miles across the Pacific. The men were tempted by despair, and two of the original five men succumbed to despair and died. However, the remaining three were sustained by faith in God and His Providence for them during their ordeal. Their story is inspirational, and I am glad that they survived to tell it and that Joe Kissack wrote about it.

In his telling of the fishermen's story, Kissack draws parallels with these men's story and his own spiritual journey as he faced a complete paradigm shift in his life. In the end, the three fishermen came home to their families, and Kissack found his way back to God through a sea of worldly temptations. Kissack's story is inspirational in itself. 

However, I was disappointed that Kissack took his own rather protected struggle of faith and made close parallels with these men whose very physical being depended directly on God's grace and their faith in Him. He even goes so far as to figuratively put himself in the boat with the fishermen as the titular "Fourth Fisherman."

Truthfully, as I read the book, I was expecting God Himself to be occupying this position as the unseen yet present Captain and Navigator...the "Fourth Fisherman." By supplanting this position and inserting himself (albeit figuratively) into these men's ordeal, he sullies what was otherwise a decent book.

This book is two inspirational stories in one. If you can look past the artificial importance Kissack gives himself, you will be edified by both spiritual journeys. 

Note: Please be aware that due to the nature of the fishermen's ordeal, many parts of the book are not for the young and the squeamish. I strongly recommend that it be read by High School students and older. 

This book was provided by Waterbrook/Multnomah for in exchange for review.

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