What Others Say

Thank you for writing the article in Saturday's edition of New Castle News. It was very good and very interesting. You bring it all to light, making everything very simple and easy to understand. - Kathy L. - New Castle, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Same Kind of Different 1-6-2010

My son-in-law came home for the holidays engrossed in a new book. Although he enthusiastically joined in our family traditions, whenever he found some quiet moments, he kept returning to his book. So, I downloaded a copy on the new Kindle that my wife gave me and immediately found myself hooked as well. Apparently the book has been out since 2005. But sometimes it takes a book that long to find me.

Same Kind of Different As Me is actually two stories. One, the story of an illiterate black man named Denver who was raised in the cotton fields of Louisiana and ended up homeless on the streets of Fort Worth. The other, an upwardly mobile white man named Ron Hall who graduated from TCU and made a fortune in the art world. They each tell their story, and the remarkable intersection of their journeys.

Maybe I was drawn to the book because Ron Hall spent his childhood summers on a farm near my boyhood home of Corsicana. His descriptions of Corsicana resonated with my memories growing up on Collin Street, one of the signature brick streets that reflect the glory days when the city boasted more millionaires per capita than any other town in Texas. Maybe I was drawn to the book because Ron and Denver intersect in the slums of Fort Worth east of downtown where my wife started her teaching career forty years ago.

But the true stories of Ron Hall and Denver Moore are not the main stories in the book. They represent other stories: the story of our country and its culture. Ron represents those who rise from middle class with professional opportunities that can lead to great wealth. He also represents the dangers of that path that include temptations for greed, materialism, shallow and broken relationships. Denver represents the alarmingly huge segment of our population that falls between the cracks, victims of prejudice, oppression, injustice and neglect. He also represents the dangers of that downward spiral that includes temptations of bitterness, anger, isolation and despair.

But the greatest story underlying and connecting all of these is God’s story. Ron’s wife, Deborah is the entry point for his work, one person who was open, willing and obedient who became the catalyst for connecting these two broken men from different ends of the social spectrum.

In a day when many look to government to heal our wounds and solve our social problems, Same Kind of Different As Me, serves as a reminder that the real solution to our personal and social problems lies within us. It is often buried beneath our own prejudices and fears, but it can be unlocked and released with the keys of acceptance, trust, faith and love, all the things Jesus demonstrated and talked about.

Same Kind of Different as Me is a great book to start the new year and the new decade. God wants to use each of us, whatever our race, whatever our circumstance, whatever our background to make a difference in the world. You can learn more about Ron and Denver’s stories by visiting their website, www.samekindofdifferentasme.com.

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