I returned from my trip to Wheaton yesterday. I had spent last week teaching the Sexuality & Sex Therapy course in the graduate program. During my down time, I had an opportunity to catch up with friends, one of whom has historically been responsible for giving me a lengthy book list for summer reading. Most of the reading I do throughout the year involves academic books and journal articles, so the summer is a great opportunity to read other things. In any case, with that list in hand, another friend actually surprised me with the recommendation, Same Kind of Different as Me, a nonfiction book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Since this friend had a spare copy, I got to start it while I was up there and just finished it today.
The book is actually about the unusual relationship that forms between Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and it is a rather remarkable story given that Hall is a wealthy art dealer and Moore is a homeless man with a violent past. There are any number of differences between these two men, but the story is about how they meet and form a meaningful relationship, something made possible by Ron Hall’s wife, Deborah, and clearly through the work of God in their lives. It is powerful and redemptive story for Denver, Ron, and for the marriage between Ron and his wife, Deborah.
I also appreciated that the racial differences between Ron and Denver play a role in the book but are transcended by their primary identity in Christ. This is not new; there is a multicultural church movement in this country, but it is always encouraging to me to see it play out in the lives of real individuals. A colleague and several doctoral students recently worked with me on a project studying the experiences of church members in a multiethnic church. In fact, they referred to their church as transethnic, in that they were recognizing and celebrating cultural differences, but also transcending those differences for a primary kingdom identity.
The reader gets the sense that this kind of kingdom identity is the primary identity of concern for Ron, Deborah, and Denver, and that is an encouraging and exciting thing to read about. I recommend this book. Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and sometimes much more heartening.