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Book Review – Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman… by Ron Hall

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Same Kind of Different As Me is an unusual autobiography in that it combines the lives of two disparate men, a wealthy, disaffected art dealer and an angry, black homeless man, with that of the woman whose love for God drew them together.

The former art dealer, Ron Hall, penned the work, writing both his own and Denver Moore’s story. Moore was functionally illiterate at the time the book was written but has since learned to read and write.

Hall’s observations and reflection make up the bulk of the title, interspersed with Moore’s thoughts, rendered by Hall into what seems to be an accurate representation of Moore’s distinctive speaking style and accent. After re-writing this work thirteen times, publisher Thomas Nelson brought in co-writer Lynn Vincent to edit, polish and re-write once again prior to publication. The result is a warm, intimate no-holds-barred account of the lives of three of God’s children and the intersection of their lives.

Ron’s wife, Debbie Hall was a woman called of God to step outside the boundaries of $1000 per plate charity dinners and high society to take follow in Christ’s steps and take His love to "the least of these". Devoting herself to working with the homeless community of Forth Worth, Texas, she related to those she met as individuals and people with a purpose, loving them for who they were.

This flowing, authentic love was much more difficult for her husband Ron Hall to grasp hold of. Coerced into joining his wife’s ministering efforts, his initial attempts were stilted. Focused more upon assuaging guilt and generating a warm, fuzzy sense of do-gooding, it was only when his friendship with Denver Moore blossomed that he experienced the depths of true compassion.

Raised in informal, modern-day slavery, Moore worked hard growing and picking cotton until some time in his late twenties when he left the only life he knew in search of a better one. The new life he found resulted in thirty years on the streets, homeless and without work. Over these years he became angry, his heart hardened and he slipped into darkness.

When God placed the Halls in his life he resisted their tapping at his heart. Survival skills learned from years on the streets launched his automatic defense system. Through prayer, persistence and love the lives of these three individuals would weave a new story that would inspire and touch the lives of thousands.

While God’s importance in this work is never minimized, no clear presentation of the gospel is present. There are also some experiences related that some readers might feel uncomfortable with; spirit visitations and visions are clearly a part of who Denver Moore is and his understanding of God. While these may appear as superstitious to many, it’s likely that these beliefs are common to those with Denver’s upbringing.

That being said, books like these aren’t read to inform your theological position. Read it to see the joy and fruit of being Jesus’ hands and feet in this world. Read it to learn about striving to serve Him with love and spreading that love to those who have fallen through the cracks. Read it to experience the deep love between a husband and wife, the power of God to soften and change hearts and His ability to take grief and use it as a seed that will grow, flower and touch the lives of many. A beautiful story that warms and wrenches the heart; you’ll want tissues on hand for this one.

When asked if they had any additional thoughts on the book the authors responded:

“Ron: Most of our thoughts were included and the book was never meant to be a self-help or instructional book. Ours is merely a story about how a Godly woman with a dream followed it to the point where a city was changed. Denver and I are not preachers or teachers, but sinners with a story to tell.

Denver: I didn’t have any thoughts for this book, I just told my story. I just want to encourage folks to be more like Miss Debbie.”

I’d say that about sums it up.

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About Jennifer Bogart

  • linda niehoff

    My son gave me this book for Christmas. It was especially interesting to me since my son has met Ron and Denver. He washes the windows of the mansion and was recently able to meet both Ron and Denver and heard their story. He was so excited that he went out and bought the book immediately. I couldn’t put it down. What a great example for all of us.

  • http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/ Jodi Hughes

    Thank you for posting a review of “Same Kind of Different as Me.” I work with Thomas Nelson, and we would love to follow your blog and hear what readers think of this exciting book. I also want to let you know that Ron and Denver have just released a new book “What Difference Do It Make?” which updates readers on their activity since the last book came out. Please contact me if you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book for review on your site.

    Thanks!

    Jodi Hughes

  • Martha Drennan

    One of my all-time favorite books. How could you read this and truly not be changed for the better?! I highly recommend it!