When I started at Baylor in 2008, the book that all entering freshman were required to read was Same Kind of Different As Me. This book chronicled the unlikely, but real life, friendship of Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Ron is a wealthy man from Ft. Worth Texas who, after being pushed by his wife, begins to volunteer at a homeless shelter in Ft. Worth. While there, be beings a friendship with Denver. Denver, is a homeless man, who grew up sharecropping and has an incredible perspective on life and friendships. The story of Ron and Denver changed the way that many people approached friendship and understood the issue of homelessness. This story is one that continues to impact the lives of people around the country– both wealthy and homeless.
InWhat Difference Do It Make? Ron and Denver share more of their story and life after Ron’s wife passed away from cancer. While those portions of the book will tug at your heart strings, the stories of how their previous book inspired people to make a difference in their communities quickly became my favorite part.
Interwoven throughout the details of Ron and Denver’s friendship are stories about how their lives impacted others in the world. These stories took all forms. One family began adopting children from Africa, a high school art teacher helped homeless men work through their hurts through art, and a little girl learns to serve the homeless and raises money in her neighborhood to help the local shelter. My favorite though is a chain reaction story that impacted multiple people across the country. You’ll have to read the book to learn about that one.
Reading What Difference Do It Make? not only warmed my heart with stories of lives changed, but challenged me to change the way I view the role of the church in homelessness and poverty. While I’ve never been one to think the governments should solve our problems, it becomes easy to lean on the government to ‘fix’ problems like this. Hall reminds readers that the issues of homeless run much deeper than just having a roof over your head. He also raises an interesting challenge. In most cities Hall and Moore visit, there are fewer homeless individuals than churches.
Hall proposes that if each church took responsibility for loving one homeless person back into society and ultimately caring for themselves there would no longer be homelessness. The problem is so few believers are willing to put their money, life, and comfort where they say their faith is. What a difference Christians could make in our world if we believed our faith in action.
I would strongly recommend that you read both books by Hall and Moore. You can purchase them here.
Full Disclosure– Thomas Nelson, the publisher of these books, provided me with a free copy of What difference do it make? in exchange for writing an honest review. I’m not required to write a nice review. I just really like the books.