Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: "What difference do it make?"

Book Review: What Difference Do It Make?
By Ron Hall, Denver More, and Lynn Vincent

Contrary to popular opinion, one life does make a difference. The choices you make will make a difference in your world. That is the core message of "What difference do it make?", the new book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

Ron is a white elite Art Dealer and Denver is a black man who was homeless until Ron's wife Deborah decided to make a difference. Their first book "Same Kid of Different as Me" is about the choice that Deborah made to make a difference in the sphere of homelessness in her city. Deborah later died of cancer. This, their second book, is about the difference that Deborah's life made and is continuing to make in the lives of people all across the United States.

The chapters of the book each trace a thread of change that came about as a result of Deborah's life, and - perhaps more importantly - the book that chronicled her choices. While the book is about the effect of one life on the homelessness surrounding her, the more important lesson to be learned is that you CAN make a difference in your world. Each chapter follows the story of someone who was touched by "Same Kind of Different as Me" and how they were changed. It further goes on to tell how that individual chose to make a difference in their world as a result of reading the book.

While there are a few elements of the book that cause me to question individual choices of the people being chronicled, I found the book to be very motivational. Most people I know are moved by the plight of the homeless, but are paralyzed by ignorance. They are plagued by questions about what to do and what not to do in order to bless people and help them.

Denver give a new definition to "blessing" and helping". He says that you "bless" someone by giving them a gift that tells them they still matter in the world. He says that you help someone by stepping down into the pit with them and staying long enough to give them a boost so they can climb out. He would approve of either action as a Godly response to homelessness.

One of the things that struck me as among the most remarkable comments in the book was about "blessing". Denver says that you cannot bless someone and judge them at the same time. He says that you must give your gift to God as you hand it to a homeless person. You can't focus on blessing them if you insist on judging how they might use your gift.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "What difference do it make?" and would recommend it to just about everyone. I wouldn't say that it will answer all your questions about homelessness and how you should respond. However, it will give you some simple pointers on some things to NOT do, and some ideas on how to begin. Get a copy and read it. I don't think you'll regret it! You definitely won't look at homelessness the same way afterward.

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