Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. I Corinthians 1: 26-29
From the beginning of time, God seems to have reveled in the practice of making something out of nothing and of taking nobodies and turning them into somebodies. You could say He is the original “recycler” of human capital. He is the God who accomplishes extraordinary results through very ordinary—and very flawed—people because the fact is that once the Light of the World takes up residence in their hearts, ordinary people are no longer merely ordinary.
Our nation could use a few willing souls with the Light of the World in their hearts right now.
Other than the Gospel itself, I don’t think there exists a better story of racial reconciliation and healing than Same Kind of Different as Me. Two men who could not have come from more disparate backgrounds with seemingly nothing in common became, not just friends, but brothers in the true sense of the word. Either would have laid down his life for the other. It happened, not because of some governmental regulation or an edict handed down by a court of law. It happened because of the transforming power of the God who was and is and will forever be in the business of breaking down the walls that divide His people. His gospel is peace. His nature is love. His love heals because it is the only kind of love that changes hearts. Changed hearts have the power to change families and friendships, neighborhoods and cities, nations and even the world.
Stephen and Melissa Johnston had no ambition, desire, or plan to be involved in the funding and filming of a movie at all. For some reason, as you will read, God had other ideas. He made that abundantly clear. The fact that it just happened in an almost random—although with God nothing is ever random—way is another thing altogether.
We choose our covers months in advance. Who knew when we asked Stephen and Melissa to let us tell their story last spring that it would land on our cover in the very month when we have seen racial strife beyond anything we have seen in decades? I do believe that the message in the movie filmed right here in our capital city has the power to prompt all Believers to action in the very place God has planted us.
Statistics imply that our culture is no longer a “reading” populace; that people don’t read books as they once did. If we are a people addicted to sound bites and social media, then movies may be the new and effective way of reaching people today with the good news of the gospel. I, along with Ron Hall, the author of the book, the screenplay writer, and one who lived the story, pray that this film sparks a movement—and it’s not the kind of movement we are used to seeing with broken bottles, burned buildings, and angry rhetoric. It is a real movement of understanding and reconciliation as only the love of God can produce.
I am always excited about a new issue. In 14 years of telling your faith stories, I have never stopped being totally amazed and inspired and in complete awe of the fact that our eternal God is still alive and well and active in the lives of His people. I think about those wonderful words in Lamentations 3 that provided the lyrics to one of my favorite praise songs:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning
Great is Thy Faithfulness, O Lord
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Here’s a toast to “Difference Makers” of whom our Lord is the First, the Greatest, and the only One who does it perfectly every time!
“Is this some kind of joke?” Daddy said. “Why would anybody want to read a book about you and Denver? Y’all ain’t nobody…” Earl Hall, What Difference Do it Make?