Same Kind of Different as Me is an American Christian drama film directed by Michael Carney and written by Ron Hall, Alexander Foard, and Michael Carney. It is based on the 2006 book of the same name by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent.
Ron Hall lost track of what matters most in life. It took an affair, a confession, a dream and an unlikely friendship with a homeless man to help him remember.
From the outside, Ron Hall’s seemingly charmed life looked pretty perfect: He had a flourishing art business, a beautiful wife, two fine teen children and an amazing 15,000 square foot house in Fort Worth, Texas.
But appearances can be deceptive.
Ron’s marriage to his wife of 19 years, Debby, hasn’t thrived for a long time. Workaholism has taken a toll: Ron’s been having an affair. So even when a friend forces him to confess (“If you don’t tell Debbie, I will”), Ron’s admission remains tainted with the twinge of justification: “We haven’t been intimate in two years,” he scolds.
Debby corrects him: “No. We haven’t slept together for two years. We haven’t been intimate in 10 years.”
It’s a hard moment. But Ron decides his marriage is worth another shot: “I choose you,” he eventually tells her.
Even as Ron recommits to Debby, she’s having … dreams. Dreams about a wise old black man who beckons her to follow him. Dreams that seem to mean … something.
Debby soon drags Ron along to help her volunteer at a Fort Worth homeless shelter, Union Gospel Mission, where everyone knows her. “Miss Debby” serves with a smile, always asking, What’s your name? How are you doing?
And Ron? “Can’t we just write a check?” he asks. He’s willing to give money. But getting his hands dirty? Mingling among people with … germs? Nope.
That’s when Suicide shows up. With a baseball bat.
Suicide doesn’t talk much. But he’s been known to go after people with that bat when he’s angry. Debby isn’t intimidated when he smashes a window. She rebukes him: “There’s a little girl right here! What are you doing?!”
Suicide scowls. And leaves.
But it’s hardly the last time Debby and Ron will see him. That’s because Suicide—whose real name they learn is Denver Moore—is the wise man in Debby’s dream.
Meeting Denver—and loving him through his scowls, growls and ill-tempered moments—will change Debby and Ron forever. And Denver’s life story will change theirs, too … especially the rich art dealer who never really wanted to get his hands dirty.
In many ways, our world today is focused on divisions, on differences. Differences between people of different gender and race, between people of different economic status, between people of different belief systems. It’s easy, perhaps even natural, to find members of our same “tribe,” those who share our worldview and our demographic traits.
It’s much less natural to reach across those boundaries, to try to understand others’ experiences, to serve those who have almost nothing in common with us. It’s easier to ignore them—especially the homeless—to act as if they don’t exist.
Debby Hall doesn’t do that. She doesn’t talk much about her faith, but it obviously inspires her to act with love. She’s determined to make a positive difference, sometimes just by being present with people who haven’t been asked what their names are in a very long time.
Debby’s servant’s heart and sacrificial love have a radical impact upon her husband, Ron. And together, their love impacts Denver Moore as well, a man whose life has been nothing but one oppressive, violent experience after another.
It’s an inspiring true story, and we learn that it eventually inspired Ron Hall to record it all in a book. Together, he and Denver helped to raise a reported $90 million (according to Ron Hall) for homeless shelters across the country a remarkable harvest reaped from the seeds planted by his wife’s simple-but-profound love.
Along the way, this profound story reminds us that no matter how deep the differences that separate us, just a bit of love may help us to see others’ dignity instead of choosing not to see them at all.