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Dallas and the Spitfire
An Old Car, An Ex-con, and an Unlikely Friendship
by Ted Kluck & Dallas Jahncke
Publisher:Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published:18 May 2012
Discipleship and cappuccinos often go together like evangelism and street corners. Thereís value in the right context, but thereís more to the doctrine than a once-a-week Ďspiritual check-upí at your local Starbucks. This, at least, is the picture Ted Kluck paints for us in his latest book, Dallas and the Spitfire.
Meet Ted: a thirty-four-year-old happily married, suburban dad who grew up going to church. And Dallas: a twenty-one-year-old cocaine addict, and ex-con, who met Jesus at a Rescue Mission during rehab. Tedís freelancing work as a sports writer Ė as well as his experience playing semi-pro football Ė sees him mixing with some real gritty characters, giving him an edge when he meets with Dallas as a mentor.
Ted and Dallas quickly realise that if they want to have a meaningful discipleship experience, chatting over latte every now and then just isnít going to cut it. Their personalities, and Tedís understanding of discipleship, arenít suited to the coffee shop scene. Ted says: ĎThe book-and-coffee model of discipleship seems semi-absurd to me, partly because we donít see Jesus doing this. Jesus taught, He led by example, He came alongside, and He healed.í (p. 32)
Instead, they consider their hobbies and interests, and - after a few rounds in the boxing ring in Tedís basement (seriously) Ė they decide to buy and restore a 1974 Triumph Spitfire. Dallas is gifted in auto-mechanics and while Ted expresses a love for cars, he doesnít have the slightest idea how to take one apart and fix it. One of the things that makes this book so refreshing is Tedís anecdotal humour* and humility in expressing his weaknesses. Whether itís something as practical as car maintenance, or as personal as his relationships; Ted is real with his readers.
This book demonstrates that discipleship is relationship. Ted quickly assumes a father-like role, and often compares the worries and frustrations he has with Dallas to his life as a parent. Itís obvious from the start that Ted has a real burden to see Dallas live his whole life for Christ, and because of this heís careful to help him keep a safe distance from his old lifestyle and temptations. To Dallas, Ted is a father, a pastor and a friend. The challenge for the Church is to disciple each other in this way; with real love and genuine relationship, 24/7.
*(The footnotes on each page are a Ďmust-readí to appreciate Tedís dry wit).
Reviewer: Sarah Broady (24/08/12)