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Holy Roller: Finding Redemption and the Holy Ghost in a Forgotten Texas Church
Random House, Inc / 2009 / Hardcover
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Julie Lyons was working as a crime reporter when she followed a hunch into a South Dallas ghetto. She wasn't hunting drug dealers, but drug addicts who had been supernaturally healed of their addictions. At The Body of Christ Assembly, Lyons found the story she was looking for. The minister prayed for the sick, the addicted, and the demon-possessed, and people were supernaturally healed. Julie and her husband decided to start attending The Body of Christ Assembly. After many years at the church, she shares her story of finding God, the Holy Spirit and recognizing her own prejudices and preconceptions about Black Pentecostal believers. Lyons' is a story of spiritual awakening and a portrait of the vibrant faith she professes.
Julie Lyons was working as a crime reporter when she followed a hunch into the South Dallas ghetto. She wasn’t hunting drug dealers, but drug addicts who had been supernaturally healed of their addictions. Was there a church in the most violent part of the city that prayed for addicts and got results?
At The Body of Christ Assembly, a rundown church on an out-of-the-way street, Lyons found the story she was looking for. The minister welcomed criminals, prostitutes, and street people–anyone who needed God. He prayed for the sick, the addicted, and the demon-possessed, and people were supernaturally healed.
Lyons’s story landed on the front page of the Dallas Times Herald. But she got much more than just a great story, she found an unlikely spiritual home. Though the parishioners at The Body of Christ Assembly are black and Pentecostal, and Lyons is white and from a traditional church background, she embraced their spirituality–that of “the Holy Ghost and fire.”
It’s all here in Holy Roller–the stories of people desperate for God’s help. And the actions of a God who doesn’t forget the people who need His power.
Julie Lyons is an award-winning writer, editor, and investigative reporter who for more than eleven years was editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer, an alternative weekly newspaper owned by Village Voice Media. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a B.A. in English from Seattle Pacific University. She and her husband, Larry Lyons Jr., live in Dallas with their son.
An extraordinary book. Few Christians would have the courage to cross the cultural boundaries that Julie Lyons has. Even fewer mainstream journalists would have the guts to write with such naked honesty. To read Holy Roller is to be amazed by what God is doing in the forgotten corners of our country. This book marks the debut of a major new voice in American Christianity. Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News columnist and author of Crunchy Cons
Holy Roller is a gutsy look into the strengths and weaknesses that are exposed when cultures collide. You will find Julies raw and honest insights both entertaining and helpful as she opens a window onto the passion and chutzpah of black Pentecostal spirituality. Read it and break down some barriers. Lisa Bevere, speaker and best-selling author of Fight Like a Girl and Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry
Julie Lyons is a devout Christian who edited mostly heathen writers at an alternative newsweekly, the Dallas Observer. This church lady makes no effort to convert readers, so Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Pagans can enjoy this book the way they relish viewing Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel: Holy Roller is a journey to unfamiliar places conducted by a skilled raconteur. Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media
This book draws us to the reality of a God who is obsessed with the heart of humankind regardless of race, education, or the location and size of a church building. In Holy Roller, we hear a pronounced call to unprecedented spiritual discernment and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Evangelist Joyce Terrell, founder of Oasis of Miracles Ministries
Julie Lyons deftly explains the inner workings of black Pentecostalism. Her book is loaded with helpful spiritual insights. Julia Duin, religion editor of The Washington Times and author of Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It
Holy Roller takes you for a ride through a corner of life most of us will never see. More than that, its about one womans relationship with God and the unexpected journey that grows out of that relationship. Lyons has given us a spiritual autobiography worth reading from cover to cover. Alex Tizon, a Knight International Fellow and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist
Julie Lyonss personal journey of faith is a powerful story of redemption, a testament that one man or one woman can make a lasting change in communities that have been forgotten. For those who have given up on the Christian community to make a difference among those who need it most, this book is a must read. Jesse Hyde, managing editor of the Miami New Times
The former editor for the alternative weekly Dallas Observer, Lyons writes about her membership of nearly two decades in a poor South Dallas African-American Pentecostal church, the Body of Christ Assembly. Though she found the church as a reporter in search of a story about supernatural healing from crack cocaine addiction, she arrived a fully formed believer in search of her own healing from her attraction to women and her depression. The book tracks the lives of the founding pastor, Fredrick Eddington Sr., a onetime drug addict with schizophrenic tendencies who overcame his problems through faith, and his wife and co-pastor, Diane, a legally blind, captious woman for whom life is a tightrope between holiness and hell. Lyons writes searing and sympathetic portraits of the down-and-out black residents of South Dallas. But this slim memoir is short on historical, political and economic analysis and long on descriptions of moral sins, from the sexual to the selfish. The book's overwhelming emphasis on deliverance often runs up against the realities of poverty and exploitation. Lyons briefly acknowledges this during a church mission trip to Botswana, but never fully examines it. Readers looking for an intimate peek at black Pentecostal religiosity, in its successes and shortcomings, will appreciate the book. (June 16)Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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