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Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship

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A Suburban Dad and an Ex Con Show What Discipleship Looks Like Ted is an educated thirty-something father of two who's been going to church his whole life. Dallas is a twenty-one-year-old former cocaine addict with a prison record who has recently become a Christian. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop A Suburban Dad and an Ex Con Show What Discipleship Looks Like Ted is an educated thirty-something father of two who's been going to church his whole life. Dallas is a twenty-one-year-old former cocaine addict with a prison record who has recently become a Christian. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop just won't cut it. Instead, they decide to get to know each other while restoring an old Triumph Spitfire. Filled with surprises and humor, "Dallas and the Spitfire" tells a gripping story of two lives changed, and along the way gives readers a new model for men's ministry.


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A Suburban Dad and an Ex Con Show What Discipleship Looks Like Ted is an educated thirty-something father of two who's been going to church his whole life. Dallas is a twenty-one-year-old former cocaine addict with a prison record who has recently become a Christian. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop A Suburban Dad and an Ex Con Show What Discipleship Looks Like Ted is an educated thirty-something father of two who's been going to church his whole life. Dallas is a twenty-one-year-old former cocaine addict with a prison record who has recently become a Christian. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop just won't cut it. Instead, they decide to get to know each other while restoring an old Triumph Spitfire. Filled with surprises and humor, "Dallas and the Spitfire" tells a gripping story of two lives changed, and along the way gives readers a new model for men's ministry.

30 review for Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship

  1. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Too good to be true. Or I guess I just can't believe that there are still Ted Klucks in this world. You see, Ted Kluck is a religious pastor and he accepted the role of mentor to the drug-addict, ex-convict Dallas Jahncke. The mentoring's aim is to help the mentee to have a better direction in his life, making him stay away from drugs, booze and BI's (people who are bad influence to you). What Pastor Ted did to distract Dallas was for them to restore an old classic car, a spitfire, because Dalla Too good to be true. Or I guess I just can't believe that there are still Ted Klucks in this world. You see, Ted Kluck is a religious pastor and he accepted the role of mentor to the drug-addict, ex-convict Dallas Jahncke. The mentoring's aim is to help the mentee to have a better direction in his life, making him stay away from drugs, booze and BI's (people who are bad influence to you). What Pastor Ted did to distract Dallas was for them to restore an old classic car, a spitfire, because Dallas knew a lot about cars having been taught by his mechanic-father when he was young. Ted's father did not teach him anything about car so the mentor and the mentee hit it well and the car-restoration sessions seemed to be an allegory of sort in restoring Dallas' life too. I am turning 50 this year. Being in the second half of my life, I want to be a good influence (GI) to the young people: to my daughter, teammates in the office, at the gym, as well as friends in our book club. However, this is easier said than done. It is hard to be a role model especially when you also barely know where you are going and you also have your own demons to put up with. Life on earth is a constant struggle but we all need to be remember, legacy of sort, for something before we leave this planet and more often than not, we want to be remembered in a good light. So, probably, that made me attracted to this book. It is a good story of being a disciple (a mentor) to a young man and even if they say "I love you, man" to each other life boyfriends, they are, at least for me, real men. That and the constant communication between the two and Ted at some point even acknowledged that Dallas got on the way of his role being a good parent made this book something too-good-to-be-true. It felt like Ted was this pastor who has good writing skills and just wanted to cash in on his role as Dallas' mentor and like his claim, a friend. However, read their own acknowledgments at the end part of the book and see how emotional Ted was compared to tight-lipped and cold Dallas. I am not sowing an intrigue here but I just felt that the gratitude of Dallas in that portion did not justify the close relationship that he must, based on what they went through, have for Ted. Just my two cents.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    I was reading a journal and came across a recommendation for this book. The topic of the article was discipeship, and this book entered the discussion as a model of relational, non-programing disciple-making. I am always looking for models because disciple making is foreign and forgotten in my circles. This book lived up to its recommendation. I have bought two copies for the church library and already handed out copies to read. The book gives an account of one year's discipleship between Ted Kluc I was reading a journal and came across a recommendation for this book. The topic of the article was discipeship, and this book entered the discussion as a model of relational, non-programing disciple-making. I am always looking for models because disciple making is foreign and forgotten in my circles. This book lived up to its recommendation. I have bought two copies for the church library and already handed out copies to read. The book gives an account of one year's discipleship between Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke. Ted is not a theologian or a pastor; he serves and participates in his church. He understands the essentials of disciple making, although he does not tell us where he learned or witnessed it. Ted is a straight shotter. He does not sugar coat or talk in Christian-ese. He is a common guy with a common family, living life with the same common temptations and swings of good and bad events. I like him for his realness and openness. Dallas is a felon with a record and only 21 years old. God miraculously saves him and we witness the continued work of God in Dallas over this one year period. His spiritual life begins in a rescue mission where he lives under 24-hour supervision for one year. This book does not chronicle that year, but the year following. So, Dallas spends the first two years in highly relational disciple making enviroments, finding freedom from the chains of sin. His story would make a good "Unshakled" drama. What I enjoyed about the book is the necessity of relationship in disciple making. By this, I mean: Dallas needs to attend church, and he does. He also needs to attend a small group, and he does. But, Dallas needs more than this because his besetting sins require diligence and daily accountability. At one point Ted says, "Dallas needs a father." This is the height of relational language. Ted shows us what it means to father (disciple). He stays awake at night worrying about Dallas. He wants to bale Dallas out of difficult settings. He wants him to know the consequences, but allows Dallas to make his own choices. This book has stirred my thoughts about how to disciple one man in my sphere of influence. He does not have any of the baggage Dallas has, but he needs a father. His emotional swings rages from day to day, and it reeks havoc in his family situation. Getting him to church and to small group has been a chore, but what if I stopped by his house each day? What if I called or texted him, several times a day? What if we had his family over several times a week? Discipleship is not a program; it is a relationship. It means that I as a man must add into my life one (or more) relationships, not of the blood family type. This is counter-inuitive in this culture. Our churches are good talkers about loving God and loving others, but we refuse to add that one more relationship into our social dynamics. This failure is our disobedience to the Great Commandment and to the Great Commission. I began reading this book at a difficult stage in church. The church declined to continue in DisciplePath training, and I was wounded in my spirit. Psalm 23 was a great encouragement, and I plodded along. My Shepherd was restoring my soul, but I remained in an emotional funk that I could not explain to my wife or myself. I was functional as long as I had something to focus my attention. But, if I had free moments, then I would stall emotionally. Reading through this book, I came across an answer to prayer. On page 133, Ted is speaking about spiritual warfare and the constant vigilence necessary to fight temptations. Ted shares one of his own battles: cynicism. He says, "I like protecting my heart from pain...cynicism dulls our emotions and kills our ability to dream and hope." Bingo. Then, Ted quotes Paul Miller (A Praying Life). "Shattered optimism sets us up for the fall into defeated weariness and cynicism. You would think it would leave us less optimistic, but as humans we do not do neutral well. We go from seeing the bright side to seeing the dark side. We feel betrayed by life." Bingo. My experience both to the reactions within church and to the decisions of the church left me with a shattered optimism and a defeated weariness. I lost my ability to dream and to hope. This is my test and it makes it very hard to lead. Practically speaking, trying to lead from a position of defeated weariness without dreams or hope is impossible. Yet. Jesus Christ is not finished with me, and has simply removed the crutches. In my weakness (cynicism), he can be my strength (optimism). Oh, Savior, restore my soul.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve Nation

    Discipleship at its best

  4. 4 out of 5

    E. R.

    Ted Kluck's writing is splendid as usual. Ted and Dallas break down discipleship in a way that is real and genuine. It dodges a common pitfall of Christian books, which is to come off as stiff and impersonal. Ted Kluck's writing is splendid as usual. Ted and Dallas break down discipleship in a way that is real and genuine. It dodges a common pitfall of Christian books, which is to come off as stiff and impersonal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    After reading this, I've decided I need to read every Ted Kluck book I can get my hands on... After reading this, I've decided I need to read every Ted Kluck book I can get my hands on...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brad Atchison

    I'll admit from the start that I have a vested interested in stating this book is great because I know the authors. So I am biased and absolutely for this book in every sense of the way. Yet, my bias is justified because of the content of the book, the shear power of the story and the ability to interject spell-binding humor in the chaos of emotions and tension that this book has to offer. In an age where people have to deal with Christian non-fiction authors who are poor writers or great writers I'll admit from the start that I have a vested interested in stating this book is great because I know the authors. So I am biased and absolutely for this book in every sense of the way. Yet, my bias is justified because of the content of the book, the shear power of the story and the ability to interject spell-binding humor in the chaos of emotions and tension that this book has to offer. In an age where people have to deal with Christian non-fiction authors who are poor writers or great writers with poor content, Ted Kluck does the impossible time and time again. He gives us a real life story that is heart wrenching, that is warming and that is comedic gold. It's a story of a ex-con who was delivered from a waking nightmare by the grace of God and a story of a suburban father trying to escape the meaningless blasé blah of the American Dream. These two meet together to foster growth in Christ, hold each other accountable and escape the clutches of the false dreams that continually seek to lure them in. At times these two get into comedic drama that is only paralleled by Burt Ward and Adam West (and yes, that is a complement). Other times, the tension is so gripping that you would rather be torn asunder than deal with it. This is not some theological manual on discipleship; its a story of how a graciously good God delivers men from idols and how he uses discipleship (and a Spitfire) to do so. This book is "Literary Platinum", the type of book that should be showcased on NYT best sellers list yet gets bumped off because its not as post-modernly chic as other authors are (who aren't as good and who's movie..um..book..um whatever isn't as hot as they think it is). It's the type of book that should be selling like hotcakes on Amazon because it's creativity and vision for hope. This book is a comedic and tense journey to the celestial city, one punch line and tension building situation at a time. Be ready to get steam rolled by gut busting humor, brain imploding tension and a story that glorifies Christ in all the trials that these two experience. So, in my normal ridiculous fashion of giving Ted great reviews, I have to end on a few funny notes. This book is about two nobodies who become somebodies, but want to stay nobodies yet everybody adores them (This is really confusing). This book for on Drago "If he dies, he dies" award and one "I must break you" award, the Carl Weathers "face pounding, manifisto of masterpiece" award and the micro-micro-micro celebrity "Deserves to be actual celebrity" award. So take it from this bearded, guitar wielding, pipe smoking dude, sit back, be stupid and enjoy this book. (my review from Amazon. Note: some of the content written in this is meant to be humorous.)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Ardt Jr.

    This book was a fantastic read. I enjoyed it start to finish and I read it in just 2 or 3 sittings. I had a hard time putting it down. The mentoring/discipling that takes place in this book is Biblical and absolutely necessary for the Christian life. Summary: The primary author of this book, Ted Kluck, has decided to disciple a new believer named Dallas Jahncke (the other author) who has recently gotten out of prison and into a Christian rescue mission. Dallas is a pretty rough guy with quite a This book was a fantastic read. I enjoyed it start to finish and I read it in just 2 or 3 sittings. I had a hard time putting it down. The mentoring/discipling that takes place in this book is Biblical and absolutely necessary for the Christian life. Summary: The primary author of this book, Ted Kluck, has decided to disciple a new believer named Dallas Jahncke (the other author) who has recently gotten out of prison and into a Christian rescue mission. Dallas is a pretty rough guy with quite a background, and Ted seems to connect well with Dallas even though their backgrounds aren't all that similar. Dallas has some mechanical abilities, and so they decide to rebuild an old European sports car together as something to do and a way to grow in their friendship. Rebuilding the car is not the only way they connect though, as Ted is almost always available for Dallas. Ted is a great source of wisdom for Dallas, but often it seems that Dallas is able to pick Ted up when he struggles. Their relationship is built on Christ, and prayer and Scripture play a major role in how Ted mentors Dallas. I loved this book. The writing was great, I laughed out loud several times at the humor, and I learned a lot about how to be an effective mentor. However, I have to question two things that the author does. First, I am surprised at the freedom with which Ted exposed Dallas to culture that could potentially take Dallas back into his former life, at least in his mind. For example, they listen to Dr Dre while they rebuild the car, and Ted says that almost all of the songs are about drugs. I don't get that - why not listen to Lecrae or Trip Lee or something? Couldn't that sort of music influence Dallas in a better way than music that glorifies drug culture? Second, there are times when Ted needs to confront Dallas, and knows it, but chooses to confront via email because he doesn't want face to face conflict. I have made this mistake myself, but no doubt in a mentoring relationship the mentor MUST accept the fact that confrontation is going to be part of the deal - and face to face is almost always better than in writing. But enough criticisms. Maybe I'm being too picky. Bottom line - I really enjoyed this book and learned plenty from it, the biggest lesson being that Gospel-motivated love needs to drive me to love those who I am called to mentor. And part of that love means being available as much as possible. I highly recommend this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kay Defreese

    Dallas is a new Christian who has had a rough life. He has a prison record, several homemade tattoos and has a history with hard drugs. Ted is a 30 something man who has been in church all his life. Ted does what the church worldwide should be doing. He disciples this young man and develops an unlikely friendship while restoring an old car. I only have a few criticisms of the book. Like someone else stated there are too many bookmarks which is a tiny bit distracting. Also, the author went off on Dallas is a new Christian who has had a rough life. He has a prison record, several homemade tattoos and has a history with hard drugs. Ted is a 30 something man who has been in church all his life. Ted does what the church worldwide should be doing. He disciples this young man and develops an unlikely friendship while restoring an old car. I only have a few criticisms of the book. Like someone else stated there are too many bookmarks which is a tiny bit distracting. Also, the author went off on a rabbit trail a couple of time. He devoted on whole page to the reason he loved the move "The Fighter". He spent too much time enumerating the six reasons he liked that movie. Also the book is a little too short. I think a little more time should have elapsed between the time he mentored Dallas to the time he wrote the book. I would love to know how Dallas was doing like five years after going to the Fundie college. Was he able to maintain his Christian lifestyle? Did he meet the good Christian woman that would be his lifemate? With a little tweaking I could easily see this book as a five star book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really liked the premise of this book: too often churches dictate what discipleship should look like and this book challenges the idea that you must sit over coffee and talk for an hour a week about your life and how God is working in it. Unfortunately, the book was really too short to delve into a true relationship. I wanted more. I found that the footnotes really detracted as well from the story. Did the authors mean to write a story about a relationship or were they trying to educate us on I really liked the premise of this book: too often churches dictate what discipleship should look like and this book challenges the idea that you must sit over coffee and talk for an hour a week about your life and how God is working in it. Unfortunately, the book was really too short to delve into a true relationship. I wanted more. I found that the footnotes really detracted as well from the story. Did the authors mean to write a story about a relationship or were they trying to educate us on different churches and their requirements? It was confusing. I thought I would be moved emotionally by their tale but that wasn't too be. Perhaps the feedback they receive on these early reviewers books will spur them on to revamping the final work. **I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review**

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg Taylor

    Award-winning author (Why We Love the Church, co-authored with Kevin DeYoung) has a teamed up with an ex-con he is mentoring for what Publishers Weekly calls "an odd-couple Same Kind of Different As Me feel-alike." What makes it unique is that both guys write, in much different styles. Dallas Jahncke writes much more reverently and straight than Kluck’s cheeky freeform banter complete with footnotes he seems to use more as thought clouds to squirrel away humor he'd like his editors to overlook. Award-winning author (Why We Love the Church, co-authored with Kevin DeYoung) has a teamed up with an ex-con he is mentoring for what Publishers Weekly calls "an odd-couple Same Kind of Different As Me feel-alike." What makes it unique is that both guys write, in much different styles. Dallas Jahncke writes much more reverently and straight than Kluck’s cheeky freeform banter complete with footnotes he seems to use more as thought clouds to squirrel away humor he'd like his editors to overlook. The book is not very well organized or tidy, but it seems this reflects the outlook of the authors--life can be a broken mess that needs God and one another to repair. In spite some weaknesses, Dallas and the Spitfire is a "Triumph!"

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Allen

    Really good real-life discipling story. While I think it was a bit dangerous and maybe immature of Ted to use alcohol while he was working with someone who is a recovering addict, I liked the down-to-earth style and the way Ted and Dallas worked out their discipling relationship as a friendship rather than a class. Neither pulled punches as they talked about Dallas' struggles to allow the Spirit to gain mastery over his sinful nature. While Ted is a Calvinist, that's not a sticking point in the Really good real-life discipling story. While I think it was a bit dangerous and maybe immature of Ted to use alcohol while he was working with someone who is a recovering addict, I liked the down-to-earth style and the way Ted and Dallas worked out their discipling relationship as a friendship rather than a class. Neither pulled punches as they talked about Dallas' struggles to allow the Spirit to gain mastery over his sinful nature. While Ted is a Calvinist, that's not a sticking point in the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Godly

    Great book that describes how discipling happens in the nitty gritty world of Sin, Lust and Problems! Really good points that I took away was the need to depend on Christ and not substitute our own means to solve problems. His relationship with Dallas in the book is one of abject loyalty. I wish it would have been a bit more longer actually as the ending seemed to kind of drop off but all in all enjoyable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lillie

    Ted is a lifelong Christian; Dallas is an ex-con, drug addict fresh out of rehab, and a new Christian. Ted becomes Dallas' mentor to disciple him in the faith, and they decide to work on an old car together. They share honestly about temptations and struggles. Ted, a professional writer, injects a lot of humor into his writing, while Dallas writes with surprising eloquence. I found the footnotes distracting, but the story was compelling. Ted is a lifelong Christian; Dallas is an ex-con, drug addict fresh out of rehab, and a new Christian. Ted becomes Dallas' mentor to disciple him in the faith, and they decide to work on an old car together. They share honestly about temptations and struggles. Ted, a professional writer, injects a lot of humor into his writing, while Dallas writes with surprising eloquence. I found the footnotes distracting, but the story was compelling.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Being a mentor versus Discipleship... This book is so real about the risks and rewards of mentoring a new believer. It is an easy read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Hiltz

    A fantastic read about two friends and their journey in discipleship! I'm challenged and encouraged by this. Love Ted's humor. The foot notes are hilarious too by the way! A fantastic read about two friends and their journey in discipleship! I'm challenged and encouraged by this. Love Ted's humor. The foot notes are hilarious too by the way!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    A great example of what true discipleship looks like. The realness of these men make the discipleship come alive and be what it is meant to be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    I really didn't know what to expect when I got this e-book. It was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. It had a really redeeming quality to it. It renewed my faith in man kind. I really didn't know what to expect when I got this e-book. It was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. It had a really redeeming quality to it. It renewed my faith in man kind.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Betts

    It was a light read, but very thought provoking. This story is a true account of God using the weak, and entertaining to boot! Thumbs up!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tom Olmsted

    Shows how an intelligent person given a short shaft in life can turn his life around with help from many people and the One that is in control. Not much said about fixing a Spitfire though.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    for whatever reason, i was deeply drawn to the relationships between Ted & Dallas.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Altrogge

    Let's see. Well written, as usual for Kluck. Good thoughts on what true discipleship really looks like. Not an amazing read though. Let's see. Well written, as usual for Kluck. Good thoughts on what true discipleship really looks like. Not an amazing read though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter Cheyne

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jake Hunt

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lone Gunmen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul Wilcox

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brett

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