Catch-and-Release

Ron Hall and Denver Moore teach us something about real friendship in the book Same Kind of Different as Me. This is the true story of the improbable friendship of a rich Texas art dealer and a poor Louisiana sharecropper. Hall and his wife Dorothy began volunteering each week at a homeless shelter, and Dorothy became convinced that God wanted them to befriend Denver. Ron made halting overtures, but Denver wouldn’t even speak to them. Finally he asked Ron, "What do you want from me?" Ron replied, "I just want to be your friend." Denver promised to think about it. And he did.

He later said to Ron, "There is somethin I heard ‘bout white folks and bothers me, and it has to do with fishin." Ron wasn’t much of a fisherman, but he promised to try to answer the question. He said, 'I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somthin called 'catch and release.'' He didn’t understand that. When "colored folks" caught a fish, they would show it off to everybody and then they’d eat it. He just couldn’t understand why anyone would catch-and-release. Then it became clear that Denver wasn’t talking’ about fishin at all—

So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me. If you is fishin for friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend… But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I’ll be one. Forever.

Maybe that is what is wrong with our friendships and relationships today—we’re just too good at catch and release. We eschew the brother-and-sister, family-ties fellowship that is talked about in the New Testament for the catch-and-release friendships of which Denver was suspicious. Relationships among believers in the body of Christ are relationships that are forged in blood and bathed in baptism. They are not meant to be catch-and-release.