Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Holy Roller by Julie Lyons - REVIEWED and GIVE AWAY!


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.


I would be hard pressed to sum up Julie Lyons’ book, Holy Roller, in a simple forth-right manner. It’s part history of a church’s founding – in this case, Body of Christ Assembly in south Dallas, Texas. It’s part personal testimony, and in part, it’s an exposition of the basic Pentecostal beliefs of some black churches. For the most part though, it is about the work that Christ has done in Julie Lyons’ life over the past nineteen years through the pastors and members of her church. As the sole white members of a black Pentecostal church, I’m sure the Lyons family sort of stood out in the crowd. But the Lord places us where we can grow and be used in His service, and for Julie Lyons, that was a black Pentecostal church in Dallas.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord has moved in some pretty amazing ways in Julie Lyons’ church. However, she came across rather acidic when she referred to the white churches of her past and of present-day white churches and their inability to hook into the power of God as if it were unique to the Pentecostal faith. Well, in the past two years as a volunteer for an in-house rehab facility for women – run by a local Baptist church – I can promise you that the Lord is working in mighty and miraculous ways outside the Pentecostal faith. And if Julie Lyons’ had attended a recent revival service with me recently in a white Baptist church where a black gospel choir was featured, she would know that God is busy breaking down racial and spiritual barriers in all kinds of churches.

Her really snarky remarks about black this and white that as it related to beliefs, forms of worship and doctrinal issues just seemed out of keeping with the great and mighty ways that God was working in her life. Racism is alive and well in the good ‘ole U S of A and it is most certainly a two-way street. I’ve lived in the South all of my 42 years, and I’ve seen both sides of the coin. In short, Julie and her family are unique in some ways – white members in a black church – but not as unique as her book would have you believe.

That said, I also read some interviews Julie has done on national web sites regarding the release of Holy Roller, and I think she just wants to proclaim God’s mighty power to save and to cross not only racial barriers but powerful sin barriers as well. No matter your denomination, if you are a child of God, you know that He is changing lives in miraculous ways every single day. He is mighty to save, and He will redeem your life from sins you never even realized ensnared you. If you can move past the white/black comparisons, you will find this book to be the testimony of God’s transforming power in the life of Julie Lyons.


Julie Lyons is an award-winning writer, editor and investigative reporter who for more than 11 years served as 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.



Mocha with Linda said...

Great review. I totally agree. I got a little weary reading it. I couldn't make myself get into the issues on my review though.

ChristyJan said...

As a Child of God I would be interested in reading this book.


Jblanton said...

I would like to read this- thanks

Kim said...

Coming your way Christy!