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Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship Paperback – April 1, 2012

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Discipleship Isn't a Program, It's a Relationship

Ted is a thirty-four-year-old 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. When they agree to meet regularly for "discipleship," they know that chatting once a week in a coffee shop just won't cut it. Restoring an old Triumph Spitfire is more their style.

This is not "12 Steps to Mentoring a Man for Christ" or "The Blockhead's Guide to Discipleship." This is real life. It's the true story of a guy a lot like you and another guy nothing at all like you. It shows how real men can be friends with one another and get closer to Jesus. It isn't easy. It isn't a checklist. If you have a rigid system in place, you're doing it wrong. It's all about living life for others.

"The book is less about a car than about the lasting friendship that forms between the men. Despite a few flaws, the authors have put together a triumph." --Publishers Weekly

"At the risk of embarrassing these nitty-gritty guys, this is ultimately a story about love--learning to love God when life is hard and to love each other as brothers. I could hardly put the book down, and am very happy to recommend it."
--Justin Taylor; blogger, "Between Two Worlds"; managing editor, The ESV Study Bible

"If you are serious about making disciples who make disciples who make disciples, I recommend this book highly."
--Steve Sonderman, associate pastor Men's Ministry Elmbrook Church, founder No Regrets Men's Ministry

"With characteristic wit, humor and insight, Ted Kluck tells a profoundly moving story of faith and discipleship. It may be a book about an unusual friendship and a pretty cool car but [it's] ultimately a poignant and welcome reminder of the power of the gospel to change hearts and lives." Tim Ellsworth, author God and in the Whirlwind and coauthor, Pujols: More Than the Game

"A great read and one to give the men in your life...the story of their friendship made for compelling and even compulsive reading." --Amy Boucher Pye, Woman Alive Book Club (U.K.)

About the Author

Ted Kluck is an award-winning author and freelance writer. He has written seven books and his work has appeared in such places as ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today. He's also the author of the ebook Jeremy Lin: Faith, Joy, and Basketball. His first book won a Christianity Today Book of the Year award. Ted lives in Grand Ledge, Michigan, with his wife and two sons.

Dallas Jahncke is 21 years old, has attempted suicide three times, and has been in jail twice, but is today sober, productive, and attending Bible college. He is a member of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,165,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ted's work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Spectrum Magazine, and Page 2.

His first book, Facing Tyson: 15 Fighters, 15 Stories, was published by the Lyons Press in October 2006, and published internationally by Mainstream Publishing in 2007. His next two books, Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football and Game Time: Inside College Football released in September, 2007. Why We're Not Emergent (by Two Guys Who Should Be) was released by Moody Press in 2008 and won a Christianity Today award for Book of the Year in the church/pastoral leadership category. The follow up title, Why We Love the Church, won the same award in 2009.

Ted's collection of sports essays, entitled The Reason for Sports, released in 2009 (Moody) and his book on international adoption, called Hello I Love You, drops in 2010 (Moody).

In 2010 Ted founded Gut Check Press, a small publishing house, where he holds the title Co-Founder and Secretary of the Interior. The company released its first title, Kinda Christianity, in 2010. Read more at

Ted has played professional indoor football, coached high school football, trained as a professional wrestler, served as a missionary and taught writing courses at the college level. He lives in Grand Ledge, MI with his wife Kristin and son's Tristan and Maxim. He's a frequent speaker at conferences and events. Book Ted at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brad Atchison on May 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. 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 (1) poor writers or (2) 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's warming and that's comedic gold. It's a story of a ex-con who was delivered from a waking nightmare by the grace of God. Its a story of a suburban father trying to escape the meaningless blase 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 another moment of suspense. 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 whatever isn't as hot as they think it is).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr Conrade Yap TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book brings us to a whole new understanding of discipleship beyond the four walls of the Church or the evergreen picture of a coffee-chat version of Christian discipleship. It tells us about authentic discipleship that is relational and ordinary, connectional rather than correctional, and above all, sharing the love of Christ in any circumstance. It shows us the way beyond mere coffee talk to carefree walk. It demonstrates to us how a genuine heart of care and concern can not only bridges the divide between the rich/poor, have/have-nots, fortunate/unfortunate, and any human dichotomies, and enable us to have real authentic discipleship that happens BOTH ways. It is not a me-Discipler-you-Disciple, but a respectful living out of Christ in both directions.

It is a story of two man, one a pastor and the other a recuperating ex-con, with a common task: Fix an old convertible, and in the process help each other to be fixed by God's grace. The book is partly a car repair journal, a personal life journal, as well as a book of spiritual reflections. Firstly, as a car repair journal, it encourages the mostly car-users to know more about cars and the internals. It tells the beginning to the end of a car repair process, and ends with a wonderful picture of two happy man driving the car into the sunset, happy for a job well done.

Secondly, the book is also a personal life journal of Ted, who thinks back on his relationship with his dad, his family, and of course with his rugged friend, Dallas. It shows the emotional ups and downs of Dallas, the ex-con turned Christian, ministering in a ministry house, and struggling with both relationships and financial limitations. At the beginning, ministry appears to be one way, from Ted to Dallas. Toward the end, the process reverses.
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Format: Paperback
Discipleship is not a program but the very mission Jesus gave the Church to fulfill. Discipleship is not only doctrinal but also relational. Discipleship that is divorced from doctrine is not discipleship. Discipleship apart from a relational foundation is just the pursuit of knowledge apart from transformation. In His ministry, Jesus cared about what people believed and how they lived. Jesus spent time with people who were hurting, ill, sick, afflicted, and demonized. Jesus showed people in His life how not only to care for people, but how to love people the way they were created to experience love. Biblical discipleship is thoroughly grounded in the person and work of Jesus who cares for, and longs for people to come to Himself in order to know and serve Him.

In his helpful new book Dallas and the Spitfire An Old car, An Ex-Con, And An Unlikely Friendship by Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke write to demonstrate that discipleship is not only biblical and grounded in the person and work of Jesus, but also that discipleship needs to be relational. This book is a nitty gritty exploration into what it means to follow Jesus in all of life.

One of the more significant points in the book is the contemporary notion of discipleship the author notes as "people meeting with people culture that when you met with someone, you can't make a life decision of any kind without running it by them first. The Discipler becomes a de facto Life Coach. And while this "people meeting with people" phenomenon has been mostly good for our church, there are still a lot of college guys walking around who don't have the backbone to have a cup of coffee with a girl without running it by six elders and reading four books by dead puritans first. I think this is ridiculous" (8).

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