Roy Goble is a down-to-earth kinda guy with a fun and wacky sense of humor. Yet, he also has great business sense and now -- a big bucket of money.
Roy’s recently released book Junkyard Wisdom is the transparent and often humorous story of his wrestlings. In light of what Jesus says about money and wealthy people, is it even possible to be a faithful but wealthy follower? What would be the best way to benefit the poor, while protecting his own soul? Maybe he should just give it all away.
One of the problems of money is that it walls the poor off from the wealthy. Out of sight, out of mind. The rich unintentionally end up suffering a kind of amnesia in regard to those on the margins. But Jesus seems pretty adamant that following him involves welcoming the poor and marginalized into your life. All that sounds pretty messy and as Roy struggles -- it is.
Roy tells his story -- stories -- starting in his father’s San Jose, California junkyard, which became the seedbed of his own Goble Properties real estate empire. The journey moves in an engaging way through rural Belize, the ghettos of Thailand, and back into the affluent San Francisco Bay Area. There is a sense of playfulness throughout -- including a cameo appearance by radical Christian activist Shane Claiborne in one of the footnotes. Shane indirectly calls Roy out on one of his ideas.
Goble and co-author D. R. Jacobsen are able to maintain tension as the story unfolds, finally finding a sense of resolve in the end. Yet the question remains for the reader to decide whether it is adequately resolved.
The fact is that this book would not have appeared on my radar so quickly except that Roy wrote it. We grew up eight houses down from each other in the Willow Glen area of San Jose. He was best buds with one of my younger brothers throughout elementary school and was nearly a family member in our house during those years.
I’ve enjoyed knowing him as an adult through his blog and Facebook posts. He has become a spiritually insightful story-teller. Junkyard Wisdom is Roy at his best with relevant questions, clear thinking, and application -- even for those of us who don’t have the wealth-generation gift. And you certainly don’t have to know him to realize that this is a unique book filled with fodder for necessary discussion. But I’m pretty certain that after reading the book you’ll feel like you know him, too.