Son Matt and I will be traveling out of town today. I have been invited to speak at a meeting of one of the popular service clubs...Matt will be there to set up and man the display. We're well aware of what to expect. The make-up of the audience is sure to be all-white, professional and semi-professional people, middle to upper income.
It's early in the morning, and once again as I try to organize my comments, I'm struggling with how to connect with these people. Matt and I have both found that, unless we make a very compelling case, there will be yawns, blank stares, and glances at wrist watches.
These aren't evil people. They're pillars of the community, and certainly many are responsible for major accomplishments in their town. They're nice. They're friendly. But they can't seem to relate.
How do Matt and I make our case? How do we convince them that we're not just a couple of do-gooders showing kindness to people behind bars? We're not trying to set ourselves up as the ones who are REALLY responding to the call of Jesus to care for and visit prisoners. It's up to us to tell what we're experiencing.
There was Doug who was rushed from the prison by ambulance for emergency surgery, who contacted us because he has been denied his post-op pain medication and his post-op doctor's appointment.
There was Dan who was diagnosed years ago with Hepatitis C by prison doctors, but refused treatment. Now he same doctors are telling him the disease is so advanced that his body cannot handle the treatment.
There was Tracy who complained that prison doctors took away her asthma medicine, claiming that she was "faking it."
There was Chris, a paraplegic, who is only being allowed to drain his bladder by catheter once every 12 hours, although standard treatment should be a minimum of 3 times a day...and he's being forced to re-use dirty catheters, which our physician/adviser labels malpractice.
And we've told the stories about the two recent prison deaths in previous blog entries.
How do we convince our audiences that these same people are moms, dads, sisters and brothers, all of whom have the same feelings and emotions that we do? God's children.
May God bless our efforts.