All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Monday, September 24, 2018

One more on the subject, then we'll move on

I promise to let this go, because forgiveness and kindness are also key ingredients in the Christian walk. But honestly, I have a real problem when one of our area’s most popular and well-attended churches says, about (our) prison ministry, “…this is not something we are willing to invest our time and resources in.”

That reply came to a simple inquiry whether we might be able to tell church leaders the story about HFP's work with Michigan prisoners.

What if we had given that response to the people who came to us when they didn’t know where to turn?

To those caring prisoners who begged us to find a place for Old Bill so that he could be paroled and die in freedom.

To the guy with sleep apnea who wasn’t allowed to have his CPap breathing device.

To those caring prisoners who begged us to intervene at Carol’s Public Hearing so she could spend her final weeks on earth at home with family.

To the prisoners’ mom who wasn’t allowed to see her sons because of unpaid traffic tickets.

To the mentally ill women being abused in the critical unit.

To a wife when the prison wouldn’t provide the location of her dying husband.

To the elderly inmate who found his long-lost son.

To the guy with bad eyes who finally got a pair of reading glasses.

Sorry Mary. Sorry Nathan. Sorry Willie. Sorry Johnny. Sorry Patricia. This is not something we are willing to invest our time and resources in?

It’s not up to me to advise any church to dig into roots of Christianity, but I’d like to quote one of the early church fathers here. Saint Augustine of Hippo was an early Christian theologian whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity. He was viewed as one of the most important church fathers in Western Christianity.

Among his many profound quotes is this one:

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

And that, it seems to me, is exactly what a church might want to “invest its time and resources in.”

We can say for a certainty that it’s the rule of thumb here at HFP.

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