Must Read Monday: Prison Reform, Teens and Technology, and The Sin of SilenceJune 4, 2018
Redemption in a Prison Hospice Unit
Joni Eareckson Tada will join me on Friday to discuss the question, “When is right to die?” In preparation I read her book and articles about right-to-die, assisted-suicide legislation. I’ve also been reading widely about prison reform as a part of the wider conversation surrounding much needed criminal justice reform and how Christians must not only engage, but lead. This article strikes at the intersection of those two topics: “The Prisoners who care for the dying and get another chance at life” takes us into a California prison hospice unit. For Christians, this story is about the authentic nature of faith no matter the circumstances of life, and it bears witness to the power of transformation and redemption. The inmates who become caregivers are not only trained and highly skilled, their recidivism rate is less than 2%, the national average is 25%. I’d love to know your thoughts after you read this article. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Congress is making a First Step of progress on prison reform. Chuck Colson’s legacy ministry, Prison Fellowship, applauds the First Step Act, and other evangelicals are working to advance the whole-life/pro-life effort. As Christians, redemption is our story and reconciliation is our ministry. Many heroes of the faith were incarcerated for a time. Consider the stories of Joseph, Daniel, Samson, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and John. Most of the New Testament was written from the context of prison. Paul’s letters and the book of Revelation were penned in prison. Jesus himself was jailed on the night He was betrayed and suffered the indignity of injustice even unto death. As Christians, we have prison stories to tell and we have a testimony of real justice, redemption by grace and new life.
Teens and Technology
Pew Research has released its latest findings on Teens, Social Media and Technology. It reveals what we already know but would like to deny: “Smartphone ownership has become a nearly ubiquitous element of teen life: 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one…. 45% of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis.” Living in the virtual world, virtually all the time. We know it’s destructive to their personal, relational, social, intellectual, spiritual and physical health, and yet, we allow (subsidize, enable) it. Every youth-concerned ministry (from mental health to apologetics) is talking about teens and tech. If you’re not, and you’re not talking WITH your teen about social media and tech, you’re literally not having the only conversation that matters right now to them. Here’s some help.
The Sin of Silence
The Washington Post has a must read today on The Sin of Silence: the epidemic denial of sexual abuse in the evangelical church. Consider the very real damage done to the individuals and generations of families. Consider the very real damage done to the Gospel. Consider the very real damage done to the moral authority of the evangelical witness. Sexual sin perpetrated by and/or covered under the blessing of silence by those who claim to represent God, misrepresent God in ways difficult to describe. Recovery will require deep repentance, real humility, the end of many things and the beginning of many new things. For institutions and institutionalists, these changes will be painful. For those harmed over generations of sin and its silent shepherds, the process holds out the hope of healing. The Gospel advance depends on both. Let us begin. Start the conversation in your home, in your small group, in your Sunday School class, in your Session meeting. There are #MeToo stories in your spiritual sphere if you will create the space for the truth to be told and healing to begin.