The hunger strike that I mentioned last week ended peacefully. I won’t mention any further details since I strive to keep this blog free of information that identifies people or places. People that pray for me on a regular basis do have the details, and I appreciate their prayers.
It was door-to-door visits again tonight. Fewer men are interested in visits at the door. For some men, if nothing has changed, then the weekly door visit with me is just a stark reminder of that fact. The men are also getting more time out of their cells so they are less starved for social interaction. I do chat with some of the guys that are out of their cells as well. There is broader interest in resuming the group Bible studies because they tend to be more stimulating socially, intellectually, and spiritually. I miss hearing from the guys.
I have asked one of the COs (correctional officers) about resuming group meetings again. We will see what happens.
The first man I met with tonight was pretty excited about how God has been revealing Himself to him. He had been praying that God would speak to him. A few days later a friend sent him a letter. The man’s mother had died a few years ago. In his mother’s Bible the friend had found songs that his mother had written based on Bible verses. Many were based on the Psalms, and the man found them very uplifting and encouraging.
Another man briefly shared the details of his crime which were quite disturbing. Although the details are a matter of public record, I’ve asked some friend to pray that I could forget them.
I had a longer discussion with a man who asked me to explain spiritual things, and the differences between the various religions and denominations. I asked the man what he believed.
Theological aside: One view of prevenient grace is that God speaks to us and calls us even before we believe. That is why I wanted to know what God had already revealed, and use that as a starting point, rather than getting into abstract theological perspectives.
He indicated he believed in God and that he believed in Jesus. He as concerned that it wasn’t possible to live a Christian life while he was in jail. I reminded him that some of the books of the Bible were written by people in jail. He was also concerned that he found parts of the Bible difficult to understand. He does have a devotional that seems to work better for him than just trying to read the Bible cover-to-cover. I indicated that it was OK to use study tools like that, and that God will work with him where he is at right now. We also talked about writing a journal to help him in his prayer life and to write down what he found important from his devotional studies.
A new guy in the unit thought I looked familiar. It turns out we had met while he was in prison. A few years ago I did some volunteer work at some of the state prisons. I guess that is a milestone in that I’ve been doing this long enough someone finally said, “Hey, don’t I know you from the joint?”