Cool Stuff

Monday, August 29, 2011


I saw a lot of heartache reflected back to me in the faces of those inmates who were listening tonight. It was a rather remarkable gathering, especially when you begin to think about how many people in our country tonight are incarcerated.

We had both male and female inmates in attendance though they were strictly segregated - the 70 or so males in the front part of the cafeteria style hall we were in and the 12 or so females at a couple tables in the back. Separating the sexes was an obvious necessity and other then one woman who had a medical issue right near the end of the service, we had no issues.

It was a church service format, there was some prayer requests, followed by prayer then I got my to speak. Naturally after I was finished, I was somewhat unhappy with my effort, mainly because I wish I had done and said a few other things. It's pretty normal for me to critique myself in such a nit-picky and critical way. Actually, based on feedback, audience response and commentary afterward, I think it went really well...It is typical of me to never be satisfied and focus on what I didn't do or say compared to what I did.

After I spoke another visitor came in to sing and she was really quite was during her last song, a version of Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" that a young female inmate had a added an element of the surreal to an already intense experience. The Sheriff Deputies rushed in to deal with the situation, radios blaring instructions and calls for back-up but the singer just continued. It is a beautiful song, one of my favorites and Cathy the vocalist just really sang her heart out...amazing stuff and made even more poignant because of the setting and the medical issue. (I like this song so much I've included it above, in this post.)

So it was worthwhile, quite intense and a real honor for me to be involved with a group of people that are trying to reach out to others under very difficult conditions while enduring constant, unrelenting hardship. I have an immense amount of respect for these folks who do this weekly and I really admire Chaplin D.Brown for his faith and hard work. He truly has been touched by God and my continuing hope is that this ministry will continue to flourish...

It is sometimes difficult to see anything positive in an environment like a correctional facility...regardless of what kind it is and where it is located. But tonight it was impossible NOT to see the Mercy and Grace of the Lord at work. Many men came forward after the service to express how there lives are starting to change because of Chaplin Brown and the Forgotten Man Ministries. And that my friends is always going to be a beautiful thing...