Tuesday, October 28, 2014


How much influence our visits to the Youth Detention Center the last fifteen years has had on the lives of those young adults may never be revealed unto us. We go. We share. We find “connection” with some, rejection with others, anything accomplished there attributed to the Holy Ghost who remains there long after we leave. The change in one girl, as she “evolved” during many months of waiting to be tried as an adult, was quite obvious. By chance, I once encountered a young man visiting the school where I worked, he recognizing me and extending gratitude. For the most part, though, the ministry is simply attempting to find “flow”, to become a vessel through which what He is speaking into my own life finds acceptance on their part. This past Sunday, for nearly sixty minutes, twelve young men and this old relic discussed the basic truths of Christianity through a comparison of Gollum in Lord of the Rings to the identity we, ourselves, possess on the inside. It was basic, but deep. We examined words like: spirit, mind, heart, soul, and sin. We looked at one’s need, not to just invite the presence of God into that inner chamber, but to also continually return there ourselves, the journey being too much for us to navigate under our own strength. How well did they “get it”? Will they survive what life and the world throws at them with no more than the small “care package” left behind, next week another group, another doctrine, another piece of the puzzle? What do I bring with me in two weeks when, thanks to a friend inviting me into his group, that same door opens unto me again? In truth, this isn’t an Algebra lesson. It’s not a matter of me teaching them a course in “the one true religion”. Mystery will always be included in the next step. More than forty-two years down the road, the veil is still in front of me, the “person” inside this weathered, aging body yet requires a Co-pilot, and the only difference in my stumble, between the first three decades and these last four, is an anchor-line, paternal umbilical cord. It not only feeds me, it tugs at my heart, secures me as I go, and takes me, on occasion, into merger, two becoming one, assurance mine to know even if all the answers to my questions aren’t. Freshness. Christ alive “in” me. This is what hopefully returns. This is what tears down walls and give witness. It works in a jail cell as well as it does anywhere else and, in my opinion, is what the Church, at large, needs to discover again…….


  1. How I love your testimonies, Jim. Beautiful.

    1. Good to hear from you, Annie. Know you have had your own life occupied lately and am believing His presence is with you in it all. Peace, my friend....