life update: life behind bars and ONE notes

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Monday, April 27th, 2009

life update: life behind bars and ONE notes

wow, it’s been over a week—9 days to be exact—since i’ve graced the ol’ blog with a new post.

so, i’d like to offer myself a hearty ‘welcome back.’
alright, now that i’ve had a public internal conversation with myself, let’s move on…
i thought i would give you an idea of what’s been going on with my life which has prevented me from blogging in this span of time. (many, many things have been going, but these are the two that have taken the biggest chunks of time.)
1. the slammer: that’s right, people, i spent some time in the big house. fortunately, my time was spent voluntarily and not because i got busted for running a street pharmacy or kicking old ladies or other sundry acts of criminal mischief.
i was invited to speak for a prison ministry organization called kairos international. basically, we held a retreat for a unit of about 16 boys, ranging in age from 14 to 18 (a 12-year old boy showed up the weekend we were there, although he couldn’t participate…very sad…). it really was an incredible experience. i appreciate that this ministry doesn’t solely focus on participants making a decision to follow jesus. ultimately, of course, we (and the organization) believe that a fresh start in life is aided by following christ, but the first step is restoring the boys’ sense of worth and value, which then leads to hope for the future and courage to change the course of their lives.
i have a heart for people who are incarcerated, mainly for the fact that, for example with these boys, a vast majority of them are products of broken homes and abuse and addiction-controlled parents and poverty. i’m not saying that every single incarcerated person fits this profile, but i can assure you that every single one of those boys in that unit had that very story. one particular boy that i was partnered with talked about being in a gang because that was the expectation since his dad and uncle were in the gang. he said he wasn’t into hurting people or gangbanging, but he just did what was expected of him and whatever is was that helped his family. this boy, particularly, was extremely respectful, highly intelligent and very talented. he isn’t a criminal. he isn’t a delinquent. he isn’t a “bad kid.” he isn’t a societal problem. he’s a boy who, because of the circumstances of his life, is bound to become institutionalized if we don’t take responsibility to come alongside him and equip him and teach him about how to live life in a more productive way.

2. ONE: no, not the u2 song. and no, not the loneliest number. ONE is a leadership conference that i started and that, this past weekend, i spoke at. it’s targeted toward college-age-ish students (18-25) and helps them to make leadership connections within the church that are culturally relevant/appropriate and true to their personalities and giftedness.
it was a great weekend with a group of participants with a lot of unique leadership potential. it was an encouraging weekend and, i believe, one that can really cause some productive results. i guess we’ll find out. 🙂
as promised, i’m going to post the completed participant booklet from the weekend. some of this stuff, removed from its context and further explanation by the presenter, may be a little vague and underdeveloped. of course, that’s the nature of receiving this material beyond the context for which it was written, but i think you can still get the idea.
just a note: most of this material was written by me, but there are sessions and pieces that were also written by the following people: charles richardson and ron byrd. additionally, some of the material is taken very closely from the following books: richard foster’s celebration of discipline, tony jones’ soul shaper & dave gibbons’ the monkey and the fish (i think that’s it…).
alright, have at it. click here to download it (zipped pdf).
so, hopefully the blogging should get back to normal now. i have a couple great posts in the hopper (oh yeah, a ‘hopper’ reference…yeah, that just happened…) so stay tuned…