Easter 1998 – Jesus Crisis plays Jesus Christ in On the Third Day
a musical I co-wrote with my friends Martin P. and Jeremiah S.
for Marion Correctional Institution’s renowned Ministry of Theatre
A few of my friends have expressed interest in me posting “religious” blogs again. Hmmm… it’s funny how I go in phases. I blogged a million quizzes – then largely abandoned them to focus on “religious” topics – then largely abandoned that arena to reveal some of my history and rail against injustice – and then I dove into election 2008. And of course there have been sprinklings of poetry, pets, and even poop in between. Everything but the kitchen sink….
I’m not satisfactorily inspired to write that religious blog at the moment (although I am inspired in other areas). Guess I have less time for the heavens now that so much requires attention on earth…. Thank “God,” though, that He (or She) has today given me a religious blog that requires no effort besides these few rambling lines of prologue.
I mentioned recently that I cavorted with the devil in prison. I use “devil” here metaphorically and even quasi-comedically to mean mainstream Christianity. This afforded me an opportunity to have musical and recording equipment, write plays and scores for theatre productions, get my name in print as a “writer,” and make friends who were interested in doing more with their lives and being something other than criminals and convicts. So I took the path of least resistance… sold out, you might say, to a large degree. While it might have made me less of a bore, it made me more of a whore (sorry, I couldn’t resist the rhyme). It wasn’t all fake, though. I really did want to believe. Even convinced myself for a season that I did, and that my so-called belief was rational….
What was it really, though? A crutch? A compromise? A defense mechanism? Another “phase”? A necessary and productive step in my personal evolution? Probably a bit of all of all of these….
And so here is the new “religious blog” to which I alluded. It is actually an e-mail I just received from an old friend named Dick (which explains my blog title… lol). Dick is an Episcopal priest who for a season was employed by the State of Ohio as a chaplain at our prison. I learned a lot about theology through him. And he tended to be very supportive of inmates’ creative and spiritual endeavors. His e-mail to me consists primarily of an article I wrote for the P2P (Prisoner to Prisoner) daily devotional in 2002. The articles in that devotional (published quarterly) were written by prisoners for prisoners and sent to institutions all over the world, although we also had a lot of readers and subscribers who were not (and had never been) convicts. I was a regular contributor to the P2P for two or three years – and although some of my writing from that period makes me cringe with embarrassment, I must admit I feel flattered that they are still regurgitating the pieces I wrote so long ago whenever they lack inspiring new articles from their current contributors. Hope you don’t hate me for this… lol.
I am editing the May/June P2P and needed a devo from the past… I came across this and thought of its contrast with your website… Thought you might want to see it…. it was October , 2002
“They forgot God their savior, who had done great things” – Psalm 106: 21
Remember the Miracle
It was the end of the road. God’s people leaving behind their slavery in Egypt had made it all this way – to the Red Sea. They found no bridge or boat as Pharaoh’s Army was closing in. Then a miracle happened! The mighty waters divided, a pathway to deliverance appeared and they were saved! But the Israelites’ joy lasted only until their next misfortune; they turned to golden images and away from God.
We are often so focused on what we don’t have that we forget our blessings. When I got 7-25 years in 1993 it seemed like the end of the road. I had heard of prison riots and was scared at the thought of being a “sheep” about to be devoured by wolves. I doubted that God cared or even existed. In my darkest hour I considered suicide. But then a miracle happened! My Red Sea parted… and I survived.
Eight years later I am healthy, have begun restitution, have found friends (in and out of prison) and have grown closer to my family. I play music in the Chapel, pursue my education and participate in our Ministry of Theatre. Instead of being devoured, I’ve been blessed. But prison life can be consuming and distracting. Like God’s children in the wilderness, I sometimes get so frustrated at not reaching the “promised land”, that I forget how He brought me out of “Egypt.” Despite His heavenly manna, I still want to grumble. Lord, give me a greater appreciation for your gifts and LET ME NEVER AGAIN FORGET THE MIRACLE – John Burroughs
In Christ, Dick+
“… For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God; so turn, and live.” Ezekiel 18:32