August 28, 2016

You know it's not 1966 because June Cleaver is no longer at home. She had to take a job at Starbuck's because Ward lost his job when his company was purchased by a hedge fund who fired all middle management. He took a lower paying job, then lost it, when the company closed its doors because it couldn't compete with a Chinese competitor which stole all its patents and flooded the market with cheaper copycat products. Ward went into depression and finally moved out. 

After June gets off work, she takes care of the Beaver's daughter LaJune while he completes drug rehab. LaJune's mom, whom Beaver married so she could gain citizenship and not be deported back to Haiti, should be out of a women's federal prison by Christmas. While June works the early shift, Wally and Eddie Haskell, who married last Easter, care for LaJune.

Ward is living with long time family friend Barney Fife in a van down by the river. Barney lost his bid to become sheriff when he tweeted some "regrettable photos" to 600,0...

August 24, 2016

The party at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp started early Sunday morning, August 7, 2016, with alcohol that was either smuggled into the camp or home brewed. It was a small fraternity-like party while most of us slept, and the first frat brother was found passed out in the supply room. The second mistook his bunk mate's locker for the urinal. When the bunky "found out, he began to shout and started the investigation." By the time the lights came on, 7 inmates had been breathalyzed and sent to the Special Housing Unit or SHU, a fancy name for solitary confinement. None of the 7 were dangerous, but they would never be mistaken for a mensa group either.

For some unexplained reason, after the 7 were carted off, the officers on duty didn't give everyone else a breathalyzer test so they would be absolutely sure all the partiers had been apprehended. Maybe they were tired or confused. Maybe they wanted us to think their keen investigative skills precluded a logical protocol. It would have been...

August 20, 2016

Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp can at times be an overcrowded but lonely place. There's a lot not to like here, but it's seldom overwhelmingly bad either. Think of it like the worst church camp ever, that you can't leave...for a long, long time. I've been here long enough that I'm beginning to want to make it better. That might be an exercise in futility, but it's worth a try. In a word, it needs love. Realistically that will be impossible for me or any one inmate to do, but I still wonder if there might be a way to collectively make it happen.

Theoretical love is meaningless; it has to be shared. Love has to be lived out with others. We know that in religion, if any group wants to spread its message, it has to live out love in small groups. If it can't do that, the message will never be believable, for love is a team sport. Jesus called it, "where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name".

But there is pervasive and powerful cultural evil in the world, in our country and certainly within the Bure...

August 16, 2016

* We had a split rail fence around the visitor area here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. On the fence were many "Do Not Sit On Fence" signs. Word has it that the Warden was here recently, sat on the fence which broke causing her to fall. We are now getting a new fence. If I put signs on my bunk saying "Do Not Climb Up Here And Try This Mattress, I wonder if I might get a new mattress?

* If I were a writer, I would want to be Terry Hayes who in 2014 wrote I Am Pilgrim. The cover says it's a thriller which is an understatement. 

* I led the communion service a few weeks ago and used some source material that I figured would offend most of the attendees, but didn't. I can't believe that it never occurred to me that nobody would be listening to what I said.

* The political conventions are over. The Republicans held "It's Mourning in America" while the Democrats held "It's Still Bush's Fault". I wanted to subtly mention to both candidates that I have a guaranteed strategy that would put eit...

August 12, 2016

For the last 20 years, my reality has been ever more shaped by its connectedness to the world through technology, even to the point where I was hardly without my iPhone or iPad. I kept up with friends and family with texts or on Facebook, made countless Google searches and watched an ever increasing number of Youtube videos every day and night. I did most of my shopping online.

This way of life and thinking came to a crashing halt when I surrendered to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp on August 26, 2015, a place with no internet access, at least not for me, and where cell phones are strictly prohibited. I never thought I would come to this conclusion, but that's not all bad.

I have to admit that I never noticed that as technology improved and the amount of information and its delivery speed increased, I became less patient. If a web page didn't load immediately, I went elsewhere. It was difficult to watch TV without having my iPad in my lap. I had so allowed myself to be over-stimulated an...

August 8, 2016

If Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is valid and also if the universe is expanding, both of which certainly appear to be true, then we know something. We know that wherever we are in the universe, it will always appear that we are at the center of universe. While I don't logically believe the universe revolves around me, I have sometimes lived as if I thought it did. Being at the center isn't as easy as you might think. It requires perfection, and any attempt at perfection can lead to pride or insecurity or oddly both. 

Thankfully God offers a better alternative. I don't have to be at the center of the universe. All I have to be is me--part of the team. As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "Our collective wisdom and experience can be a torch lighting our path, showing us what to do. Looking deeply together is the main task of a community or a church." Unfortunately many churches lack the collective faith to look deeply at much of anything. They could learn from the desperation of...

August 4, 2016

During the summer of 1971, my Dad and I decided to drive 40 miles, one way, twice each week, to go to a health club. He wanted to lose weight, and I wanted to gain weight. This was the first health club either of us had ever known and we were inspired to remake ourselves. We also felt a sense of urgency because health clubs might very well be a passing fad and we didn't want to miss out.

After 6 weeks he had gained 5 pounds, and I had lost 5 pounds--certainly not what we had intended. He had eaten more because he was working out, and I ate less because I was working out during the time I had been eating. It apparently never occurred to me that I might want to eat at a different time probably because my mind was otherwise focused on a brown eyed girl in our town. Apparently multitasking was/is not my spiritual gift. Nonetheless, this little endeavor was my first introduction to the Law of Unintended Consequences. We had good intentions, but the ensuing consequences were unexpectedly infl...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones