June 29, 2018

* One good thing about being in prison is that I get notes like this. 
      "Hey, one more thing. I really resonated with your blog "Maitre" also! It reminded me of the word "Hesed"--the Hebrew word that is closely translated "loving kindness," but it goes even deeper and richer because it is God's deep love for us. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Oh God! His blessed love for us! Amen!"

* Water skiing was invented when Ralph Samuelson learned to get up on two skis behind the family boat on a Minnesota lake in 1922. You can ski behind any boat, but the wake makes a lot of difference to a serious slalom skier. So in 1957, Leo Bentz designed the first fiberglass inboard ski boat, creating the perfect wake. He called it the Ski Nautique. In 1961, Bentz sold his design to Correct Craft who in that year sold the first 18' Ski Nautique for $3,845. Many say the best ski boat is still...

June 24, 2018

I haven't quoted the Cistercian Monk Thomas Merton lately. What I write here would be much better if I only quoted him. In the following prayer, he beautifully expressed the doubt and certainty we all face.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always, though I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Amen.

June 19, 2018

My experience with church started out really well at First Baptist Church, Winnsboro, Louisiana. However, in the years before coming here to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, it took a hard turn off the rails, with a couple of train wrecks. I've written about the last wreck here.  Even with the wrecks, organized religion, particularly Christianity, has had a profound influence on me (some might say, not enough). I imagine the same would be true for 30-35% of Americans today. Of course, I realize the influence may not have been all positive for some. While it would be disingenuous to call America a Christian nation, we have been influenced, directly and indirectly, by Christianity long before our founding as a nation.

So, how did America as we know it begin? Nathaniel Philbrick answers that question in his well researched and best selling book Mayflower. There is no doubt that Christianity was the driving force in the colonization of Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay in the 1620's by the...

June 14, 2018

Pick-up trucks are handy and manly, and I was fortunate to have access to our farm truck when I came of driving age. Back in those days, 4-wheel drive trucks were uncommon. The rear wheel variety, even with a positive traction rear end, would often get stuck in the gumbo like mud of the Mississippi River delta, presenting an off-road challenge for me and my companions.

To combat this shortcoming, my dad had the ingenious idea of welding 2 pieces of railroad steel onto the rear frame of the truck, putting several hundred pounds of weight directly above the rear wheels. This transformed our truck into an unstoppable mud-hauling machine. I've written about that before here.

Extra weight can be a problem, though, especially for humans. Do you ever feel like you're carrying a little extra? Not pounds, but an emotional or spiritual weight, born out of fear. Perhaps you loaded the weight yourself. Maybe it was dumped into the truck bed by uncontrollable events and circumstances. Certainly, that...

June 9, 2018

Before I became an involuntary resident of Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I was convinced letter writing was a lost art. Apparently it's not. People still possess the ability to sit down and put thoughts on paper with a pen. Some compose them on a computer and print them. They're no less thoughtful or appreciated.

It takes scant thought to send a text, slightly more for most emails, and certainly not much effort for either. A letter is different. There is inertia that must be overcome with intentionality. You have to find a note card or paper. Who has envelopes or stamps? And if so, where are they?

I've been overwhelmed by the letters I've received over the last 1020 days (only an idiot would count the days). There is a tedious sameness to every day here, but easily the best part is mail-call. It occurs Monday through Friday at about 5:00pm. I've not counted the letters received, but there have easily been over 700, each one thoughtful, some healing in ways that have deeply touched me....

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones