March Ramblings

* Here are some more words of wisdom from Jordon Peterson's 12 Rules For Life. "Say what you mean, so that you can find out what your mean. Act out what you say, so you can find out what happens. Then pay attention. Note your errors. Articulate them. Strive to correct them. That is how you discover the meaning of your life. That will protect you from the tragedy of your life. How could it be otherwise?"

* I ear hustled (overheard) a conversation between two inmates on Ash Wednesday that goes to the heart of some of the challenges faced today by the Catholic Church. The conversation went like this: Inmate 1: What's that on your forehead? Inmate 2: Ashes. It's Ash Wednesday. Inmate 1: What's Ash Wednesday? Inmate 2: I'm not sure. Inmate 1: Is it in the Bible? Inmate 2: I don't know. Probably.

* This month we had a double-secret, inmate-taught class going on in the Education Building. It was called "Geography," because that particular subject matter was on the official approved list. Actually the class was on the Middle East, and we did discuss mountains and rivers, which is geography as I recall. It was taught by an inmate who's a native-born Iranian with the assistance of another inmate, who has dual US/Palestinian citizenship. It was an excellent class, well attended by a roomful of engaged learners each week, but if the genius who runs "Education" around here had found out, he would have closed it down immediately and probably shut down all educational activities for 60-90 days to punish us, because the class wasn't on his list. Sometimes you just have to live on the edge to learn something.

* In his excellent book entitled Irresistible, Andy Stanley points out the difference between the Biblical covenants in the Old Testament and New Testament. Old Testament Covenant between God and Israel: When you obey, God will bless you. When you disobey, you'll be punished. New Testament Covenant between God and everyone: When you obey, you may suffer. When you disobey, the world may applaud you and you may even prosper.

Those two covenants are quite different. Hint: The new one applies to us, not the old one.

* I recently watched an 84 year old inmate fall asleep standing up while listening to Fox News on his headphones. Thankfully the headphones kept him from hearing the rather loud sound created when he passed gas (I don't think Fox News was totally responsible for the fart, but I may be wrong). While the smell didn't awake him either, there is something inherently smelly about imprisoning an 84-year-old, non-violent, first-time offender for 10 years. It's more than sad. It screams about the sickness of a federal government that thinks such incarceration represent justice and of the citizens who allow it to continue.