Monthly archives: February, 2019

“The Stench of Prison” …. Reflections from the late Chuck Colson

I was just out of technical school and working at WCBG 1590 AM Radio in Chambersburg, PA, recalling August 9, 1974 when then President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first (and to date only) U.S. president ever to do so.  I remember NBC  Breaking news frequently interrupting local programming on what was happening in the nation’s capitol.  As a young DJ, I was a bit annoyed, wanting to just play music all night long.

The hearing in Washington D.C. with Michael Cohen being questioned by Senators brings back memories of my working on editing, a number of years later after being a young DJ, an interview that Dennis Benson did with White House conspirator Chuck Colson who pleaded guilty and went to prison.  Here is the Passages show featuring Colson telling about life in prison …

Executive Producer for Passages Dennis C. Benson wrote in a Facebook post in fall of 2018 about Colson ….

“Stench of Prison”

I am alone for breakfast in my usual booth. My news feed on my iPhone stuffs another criminal politician story into my conscience. Is it power that corrupts? Is it the money that blinds our leaders from being true to higher moral values?

A few years ago, I spent some time with a corrupt politician who found his way back to an ethical life.

“It was before Watergate really closed in on me. It was the realization that out of all the things I had done into life, the great American Dream, hadn’t provided fulfillment. I plead guilty. I went to prison right after I left the White House.”

“Went to prison. That’s a year after I had become a Christian. And as of those Nixon law and order men, I used to think of
prison as a place for criminals who belonged there.”

“I got to prison, and the first shock was seeing men around me who didn’t belong there. Men who were there for incredibly trivial mistakes.”

“And I saw a lot of human suffering, people who were forgotten. We started a little Bible study group when I was in prison. Men would come to us, night after night , and gave their lives to Christ. And I would see their lives changed, transformed.”

“So when I left prison, though I wanted to forget it, and put it behind me, because it is a horrid place, and I still had the stench of prison on my clothes, and I wanted to forget the place and I wanted to walk the fields, look at the birds, pick the flowers, and take some time with my family, but–I still couldn’t forget the men I left behind in prison.”

“So after wrestling with God for a year, I made the decision to go into the prison work full time. And now that’s where I spend my life.”

“I have been in more than 250 prisons since I got out myself. The amazing thing to me is that when I got to prison, there was a guy in the next bunk who was doing three years for a $3,000 tax aversion. And there was a kid across the way who cashed a bad check for $84 dollars!”

“There was another fellow there who killed 26 people. Here was a hit. You will find the whole range of people in prison. And it is one of the problems we have, one of the reasons we have not reformed the present system the way we ought.”

“We are very self righteous. We think that it is good enough. Those criminals have committed a crime, put them in there, and throw away the key and forget about it.”

“Those are our brothers and sisters. They hate people who have made a mistake, some of them for very minor mistakes.”

“Remember when Jesus was marched up that hill, to hang from the cross, he did as much for that man or woman in prison as he did for us.”

“Prisons do not rehabilitate. They don’t defer crime. We have more people in prison, and we have more crime. They are not working.”

“I almost feel like I am back in prison. I travel perhaps two weeks at a time. I am on the tail end of a two week trip right now.”

“Then I take two weeks to read and write. It’s really hard. Everyone thinks the Christian life is a bed of roses. It’s got its ups and downs. And sometimes you get out on the road, staying in second rate hotels.”

“Sometimes you get awful tired and awful weary and worn down. And I do. I used to feel self pity about it.”

“I don’t anymore because I realize that it is a great privilege to serve the Lord even though it is pretty exhausting.”

Chuck Colson died in 2012.

(© 1/6/13 by Dennis C. Benson 616 510 0873. All rights reserved.)

A reflection from what seems like just yesterday!


God Loves You! Valentine’s Weekend

A number of churches on a Sunday near Valentines Day focus on that “God Loves You,” a time to share how God loves us all!

It goes without needing to say it, but this should happen not only every Sunday, but everyday.

It is a good time to make the connection with young children that God is the ultimate when it comes to defining and understanding love.

1 John 4:7-21 New International Version (NIV)    God’s Love and Ours

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Here are several audio stories on love and relationships …

Dave’s love is obvious for all that his wife Kim brings to the world to share with him and others. Listen to him tell in his own words on Passages about Kim …

Sometimes what appears to be love can be misleading and a problem. Mary is a young woman who shares about an abusive relationship and her needing to break it off to find healing. Listen to Mary share her situation on Survivors …

A college student has the experience of a lifetime in having his mom go to school at the same time that he does and at the same school. Listen to Sherry talk about this time with her son and the fun they had together. Listen to Sherry on Passages …

Rachel had a rough relationship she worked through as a teen and is now married with a child having learned about love and life. Listen to Rachel share here story on Passages …

Here is a special treat when it comes to God’s love! A half-hour of jazz music on “Friendship” by Jeff Kellam, award-winning media producer and Presbyterian minister. Enjoy!

Healthy relationships with each other and the good Lord makes for a special Valentine’s Day weekend!
God loves you and we do to at Presbyterian Media Mission. Hug a special person today!

Football on Our Minds!

Here are some stories of football and hunger that lead us to one of the biggest days of sports and food/snacks of the year! Super Bowl LIII is an upcoming football game between the two-time defending American Football Conference champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference champion Los Angeles Rams to determine the champion of the National Football League for the 2018 season. Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, will be the Super Bowl with the big game of feeding our appetite for sports and food, as we reach out to care for those in need of food in our communities across the nation.

A simple prayer: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat” is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.

This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice. 

As you care for those around you, by not just giving this weekend, but all year long to help those in need and less fortunate, remember these stories as you do!

Stories of faith, football, and hunger from Media Mission:

Are you and I the problem with hunger? Listen to what Ron knows about plate waste by clicking on the audio button below …

A humorist sports story that captures the truth about the need to learn how to block in football! Click on the audio button below to hear this story told by Carl …

Giving handouts to people in need of food is important, but to be confident they are able to prepare the food, is a question that needs answered says Otis. Click on the audio button below to hear what Otis has to say …

The Walter Payton Award will be given out this weekend! One of the greatest NFL players on and off the field, Walter Payton was special. Listen to what John has to say about Walter on Passages …

Many refugees in the world suffer health problems that often is a result from hunger and lacking clean water to drink. Listen to Bill tell what he experienced …

A special era in the NFL is shared by All-Pro Defensive Back Mel Blount who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s. Listen to Mel talk about those glory days! Click on the button below.

Here is a fun and spirited song called “Big Joe” by the late David Bailey who has inspired thousands in looking at themselves and their relationship with each other and God.  Enjoy!

Please help out those in need of food in your community! Give to your local food bank.  Thank you!
The PMM Leadership Team and Passages Production Team

Walter Payton Award winner will be announced this evening!

NFL announces nominees for Walter Payton Man of Year award

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each of these players was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award.