Charles Colson

Charles Colson died last week, aged 80.  He lived an extraordinary life, one that Hollywood could not have dreamt of.  Here is a brief of his life if you  haven’t heard of him.

He was born in 1931 in the USA.  He was a soldier, then a lawyer, and then a political adviser to President Nixon.  In this role he was the “hatchet man” – the one who would get things done, whatever it took.  He was a key figure in the Watergate scandal that ended Nixon’s presidency in 1974.  At age 41 he became a Christian.  His conversion was met with widespread cynicism.  The next year he went to jail for his crimes in Watergate.  Impacted by what he saw of life behind bars he started a prison ministry called Prison Fellowship upon his release, which now ministers to inmates all around the world.  His impact for the cause of Christ through Prison Fellowship has been massive.

Apart from all that, after he became a Christian he wrote 30 books which sold over 5 million copies, as well having radio shows and writing blog posts.  His output to humanity was large and he leaves a huge legacy behind.  He also had a very eloquent turn of phrase.

For some reason I own only one of his books.  It is not amongst his best known.  It is called The Enduring Revolution.  The idea behind the title is that history’s revolutions come and go, but Jesus is the one who revolutionises the human heart.  Christ began an enduring revolution because the changes that he brings to the inside of a person continue to this day.

The book ends with a story of a prison he visited in Brazil.  The prison was notable for the revival that had swept through it, and the exceedingly low rates of re-offending by those that left it.  Colson visited to find out the secret to their success.  He writes:

I saw the answer when my inmate guide escorted me to the notorious punishment cell once used for torture.  Today, he told me, this block houses only a single inmate.  As we reached the end of the long concrete corridor and he put the key in the lock, he paused and asked, “are you sure that you want to go in?” 

 “Of course,” I replied impatiently, “I’ve been in isolation cells all over the world.”  Slowly he swung open the massive door, and I saw the prisoner in that punishment cell: a crucifix, beautifully carved by the inmates – the prisoner Jesus hanging on the cross.

 “He’s doing time for all the rest of us,” my guide said softly.

 In that cross carved by loving hands is a holy subversion.  It heralds change more radical that mankind’s most fevered dreams.  Its followers expand the boundaries of a kingdom that can never fail.  A shining kingdom that reaches into the darkest corners of every community into the darkest corners of every mind.  A kingdom of deathless hope, of restless virtue, of endless peace.

 This work proceeds, this hope remains, this fire will not be quenched: The Enduring Revolution of the Cross of Christ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: