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What had been the large concepts that drove the work of Chuck Colson? — GetReligion

As a D.C. Beltway energy participant, the late Charles W. Colson labored with a “Thank God it is Monday” angle that meant his colleagues all the time knew they may contact him about sizzling subjects and choices.

However there was one exception — visits by his autistic grandson Max.

“If Chuck was with Max, his telephone was turned off,” mentioned Dave Carlson of the Colson Heart for Christian Worldview. “Max might cease him in his tracks.”

This bond was rooted in a conviction that formed the Nixon White Home strategist’s work after his 1973 born-again Christian conversion and guilty plea for Watergate crimes that put him in federal jail, mentioned Carlson, who spent 20 years as a Colson aide and editor. This similar conviction led Colson to create the global Prison Fellowship ministry in 1976.

“It did not matter when you had been in jail or what sort of crimes put you there. It did not matter when you had been lacking a chromosome or had been autistic,” he mentioned. Colson believed “we’re all people made within the picture of God — Imago Dei. He was obsessed with that till the tip.”

The 80-year-old Colson died on April 21, 2012, felled by a mind hemorrhage moments after a speech about rising threats to non secular liberty. His colleagues marked the 10-year anniversary by rebroadcasting that speech during a BreakPoint radio commentary.

“What we’re witnessing in our tradition … is however the tip of the iceberg. It is the newest seen manifestation of a rising hostility in the direction of Christianity primarily as a result of — this has all the time been the case — authorities officers really feel threatened by the ability of the church as a result of all of us worship a king larger than the kings of this earth,” mentioned Colson.

Cultural points are larger than mere politics, he pressured.

“Elections are vital. Whoever serves in workplace, it makes a distinction what sort of individual that’s and what that individual believes,” he mentioned. “However elections cannot remedy the issue we have got. The issue we have got is that our tradition has been decaying from the within for 30 or 40 years, and politics is nothing however an expression of tradition. So how do you repair the tradition?”

Answering that query, famous Colson, would require Christians to, “Look within the mirror: That is the place the issue is.”

Colson’s phrases on that day stay related, mentioned Carlson, despite the fact that “I do not suppose he might have imagined the place we are actually. I do not suppose he might have seen Donald Trump. I do not suppose he might have seen the trans motion. … Chuck actually believed you can lay out an argument and folks would pay attention after which contemplate altering their minds. I do not suppose he might have imagined the present state of public discourse in America.”

In separate interviews, Carlson and former BreakPoint scribe Roberto Rivera — who wrote with and for Colson for 17 years — centered on the identical three large concepts in his work.

Colson “by no means stopped being a jail sort of man,” mentioned Rivera, a lawyer who’s a Roman Catholic. “Chuck’s legacy begins with this: He taught a whole era of younger evangelicals to present a rattling in regards to the lives of prisoners.”

With a regulation diploma from George Washington College, Colson was all the time concerned with authorized developments, in addition to politics. With out fundamental First Modification rights, and spiritual liberty particularly, he believed there can be “no room within the public sq. through which to function within the first place,” mentioned Rivera. “With out non secular freedom, nothing else occurs.”

Lastly, doctrines in regards to the sanctity of human life knowledgeable all of his activism, whether or not Colson was discussing abortion, jail reform or human rights, generally. He significantly admired Pope John Paul II and his writings about absolute, eternal truths and “core beliefs about what it means to be human,” mentioned Carlson, an Japanese-Ceremony Catholic.

Whereas declining to foretell how Colson would have dealt with the previous decade, “I do know that he wasn’t afraid of being referred to as a heretic,” mentioned Carlson. When he co-founded Evangelicals and Catholics Together in 1994 with the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, he knew “Jail Fellowship would take a heavy hit financially. However he believed it was the proper factor to do. So, he did it.

“Chuck Colson wasn’t afraid to do one thing if he believed it wanted to be completed.”

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