Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chuck Colson

Finished Season 4 of West Wing last night.  Won’t be able to start Season 5 for a few days as we’ve got interstate guests staying over the weekend.

Not long after we started watching West Wing this year, Chuck Colson passed away.  Chuck Colson was the founder of a group called Prison Fellowship International.  They are involved in Christian ministry within prisons all around the world.  But how Chuck came to be doing that is a fascinating story.  To summarize, Colson was special counsel to President Nixon when the Watergate scandal broke.  Colson went to jail as a result.  Before his trial, a friend gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C S Lewis.  Colson was converted and publically declared himself a Christian.  Many people were extremely sceptical of this sudden “conversion” just before trial.  But upon his release from prison, he went on to found Prison Fellowship and his Christian faith became the centre-point of his life.
It was strange to be reading about Colson’s life at that time because we were up to a part in the West Wing where the President and other members of staff were about to be called to a grand jury for investigation.  Colson’s story seemed to mirror the screen for a little bit there.  We’ve known about Prison Fellowship for many years but didn’t know much about its founder.

I watched the following clip not long after Colson passed away. In it are two photographs of Colson sitting with other staff in front of Nixon at his desk in the Oval office.  Perhaps American viewers, more familiar with seeing pictures of the White House, might have said, “There is Colson in the White House.”  I got excited and said, “Look!  He’s on the set of the West Wing!” 
 Anyhow, the clip is a powerful summary of a life totally turned around.  Amazing to have reached such a seeming pinnacle in life and then to have it totally destroyed and rebuilt in a whole new form.

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