So I was walking George through the woods getting a wet foot when my mind went wandering to prison.
We've started preparing for the annual carol service and worked with 3 of the inmates yesterday. Okay, the really nasty ones aren't the sort to volunteer so we probably see the better ones but, honestly, off the drink and drugs, they're nice men. One is in Christmas for the 10th time; another is having his 1st inside. And all three say, 'This it, no more. We're going to change.'
Two of the men who took part last year said the same thing. They were being released in the spring and were moving away, going to do things differently, find new friends. They're both back inside.
And I honestly can't see what apart from God is going to make the difference to any of these lives.
I know I'd say that; I'm a Christian. But what else can bring about real and lasting change?
We know all the reasons why offenders keep offending and that situation isn't going to change overnight or probably ever. It is just so distressing to see these men wasting their lives.
Last night in Zac's we were looking at the choosing of the first 12 apostles and a right mixed bunch they were. Steve, who led the study, which was excellent, asked people to say what place they'd been in when they'd 'been called'.
One had been in prison, another in a psychiatric hospital, another had been about to run off with another man's wife, still another had been nursing his terminally ill best friend. All very different places, people and needs but all lives changed dramatically.
And that's my prayer for the men in prison.
On a slightly different tack, someone commented last night that the bible was sexist. I remarked that when i have to produce booklets of chunks of scripture for church use i have to use the translation that addresses brothers & sisters, and talks about sons & daughters. I said that I spit when i have to do it as there are far more important things in the bible to care about.
But it occurred to me while my mind was wandering that maybe I was being just a little arrrogant.
I can be unconcerned because I speak from a position of equality. I don't consider myself belonging to the under-sex. I am the equal of any man. I'm different but still equal. But not everyone is so fortunate.
Maybe the reason we take care to address both brothers and sisters is more for the attention of any men who may consider using scripture as justification for sexism. (Shocking but it does happen or so I'm told!)
So convinced was I by my own arguments that I declared that next time I have to use the bi-sexual (I'm sure that not the right word but I can't think what it is***) translation I would refrain from spitting but would do as I am told in a suitably mild manner.
Then my mind wandered to the bar of chocolate in my pocket and I stopped thinking in favour of oral delectation.
* welly actually
** Courtesy Lennon & McCartney
*** non-gender specific