Kairos

Kairos Prison Ministry
Kairos Prison Ministry

what is time when it is wrapped in love?

~Terri Stewart
January, 2011
A Small Stone

I have to admit that I am not a Christian for the comfort and relief I feel in believing that when I die or when bad things happen, it is part of God's plan and it will all be okay.  My God is not so easy.  In my faith, I take the call of Matthew 25 seriously:  feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, and visit the imprisoned, seriously.  Especially the prison part.  I must be especially warped because I like going to prison, entering into somewhat scary places, and meeting the men and women there.  I will talk to anyone, any time, about anything.  The only thing I genuinely am concerned about is being loving acceptance for people that are ignored and cast aside.  In my theology, all are beloved.  All means all.  And if all are beloved, well that means that murderers, rapists, drug addicts, and drunk drivers are also beloved.  Let me tell you, this is not a comfortable place to be at all times.  Walking into a prison unit where there is one officer, me, and 100 residents, is not comfortable.  Hearing doors CLANK behind you is not comfortable.  I get a little beyond myself when some friends of mine, whom I love, say things like, "I can see how Christianity brings people comfort."  Well, no.  What brings me comfort is the lived experience of my faith which includes an experience in something beyond myself which I will call the divine or God.  This is mediated, for me, through Christ.  Christ who tells me to go and be uncomfortable in uncomfortable and strange places. 

Anyway, one way I work in prisons is through Kairos Prison Ministry International.  They are pretty awesome and bring hope to the hopeless.  Their motto is "listen, listen, love, love."  They do things like work on helping the residents of prisons find ways towards forgiveness of self and others.  Very powerful stuff for very hurt people.  Below is a quote off their website.  They really do bring Kairos to those affected by incarceration.

Written Summer of 2010 by a Kairos participant incarcerated in an Indiana State Prison:

One can only hope and pray that organizations like Kairos will continue to be allowed to perform their miracles within our jails and prisons.  Knowing that 95% of all those incarcerated in prisons throughout the United States have release dates, does society really want them to return as hate-mongers looking for revenge or people with a newfound “listen listen, love love" attitude that surrounds the Kairos participants. Kairos does not attempt to convert all participants to Christianity, but they do instill in them an attitude of tolerance, and peace, and fulfillment, so that Muslim and Pagan, Christian and Atheist, can communicate with each other with a respect for each other’s views, but also, a respect for that person and their belief.  (from here)

4 comments

  1. Gemma @ Greyscale said on January 9, 2011
    A powerful, interesting post! And love the idea of time being wrapped in love! Beautiful!
  2. Janet Burchfield said on January 9, 2011
    Thank you for your reflections on a Christian faith that is inspired to follow the example of Jesus in ministering compassionately to the hurting, hungry or broken in body or spirit. We are called to extend love and charity to all, even those who are hard to love, difficult to forgive. Kairos has shown me that judgment improves no one. Listening in love, serving "the least among us" with humility, and prayer with and for the incarcerated, helps time "shut away" to have the capacity to be blessed.
  3. Hildred said on January 9, 2011
    A very mindful post about this business of Christian service - and your comment on time and love touches me deeply.
    1. Terri said on January 9, 2011
      Thank you. I visited your post and read your small stone, lovely. What a great noticing. I was just realizing that the days were slightly longer but had not verbalized it. Thanks.

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