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Posts Tagged ‘prison’

Rubble and Re-Creation

By Chris HokeJuly 26, 2018

In the beginning, when God was creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was a desolate waste. Chaos. Smoking rubble. Like after a war. Our beginning, we Bible readers should understand, was post-apocalyptic. That’s what I tell the guys in jail, as a regular chaplain there, when someone pipes up now and then with…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 9, Psalms, In the End

By Chris HokeJuly 11, 2018

Thinking of the psalms as a way to cycle through the entire range of human experience, I recently brought them with me into juvenile detention. The kids there, on Sunday afternoons, shuffle through automated doors wearing orange jumpsuits and pink booties and take their seats shyly around bolted-down steel tables with me. These are boys…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 8: Psalms In the Beginning

By Chris HokeJuly 5, 2018

I always privately hated the psalms. Most of them, anyway. As a teenager, I’d leaf through the Bible’s songbook quite often and feel it was full of self-pity and self-righteousness, often launching into bombastic praise of God and two lines later wishing curses on enemies. I didn’t understand why Christians still used the psalms, and…

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Monasticism In Lockdown America, Part 7: Holy Fool

By Chris HokeJune 25, 2018

Hank’s trembling confession that he’d be killing God if he killed another inmate had charged the small jail visitation cell where I sat discussing the image of God with three men from the infirmary. I pulled out the last of three “icons” and passed it around. It was a color printout of the crumbling Sphinx…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 5, Holy Elders

By Chris HokeJune 14, 2018

With their white beards and deep lines in their faces, the older men stand out in our jail Bible study’s circle of usually-young men with either tattoos on the outsides of their arms or track marks on the insides. I’m always struck by the old men’s humility, how they don’t tell the whippersnappers to shut…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 3, Exercises

By Chris HokeMay 31, 2018

I recognized the Orthodox monks’ prostrations I’d learned in the monastery in the “burpees” the guys showed me after they were home from prison—exercising alongside them in their driveways and garages, my heart thumping in my throat and a sweat in my shirt sooner than I expected. The homies in their tight tank tops and…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 1, Cloister

By Chris HokeMay 17, 2018

The gentlemen I’ve been visiting in my local jail for the past decade live a daily existence, I’ve often considered, not unlike monks in the monastery I’ve also visited. They don’t have their wives or girlfriends with them. They all wear the same plain garment—not black robes, but old red scrubs. Their hair often grows…

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Dancing on the Way to Prison

By John BryantMarch 18, 2016

I’m standing in a circle with thirty singing and swaying old men and we hold each other’s hands because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and signal the presence of His Spirit by fluttering our fingers during certain parts of the song, the fluttering strange at first and then completely appropriate and satisfying. There…

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