For most of my federal prison sentence I pursued the high reputation of a "solid convict". I said the right things, did the right things, liked the right people, and hated the right people. I showed disdain at all appearance of physical weakness and if thought didn't reflect the popular notion held by the circles that "make it and shake it" in here, then I didn't promote it. I was a bad ass, work out fanatic, intellectual guy who the thug could relate to and respect......
Until a few years ago when I picked up the need in my mind for some principled approach to living. Then I submerged myself in that way of thinking and pursued it whole-heartedly. I separated myself from all the drugs and most of the violence. I linked myself with those who are in full pursuit of changing their thinking for the better of their lives on the street, and became a quick leader in that circle. I love the thought of creating, and what better to create than a new, effective and community-minded self? But I still recognized all the flaws in myself- still pretty arrogant, still a skeptic, still able and willing to engage in worthless conversations about subjects that need not be discussed, still struggle viewing others as equal or better than me, still struggle with compassion, and have very little idea of this empathy that I speak so highly of in the book and program I devised.
Over the last five or six weeks, I began taking a Bible Correspondence College course through Rhema Bible College with the intent of learning more about a Christianity I walked away from at the beginning of this sentence. I figured that it could assist in opening some public speaking doors when I am released. It has had the effect of renewing my Spirit with God. It has led me to accept new friends for new reasons. And it is leading me to accept the fact that I need to submit to Him in everything and accept the humiliation (in here) that goes with that. I went on a few days fasting in order to gather the strength and understanding necessary to switch tables in the dining hall (an important status position in here), and the primary problem and fear lay in the fact that many sex offenders migrate to the Christian table in FCI's because they cannot sit with the others. Snitches abound. So the transition to this table is beating me up in ways. I have never been so humiliated, and at the same time, I have never felt the need to endure so strongly. It's all in my mind, for the most part, because I know that people are just wondering what the heck has come over me, but all I have stood for concerning some of these guys I sit with today is being compromised in my ego.
This test is just the beginning. I know the power of God will settle things in my heart and mind and create important changes in the lives of those who watch what I am doing, but that doesn't mean that I am an accomplished man at the end of this test. I have much more pain and humiliation and giants tests ahead before I will be forged into the man God can use out there.