Note: This post is by “Brother Joseph” who blogs about his experiences reconnecting with his Catholic faith while in a Federal Minimum Security Prison.
“Inside Faith” by Brother Joseph
I’m 31. I’ve had some lofty goals, traveled and worked all over the world. Never did I imagine I’d end up here. I was the first Latino Valedictorian of my high school. I have a BA and MA from an excellent university. I served six years in the military, deploying on numerous occasions to fight the War on Terror, and then worked for a medical school in the Southwest on Border Health issues. I was accepted to a top law school, briefly married to a beautiful woman, and had a wonderful step-daughter. Not too bad for a 26-year old.
Then I fell down the rabbit hole. On the eve of matriculating at an Ivy League law school, I ended up in a wildly different Institution. I’m currently on year five of a fifteen year sentence at a Federal Prison in sunny California. How does someone like me end up in prison? It seems the U.S. Government (our “Pharaoh”) is an equal-opportunity incarcerator.
But like Joseph, I’ve found favor in Pharaoh’s prison. Now, I serve as the Pastoral Coordinator of my prison parish, organizing services and teaching Bible study and a young men’s ministry. For work, I teach health and wellness classes, including Anger Management. I play on recreational leagues for softball and soccer, as well as bass and guitar for a Christian rock band. I keep a charming flower garden.
I’m a pragmatic idealist; a social liberal but conservative in regards to family values; a staunch advocate of woman’s rights but firmly against abortion. I’m evangelical, charismatic, and Catholic. Though my principles seem contradictory by post-modern standards, they reflect what I consider to be Gospel Christianity.
I hope you enjoy my postings about “Inside Faith,” life in prison from a Christian perspective. I hope my musings inspire you to think, reflect, and above all, realize that God is alive and working in prison. If inmates matter to Him, then let us matter to you.
KEYWORDS: Latino, Prison, Bible Study, Ministry, Evangelical, Charismatic, Catholic, Gospel, Christianity, Faith, God, Joseph