Chuck "Hatchet Man" Colson has passed away at the age of 80. Most people remember him for his time in the Nixon white house and his role in Watergate. I remember him as the head of organization that I once worked for Prison Fellowship Ministries.
I worked there only as a contractor and very briefly. But it was a job that had a profound effect on me. I remember that job and it's employees with great fondness and affection. It is a charity that I donate to every year. I believe in the cause. They help everyone involved in the criminal justice system; the victims as well as the criminals. They also help the families of those who are in jail. Children are blameless and shouldn't be forgotten when they are dealing with the difficulties of having a parent(s) in jail. They are the forgotten victims, but Chuck never forgot them. Especially at Christmas time. I happen to be working there during Christmas. The luncheon that was put on for the employees was lovely, just lovely. He also took the time to shake the hand of every employee, thank them and wish them a Merry Christmas. Believe me, no "Happy Holidays" crap. How many jobs do you know of that have a chapel that you can go and pray anytime you feel the desire?
The ministry is employs people who are good Christians and are dedicated to the mission of bringing the word of Jesus to prisoners around the world. They are now the largest prisoner outreach group in the world. He dedicated his life to helping those in the prison system and the ones they left behind. He changed many lives.
At the time many questioned his conversion to the Christian faith. I suppose that was understandable. The conventional meme is that he converted while in prison to hasten his release. This is not the truth. Yes, I know that you are shocked that the media isn't being honest about a Christian Conservative, but it is true. Chuck converted before he went to trial, which is the reason that he pleaded guilty. He accepted responsibility for his actions, did his time, and then proceeded to make a difference in the world after his release. A difference that will live on, even with him gone.
Mr. Colson made mistakes, he was a sinner. He stepped on whomever he needed to step on to help keep Nixon in power. But he is a true story of redemption, in every sense of the word.
If you have never read his autobiography Born Again, you don't know what you are missing. Yes, he was a sinner, but he was also a giant of a man.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Colson. I will do what I can to help your legacy live on. My deepest sympathies to his family on their loss.