By Romney Ruder
“For every thousand people hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the roots” H.D Thoreau
In recent work, Lisa Miller, a Columbia University psychology professor and founder of the school’s Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute, has uncovered scientific evidence that spirituality is correlated with success, and her work is turning heads at the highest levels of many major U.S. institutions. Miller’s extensive studies using brain imaging, detailed in her new book, The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life, confirm what may seem intuitively true: People who feel spiritual, meaning connected to something greater such as nature, the universe, or a god through organized religion, are more likely to be happier, healthier, and higher functioning in both their personal and professional lives.
This has been evident over the past 18+ years that Lifeline Global has worked with the local church and ministries to bring faith-based training in parenting and reconciliation to the incarcerated. But the process is not purely as academic as Ms. Miller indicates. For us, the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit allows for sin bonds to be broken.
Never has this been more apparent than at a recent conference I attended in Dallas. In attendance with me was a group of men that were either Pastors or Chaplains in Oregon, Missouri and Mississippi. What made these guys unique is each of them was incarcerated at Angola State Prison earlier in their life; some with life sentences. Many of these men were the architects of Malachi Dads which has helped transform the lives of tens of thousand incarcerated men and women and their families. One of those men, Chaplain Reginald Watts, stated that through his training in moral rehabilitation, he learned “that there is fear in the darkness, but there is liberty in light”.
We have an opportunity as the Church, as a Christian community, as a fellowship of believers to create lasting stories like these in institutions across the United States. There are opportunities in your backyard to get invested in. Change in how we approach the incarcerated is not going to happen magically. Rather, it will be the result of grass-root efforts spawned by the local church. We need your help. God is providing a window for Lifeline Global to reach men and women in most states. Let Chaplain Watts statement of “liberty in the light” be the rallying cry to all Christians to get engaged.