Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No parole for a prison pastor

John Brown murdered David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife in 1973. He was convicted and sentenced to 198 years for the crime. Brown has served 37 years in prison now and want a parole. The state is having none of it. They laughed off his good behavior, which partially consisted of service as a prison pastor. I’m happy with the parole board's decision. Brown should die in prison without spending a single day free.

The case brings up a topic which has bothered me for a long time. How can a murder serve as a pastor? We know that the bible says a leader should be above reproach. That should be reason enough to question his pointless service, right? There is more though. It has to do with the difference between a pastor focusing on reality (behaviors) and a pastor focused on the spirit. What can a murder teach others about the behaviors needed to be a truly good person? Sure, the pastor could focus on on the spiritual side of things. Like, Jesus loves you, redemption for the most heinous of crimes (except some thought crimes), and the promise of eternal life in heaven with God. These is a disconnect though. The men Brown preach to are hardened criminals. They need behavioral tutoring more than anything else. They need to be taught how to be good (if that is even possible). Brown is incapable of teaching on the subject and is unqualified. His effort is simply be a jailhouse scorecard to count baptisms for Jesus. What it the point? Becoming a Christian does not make you good. Being good makes you good.

Which brings me to another point. If Brown were a true Christian he would realize that his crime demands a heavy penalty. One which he should pay willingly as atonement to his victims and society. Brown sees being a pastor as another check mark in the process of securing his release. It can be no other way. HIs focus is on getting out of prison. He’s not acting like a Christian should act. He’s acting like a selfish self-absorbed murder.

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