Monday 20 February 2012

Christian Reflection on Prison

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to the topic of Prison. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz


The astonishing expansion of prisons today raises troubling moral questions about the treatment of prisoners, the collateral damage to families and communities, and the justice of a penal system that requires ever more prisoners for its financial stability.

Chris Marshall

Divine Justice as Restorative Justice

While it contains retributive components, God’s justice is fundamentally a restoring and renewing justice. Knowing this, the Church is obliged to practice restorative justice in its own ranks and to summon society to move in the same direction.

Andrew Skotnicki

The Measure with which We Measure

Does retribution – the infliction by the state of punishment on someone found guilty in a judicial hearing for disobeying the law – have any place in a Christian ethic? The weight of New Testament ethical teaching and Christian tradition resist any notion that we can willfully and morally bring harm upon another.

Lisa M. Rea

Restorative Justice: The New Way Forward

Can we reform the justice system and prisons in ways that seek to restore lives and transform individuals injured by crime? Restorative justice promises to move us away from warehousing offenders and toward a system that leads offenders to personal accountability and allows victims to heal.

Heidi J. Hornik

Without Hindrance

Rembrandt famously depicts Paul’s incarceration. Even though the apostle is impoverished and under house arrest due to his preaching, his ministry is undeterred.

Heidi J. Hornik

Dehumanized Prisoners

Goya confronts viewers with the dehumanization of prisoners in modern warfare. The eerie darkness of the night and of the distant church calls attention to the anonymity of the prisoners and their executioners.

Emily R. Brink

When Asked, Who Is My Neighbor?

Emily R. Brink

Worship Service

John Thompson

Sermons in a Swiss Prison

Karl Barth, the Swiss Reformed professor and pastor once described by Pope Pius XII as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas, exercised a remarkable ministry from 1956 to 1964. While teaching at the University of Basel, Barth regularly visited and preached to the inmates at Basel Prison.

Dick Allison

Spiritual Friendship: Portrait of a Prison Ministry

If those on the outside are unwilling to be on the receiving end as well as the giving end of the relationship with prisoners, they cannot offer spiritual friendship. Such openness is not easy, for it rejects the assumption that those in the free world are by definition better folks than those who are locked up.

Alesha D. Seroczynski

Reading for Life: Portrait of a Prison Ministry

Reading for Life draws these two strands together – virtue theory in the Christian tradition and the role of literature in shaping moral imagination – to foster restoration, remediation, community service, and affiliation in juvenile offenders.

Sarah Jobe

Project TURN: Portrait of a Prison Ministry

Through Project TURN, divinity school students join inmates in classes held in prison. Together they are seeking the pieces of theological reflection that become missing in a society willing to silence huge swaths of its population through incarceration.

Mary Alice Wise

The Hospitality House: Portrait of a Prison Ministry

In a small Texas town that is home to six state prisons, Central Texas Hospitality House is an oasis of rest, food and drink, and needed clothing for those who have traveled far for a short visit with an incarcerated friend or family member.

L. Lynette Parker

Christian Critiques of the Penal System

As public policies exclude more and more people from community life through incarceration, it is often asked, “Does the criminal justice system work?” The four books reviewed here propose an alternative vision for justice.

Kenneth L. Carder

Resources for Restorative Justice

Restorative justice offers a broader lens, different goals, and alternative practices to retribution and incarceration. The books reviewed here invite us to journey toward a justice that more accurately reflects God’s covenant justice that is “satisfied by the restoration of shalom.”

No comments: