August 2, 2012
Thursday, 11:00 a.m.
Letter #236: Facts vs. Blind Faith
Greetings! I was so blessed this past weekend to have my longtime family friends, Dan and Payce Blomquist, visit me! They flew in from Sacramento, where they are chaplains for the police and sheriff’s departments as well as many federal agencies such as the FBI. Additionally, they visit several prisoners around the state of California, including three men on death row. What a ministry of compassion and healing they have as they spur others on to a closer walk with God! Truly, the Family of God is unlike any other. The love I get as a part of His family is a wonder I think I’ll never get used to!
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Class is finally over. It was the ingrown toenail on the schedule-foot of my life—a constant throbbing pain of uselessness that served no purpose, real or imagined. Mind you, I was taught “how not to be bored” by my mom at an early age, but this class surpassed plain old boredom by a long shot.
The teacher I had at first left to pursue a job teaching poor, innocent children who have done nothing to deserve her as a teacher. She was replaced by another woman who was much better at facilitating the weak curriculum, and this is probably just because she’s actually had some life experiences. However, she SHOULD be teaching the principles of the class to her own kids (she has five): her 14-year-old boy just got the 10-year-old boy drunk and stoned (on cocaine). Someone in that family is not behaving very cognitively! If the old teacher was good at killing time, this one is like a psychopathic serial killer of time, methodically and randomly mowing down half and full hours with talk of TV shows, movies, the dating scene, her weekend in Vegas, or anything but the class material.
I tried hard to find applicable material amongst the frivolous chatter and pages of drug- and alcohol-treatment items and found a few gems. I was able to see how I was drawn into unhealthy relationships with women, becoming less and less of who God made me to be. I identified that I need to be more “assertive” instead of applying my typically passive methods. This was the one part of the class that was helpful. It’s a shame it was the one hour of instruction in a ten-week class that was useful, but I’ll take it.
Near the end of the class, we were each asked to give a 7–15-minute speech on any topic we wished. Mostly, guys stood up and talked about their uninteresting lives or what they want to do once they leave prison. Four minutes into it, some started over from the beginning, having reached the extent of what they’d prepared. It was excruciating.
Each guy was given time after his speech to answer questions from the class—except for me. I spoke on “Facts vs. Blind Faith,” giving evidences for what I believe. I expected the group to be tough to speak to for a number of reasons: the average educational level in the class was not much beyond 8th grade, and there wasn’t much evidence of intelligent design in the teacher either.
I took precisely 15 minutes, and everyone gave me whatever attention span drugs have left them with. Unbelievably, the teacher didn’t let me take questions afterward, and my speech was the only one she didn’t ask any follow-up questions after … including after a speech given about Buddhism. Several guys told me I did a great job, and I pray that the seeds of truth planted will take root. (I’m attaching my notes so you get an idea of what I spoke about.)
Please pray for my twin brother, Michael, and my sweet 7-year-old niece, Michaela, who are on a mission trip to Thailand through August 11. I know God is using them mightily to show His love to so many who need someone to care about them.
Thank you for your prayers and notes of support!