(First published in The Washington Times, March 26, 2009)
Photo courtesy of Trevor Kobrin
Brent Taylor will never forget the day he met Catherine Rohr. It was dusk, and the prison basketball court painted a strange backdrop for a classy brunette in a business suit. More than 100 orange-clad Texas prisoners sat at her feet as she explained why she had quit her Wall Street job and moved halfway across the country to turn prisoners into businessmen.
Taylor, a first-time offender with a robbery conviction, was skeptical. “I couldn´t understand why someone like this was doing what she was doing,” he said.
How did Jamal Malik, a slumdog from Mumbai, win 20 million rupees on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
A. He cheated
B. He’s lucky
C. He’s a genius
D. It is destiny
In a swirling explosion of triumphant hope and relentless love against the darkness of poverty, exploitation and violence…that question is answered.
I did not grow up observing Lent, and my first impressions of the observance came mostly from people who seemed to care more about abstaining from chocolate and TV than seeking God. I figured that Lent was either a colossal waste of spiritual time or there was something more behind the curtain of this often misunderstood Christian practice.
I know I need a primer for Lent. Maybe you do too.
Penguin book cover, 1985 edition
Would you rather go to jail or join a book club? No, it’s not a trick question.
Changing Lives Through Literature, an alternative sentencing program, gives low-level offenders the option of skipping out of jail if they take a literature course with other offenders, a judge, and their probation officer.