>Just got a facebook message from an old friend (Randy Shepherd)…he and I were on what was then known as Kansas City Youth For Christ staff a million years ago (or so it seems)…here is Randy’s note:
“Hey Jack, I found an old newsletter of mine and guess what you and I were doing May 20-23, 1980? We flew to Lima, Ohio where I booked you in 13 meetings in 3 days! 12 of those were in public schools where I estimated that you addressed over 4,000 teenagers with your personal testimony and a brief declaration of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Incredible! Remember those days?”
The reality is I don’t really remember that trip, from 1978 to about 1986 that’s pretty much all I did…school assemblies around the country (mostly the midwest). Sad that “Reverend Hager” couldn’t get into public schools, but ex-con Hager could!
Message was (and is, I’m still open to doing school programs) stressing personal responsibility. I did not go to prison because I was white, or because my parents were divorced, or because I watched bad tv, or because I was poorly potty-trained…I went to the joint because I made bad decisions.
Which is why, for my money, the worst thing about the “system” is that well-meaning people give inmates excuses for their behavior. The system told me, after the in-processing period, that I committed crime because of my “bad-attitude toward the country because of my service in Vietnam.” Could they not look in my file and see I had juvenile convictions long before Nam?
Nope..the “system” starts from the premise that man is “good,” so if man goes “bad” they have to find a reason and “fix” it.
Sadly, over the years the famine of personal responsibility has infiltrated the church…