How can we express our unity with those caught up in the world of crime and punishment? Have you ever been close to, or as Bryan Stevenson puts it: “proximate with”, someone who murdered another human being? Have you had a one-on-one conversation with a person who served more than half a lifetime in prison for first degree criminal sexual conduct?
Do you believe in repentance and salvation by grace alone? How can we be restored to right relationships when so much of the fabric of relationships has been ripped apart and trampled underfoot? Reuben J. Miller asks in Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, "What is punishment for? Why this way? Do you realize that most Christians do not really think rehabilitation of errants is possible?"
These are questions courageous Christians are willing to ask themselves. These are the kind of questions we will ponder in the “Crime, Punishment and Restorative Justice” workshops at Inspire 2022.
A panel of directly-impacted people will share their desire to be accepted into the body of Christ. Leaders from 70X7 Life Recovery, Correctional Ministries and Chaplains Association (CMCA) and a Restorative Justice Coalition will highlight best practices for those interested in volunteering, or possibly seeking employment, in the fields of corrections, restorative justice, or ministry with victims and perpetrators of criminal acts.
All of us are offenders. Some are apprehended and incarcerated. Many learn from their mistakes and rise above past crimes to experience and extend restoration. May we all seek unity across the lines that divide us—especially in such a time as this.