The following is a statement from Prison Fellowship's CEO James Ackerman in response to the events of last week at the U.S. Capitol, as seen through the unique perspective of the life and work of our founder, Chuck Colson.
Friends, you have been in my fervent prayers in the past few days. This unprecedented moment in history has filled our nation with sadness, anger, anxiety, disgust, confusion, and numbness, among so many other emotions.
I have been struck by the troubling parallels between our current political culture and that of the Nixon era. I have been thinking about our founder, and what he would be saying if he were here to witness the chaos that erupted this week. Wednesday, as I watched a horrific scene of a rioter running through the Capitol rotunda with a confederate flag, while another man behind him held a sign that said "Jesus Saves," I was reminded of a favorite quote from Chuck: "Christian patriots spend more time washing feet than waving flags."
There was a time when Chuck condoned the "win at all costs" attitude that pervades our politics today. But that was before he met Jesus. After he gave his life to Christ, Chuck was a shining example of how to love both Christ and country: But always Christ first.
Chuck spent the first half of his life in politics and the second half of his life washing feet. He washed the feet of every incarcerated person he encountered as he lived out his promise to remember those in prison. He was still intimately involved in the political process, and the foundation of our great advocacy work was laid by the hard work of our faithful founder.
But all of Chuck's work was in service to others, especially the least and the lost who were so close to Jesus' heart. He never allowed himself to forget that those in prison are not "others"—they are us, and we are them. The same holds true for all those who are marginalized in our communities. Human value does not come from political power but from the image of God that resides in each and every one of us. Nothing can diminish that.
SERVICE TO OTHERS
Chuck knew that "the lure of power can separate the most resolute of Christians from the true nature of Christian leadership, which is service to others. It's difficult to stand on a pedestal and wash the feet of those below." Once he gave his life to Jesus, Chuck never allowed himself to be on a pedestal again. He was much happier washing feet.
That is Prison Fellowship's job today: To continue Chuck's legacy of service to others. We join in grieving the state of our nation. We condemn violence and idolatry in any form. We commit to reflecting Christ by washing feet. We pledge to continue being a Christian voice in the halls of Congress. And we pray for God's justice to roll on like a river and His righteousness like a never-failing stream.