Humor is a very powerful thing. It has the ability to entertain. It can connect people who otherwise might have very little in common and allow old friends to revisit happy times and places. A well-timed joke can relieve tension, foster conversation, encourage, bring cheer, and alleviate melancholy.
There aren’t too many things these days on which Republicans and Democrats agree. Partisanship is high, and considering that this is an election year, the incentive for both parties to work together to solve problems is low.
There is, however, at least one issue that has elicited support from both liberals and conservatives: prison reform.
From March 5 until April 20, Kent McKeever of Waco, Texas, wore orange prison clothes each day. He wore them to the grocery store, to the movies, to run a race, and even to jury duty.
McKeever, a youth pastor and lawyer, explains why he donned prison garb throughout Lent: “Even though it wasn’t real and I could explain myself and take it off at anytime, wearing the orange prison uniform gave me an opportunity to listen to the songs of the oppressed in ways I could never hear and experience as a white male with a middle-class, professional background.”
When the word “prison” is mentioned, a some very common images come to mind – cold, gray bars set against drab, colorless walls; small, dark cells intended to isolate and punish rather than to reform or rehabilitate. Acres of razor wire surrounding these facilities bespeak the philosophy that those on the inside are to be set apart, not to be connected in any meaningful way to society at large.
Most people remember Johnny Cash as a legendary country music singer – the iconic “Man in Black” who sang tales of hard living and fighting against the system. Christians are familiar with his story of redemption – a rebel turned evangelist who often used the stage to proclaim the saving grace of God through Jesus and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.