Religion at Jackson

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Further signs I’m crawling out of my depressive, isolationist state brought on by anxiety over this whole PRC ordeal, I signed up to attend the Protestant church service offered here at JCI.  The setup for religious observance is significantly different than at Dodge Correctional Institution (DCI).  The first thing you notice is if your religious preference is Protestant, you have to sign up and there is a waiting list you are put on.  The first time I signed up it took a couple of weeks to get put on the list, this time just one week.  In addition to Protestant, I’ve seen Catholic, Muslim, Pagan, and Sweat Lodge (Native Indian) offered here.  I described meeting the chaplain already.  I should have done this sooner.  I’m doing it now because the guys in the new band want me to attend.  Sometimes I need to get pushed to come out of my shell.  It’s a character defect of mine I think, self defense instinct that has evolved over the years.  That shell protects me at the cost of suffocating me.  More self analysis another time.  Anyway, they have 2 Protestant services on Sunday night.  I attended the early service.  They have the services in the same room visitation occurred.  Tonight, a group from Augusta Assembly of God came.  Their worship team was shorthanded and it showed but they were pretty good.  Another one of my character defects is that I don’t like being told to stand, raise my hands or directed to do something by a worship leader.  I feel like I’m a dancing monkey or puppet, responding on request to the puppeteer strings.  I know it’s probably not the intent but its what I feel.  Fortunately, we’re not required to all follow directions in this setting.  I know, I seem like a fruitcake right?  Anyway, a pretty good message followed.  At the end, we filed out into the sticky early August heat.  The Chaplain I met with shook hands with us when we left.  He recognized me which surprised me.  I think he genuinely cares about us.  You can see the light of God in his eyes.  Like I can sense evil, I can sense someone good at heart.   Perhaps you can too.  But I haven’t seen that light in someone’s eyes since my arrival in prison.

My relationship with God continues its journey.  Sometimes, the destination of that journey is unclear, only because I try to assert control over things when I don’t like the direction it’s going.  I don’t talk about my relationship with God in this blog all that often.  Mostly because its not the focus of what’s being written about here, although it is directly connected to my growth as a person.  If you’ve been following along, you already are aware of my faults and things that might be considered embarrassing by some.  I shouldn’t be afraid to share things that are related to my faith that cross my mind related to life in WPS.  Perhaps I fear you won’t read anymore as you might find it boring.  Whatever the reason, I’ll try to work on the spiritual end in more as time goes on, in a way that I’m comfortable with and consistent with this blog’s purpose.

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