Beck writes on prison ministry experience

Posted September 10, 2012

Based on his experiences and knowledge of prison ministry, Dr. Richard Beck, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, recently authored a chapter in a new book, And the Criminals with Him.

And the Criminals with Him, a collection of essays, commemorates and continues the legacy of Will Campbell, a civil rights activist, preacher and author. In 1972, Campbell exposed the inhumanity of the US prison system through his publications. Likewise, the book aims to pull back the veil on today’s prison-industrial complex.

Beck’s essay in the collection, “On Fear and Following,” details his experience teaching a Monday evening Bible class at a maximum-security prison in the Abilene area.

“The chapter talks about my attempt as a part of this study to teach the Beatitudes to the inmates and how the Beatitudes expose the brutal and inhuman conditions of prison life, as well as revealing the challenge of the Sermon on the Mount in my own spiritual life. And yet, the chapter ends on a hopeful note, showing how the gospel can bring life and light into a place characterized by death and darkness,” says Beck.

In Matthew 25, Jesus commands his disciples to treat others with care and compassion, including visiting those in prison. This commandment gave Beck his initial motivation for becoming involved in prison ministry.

Beck says, “Since being involved in prison ministry, my passion for righting these wrongs has grown as I've seen, firsthand, the many problems and abuses within the prison-industrial complex in America today.”

Read Beck’s blog post on his new chapter.