Sunday, April 19, 2009
Conviction & Courage
As I write this entry, my husband and I are enjoying a little get-away in Door County. This beautiful area of Wisconsin is north of Green Bay and surrounded by Lake Michigan. It’s one of my favorite places to write. Some dear friends of ours own a condo in this Scandinavian settlement and have been very generous loaning it out to their friends in need of some R & R. So here we are nestled in among the pines and birches reading, napping, watching old movies and occasionally working a bit-- I, on my book and my husband on a presentation he has to give next week.
I’m halfway through Chapter 29 and will begin writing Chapter 30 in a couple of days. This next chapter will tells when Aaron Johnson as North Carolina’s Secretary of Correction passes his first Executive Order—one that made the papers and made him the brunt of a lot of jokes. As the state’s Prison Chief, he made it against the rules for his staff to cuss… Yep, that’s right. The Correction’s Secretary decided his staff was to act like professionals and curb their tongues. No more profanity. No more racial slurs. Now we’re not just talking about those sitting at desks interfacing with the public—we’re talking about prison guards too. Everybody from prison directors, to cooks, to guards was expected to clean up their language.
Secretary Johnson’s second Executive order came a few weeks later. He outlawed pornography in his prisons. At least pornography bought on the state’s dime. The world thought this was a hoot. What? Prison guards opting for “fiddle sticks” and prisoners reading Better Homes and Gardens? The press had a field day with this one. But those of faith thought it was courageous. Prison Fellowship founder, Charles Colson once wrote about Aaron, “Did every foul word and every lustful thought disappear from the prisons? Absolutely not. But Aaron Johnson was salt in his world.” [Chuck Colson, Being the Body, pp. 382-83].
Have you ever done anything out of conviction and faith that made the world laugh at you? Chances are not too many of us have, at least not on such a public scale where newspapers picked up on it and plastered it on newsprint for a good laugh. What an example Aaron has been to me. I am honored to be writing about his life. I can’t wait to introduce readers to this man.