Updated: Jan 19
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11. I did NOT understand how to become a Christian. From what I could glean from the Bible and related brochures, I could become a Christian by talking to or praying to a God I didn't believe in, but I had to possess a small flicker of desire to want to believe by claiming things I did NOT necessarily understand or believe in. It sounded too convoluted for me to venture down a random well greased rabbit's warren of sacrificing my freewill for illusionary dreams, submitting to an invisible taskmaster, and trustingly travel a path of altered destiny in an effort to encounter grace, mercy, and eternal life. Preposterous. Salvation, deliverance and redemption resonated with me as an immense load of false hopes and shattered ideals. In life there are enough natural enemies, so I didn't want to intentionally create new or more enemies of my peer group or the Christians for frequenting an area I didn't belong in the first place. To alleviate any form of scandal I needed to be fully apprised of all mandatory expectations upon becoming a Christian. Individually I needed to determine if the prerequisites included curtailing activities I enjoyed, cease particular behaviors of survival, or the questionable manifestation of a new attitude toward life and mankind. Where do I obtain an application with a full explanation of the overall transformation process with its concomitant obligatory duties and expectations? Definitively I needed to determine the personal commitment required on a daily basis, frequency of any meetings, and my actual participation in church activities. Characteristically I've always been a failure in every aspect of my life, a quitter when things became overwhelming, and a complacent underachiever when wallowing in my comfort zone. It was vitally imperative to know the full scope of the potential lifestyle change to avoid jeopardy of the soul before blindly delving into a mysterious spiritual realm with conceivably grave consequences. Successful survivors of the criminal justice system are those who can unconditionally disengage an old criminal value system and smoothly transition into a diametrically opposed set of substitute principles to steer their lives in an entirely different direction. What was I going to do? Continue with the same burnt out prison successful, irrelevant value system, or was I going to enter an undiscovered spiritual realm to obtain an foreign unfamiliar value system allegedly designed to save me from myself and the world. It appears infinitely far fetched, but my reasonable choices in prison are desperately limited. Uncertain of the implications of having an innocuous conversation with a strange God. What can be the worst thing to happen? I had absolutely nothing to lose, and maybe an intelligent spiritual relationship with my daughter to gain. I had never knowingly or sincerely prayed or talked to God. So, I had no idea how to accomplish the connection. While looking at the ceiling, I don't know why I was looking up at the ceiling. It wasn't like God was going to miraculously appear on the ceiling of a prison cell. It seemed the proper thing to do, or at least offered the best chance to actually see God, if He did exist. While looking at the ceiling, alone in a prison cell, not having a whisper of an idea of how to pray, much less how to pray genuinely and sincerely, I stuttered and stumbled over enunciating what needed to be said. Intrepidly I ventured forward by blurting out the truth as I knew it, "Hey Dude, check this out. I don't know You, but You are suppose to know me. This is Your one and only shot at me. My heart is open to receive You. If You know me, then You know I am stupid, and you will have to show me You exist with daily reminders. I need to see unequivocal evidence of Your existence in my life to believe in You as a God. Also, if I quit doing crime, then I will have no means to provide for my family and myself. I will not go without coffee in the morning or a ramen soup at night. I will not become prison panhandler. Amen, I think." This was my very first genuine prayer. Not my best moment. However, since the moment of that prayer, it has been the best ten (10) years of my life. My wife of 30 years and I have the best relationship ever. Michiko is involved in church and going to college. Everyone, including the hardcore convicts serving life sentences, supported my spiritual journey. My greatest fears were never realized. My biggest battle is with the nepotistic and hypocritical prison churches. But this appears to be consistent with the Scriptures. My daughter, Michiko, brought me home to Jesus Christ. Now, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I spend all my time spreading the Gospel, and I don't drink coffee, and rarely eat ramen soup. I live a very blessed life. Grace, mercy and peace. Humbly in prayer, SCOTT.