I was asked to speak at Sing Sing prison in upstate New York. I asked, when do you want me to come, and the prisoners' representative said, "Well, we're free most nights! We're kind of a captive audience here!"
I was given a room in the bowels of Sing Sing, this infamous prison, and I was left in a room alone for 5 hours with 80 guys. One of the prisoners said, "You know, Jim, all of us at Sing Sing are from just about 4 or 5 neighborhoods in New York City. It's like a train you get on in my neighborhood when you're 9 or 10 years old, and the train ends up here, at Sing Sing.
But he had a spirtual conversion inside those walls. The New York Theological Seminary offers a Masters of Divinity program inside the walls of that prison. You become a preacher inside the joint--you graduate when your sentence is up. And he looked at me and said, "When I get out, I want to go back and stop that train!"
I was in New York a few years later, and guess who I saw, back home, leading a town meeting on poverty...trying to stop that train. That's what *I* mean by faith-based initiatives.
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