Colson and me

Chuck Colson has died.  The ruthless political operative for Richard Nixon was imprisoned for Watergate-related offenses.  Crushed by the law, literally, he read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and became a Christian.  When he got out of prison, Colson started Prison Fellowship, a ministry to prisoners and their families that has chapters worldwide and that has changed the lives of untold numbers of men and women that society–and the church–had usually rejected.

I myself owe Colson quite a bit, not as I was a prisoner but as a writer.  Colson got interested in “Christian worldview” issues and started a radio program, Breakpoint, that looked at current events and cultural developments through the lens of a Christian analysis.  I had done some writing on Christianity and the arts, and for some reason Breakpoint producer Nancy Pearcey asked me if I would join the stable of writers she was putting together.  That was in 1991, pretty early in my career.   This got me paying attention to the news and keeping up with contemporary culture, whereupon, if I could find an angle, I would write up a brief commentary that Nancy would turn into a radio script.   (By the way, Breakpoint is now in good hands with Eric Metaxis doing the broadcasting.)  This would lead to my doing the same thing as a columnist for World.  And then as a blogger for World.  And then to this blog.   This work also led to longer form studies of Christianity and culture that I published into books.

As one of his writers, I was sometimes invited to meet with Colson, along with  others  in his brain trust to help him think through various issues, and sometimes he would call me over the phone.

So, for better or worse, if it weren’t for Colson, I would probably have just stuck as an English professor to writing about 17th century poetry and never would have gotten into cultural analysis, let alone punditry.   And this blog would almost certainly not exist.  So your reading this post at this very moment is something of a tribute to Chuck Colson.

 

See Charles Colson, Watergate felon and prison reformer, dies at 80 – Obituaries – MiamiHerald.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Helen K

    Dr Veith, thank you for a nice tribute to Chuck Colson-I had no idea of your connection to him. I’ve been an admirer of his work and writings for many years. And…a supporter of Prison Fellowship Ministries. I’m always amazed and grateful for the interesting and various ways in which God has chosen to bring about events in the lives of His people.

  • Helen K

    Dr Veith, thank you for a nice tribute to Chuck Colson-I had no idea of your connection to him. I’ve been an admirer of his work and writings for many years. And…a supporter of Prison Fellowship Ministries. I’m always amazed and grateful for the interesting and various ways in which God has chosen to bring about events in the lives of His people.

  • fws

    and this all led to me getting to know you Dr Veith! So I too have an important personal connection to Chuck Colson as then that means. along with those other people Colson managed to reach out to. I am grateful.

  • fws

    and this all led to me getting to know you Dr Veith! So I too have an important personal connection to Chuck Colson as then that means. along with those other people Colson managed to reach out to. I am grateful.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Like fws (@2), I’m grateful for Chuck Colson’s impact on you, Dr. Veith. I’m also thankful for Colson’s testimony and the lasting impact he has left through prison ministry, writing, and Breakpoint.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    Like fws (@2), I’m grateful for Chuck Colson’s impact on you, Dr. Veith. I’m also thankful for Colson’s testimony and the lasting impact he has left through prison ministry, writing, and Breakpoint.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Ditto on the wonderful Kingdom impact that God had through Chuck Colson upon the World.

    Dr. Veith, you and he were fellow Culture Warriors.

    Thank you Chuck for your life of ministry and service. And thank you Lord.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Ditto on the wonderful Kingdom impact that God had through Chuck Colson upon the World.

    Dr. Veith, you and he were fellow Culture Warriors.

    Thank you Chuck for your life of ministry and service. And thank you Lord.

  • Tom Hering

    I only wish Colson’s campaign to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerations had succeeded. The number has dramatically increased instead.

  • Tom Hering

    I only wish Colson’s campaign to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerations had succeeded. The number has dramatically increased instead.

  • Jamie MacPherson

    Dear Dr Veith,

    It was some comments by Dr Pearcey that alerted me to your work. Recently I posted a comment and mentioned your book, Modern Fascism, on Caroline Glick’s web-site:
    http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2012/04/the-elephant-of-jew-hatred.php#comments

    God bless you. I love your work.
    Jamie MacPherson

  • Jamie MacPherson

    Dear Dr Veith,

    It was some comments by Dr Pearcey that alerted me to your work. Recently I posted a comment and mentioned your book, Modern Fascism, on Caroline Glick’s web-site:
    http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2012/04/the-elephant-of-jew-hatred.php#comments

    God bless you. I love your work.
    Jamie MacPherson

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Unlike the commenter(s) above-I do not remember how I found your site…Providence does come to mind!

    BTW- your juxtaposition of mormon/islam -(your post below) is RIGHT ON!!!
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Unlike the commenter(s) above-I do not remember how I found your site…Providence does come to mind!

    BTW- your juxtaposition of mormon/islam -(your post below) is RIGHT ON!!!
    Carol-CS


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