Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Chuck Colson passed away over the weekend. Christian conservative, founder of Prison Fellowship, former Nixon aide and Watergate conspirator... the reflections on the man, his faith, and his legacy take many different views depending on where one falls on the faith and politics spectrum. Here's just a small sampling:
  • Frank Schaeffer: An Evangelical Homophobic Anti-Woman leader passes on
  • Christianity Today: Remembering Charles Colson, a Man Transformed (among others)
  • The Christian Post: Christian Leaders Remember Their Hero Chuck Colson Among Media Skepticism (among others)
  • Get Religion: On Chuck Colson: Can Reporters See Past Watergate?
  • Internet Monk: Eulogies and Dyslogies for Charles Colson

I don't really have much to add; I didn't know the man and was born in the aftermath of Watergate. My politics in general aligned with his, though I bristle at the notion of a Religious Right. I included Schaeffer's controversial post above to point out that not everyone sees the man the same way and politics often cloud our perspectives.

The legacy I want to focus on however, has nothing to do with politics per se. I knew the name, and associated it with the Religious Right, but it wasn't until I started to listen to his daily radio program, Breakpoint, that I really began to take notice. When I started this blog, Colson's words from his program and from his colleagues on his website, were in the back of my mind when I named it Public Christianity: The Opposite PC. You may have disagreed with Colson's politics, but it would be hard to argue against his ministry to engage the culture around us with our faith. In fact, I kept links to his website alongside Sojourners to encourage that engagement, regardless of political affiliation. (And I'm sad to see that SoJo has yet to post anything on Colson's passing)

So Colson has passed on. Eric Metaxis, author of the best-selling book Bonhoeffer: Paster, Martyr, Prophet, Spy now takes on his radio program. Fitting, as Bonhoeffer is another who felt the fire of the Holy Spirit to engage his culture with his faith. So that torch has been passed to the next generation. How will we engage our culture in Colson's wake? Will we protest and picket? Will we "get out the vote"? Or will we live out our faith actively in our daily lives, exhibiting the love of Christ and his call to discipleship to those around us through ministries such as Prison Fellowship? Will Colson's legacy ultimately be political, or will it be transforming?

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