What a privilege it’s been to spend time with the Unchained Gang for the past month or so!! Despite the rough exterior, their hearts are on fire for God.

George “Midget” Whirley is a spiritual giant, despite his earthly stature. He reminds me of Peter, full of passion and zeal, and wisdom based on life experience and a true relationship with God.

Jim Harmon, along with his wife Yvonne, are answering God’s call by ministering to those forgotten by so many other people, both secular and Christian. The work God has done in their own lives is a living testament they now pass on to others.

Sean Welton has gone through so many trials by fire, and he’s emerged a better man. He’s now equipped with the spiritual armor necessary to pass it forward to others who, like him, have struggled with life and the law.

And Carl… Carl Beadle is such an inspiration to me. He reminds me where true service lies – in simple willingness, both to listen and to act. His willingness has affected the lives of thousands.

More often than not, we have every excuse to sit around, further insulating and isolating ourselves from the real world around us. We prefer the comforts of home, and the toys of convenience to help time pass.

But listen up folks. This life of ours is short. None of us will be lying on our death beds wishing we had spent more time watching football or finding that great deal at Target or making our lawns better manicured or the interior design of our house more polished.

Now I don’t mean to say these things are inherently wrong…no, not at all. But when our own preoccupation with them becomes detrimental to the relationships we should be seeking, then we have lost. And we’re not fulfilling the duties of our Christian claims.

Unchained reminds me that I don’t need to wait until I feel polished in my delivery. I don’t need to wait until I have the right credentials or degrees that verify my talents.

The reality is that God is the one waiting…on me…to be willing. And then, real life begins.

Blessed to be Behind Bars

Like any other creature, we as humans, aren’t intended to live in close confinement. Something about it is unnatural. Something about it breeds anxiety, restlessness and angst.

Click here to read this article…

Bound by Chains and by Christ

This chapel was a safe place to gather beyond the normal tensions of life behind bars…a rare taste of collective unity amid the underlying discord associated with incarceration.

Click here to read this article…

Photo Gallery: Chrome Tailpipes, Black Leather and True Change

Jail and prison ministry is at the heart of the outreach by Unchained Ministries, but the motorcycle club does far more.

Click here to see this photo gallery…

A Willing Servant

Who’d have thought this old country boy in suspenders could have such an impact in people’s lives?

Click here to read this article…

Pushed Backward but Pressing Forward

Sean Welton wouldn’t see his mom again for 25 years. He was eight years old at the time.

Click here to read this article…

 

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About the Author: Stephen Crane is a year-long fellow with World Next Door. He has a bachelor's degree in theology from Calvin College and a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University. He has a passion for overlooked places and people and would snowboard at all times if it were possible!

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Comments

  1. Jim.M said... 

    Reply

    November 27th, 2011 at 2:04 pm  

    Stephen, I loved reading this series. At the end of each article I sat ready to post a comment…and then just couldn’t do it.

    “But he had nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to find. He was utterly alone, and despite his age, he felt true desperation.”

    “On the far side of the circle sat Carl Beadle, a 75-year old dressed in blue jeans, a dark flannel and brown leather suspenders.”

    “Either way, I was forced to reevaluate my ever-evolving definition of a Christian brother.”

    “Carl felt God urging him to reach out….”

    I couldn’t comment because you had already said it all…

    As Diarmaid MacCulloch put it in “Christianity”

    The men in these stories (I am sure there are women too)…live by words and deeds that “form a code of life which is a chorus of love directed at the unlovable, of painful honesty expressing itself with embarrassing directness, of joyful rejection of any counsel suggesting careful self regard or prudence.”..

    They give us a glimpse of the Kingdom here, and now, played out on a stage so few know about.

    Hebrews 13:1-3.

    Nice work, may God bless the folks whom you have written about.

    • Steve-O said... 

      Reply

      November 27th, 2011 at 3:54 pm  

      Jim, I appreciate your words, and your ongoing support for the Cause.
      Love your quote too! as it’s SO pertinent to these guys…
      It’s been an honor hangin’ with’m, for sure!
      And hey, give’m a call if you (or anyone else for that matter) might want to check out a jail church service! It’s an experience unlike any other.

  2. Barry Rodriguez said... 

    Reply

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:25 am  

    Yes! These articles were an awesome look at a part of the world I don’t honestly think about very much. Thanks for being our eyes and ears on this one!

  3. Jim and Elizabeth said... 

    Reply

    December 1st, 2011 at 3:17 pm  

    Stephen, you are our eyes and ears in these places that we do not get to see, and the story you wrote not only is excellent, but your sharing of these men and women ,speaks volumes how they are shining lights in all places .
    Thanks for keeping us informed so we can pray for you and those reaching others for Christ
    in these settings as well.

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