In previous posts we have written about our project of sending books to prisoners in Texas. Here are some excerpts from recent letters.
“…I received the latest shipment of books — thank you. I have distributed them to people who are interested. There is one man — he was a hitman for a street gang in the late 80′s. When he came to prison he became a Muslin, then was a teacher of Islam for 16 years. He has now converted to Christianity. When I asked him if he would like a Greek grammar book he said, “Are you kidding?! I would be a fool to pass up a Greek grammar book!!” I have hope that his spiritual conversion is genuine. When I asked another man if he wanted a book on Latin he practically ripped the book out of my hands from his excitement. Both men are devouring the lessons….”
“…I know some people may put it down to coincidence that I write a letter asking you questions, and before I send my letter, I get a letter from you answering my questions. A history has developed of this sort of thing. Many of the books you have sent were….they could not have come at a more opportune time. It is a comfort to me; a source of assurance. Could I be wrong? Yes, of course. But, it remains my hope, hope that I am His, and He uses His children to care for my needs and comfort and reassure me.”
“…I suspect that if I had never read Teaching the Trivium I would never have pursued Christian education. I would possibly never been put in the position of having the opportunity to give back to society, even if it is just this prison society.”
“…I’m writing because I can think of no one better to share the news with — I know you’ll appreciate my joy. I have received my first permanent teaching position!!! I am teaching illiterate men to read and write. It is very humbling. One man is a former black gang member. Last night he declared, “I am no longer known by that name (his prison/street name). My name is ____. God has given me the desire to know for myself what is said in the Bible and not trust some preacher to tell me. I want to know for myself.” I am very hopeful this is a bona fide work of God on his soul. There are five students. I am assisting the lead teacher (who himself is only able to read and write and is a former motorcycle gang member). The program is not goal oriented, and is directionless. They simply read out of a children’s Bible and then review the words they have problems with. I was thinking if we had an English version of A Greek Hupogrammon the guys would get even more benefit form our once weekly meetings….”
“…I am reading your Teaching the Trivium. I sure wish I had this type of education growing up. There is an obvious advantage to being taught how to learn versus being filled with information…I would be interested in how a classical Christian education approach to rehabilitation of prisoners would look. My observation is that there is a lack of foundation that engenders the necessary change…Certainly the introduction of logic and Christian philosophy has made such a change for me. Now, I enjoy searching the scriptures and rightly dividing them, and then applying the principles I find to life. But, others seem reluctant to learn how to do this; they’d rather be fed than to learn how to cook…”
“Thank you for the great selection of Latin primers and grammars you recently sent [from Classical Academic Press and Bill Linney of Armfield Academic Press]. I will be spending my time getting back in the swing of Latin, along with teaching Greek at the seminary. I think it’s a shame that Muslims here in prison learn Arabic to read the Koran in its original, however you have to fight tooth and nail to get Christians to even see the relevance of Greek for them. I’m hopelessly a Greek geek and love that the Lord has chosen me as His child….My friend __ that writes you also has become Reformed also since coming to seminary. He fought with me in the beginning. He had been under Arminian teachings his whole life, but through some of the books you sent, arguments with me, and a study of the logic used by those old scholastics (Puritans) he changed his position. He is and will be a mighty instrument in God’s hands. He far exceeds me in learning capability and he is very humble….I want to study the Reformed creeds and confession. Do you know of a cheap place or book that contains the Latin and English texts? Also, can you tell me a Latin dictionary that deals with Latin of the church fathers and Reformed scholastics? I had a later dictionary that dealt with only classical definitions but the ecclesiastical terms were not in it….”
If you have any books we can send the prisoners, please send them to us and we’ll forward them on (Harvey Bluedorn, 525 120th Ave, New Boston, IL 61272). Our email address is bluedorn @ triviumpursuit.com.
They need any kind of educational materials (5th grade and up) or devotional materials. The devotional materials need to be from a doctrines of grace/reformed perspective. The materials can be used or new. No CDs or DVDs or anything made of glass or metal. The prison also rejects flash cards, for some reason.