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Doing Time

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There are two Greek words for time, kronos and kairos. Kronos refers to linear time: hours, days, weeks, and so on. Kairos means the right or opportune moment. It is a time in between, a moment when something special happens. Well, this weekend I will be a part of something special, a right and opportune moment for me. It is called Kairos Outside.

Kairos Outside is a sort of spin-off of the Kairos Prison Ministry Weekends begun in 1989 at San Quentin State Correctional Facility in California. James Rowland, then director of that facility has often said, "Three things will help keep an inmate from coming back to prison: The first is some type of spiritual awakening while in prison; the second is support by their family during and after incarceration; and the third is a skill to find a job on the outside after release."

The Kairos Prison Ministry is an excellent vehicle to provide for a spiritual experience on the inside, while Kairos Outside, the retreat that I will be working on, is designed to bolster the relatives and friends who are supporting those incarcerated persons. The women on the outside, in many ways, have to be stronger than those on the inside to survive in today's world.

Kairos Outside is a blend of the movement on the street, Cursillo, which spawned Kairos years ago and the Kairos Prison Ministry which is spreading to so many of our nation's correctional institutions. The presenting members are all involved in either Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus (mine), Tres Dias, Via de Christo, Great Banquet, etc., also known as "Street Weekends", and/or the Kairos Ministry. More importantly, they are concerned, committed Christians who believe in these women and want to encourage them on their life journey.

We have 17 guests coming from all around the state of Indiana. The Weekend is a series of talks by women sharing their life journey. Each guest has the opportunity to review the talks in small family groups. The program is interspersed with music, prayer, fun activities, pampering and lots of great food. It is held at a beautiful lakeside retreat center about 45 minutes from my house.

Every time the women return to their cabins to rest or turn in for the evening, their beds are covered with gifts of agape, pronounced a-GA-pe, love freely given, in the form of messages and trinkets and absolutely anonymous so that none of the givers stand out more than anyone else. I think it is safe to tell you here about one of the things I have made. Our theme song for the Weekend is "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus". Here is a beautiful rendition by Michael W. Smith.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpbSY2iOB4U ..So, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought sunflowers, one for each guest and I glued two large googly eyes in the middle of each one, tied on a pretty bow and the words to the theme song. I think it will serve as a nice reminder of their Weekend and hopefully give them a smile. Why the sunflower? Because of the way it turns its head to follow the sun/son.

I have two jobs this weekend. One is to help lead music between each of the talks. We also "sing" them awake each morning as well as a lullaby at night.
I am also giving one of the talks. Most of these women are dealing with isolation, rejection, financial hardship and loneliness and it is these issues that are covered by the talks. I do want to point out that absolutely no religious affiliation is necessary for these women to attend nor do they have to claim one before they leave.

So as the title of this blog says, I will be "doing time". The family and friends of the incarcerated are truly doing time right along with their loved ones. Not that this matters, but in case you are wondering, I have never been incarcerated nor do I have any family members or friends that have. That is not meant as a judgemental statement. Just clearing up the question should it arise. I hope there will be many moments when something special happens...those moments in between...Kairos, for these 17 women. I know there will be for THIS woman.

See you Sunday night! Have a great weekend everyone.

amp
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  1. kiz_paws's Avatar
    I liked the idea of the sunflower, and the way that you described it, nice! Hope your weekend was a good one, Kizzo
  2. motherhubbard's Avatar
    Amp, what a good work. I know that the families of the incarcerated have such a terrible burden and very little help. When your husband goes into the military you have a good support, but when they go into prison you often get dropped like a hot potato. There is really no end to the help that they need. Iím proud of you!