April 30, 2012
“Strengthening the “little platoons” fosters virtue and it is the bedrock of America’s freedom.” Chuck Colson
During Kevin and my undergraduate and graduate years, we were challenged by many author’s writings. Writers like Oswald Chambers’ and his “My Upmost For His Highest” in which he provoked us to walk more intimately with Christ or Charles Spurgeon’s book, “The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life” that stated “prayer is the oxygen in which a believer needs to survive.” We cannot forget the Pastor, Martyr, Prophet and Spy, Dietrich Bonheoffer and his book “The Cost of Discipleship”; “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
These wonderful authors helped shaped our theology, influenced our ministry philosophy and challenged us to think beyond societal norms. But, I did not mention an author that passed away a couple of weeks ago that inspired us in structuring City Impact. That author was Chuck Colson. Chuck was the Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. Known as President Nixon’s “hatchet man”, Colson gained notoriety at the height of the Watergate affair for being named as one of the Watergate Seven, and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
But, GOD – Chuck became a Christian in 1973, and the following year served seven months in the federal Maxwell Prison in Alabama as the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges. Chuck’s mid-life conversion to Christianity sparked a radical life change that led to the founding of his non-profit ministry Prison Fellowship and to a focus on Christian worldview teaching and training.
It was Chuck’s book Kingdoms in Conflict, that he expounded upon Edmund Burke’s philosophy called the “little platoons: the groups where we meet people face to face, and form our most intimate relationships.” These social groupings like family, church, and neighborhoods— “little platoons” fosters virtue which is the bedrock ofAmerica’s freedom. More importantly, it changes the climate of society by pointing to Jesus Christ’s example in living. Little platoons – that is what City Impact is! A group of 45 staff members, 10 board members, umpteen volunteers, partnering with churches, non-profits and other like-minded community groups to make an impact. Yes, an impact caused by Jesus Christ. Thank you Chuck for your example – thank you Jesus for your grace in saving the life of Chuck Colson and so many others.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham, President