The Texas Field Minister will always wear white, maybe even to the grave, but as a new man and a new woman—a different kind of incarcerated man and woman—learned, humanized, stable, pensive, able to think and reason, and allowed to influence others toward a responsible and productive life. The Texas Field Minister is a scholar-mentor. The Texas Field Ministers as scholar-mentors are able to listen and provide an answer, in their view, to life’s big questions beyond their upbringing, their crime, their life experience, and their prison experience. The Texas Field Ministers exemplify and exceed the goals of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
It would be insane to have rehabilitation goals that no one can actually achieve and display that they have achieved, especially if they will never live anywhere else but prison. The Texas Field Ministers Program is an opportunity for someone with a life sentence to live a corrected life and show others that they can.
Christian history has always included education. Christian history reveals, throughout the centuries, the establishment of educational institutions—the call to love and care for people through the reverent pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Deep theological reflection is not something to be avoided, but is part of the human experience, even if one comes to the conclusion that there is no God. To deny that this is part of the human experience is to avoid reality and irresponsibly leave the most basic human questions without a compass offered by the millions of lives that have gone before us, not to mention history itself. Field Ministers lived life fast before they came to prison and have lived life long since the beginning of their incarceration. Before prison, they hardly had time to ponder life’s big questions; in prison, life’s big questions stare them in the face with all of the time a life sentence brings to ponder these questions. To deny this as a reality would be cruel. More than 2,000 years of church history exists, and it is good to study it. The Field Minister as scholar-mentor can be a help to others who have the same life questions they once did.