Chuck Colson

I mourn the passing of a serious Christian man in Chuck Colson. It would be difficult to exaggerate my respect for Prison Fellowship and gratitude for his contributions to Catholics & Evangelicals Together.

I must admit I've also dreaded his death since he collapsed March 30th for the same reason I dreaded the death of Mark Felt. Namely:
now we're going to have to read about Watergate and its Significance and the Loss of American Innocence. Again. As if the Washington "Remember when we brought down a President?" Post didn't already use any excuse at all to relive its glory days. Sigh.
Here is a very nice preliminary obituary. May his soul rest in peace and his wife be comforted.

Update: Mike Gerson on his mentor. On Colson's conversion:
Conversion is a form of confession — a public admission of sin, failure and weakness. It brings out the scoffers. This means little to the converted, who have experienced something more powerful than derision. In his poem, “The Convert,” Chesterton concludes: “And all these things are less than dust to me/ Because my name is Lazarus and I live.”
And his ministry:
The ministry he founded, Prison Fellowship, is the largest compassionate outreach to prisoners and their families in the world, with activities in more than 100 countries. It also plays a morally clarifying role. It is easier to serve the sympathetic. Prisoners call the bluff of our belief in human dignity. If everyone matters and counts, then criminals do as well. Chuck led a movement of volunteers attempting to love some of their least lovable neighbors. This inversion of social priorities — putting the last first — is the best evidence of a faith that is more than crutch, opiate or self-help program. It is the hallmark of authentic religion — and it is the vast, humane contribution of Chuck Colson.
Update: a round-up