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GRACE // venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and inmates…


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(this is a post that comes from awhile ago. I wrote some notes down and have been wanting to elaborate on them and post some thoughts for awhile, I thought this was a pretty amazing story. Here goes.)

When you think of the place where America’s future lives you might think Duke, Yale, Harvard, Olivet Nazarene (my alma-mater) or any other number of colleges and universities. You might think of the military or some other place where pre grown-up people training is going on but have you ever thought of America’s prison system? When your looking to find the next generation of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists maybe prison would be the last place you would look but maybe it shouldn’t be.

PEP is a system that turns inmates into income making machines.
I am not one to highly recommend a venture capitalist lifestyle but what’s going on here is one ordinary women loving some unordinary people… a.k.a. criminals. She is showing them grace.

I was telling my roommate about this because I thought it was pretty amazing. A successful business women quitting her high paying New York (her job was looking for future venture capitalists for large companies with lots of capital). She quit her job to start a program in the Texas prison system for inmates who were getting ready for parole, she trained them to be venture capitalists and business owners.  I thought this was REALLY amazing, the grace and love he is extending to those who our society for the most part would see as unlovable. My roommates response; “yea, that’s who I would want to be giving my money to.” Point taken. And I don’t want to put my roommate down at all, this is the sentiment that almost everyone I know would have. Probably a sentiment I would have had at one point in my life. 

This lady shared her thoughts about inmate before she actually new one, she shared about her thoughts on how an inmate would be the last person she ever would give money to, how she said and thought things like, “give them what they deserve…” “ let them kill each other and stop wasting our tax dollars…” “Let them rot in prison where they belong…” These are harse statement when typed out but if we were honest they would probably be pretty close to the statement we think in our might that lead us to actually say things like, “ Yea, that’s who I would want to be giving my money to.”

You see this is the attitude of someone who doesn’t believe in grace, and if you don’t REALLY believe in grace you can really believe in the God of the bible, in Jesus Christ savior of the world, the ENTIRE world.

To give my opinion, an opinion that I would not typically just toss out there unless in a conversation with someone I know and trust… I don’t really agree with the death sentence. Haven’t for a while now and primarily because of grace, because of Jesus’ work in my life. And after hearing a story like this one I am not sure how anyone can believe in the death sentence.

You see the story is amazing. The return rate of inmates who have been paroled is staggering. I can’t remember the statistics but it was something like 80 percent or higher of inmate that make parole end up back in prison. The return rate of a paroled inmate who has been through the PEP program is something like .1 percent. That means 99.9 percent of all the inmates that this women reaches out to, that this women tells “you are loved, you are worth something, you are forgiven, you have potential”, 99.9 percent of these men who finally have someone who believe in them stay in the world and are productive parts of society. I love this story of grace.

I just thought this was worth sharing.
Here are some links.

Let’s think about grace
Let’s give out some grace

She’s a beautiful thing!

Shalom
~~Erik

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