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The Tzedakah measurement
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of serving as a volunteer Christian Science chaplain at a Southern California prison. I really enjoyed the weekly Sunday afternoon visits, but looking back on them some years later, I found myself wondering whether they’d had a real long-term impact on people’s lives. Yes, our church services were well attended and I had a number of opportunities for one-on-one visits. But I was aware that the recidivism rate for inmates, particularly those with narcotics convictions, is very high.
One day, many years afterward, I received a phone call from a man who identified himself as a former inmate who had attended our services. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in many years, but I remembered him well for his conscientious desire to learn more about God through his study of the Bible, and also his excitement at being introduced to Christian Science. He proceeded to tell me that not only had his further study of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, changed his life, but that he had gone into the public practice of Christian Science. In fact, he said, his name was currently listed in The Christian Science Journal as a full-time Christian Science practitioner! We had a great visit. I later looked up his name in the Journal and found him listed in a major bilingual community, where I knew he would be doing much good.
About the author
Marshall McNott served as President/CEO of the Los Angeles Mission for the homeless from 2001–2006, prior to his retirement. He now lives in Maryland with his wife, Sharon.
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