If you have not yet been to a service during which we are graced with Joe Johnson’s words, then I am happy to be introducing you to him through our blog. ICSG got connected to Joe through a new member of our community, Holly Honig-Josephson. Holly works with an organization called Humanity for Prisoners that provides a variety of problem-solving services for incarcerated persons in Michigan to alleviate suffering beyond the just administration of their sentences. Joe is one of those people and Holly met him through this work.
During their communications, Joe shared with Holly some of his spiritual insights and expressed his interest in being connected to a spiritual community, which led Holly to speak with me. Since then, via the prison email system, I have been sending Joe the topics for Sunday talks and he sends his reflections to be shared during open mic. This has been a truly inspiring experience for me, as I am always amazed by his reflections. I often reflect that he should have my job! Recently, because of its importance and profundity, I included a part of his message during my talk on The Great Turning. Below are some of the powerful messages he has shared so far. Maybe one day we’ll make a book, Messages From Joe. Enjoy.
Allow me this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Joseph Johnson, I’ve been incarcerated for 37 years for a mistake that I made as a teenager. I along with my codefendant robbed two youths who were pushing an Ice Cream cart selling ice cream of $27.50 and some ice cream. For this I was sentenced to serve a parolable life term. My codefendant was sentence to 6 Months county jail and 5 years probation. I do not give this information expecting sympathy because what I did was wrong and I’m being held responsible and accountable for my actions.
I want to first thank Pastor Lauren and Holly for making this opportunity to communicate with you all possible and I’m so humbled to have this opportunity to reach out to you from where I sit. It furthers my belief that the strong arm of the ALL is most powerful.
We need to finish with all our yesterdays and to face today and tomorrow trusting that we are walking in the right direction. If tomorrow you fail, do not let that cast you into despair, take the Trust Walk, press on again. And if you fail once more, go and do the same thing yet again. We are told if we would walk wisely in these evil days, we must constantly redeem the time. Each of us has one brief life and everyday of that life should be made to count for something. No matter how heavy the odds are that we are called upon to face let us maintain this attitude of mind, take that Trust Walk…Trust that Something is greater than ourselves, and has equipped us with wisdom, will, and love so that we can walk in faith. Trust in a power greater than you!
After Death Communication
Because I believe that every living thing is bound by cords to every other living thing, I often ask myself and wonder if the cord is ever broken and if there is a lasting connection that would allow me/us to communicate with someone who has passed on. It’s a very unique topic and I’m curious as to what you all think and have to say. Wish I was there to engage. Some believe that when we die, it’s over, we are no more. But is this true? I believe that the physical cord is broken, thus we return to the source from which we come. But from a spiritual point of view we continue on, thus making it possible for one to communicate with the departed souls. How often do we think of our own immortality? From my own perspective it seems to be a little morbid, but at the same time I can see the possibility. We hear about, and maybe some of us has had the experience of such communications. I haven’t and don’t know how I would respond but have found it has its place and some people in order to find their peace and resolutions may need such an event to take place. Let’s talk… Peace & Love to you all… Joe
The Great Turning
The more I study and comprehend myself, the more I realize that we are in trying times. This has nothing to do with Race, Creed, or Nationality. However, it has everything to do with the Us and the We that makes up this great unit of togetherness. Individually we are required to take a closer look at ourselves and ask what it is that we truly hope for, what do we desire to achieve in the coming together of children of God to make each other better. We need a vividly clear picture of what we want our union to look like…Brothers and Sisters, words are easily spoken, but have no weight when no action is behind them. We can say what we would like to see happen, but we have the power to make things happen by leading in example, loving each other. As stated earlier, we are definitely in trying times now. So many things threaten the very core of the institutions we’ve enjoyed and there is an attack upon our sensitivities towards those things that mean something to us. But we have to stay focused and stand for the right things. No amount of money or popularity will fix what is broken. It will be at the hands of those who see each other with eyes wide open.
Let’s Talk About Love (upcoming 2/11/18)
Since my incarceration, it has been hard for me to find and maintain relationships, enjoying Valentines Days. But also, it has provided me an opportunity to discover what’s inside of me as a person who has learned how to love even those who don’t love me back, it’s such an incredible feeling. And though incarceration hasn’t been kind to me in that way, the concept of love has not been lost because I’ve learned to keep my heart open so that love will always have a safe place to live inside me…There are certain things in us that God never intended for us, our ability to hate, where does that emotion derive from? It’s a learned emotion…If we are to find love we must look within, its name is the SELF.