Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Survive on the Inside

This is a rare find. Published by ATS, this tract is written specifically for people in prison. Not sure how a copy ended up on the subway where I found it. Maybe Jesus helped some guy to escape.

The tract, a seven-page thing with photos of miserable-looking young 'criminals' (a white guy on the cover, and a black guy and a Latino girl on the inside),goes to a fair amount of detail while steering well clear of any facts. We are first presented with seven questions, including: "Did you know that God knows how you ended up here and He loves you anyway?" "Did you know that God sees past your cell and straight into your heart?"

The seven questions are followed by eight detailed steps, not including the three steps to getting Saved at the end. All eight steps provide guidance on how to be a good Christian prisoner. The tract assumes readers not only want to be Christians, but that they want "to spread His message" to their fellow inmates, too.

And, the tract assumes its readers repent. It's a safe enough assumption. The kind of criminal who enjoys sinning probably isn't interested in tracts. Which limits the audience even further.

That small audience, however, will likely find How To Survive On the Inside very useful and comforting. I myself am comforted by the absence of Hell and Satan in this tract, and there's nothing worth getting offended about, either. Of course, a little fire and brimstone often makes these things more entertaining to read.

"If you are a Christian," the tract tells us, "God doesn't see your guilt." Too bad everybody else does. Still, it's a nice sentiment to hold on to.

How To Survive On the Inside
Likely to Convert - 7
Artwork - 5
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 1
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1

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