My first coffee of the day was supped behind bars. No picture of that one, so here’s a picture of the second.

Freshly brewed coffee, and pastries, were the starter to a couple of hours spent reasoning over faith matters. There was song, there was talk, there was poetry, there was prayer.

There is a certain level of authenticity, when reasoning with those whose freedom has been restricted. A certain rawness of thought and engagement, when conversing with those whose everyday reality is confinement.

I am by no means suggesting it is a type of Nirvana. Just that with the usual veneers of society not at your disposal, masks -though not impossible- are a bit harder to keep on; and one tends to have to,

put me hands up and do my time.

Put another way, acknowledge your stuff and own it.

I am often challenged when I get to share faith in this scenario. Challenged by how I am (or am not) using the freedom(s) I have. Challenged by the lived out authenticity of what I say I believe.

I am also often encouraged by the signs of God at work within those barbed wire walls. Stories of encounter, evidence of change; and singing, that at the same time is the best, and often the worst, I’ve heard.

It was a good place to have my first coffee.