A Review of Troy K. Chapman's book
Since his conviction in 1985 on a charge of second degree murder, Troy Chapman has been committed to changing himself and making a difference in the world. Writing has been an integral part of this commitment. His writing has been reprinted or used nationally and internationally by editors, authors, teachers, and leaders of religious organizations as touchstones in articles, magazines, books, sermons and classroom discussions and has been heard on National Public Radio. Many of Troy’s essays can be found at www.sacredmatters.blogspot.com and at the “Troy’s Writings” link at www.friendsoftroychapman.blogspot.com. Currently incarcerated in a Michigan state prison, Troy volunteers his time in prison facilitating the Kinross Ethics Project.
Would you expect a lesson in Wholeness Ethics from a convicted murderer? Would you expect to be quoted Kant, Aristotle, Einstein, Gandhi, and Emerson? What about advice on what you should be doing to take your small self-centered life to a larger, more meaningful place? Would you expect that from someone who may never see the world again as a free man? I didn’t. To tell the truth, I’m not sure what exactly I expected, but what I took from this book was a renewal of my conviction that life is far more than just me, myself, and I; and that the only way to transcend the small-thinking selfishness that seems to have enveloped our world is in thinking and acting as if everything I do has an effect on someone or something other than myself. Because it does.
This is a wonderful book on many levels. To be sure, it can be eye opening for those living behind bars and brave enough to plumb its depths of thinking. For those supporting an incarcerated loved one it can provide the light to guide them back through a relationship strained by a system of exclusion, isolation, and stigma. For the rest of us, it is a simple reminder that goodness exists in the most unlikely of places and is to be embraced.
I think, therefore I am grateful to Troy for this book and his continued good works.