I learned something about what is possible at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota, just after morning prayer. I had told another resident of the Ecumenical Institute that the monks had begun 1 Corinthians, in case she wanted an opportunity to hear the letter read aloud. Her doctoral thesis had been on a passage from the epistle, and she was in the process of turning it into a book. This text had engaged her for more than ten years. She had made a pilgrimage to Corinth and knew Paul’s words in Greek, in German and in many English translations. But as she listened in the abbey church, something caught her attention that she had never noticed before. It was a revelation that left her gasping for breath, and I believe she left the church that morning amazed, not a little discomfited, and above all grateful to have been granted a new sense of the Bible’s power.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).