Acton University alum R.J. Moeller looks back on Chuck Colson’s life-changing influence. R.J. produces a popular podcast for the Values & Capitalism project at the American Enterprise Institute and also works as the director of communications for radio talk show host Dennis Prager and his Prager University. Moeller:
Since embarking on a career in writing, podcasting, and anything else related to the articulation of a God-fearing, free market-defending worldview that can pay my bills> Whenever I’m asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I always answer the same way: whatever it is Chuck Colson does.
The name of Chuck Colson was revered in my home growing up. His books adorned our shelves. His voice echoed from the speakers that my mom always had turned to Christian radio. Before I ever read a single word of his, I knew Chuck Colson had something to teach me.
And boy did he ever!
It was a little over a decade ago, when I started college at Taylor University, that I finally sat down and read Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? Nothing was ever the same. I learned that ideas mattered (and have consequences). I learned that God cared about the way we conducted ourselves in the culture and that we had a duty to learn about things like history and economics. I learned that politics and party affiliations weren’t “ends” but “means” toward a free and virtuous society.
I learned that one didn’t have to compromise conviction for compassion.
For all the things that other prominent conservative evangelicals of the past 30 years have not been – whether that be the loud, pushy, painfully nuance-free voices that should have remained silent, or the indifferent, silent voices that should have cried out in disgust as Rome burned – Chuck Colson lived the life others talked about living.
Full of redemption, service, passion and truth, his was also a life worth emulating.
It’s wildly unpopular these days to label yourself anything. People are either afraid of being pigeon-holed into something they don’t really understand, or become convinced that staking an ideological claim will cause them to “lose their witness.”
An entire generation of religious, free-market conservatives has Chuck Colson to thank for being the tip of the spear, voice in the wilderness on behalf of our values for more than three decades.
“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”
― G.K. Chesterton