Is your name Grace?

R. Brad Martin

We would like to recognize R. Brad Martin Chairman of Chesapeake Energy, chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated for making it possible for John Sinclair, KFF founder,

to pursue a Theology Degree from Memphis Theological Seminary, which was

warded July 22, 2019.

John O. Sinclair


received his theological degree

from the University of Memphis.

 Letter of Encouragement to John Sinclair

July 14, 2019

From Ron McDonald, Pastoral Counselor

                              Dear John,


                              Sometimes I think the key to a good life is making lemonade out of lemons, which in your life has something to do with heeding the big stop signs and transcending them. I find your story inspiring, for you took

                              those handcuffs, that betrayal, and the hardship of almost two decades in prison and turned them into life lessons, accepting them as invitations from God.


                              Now that you are free again, living by godly principles and remaining “in recovery” will include the starting of a new life, making amends and patiently waiting on God to open up the way to move towards the

                              vocational call that lies ahead. I think your musings on the 12 steps has an element of spiritual guidance in it.


 I am reminded of the meaning of the word “remember.” It means to put back together. Life breaks us, dis-members us; and God puts us back together, re-members us. It seems to me that we need to remember

                              our compulsions and addictions but not dwell on them. After we look back, we need to look forward. The man at the plow who looks back too much creates crooked rows.


                              I hope and pray that you will be able to patiently and joyfully make amends with your daughter. Psychologist Rudolf Dreikurs says—and I think he’s right—that the primary task of every parent is encouragement.

                              He adds, “The misbehaving child is the discouraged child.” Let us be encouragers.


                              Regarding Unit 3, I appreciate your insightful reflections on the 12 Steps and Wimberly’s Four Dimensions. In some ways you are a living example of being liberated from “internalized stories.” Your early life was

                              scripted by brokenness and compulsions. Your middle life has been marked by contemplation and humbling yourself before God. Your liberated life is filled with hope and challenge, particularly what will life outside

                              of the prison walls be like when guided by Christ?


                              I am a personal friend of John Patton. He is an encourager. Now an old man who has had to give up driving and going to conferences where I’ve enjoyed his company, I want to say to you as if I can capture the

                              voice of Patton. The dialog you have with his thoughts on forgiveness—that you agree and disagree—would be very welcome, particularly because you write of forgiveness as a springboard into action. My friend

                              John would say, “It’s what you do with forgiveness that matters.”


                              Now I have another friend named John! You, John Sinclair, have been a delight to read and reflect with. You have passed the course. I will report your “graduation” to the right professors, and they’ll be back in

                              touch with you.



Your friend,