The Life and Times of Charles Colson
Charles Colson was an ambitious lawyer who earned himself an enviable position in 1969: special counsel to President Richard Nixon. But then came Watergate and all bets were off – his dream job vanished overnight.
John Perry’s new biography of Colson chronicles his spiritual transformation from political power broker to prison minister and evangelist over eight sessions on DVD – perfect for Sunday School classes and discussion groups alike.
Early Life and Education
Charles Colson once boasted of “walking over his own grandmother” to help President Richard Nixon retain office, but the Watergate scandal and trial transformed the ambitious go-getter into an evangelical Christian leader, best-selling author, and prison reformer.
Colson served as Administrative Assistant to Massachusetts Senator Leverett Saltonstall from 1956 to 1960 before founding a law firm with offices in Boston and Washington D.C. He eventually brought in former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Edward Gadsby as well as Raytheon Company general counsel Paul Hannah as partners, ultimately becoming Colson, Gadsby & Hannah – though these names would later be abbreviated in order to accommodate space within the firm itself.
Colson helped establish Prison Fellowship, a national organization which advocates for prisoner rehabilitation and works to bring about changes in our nation’s criminal justice system. He also wrote over 30 books.
Charles Colson rose to become one of the most influential evangelical Christians after a distinguished government service career. While serving as special counsel to President Richard Nixon during Watergate scandal era, he eventually plead guilty and served time behind bars before using this experience to form Prison Fellowship Ministries and promote Christianity as a worldview that offers hope of redemption.
Colson also excelled in prison ministry and college basketball coaching, amassing an overall record of 563-385 during 34 seasons at Fresno State, New Mexico and Pepperdine universities. He campaigned hard for the introduction of 3-point shots into college basketball while helping develop future NBA stars Dennis Johnson and Luc Longley into stars themselves. Furthermore, Colson played an instrumental role in shaping Christian education – receiving 15 honorary doctorates as recognition.
Achievement and Honors
Richard Colson is an accomplished artist renowned for his aerial views of London, Dublin and New York which can be found in many prestigious galleries around the UK. Additionally, he has presented at several prominent forums for digital media and art in Britain.
His experiences led him to establish Prison Fellowship Ministries and Justice Fellowship – non-profit organizations serving as Christian outreach and criminal justice reform groups – both of which he later received numerous honorary degrees for.
Colson has also appeared in various television and movie roles, most recently appearing as Luke Wilson in the Showtime series Roadies created and executive produced by Cameron Crowe with Winnie Holzman and J.J. Abrams as executive producers; it stars Carla Gugino, Rafe Spall and Imogen Poots among its cast members.
Colson is a born-again Christian influenced by reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and has used that influence to advance his religious worldview on BreakPoint radio program that discusses contemporary political and social issues.
After Watergate, Colson turned away from politics to concentrate on religion. He established Prison Fellowship Ministries to bring Christian teachings to prisoners while also working toward reform of our prison system – particularly its “lock ’em and leave ’em” approach.
Colson has been married twice and has three children. He currently resides at Po Box 332, Ashland City, Tennessee 37015 with Cathy Colson as his current spouse. Additionally, he belongs to the Rotary Club of Jacksonville as well as serving on several boards and committees.
At a time when numbers were often seen as innocuous and without real meaning, Colson sought to shift that mindset. He believed that all data must have an effect – whether global or local.
Colson & Morin quickly expanded with Boston and Washington offices following the addition of former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Edward Gadsby and Raytheon Company general counsel Paul Hannah as partners.
Colson amassed 15 honorary doctorates throughout his lifetime and donated all speaking fees and royalties to Prison Fellowship. Additionally, he was one of the primary signers of 1994 Evangelicals and Catholics Together document. Finally, Colson won Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion which is one of the world’s premier annual religious awards with over $1 Million awarded annually.