Here’s something I wish I were doing this Lent (so, technically, this is a Lent I wish to know). I wish that I were in Oklahoma City to see Mark Osler and Jeanne Bishop do the Trial of Christ on March 25 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Jeanne plays Christ’s defender, and Mark serves as Christ’s prosecutor—a role that hurts him to play. This will be the final of five presentations the two of them have done in 2012.
I met Mark when I interviewed him as the 2009 Wacoan of the Year. He is the most remarkable person I’ve ever met, and his work to reform the criminal justice system may be some of the most important being done in the country. He was raised as a Quaker, and those ideas still undergird his beliefs, although he has become an Episcopalian. He has taught at two law schools: one Baptist (Baylor University), and now, a Catholic one (University of St. Thomas).
Some of you may know him from his op-ed pieces for the Huffington Post. Some may read his blog, “Osler’s Razor” at www.oslersrazor.blogspot.com. It’s the first thing I read every morning. The “failed liturgical dancer” part of my bio is his gift to me for co-winning Haiku Friday.
Mark’s book, “Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment,” was the first I ever bought on my Kindle. He was a federal prosecutor during the Clinton administration, and his book about Jesus’s arrest, trial, and execution is written through the lens of Texas criminal law. The book and the Trial of Christ are interlinked.
Mark is also a great guy. He bought me lunch when he shouldn’t have because it was the kind thing to do, and he forgave me when I screwed up really badly.
During this season of Lent, I urge you to commemorate the passion of Christ in a new way. Read Mark’s book or, if you’re in Oklahoma City, attend the Trial of Christ. You can also see a 56-minute video of the sentencing phase of the trial presented at the University of St. Thomas School of Law on YouTube at http://bit.ly/GDpsoO.