Chaplain’s New Book, The Jezebel Syndrome, Strikes Nerve at Navy Consolidated Brig, Miramar.
By Chaplain Daniel Klender
A primary objective of mine since arriving at Navy Consolidated Brig (NAVCONBRIG) Miramar twenty-six months ago, was to provide the prisoners and staff with quality ministry, while simultaneously supplying ministry resources that will be available to prisoners long after my move (PCS) from the Navy’s largest military prison. NAVCONBRIG Miramar, is one of the few prisons within the Dept Of Defense boasting both male and female prisoners. Though the male prison population dwarfs that of the females, a high percentage of female prisoners take advantage of our Command Religious Program.
In addition to using allocated funds to purchase library resources such as books, educational videos, faith films, and music, one of my goals was to donate volumes and resources from my personal library in addition to resources I have written. The latest resource was my recently released book, The Jezebel Syndrome: A Restoration to Godly Womanhood. After receiving the author’s copies from the publisher several weeks ago, I quickly donated multiple copies to our Chapel library.
The book was fairly well anticipated since I did a sermon series based on it prior to the prisoners having the opportunity to read it. Since our sizeable volunteer force is currently not permitted inside the facility due to COVID restrictions, I also teach a weekly women’s Bible study. The ladies requested that we have Q & A sessions since some of them had been reading, The Jezebel Syndrome, and had attended the sermon series. The ladies were particularly curious concerning what implications the curse held for them as the daughters of Eve.
Since the majority of women and men in prison have suffered from dysfunctional family systems, understanding the genesis of toxic femininity and masculinity is a topic of considerable interest to many of them. Several were intrigued with an early chapter, “It All Began in the Garden,” which unpacks the repercussions of Eve’s curse. Others were stirred, by the stark contrasts between the “mean girls” of the Bible, (Jezebel, Delilah, Teresh, Michal, et al.), with those Peter designates as “the holy women of God,” (1 Pet. 3:5, Sarah, Abigail, Mary, Esther, Ruth et al.). More than trivialities, these contrasting paradigms were considered positive and negative templates either to be copied or deleted. One very astute man who read The Jezebel Syndrome, said he benefited from the contrast between the negative character traits of “Jezebels” with the positive traits of “Sarahs.”
As a Christian man he intimated that he was also challenged by the maxim attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, “If men won’t be men, women will.” This quote laid down the gauntlet for him to rise to his high calling as a Christian man.
One prisoner who works for me in the chapel, remarked that he loved the chapter entitled, “Abigail -A Woman of Grace and Wisdom.” He reflected that he had never considered Abigail harboring such power to keep men from making destructive decisions. The idea that godly women possess tremendous power to influence men for good was incredibly insightful to him. I informed him that Sarah is cited as a premier example of such power lying dormant in the godly wife, (See 1 Pet. 3:1-6).
Several men gave positive feedback to the chapter, “Jezebel in the Bedroom.” While many of them have been admitted to clinical treatment programs for sexual issues, hardly any of them had been exposed to God’s perspective on wedded love. While interacting with the male prisoners on this topic in a Bible study, I informed them that 1 Corinthians 7 outlines both God’s prescription for wedded love and His primary strategy for battling sexual temptation. The feedback I received is that the “Questions for Reflection” at the end of each chapter were helpful in applying the biblical principles.
One considerable upside to our current COVID crisis is the opportunity it affords prisoners to read and reflect. Quarantines and reduced footprints in the workplace open doors to engage those whom we are called to minister, through writing and serious dialogue about who we are as Christ-followers.
Chaplain Daniel Klender is a Venture Church Network – VCN (formerly, CBAmerica) chaplain currently stationed at Navy Consolidated Brig Miramar, CA. He is the author of The Uzziah Syndrome: 40 Keys to Finishing Your Life and Ministry Well; Living With the End in View: Escaping the Tyranny of the Here and Now; and most recently, The Jezebel Syndrome: A Restoration to Godly Womanhood.
For more stories by and about Venture Church Network’s 200 chaplains, military and civilian, visit Chaplaincy – Venture Church Network (venturechurches.org). For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.