This website is the home site of my criminal reformation apostolate; here you can find details about the Lampstand Foundation which I founded as a 501c (3) nonprofit corporation in Sacramento, California in 2003.
I have written ten books and each one of my books is a response to a likely objection to Catholicism that will be encountered when doing ministry to professional criminals; and for links to all of the Lampstand books which are available at Amazon, go to http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=david+h+lukenbill
I also maintain a daily blog, The Catholic Eye, https://catholiceye.wordpress.com/
Lampstand also keeps track of rehabilitative programs that fail, and the one or two that appear to work, with the findings available at https://catholiceye.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/evaluation-of-reentry-programs-3/
The work connected to the apostolate is listed under the home page categories (to your left) which I will be expanding as needed.
Unpublished Work: Transformational Mentoring: Lampstand & the Didache
The core of the method of transformation of criminals by the Lampstand Foundation is one on one personal mentoring, and it is also the core within the early Christian communities described in the Didache, as noted in this book I’ve been studying in which the author writes:
“The upshot of this whole discussion is that mentoring can be seen as the central work horse and transformative process dominating the whole of the Didache. While baptism was practiced as a kind of “rite-of-passage” in the mentoring process, there was no temptation on the part of the Didache communities to assign the rite itself any mysterious and unseen powers that would warrant extending baptism to infants or admitting untrained adults to the rite. In truth, the framers of the Didache did not even designate baptism as a “sacrament” or insist that it was “instituted by Christ.” All of these things would come in due time. For the moment, however, the framers of the Didache knew themselves to be on solid ground when they embraced their effective pastoral practice of initiating gentiles and presupposed that the grace of human transformation took place prior to the rite itself. (Milavec, pp. 853-854)
“Many times throughout this book, the oral character of the Didache has been spelled out. Already in the preface, we examined the clues in the text that indicate an oral enactment. At various other times, the transition from topic to topic as well as the development of a given topic was seen as having an oral character. This being done, it might now be possible to step back and to designate the abyss that exists between spiritualities built on orality and those built on textuality.
“First, an oral gospel must be heard from a specific living person. Thus, upon first hearing, the gospel has a face, a life, a personality that is met and trusted as one hears and responds to the gospel. A written gospel, in contrast, can remain silent on the shelf. The reader who wants to hear it must take it down and sound the words (verbally or, in modern times, mentally). The written gospel is one step removed from the personal performance of the oral gospel. The reader hears the gospel at his/her discretion—when and where he/she pleases. The reader is left to interpret what is read within his/her own horizon of understanding. An oral gospel always remains attached to a living person who, in their life, gives meaning and content to the gospel.”
“While there is no such thing as a face-to-face encounter with a text, the mouth-to-heart engagement in oral communication fosters personal and intimate relations. The spoken word, emanating from interiority and entering another interiority, creates a deep-set bonding of speaker with auditor.” (Kelber, p. 146)
Werner H. Kelber (1983) The Oral and the Written Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press
“This “bonding,” of course, only comes when the hearer respects and admires the speaker and endeavors emphatically to enter into his/her way of being in the world. (Milavec, p. 859)
“Sometimes it is imagined that reading the holy books of the Bible produces “faith” in the hearts of the readers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sacred texts of India, for instance, were routinely translated and studied by Western experts for over a hundred years without producing a single convert. As soon as gurus began to arrive in the West and set up ashrams, however, a significant number of converts came forward…Sacred texts, therefore, can be studied and dissected with relish but have little power to convert lives unless they are linked to spiritual masters who offer a humanized and attractive version of what these texts mean in their lives and in their words. (Milavec, p. 861)
Aaron Milavec (2003). The Didache: Faith, Hope, and Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E. New York: The Newman Press.
In every respect, the status I attribute to transformed professional criminals able to transform other criminals, deep-knowledge leaders, is a status that meriting a relationship with “spiritual masters.”
In my first book, I wrote:
“Transformed criminals with advanced degrees and Catholic social teaching knowledge—I describe as deep knowledge leaders—working through grassroots community organizations, can help reverse the long-term failure of criminal rehabilitation programs as they possess the elemental experiential knowledge of the criminal world allowing them, and them only, the authentic access to criminals long denied the social work professional.” (p. 9)
David H. Lukenbill (2006. The Criminal’s Search for God: Criminal Transformation, Catholic Social Teaching, Deep knowledge Leadership, and Communal Reentry. Sacramento, California: Lampstand Foundation, Chulu Press.
Further, as deeply intellectual as many in the professional criminal cohort may become, the criminal/carceral culture is still, sadly, largely an oral culture, as noted by Sanders (1994), who, though he is so wrong about the efficacy of prison for certain criminals—the efficacy being the protection of the public—he writes perceptively about the oral culture of the criminal/carceral world.
“Illiteracy leaves behind shells of people—ghosts who take to the streets in a terribly dangerous state. They are unable to feel remorse or sorrow or guilt about their actions, even those of the most violent and gruesome kind. Society needs to fear ghosts who feel no more real than the shimmering of an image on a computer screen. For them, others are no more real than they are. Under those conditions anything can and does happen. Behavior becomes literally antisocial.
“It will do no good to lock up these young people. The efficacy of the penal system rests on the basic civilizing matrix of a conscience and a sense of remorse—feelings of guilt and thus a desire to change. But these new post-illiterates—at home neither in orality nor in literacy—prowl the neighborhoods as truly aberrant beings. They abide by different rules. They have joined their own tribal units, but their behavior is anything by communal. The impoverished stories they pass around speak not of heroes who face moral dilemmas, but of gangsters who vent their rage and despair. They need to feel important and powerful, just like the literate folks around them. They crave recognition and a sense of identity. Drugs give them a rush—of hope, of power, of invulnerability.
“Whatever the problem, the new post-illiterates crave a quick fix. They get high. When they come down, society locks them up. But surely that’s a last resort. Prisons stand as a testimony to a colossal social failure.
“The solution has to lie elsewhere. It will lie—in all its insubstantiality, evanescence, and invisibility—in the human voice. In voiced breath. What those young people want is to feel and to be empowered through their own voices.” (p. 78) Barry Sanders, A is for ox: Violence, Electronic Media, and the silencing of the written word. New York: Pantheon Books.
The books I write for Lampstand are written for the deep-knowledge leaders—current or future—of organizational efforts to transform criminals; giving them the specific information to address all of the many objections that will be thrown back at them by criminals open to transformation and conversion to Catholicism, but, by nature, resistant to any change from without.
The information has been presented in detail, with many back-up references allowing them the ability to pursue the line of research on their own.
When Milavec notes “the abyss that exists between spiritualities built on orality and those built on textuality”, I see the failure of rehabilitation efforts conducted by non-criminals, which, due to the lack of credible one-on-one, shared experience mentoring, are essentially efforts “built on textuality.”