Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Held Hostage

Ken Cooper
(Baker House/Chosen)

Husband. Father. Esteemed Community Man. Armed Bank Robber.

The unflinching story of one man's double life--and his ultimate transformation.

To his friends and family, Ken Cooper was the epitome of the perfect citizen: he was devoted to his wife and kids, loved by all, and had a high-profile job for a well-known Christian college.

Yet beneath this polished exterior lurked a man haunted by a broken past and fueled by a dangerous addiction. This man was known to the newspapers and public as the armed and mysterious "gentleman bank robber."

With raw authenticity, Ken bares all--from his tragic past to his time in one of Florida's most notorious prisons--in this unforgettable story of one man's miraculous redemption.

"In Held Hostage Ken Cooper describes the absolute horror and despair of prison life as well as any writer I have encountered. More importantly, however, Ken points his readers to the only Light that can penetrate the darkness of prison—or the darkness of the human heart. This is an amazing testimony."--Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship

Ken Cooper, who served four years of a 99-year sentence, later worked with four others to found Prisoners of Christ, a faith-based reentry ministry for the transition of inmates plagued with addictions. Now he heads up Ken Cooper Prison Ministries, involved in prison ministry organization development, consulting work, and education on overcoming addictions. Ken has been featured in numerous media outlets including Time, The Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Associated Press.Ken and his wife, June, live in Jacksonville, Florida.

I wasn't sure I wanted to walk the road of reading this book, but I'm glad I did. It is much more pleasant to read of romance and flowers than to consider the hopelessness of those who do not know Christ and who live in bondage to a life of crime, sin, and its consequences. And tracing the roots and growth of a hidden double life of one who appears to be an upstanding "Christian" man was a bit unsettling, to say the least. Yet, this book is so much more than that. This is the story of a life redeemed. A picture of what happens when a man hits rock bottom and has nowhere to look but straight up into the face of Jesus. And the change that impacts in his life as a result. Prison life isn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Yet God's love penetrates the steel walls and the barricaded doors and brings hope to the most desperate. As Ken grapples with life inside bars, he learns that deliverance comes in many forms. And he learns that he can shine a light in the darkness so that others can find their way. For anyone who wants their heart tendered, for the one who ministers to prisoners, for the one who wants a dose of mercy and understanding and grace - this book is recommended.

Reading this book brought to mind the last part of this song:
I'll sing it out with every breath, I'll let the whole world hear it
This hallelujah anthem of the free
That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive
The Son has made us free and free indeed!

Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring.

Let Freedom Ring
Words by Gloria Gaither
Music by Bill Gaither

Held Hostage will be available in August, and you can pre-order it now directly from the publisher or from Amazon or ChristianBook.com.


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skoots1mom said...

sounds like a good Father's Day read

Kim said...

This sounds similar to Lessons of San Quinton by Bill Dallas. I'm using it with my ladies in the rehab facility and it's a HUGE blessing! I'll have to check this one out too.

A Stone Gatherer said...

WOW but what a testimony huh!!!!