Christ Presbyterian Academy
The transformative power of the gospel in Tennessee's prison system

Rudy Kalis was a WSMV sports journalist in Nashville for 43 years, bringing sports news and conversation to the Nashville community. In these past few years his story has taken a different turn, and one that he would describe as transformative: "It's changing me every day." 

Kalis works with faith-based local non-profit Men of Valor leading prison ministry, spiritual reconciliation, and gospel-centered Bible studies and evangelical training to transform the lives and trajectory of Tennessee inmates. He partners with maximum security institution, Riverbend, and visits the facility weekly to lead Bible study. 

The Institute for Cultural Engagement's (TICE) Center for Law & Advocacy hosted Kalis last week on campus to share with students his recent walk into the justice system, and the sharpening of his passion and purpose together to grow his faith in Jesus. He shared stories of unfathomable brokenness and hardship, stories to widen students' concepts of struggle and deepen their understanding in cycles of crime, violence, and poverty in our state. He illustrated for students the shift in his purpose after a minted career in journalism, encouraging a life-long exploration and curiosity of what God has in store for each and every one of them. 

Kalis's work with inmates has taken mutual trust, vulnerability, and healing for all involved. Consistency and trust is where healing begins, and faith grows stronger. Students in the Center for Law and Advocacy are learning about systems of power, constitutional law, and the processes of justice in our country (where things go right, wrong, and everything in between). Their questions for Kalis expanded on their current course materials and gave them deeper insight into holistic rehabilitation in federal and state penitentiaries. Since many of these inmates grew up watching Kalis on TV, his career in sports has helped him connect with them in the initial stages of relationship. It goes to show that technical skills and vocational calling can open doors for ministry in any setting. 

After this inspiring conversation, students walked away with a renewed appreciation for community organizations and individuals working to solve problems, love people, and share the gospel to everyone, even those in seemingly hard-to-reach places. That's where Jesus walked.