Professor of Moral and Historical Theology Rick Steele taught a four-session class on Christian prison literature that is, "literature which enunciates the convictions of Christians who were incarcerated for opposing the laws, policies, mores and/or ideals of their society, and which delineates the challenges they faced while trying to live in accordance with their "counter-cultural" convictions during their period of incarceration" at a Washington state correctional facility for women during April. Steele will be teaching an identical course for inmates at a men's prison in July, and a similar course for Seattle Pacific University undergraduates in the fall. He presented his findings, titled "Teaching Christian Prison Literature in Prison," to the Church History section of the Pacific Northwest regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature/American Schools of Oriental Research, at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, on May 11.
Steele is in the process on writing a book on prison literature titled Ambassadors in Chains: A Study of Christian Prisoners of Conscience that focuses on 10 writers from the second to the 20th century. The 10 "ambassadors" are Vibia Perpetua, a second century noblewoman from Roman Carthage; Anicius Boethius, a late fifth- and early sixth-century Roman patrician who lived during the Ostrogoth occupation of Italy; Maximus the Confessor, a seventh-century Byzantine monk and theologian; Thomas More, a 16th-century English jurist and man of letters; Michael Sattler, a 16th-century South German Anabaptist; John Bunyan, a 17th-century English Baptist; Madam Guyon, a late 17th- and early 18th-century French Catholic noblewoman; Sophie Scholl and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, two mid-20th-century German Lutherans, she a university student and he a professional theologian; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a mid-20th-century American Baptist preacher and civil rights activist.