American Christianity has rather a bad name with Guardian readers at the moment, so here is a bitter and strengthening lesson from an admirable American Christian you will never have heard of.

Javier Stauring is a Catholic who used to own a jewellery business in Los Angeles. Ten years ago, his church appealed for volunteers to go prison visiting; he was so affected by what he saw in jail that after some years he gave up his business and became a full-time lay chaplain.

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