The ambitious Brit puzzled his dilemma.

“If I’m to make my case that the book this naïve teacher calls holy is simply no more than a collection of fables chock-full of contradictions, I suppose I must fetch a copy for myself.” He mulled the idea. “By Jove, I shall”.

The San Antonio College I was drawn to came with a colorful history.

Young Leonard Coote had known where he was headed. Endowed with a keen mind and an appetite for adventure, Leonard set off from his English homeland for the islands of Japan. “Seize the moment”, he was urged. “Now is the time. Japanese business markets are ripe. Go. Venture out. Your fortune awaits.”

Lured by a Liverpool firm putting roots down in the Far East, he set sail. Other young Englishmen had blazed impressive trails, making it big, finding their fortunes. But a worry nagged at Leonard.

Those who hadn’t done well, however (their numbers were not few), had got distracted by party-going and the like. Many, it was rumored, wound up sidelined, addicted, chasing cheap wine to blunt the pain of their derailed dreams.

So, resourceful Leonard devised a strategy. “I’ll find living quarters somewhere safe”, he mused, “a place with better surroundings than those poor blokes managed.” This had led him to the man with the book.

“Yes”, the missionary offered, “we can make our spare room available”, adding, “and you’re welcome to join us for mealtimes.” They agreed to a suitable pay arrangement and a handshake settled the matter.

After a short while Leonard determined to challenge the Bible teacher on his faith – engage him in argument over the Scriptures, their validity. The missionary, smiling warmly, declined. “I’m happy sharing my story and what the Bible means to me. But debate it? Argue the matter? No, I am not your person for that.” This had brought Leanord to his dilemma, and his decision.

He arrived from work one evening with his new Bible – Old Testament, New Testament – King James Version. Having added a pen and a fresh clean ledger to his arsenal, Leonard smiled. “There now, all that remains is to read through it, registering its errors as I go. We will have that discussion”, he silently vowed, “and I shall be ready.”

What he didn’t factor in was a bold, terse phrase lying within the ancient text. Weeks of methodical reading, of note-taking – launching in from Genesis 1 – eventually brought him to the phrase. It was a declaration.

Nothing could have prepared him for the moment.
©2017 Jerry Lout



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