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Around The Sun: Meeting Another Hungry Soul

Steve Harrison tells how he found another soul mate on his lonely Christian path.

A strand of three cords is not so easily broken Proverb

So there was I, in the middle of the corporate business district of North Sydney, on my soap box. It reminded me of the days when I used to pontificate in the pub, only now the Bible was thrown in for good measure.

I carried a Bible with me at all times, reading it on the way to the office, in the elevator, and at lunch time. Then I dashed home to read it during the evening.

To me the Bible made perfect sense and Jesus was a great guy. The world now seemed identical to the world in which he had lived. Many claiming to be religious were hypocrites, totally out of tune with God. The Bible lined up with my view of the world. I identified with Jesus and his disciples.

My colleagues treated me as though I was a leper, giving me a wide birth. When I got into the elevator, everyone else got out at the next floor. If people saw me when the elevator doors opened, they didn't get in. I learned that my nickname was The Prophet.

At the time I was dating a gorgeous Chinese lady, Julie. She recommended that I should talk to James Fleet, a man who also read the Bible and thought he had found the only true church. He took issue with Catholics and Anglicans,

James sounded like a religious nut, the very last person I wanted to call at that time.

For me friends were now few and far between. I was confused, but I had no one in whom I could confide. The moment I opened my mouth and started to talk a sermon came forth. Jesus was surrounded by friends who loved him. I had become a religious magnet, but the polarity was on repel.

At that time I designed an ad campaign for DHL couriers. Photographs to accompany the campaign had been taken locally, though they should have depicted exotic places. The budget was tight. Those pictures now needed to be retouched. The companies I approached said the work was too complicated for them to tackle. I was told to contact James Fleet, with the added warning "He's a religious nutter.''

Finally, running out of options, I called James. He was delighted to hear from me, Julie had told him all about me. He was in North Sydney, just around the corner. "Be over in about ten minutes, he said.

I had no idea what to expect. When he turned up I was relieved to see that he looked nothing like John the Baptist. He was easy going, matter of fact. I liked his manner. We discussed the DHL project. Piece of cake, he said, contributing time and cost saving ideas. When we had finished our business he said "I understand we have some serious things in common. Why don't we have a coffee downstairs?''

I agreed. I felt secure with him. Over coffee John the Baptist emerged. James spoke boldly and confidently, at one moment laughing and singing, then in the next talking of Hell fire. "They are the walking dead,'' said James. "Asleep to what is going on around them.''

He was speaking my thoughts. We talked for an hour, then arranged to meet after work. He invited me to dinner, saying he would tell me incredible things that would blow my mind.

That evening it took us about an hour by train to get to his home in Kurringah. During the journey he animatedly talked to other passengers, inviting them to join Bible study classes, handing out cards bearing Gospel messages. "We are brothers and sisters,'' he assured them. "Our Father owns everything.''

James's wife, Monika, was delightful. The evening was succesful. James was as animated as a schoolboy and his energy and enthusiasm were contagious. I asked questions. He opened a Bible and showed me where to find answers. I liked that. We talked into the small hours. He invited me to spend the night in his home, and I slept in a spare bedroom. I travelled into Sydney with him on the following morning.

He invited me to stay again on the following night, Friday. Once more we talked into the we hours. Again I slept in the spare room. Monika prepared a great breakfast for us on the Saturday morning. Then we went bush walking, talking about the meaning of life. I had found a soul mate.

When we were back in the house we opened Bibles to read from the Acts of the Apostles.

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