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Updated: 10/24/2013 08:00:02AM

Two men and their military manuals

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I was 20-something when I found myself seated beside a weapons expert on a plane; he appeared to be 40-ish. We were both flying to the Moline-Rock Island, Illinois area: he to do business with an arms supplier and I to preach 16 sermons in a two-week evangelistic conference at a country church, a common feat then but one that is almost unknown in this period of vanishing Sunday night and midweek services.

After getting acquainted, this authority on weaponry asked if I would like to see his military weapons manual and, upon my answer of interest, he produced a large catalogue of war equipment. The Korean conflict was just behind us and his knowledge of arms so captivating that I listened intently as my adjoining-seat teacher took me on a fascinating photo journey of war lore. Then I asked if he’d ever seen a minister’s manual.

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