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1 John 2:29. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.
I was still in prison the first time I saw him. He was standing in a flower garden, digging and talking to anyone who stopped. He was quite a sight: long, wild, brown hair streaked with gray and an unruly, scraggly beard to match. I used to think that John the Baptist probably looked something like Jeff.
The next time I saw him, he was the lone white face in a roomful of Muslim brothers, kneeling in prayer. He also attended the Episcopal service on Sunday evenings. One day I asked him why he was a Muslim. “Muslim literally means ‘one who surrenders,’ Bo. You’re a Muslim, too, on your good days.”
We became good friends. When I got out, we stayed in touch, and when Jeff got out a year or so after me, he became a regular fixture in our household. Debb loved him, our pets loved him. The plants certainly loved him.
He was one of the gentlest men I’ve ever known, and I can’t wrap my mind or my heart around a religion that would exclude his righteousness, either here on earth or in the hereafter.