Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Maybe "Jesus" Isn't the Answer

Ruth Fox, Staff Writer

Jesus is the answer, and Guy Flanders discovered that the answer will get you thrown in the slammer. Flanders, the pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, Florida, was sentenced to 10 days in jail after the only response he would give to a judge was “Jesus.”

Three months ago, Flanders was deep in prayer when he saw a vision of Jesus hovering above the local Publix Super Market on a red-and-white checkered blanket. “Jesus looked right down at me,” Flanders wrote on his blog, “and said, ‘I am the answer to all your questions.’” Since then, he pledged to answer “Jesus” to every question. Flanders ended his blog address with a challenge to his flock: “This is the way to spread the holy name of Jesus across this land. I encourage you to join me.”

Although Flanders’ new policy annoyed his family and friends, it did not create any insurmountable obstacles. Then Flanders received a notice for jury duty. Consistent with his pledge, he wrote in the word “Jesus” for every answer on his jury questionnaire. He arrived for jury duty on a Monday morning.

“When Guy called me that morning and asked me to call a lawyer,” remembers his wife Susanna, “I could immediately tell there was something wrong. I tried to ask what was happening, but all he said was ‘Jesus.’”

Before Flanders’ lawyer could arrive, the pastor was brought before a judge. “What’s the meaning of this, Mr. Flanders?” the judge asked.

Predictably, Flanders answered, “Jesus.”

“You’re in serious trouble here, sir. You had better start giving me straight answers. Do you understand I could charge you with contempt?”

Flanders’ next “Jesus” got him 10 days. He is 8 days into his stay, and does not regret a moment. “I would do it again,” he wrote to his wife, “and the next time I get a jury summons, I probably will.”

His church’s deacons were not pleased with Flanders’ stunt. “We’re law abiding citizens around here,” said Pete Sturgess. “Guy has done some silly things before, but this time, the church’s name got dragged through the mud. That’s not right.”

Even Flanders’ wife is concerned. “I told Guy he should consider selling insurance. He’s not really a very good preacher.”

And Guy Flanders? What does he have so say about it? No one really knows because he just keeps saying “Jesus.”

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