What would Jesus do? Turn the other cheek? Nah, that’s for p*ssies. Everyone knows Lord and Savior never went anywhere without a Colt beneath his robes. And of course, we all know the story of The Shootout of the Last Supper, when Jesus and Judas had their final showdown over seven pieces of silver.
Okay, that wasn’t exactly the scene at Living Water Fellowship Church in (of course) Osceola, Florida — but it was a scene straight out of some old spaghetti Western. Or the New Sunshine State, which is functionally the same thing.
The first one on the scene was the preacher, Paster Terry Howell. A man of peace, but no stranger to the shooting iron. The challenger: Benjamin Parangan, an employee of the church who was soon to be an ex-employee. A ruffian and rapscallion of the highest order, he’d proven himself a man of the most notorious intent, known to get drunk on the communion wine and take unseemly liberties with the lady churchgoers.
The duel was scheduled for the stroke of 8 a.m. this morning, when Howell would arrive terminate Mr. Parangan’s employment. Both men arrive, with irons in hand.
Mr. Parangan pulled first, getting the drop on the Preacher.
He fired several shots in a drunkard’s way; but the Preacher’s faith was strong, and the hand of God was with him that hour. The bullets went astray, not a single one striking the black-clad sojourner. Quicker than the retribution of Christ, with the grudging movement of a boulder, the Preacher pulled his Mother of Peacemaker.
He returned fire, and the Lord guided his bullets true. He struck down Mr. Parangan with a mighty wound. But, by the grace of God, not a lethal one; he’s expected to recover in the local pharmacist’s, before the constabulary comes to collect him on charges of aggravated assault with intent to kill.
And so the Preacher holstered his Peacemaker, with a final word to the Sheriff; late, as always.
“Looks like somebody done your job for you, partner. And broke a vow to do it,” he said sadly.
One of the townsfolk, a member of the congregation, commented after. Robert Quintana:
“It could happen anywhere, though; the times we live in. Really unfortunate.”
Oh, no Mr. Quintana…we couldn’t disagree more! Maybe someday soon, when the lunacy of Florida spreads to the rest of the Union, it could happen anywhere. But here preachers meet all armed to the teeth, carry guns right next to crosses; where rapscallions roam in our Old West home, free to take pot shots at bosses. Maybe some day we’ll be able to say the rest of the country’s this way; but as of today, it’s our the Sunshine State
…where a lone Preacher rides away.