The Saga of Tom Rich Versus Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church, Jacksonville

“Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat." Malcolm Forbes

Tom Rich Watchdog

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Tom Rich won!!! This is a blog post that I have waited almost three years to write. Shortly after starting TWW, we became aware of a major church conflict between a blogger and First Baptist Church, Jacksonville. The more Deb and I read of the situation, the more convinced we were that there was a major story developing.  It involved, in our opinion, highly questionable actions on the part of a church which used law enforcement agencies to "out" the identity of a blogger. Said pastor, Mac Brunson claimed he feared for his "safety." This church went onto punish Tom Rich and his family. As we read Watchdog's blog, link, we became convinced that, if this blogger was a threat, then the two of us should be reported to Homeland Security!

We both got the now infamous “Wartburg Tingle.” This wasn't just any story. This was a saga that had national implications for the right of free speech without the fear of government coercion. Dee, decided to attempt to contact Tom Rich, the now identified “anonymous” blogger. (Dee has always wanted to do Jesse Water's job on The O'Reilly Factor.)

Mind you, our blog was new and we had just a few readers. I was concerned that Tom might think we were two nuts. So, I emailed him and agave him my phone number and said I wanted to do a story on him. I was sure he would fall down laughing when he saw the size of our blog audience at the time.

My cell phone rang and a hesitant voice asked for Dee Parsons. Tom had not heard of our blog but slowly started to warm up to me.(To my critics-I can be charming). We then planned some time to talk for an extended period, via phone, along with his wife, Yvette. And we did, for hours. I still have my original notes.

Thus began a friendship that has stood the test of time. Although we have never met face to face, a failing I intend to remedy this year, we began to email and talk on the phone. Deb and I were incensed as we became convinced that FBC Jacksonville, Mac and Debbie Brunson and the sheriff’s office had violated the rights of Tom Rich. 

At that time, we too were anonymous bloggers. It angered us to think that an irritated church could so profoundly interfere with the civil rights of individuals. If a church could so easily convince law enforcement to interfere with Tom's  legal right of privacy, can you imagine how rampant such requests could become?

We have believed for close to three years that Tom was in the right. We offered to do anything in our power to publicize this travesty. There are also two other people who rose to the occasion to help Tom. Their input and support were essential to the outcome of this case. Both “Arce,” a TWW commenter, and Wade Burleson provided advice and support to Tom during these past years. Although we are not at liberty to reveal the specifics, we want to thank them. You have shown the grace of God towards Tom when he was under serious attack.

Today is just a review of some of the articles that we wrote. Tomorrow, we will discuss our thoughts on this matter. We predicted that this situation would be resolved in Tom’s favor. We were right. The first post is the longest since it provides a summary of the situation.Also, if you link to the earlier posts, please forgive the format. We used to use an obscure Mac format and it did not translate well when we converted. Also, we did not carry over the comments for these posts. 

Today, we honor our fellow blogger, Tom Rich. We thank God for giving Tom the strength to persevere.

First Baptist Church, Jacksonville: Another Same Old, Same Old Link
Mon, Aug 17 2009
Mac Brunson was called to pastor FBC Jacksonville in 2006. Within three weeks of his arrival, he was reportedly given a land gift estimated at $250,000 by a member of FBC Jax. Pastor Brunson built a large home on the lot which is purportedly worth around $900,000. We will outline other expenditures in our next post. A member of FBC Jax, Tom Rich, became troubled by what he was seeing in his church. After realizing that some members were being asked to leave the church, Tom wrote an anonymous letter to Pastor Brunson outlining his concerns. However, Pastor Brunson wanted the anonymous letter writer to identify himself, and Tom declined because he did not wish to be “thrown" out of the church.

Tom hoped that much needed changes at FBC Jax would be made. In August 2007 he began blogging anonymously as "FBC Jax Watchdog" about the issues he had with his pastor and his church. In December 2007 the "Watchdog" criticized the by-law changes that were made at First Baptist Jacksonville. This seems to be a trend within Southern Baptist churches, so if it hasn't yet happened at your church you might want to do a little research into why they are being altered. Here's a clue: the changes to the by-laws appear to be giving pastors all the control. Then in May and June of 2008 Tom addressed Mac Brunson's erroneous comments about Sheri Klouda. Remember that Brunson and Patterson are very close friends. Tom published Klouda's response on his blog.

When Pastor Brunson began to solicit large sums of money from his congregation to benefit the church infrastructure, Tom expressed his deep concerns on his blog. Apparently, the pastor requested that the congregation "give a million in two weeks". Can you imagine the pressure that must have been applied to motivate congregants to give over and above their regular contributions? At the same time, Florida was experiencing a precipitous decline in property values. The real estate bubble was beginning to burst during this time. 

On September 28, 2008, during the Chest of Joash Service (aka commitment Sunday), commitment cards for 2009 were collected, and the total pledges were only half of the church's budget. Furthermore, the "give a million in two weeks" campaign was terribly unsuccessful. Not that much money went into the church coffers. Haven't we discussed something similar on The Wartburg Watch recently? We hope you are reminded of Martin Luther who caused great trouble for the indulgence preachers.

Pastor Brunson and the church trustees must have believed that the "Watchdog" alone was to blame for the tremendous shortfall, not the failing economy. The very next day, September 29, 2008, John Blount, FBC Jax church administrator, called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to report "an Internet incident with possible criminal overtones." At that point the church leaders sought to discover the Watchdog's real name. Tom Rich didn't even find out about this investigation until recently.

Robbie Hinson, a sheriff's detective attending FBC Jax, reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the Watchdog's identity by obtaining subpoenas from the State of Florida Attorney General's office. By the way, Detective Hinson has served as Mac Brunson's personal bodyguard. Since when do pastors (besides Mark Driscoll) need body guards? These subpoenas forced Google and Comcast to reveal Tom Rich's name. The case was closed on November 13, 2008, with a report that simply stated: "Investigation closed, no crime found". Incredibly, there was no record of any investigations or interviews done by Detective Hinson in the file.

Tom, and his wife, Yvette, were visited by two church leaders on November 28, 2008, and given a letter outlining Tom’s 16 (!) sins, along with letters prohibiting Tom and his wife from “trespassing” on church property. He was accused of "church misconduct". Ladies, please read the following very carefully… Yvette, Tom's wife, was accused of associating with a church member who was guilty of church misconduct. Here's a warning for wives at FBC: Be careful, if your husband loses his temper, you are also in sin for associating with him! EGADS!!!

On February 10, 2009, Tom was contacted by John Blount (church administrator) who informed him that they were taking the matter before the board of deacons. Tom requested fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time to defend himself against the allegations. Blount responded by saying that Tom could only discuss two things: whether he is the owner of the blog and whether the blog is sinful. Nothing else, period! If you haven't watched the movie Luther, please be sure to do so. Again, the similarities are uncanny. Luther couldn't discuss his concerns about heretical Catholic teachings with Cardinal Cajetan or address them before the Diet of Worms — he would only be allowed to recant. Martin Luther's refusal to cower before the Pope and his henchmen changed Christendom forever. Since Tom would not be given the opportunity to defend himself fully before the deacons, he told John Blount he would not attend.

Tom was reportedly told that he could not come back to FBC Jax unless he met with the trustees. There was a bit of a problem. Tom had left the church and joined another fellowship by this time. However, he graciously agreed to do so if he could bring legal representation and/or make a recording. According to Tom, they informed him he COULD NOT. Such a staunch position begs the question — Why not? What were the trustees afraid of since they were following Biblical principles closely… Didn’t Jesus allow for witnesses?

Tom and his wife had to join their current church by statement of faith since FBC Jax reportedly would not give them a letter of transfer. (Yawn…been there, had that happen, too).
Here are a few of the questions we will be addressing:

1. Is it ethical for a pastor to accept lucrative gifts from church members? Does "living large" help or harm a pastor’s witness?

2. Why did FBC Jax believe it was entitled to know the identity of anonymous bloggers when the church leaders did not follow all of the Biblical mandates in dealing with controversy?

3. Why was “potential criminal behavior” cited as the reason for the subpoenas when there was no concrete evidence of the criminal behavior described?

4. Why did “Mac Brunson's "bodyguard" become the investigative officer involved in obtaining the subpoenas and submitting the charges? Is there a conflict of interest here?

5. If FBC Jax professes to preach the whole Gospel, why is it afraid to be a light on the hill so that the whole world will see Jesus and praise Him? If FBC is truly following God, they should be delighted that Tom Rich is talking about the senior pastor and his lifestyle because Mac Brunson is the shepherd of FBC Jax and, as such, is an example of godly behavior.

6. Is there a program in place at FBC Jax that would allow the less affluent church members to receive gifts of lots in gated communities from fellow members, as their pastor did?

Finally, our hearts go out to Tom and Yvette Rich. I (Dee) have had the opportunity to speak with them at length. They are delightful people who answered my questions candidly. There is no doubt in my mind that they are a brother and sister in Christ. Too bad no one in the "so-called" leadership of FBC Jax ever met with Tom over a cup of coffee to hear his concerns and hash this out. Too busy filling out subpoenas, we suppose….

The Way of Love Versus Hypocrisy Link

In this post, we addressed the incredible outpouring of “gifts” given to Brunson upon his arrival. We listed quite a few of them. At the same time he wrote a book expressing admiration that Billy Graham did not accept gifts.

Shenanigans and Subpoenas Link

In this episode we discuss  the claims of Debbie and Mac Brunson. For example, “Mac and Debbie say they were being stalked and their mail was stolen.”  Frankly, this has to be one of the most bizarre claims in this ordeal. you see, the Brunson's live in a gated community in a very, very expensive house. Mrs. Brunson claimed someone was stalking who when he went on her run. In other words, someone had to jump over  the wall to find the Mrs. Why? She went to church each Sunday, dressed to the nines. Anyone could snap a photo then.

Here is what we wrote back then.. "So, is there an ongoing investigation of the supposed mail theft and the alleged stalking of Debbie Brunson? Dare I raise this question, why in the world would anyone need to “surreptitiously” take photos of the Mrs.? Does this sounds a bit narcissistic? What steps have been taken to prevent further mail theft and stalking? How many times since the Brunsons learned the identity of our intrepid blogger, Tom, has Debbie been surreptitiously photographed and the mail stolen? "

Poor Pastor Mac: Getting Killed For The Lord Link
Fri, Aug 21 2009
We wrote "We have some pretty compelling evidence that Mac Brunson lives quite well in his McMansion with a handsome salary, a wife and son under his employ, and what appears to be a recession proof gig at First Baptist in Jacksonville. However, Mac was apparently whining about how poorly he was being treated by the church."

The Pastor Or The Model: Who Demonstrate a  More Christlike Attitude? Link
Fri, Aug 21 2009
This post was to demonstrate how a NY model, hounded by a blogger,  showed more class than Mac Brunson.

FBC Jacksonville: Selling It and Selling Out Link
Mon, Aug 24 2009
In this we explore the fundraising events at FBC Jacksonville.

Jimmy Smryl, Redneck Theologian Link
 Jimmy worked under Brunson. You might be interested in seeing what he says about Catholics.We inventedone of our first TWWisms-Redneck theology. "These are the guys who confuse patriotism with Christianity and are convinced that even major religions are "cults". They call each other by their first names with brother inserted (e.g. Brother Bob). They come up with new Biblical mandates such as "God wants us to have a quiverfull." "Jesus created nonalcoholic wine." "It is heresy to believe the world is older than 6000 years".

Dissenting Opinions Are Not Allowed! Link
Mon, Aug 31 2009
In this we focus on how the subpoenas were obtained. It is not a pretty story.

Subpoena This Blog Link
Tue, Sep 01 2009
In this episode, Dee recounts her conversation with Angela Corey, one of Florida’s State attorneys.This post was brought up during some depositions and Dee was ready to go to Jacksonville and stand by her interview.

FBC Jacksonville Blogger Wins Round One!

Rich prevailed in his lawsuit against the authorities. TWW predicted that this would bode ill for the FBC Jacksonville. If only they had backed off at that point. Think of how much money could have been saved by the church! 

From Tom "My lawyers and I have reached a settlement in the 1 ½ year long lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) detective and Assistant State Attorney involved in issuance of subpoenas on my blog back in October 2008." The monetary settlement was for $50,000 representing the damages we have incurred from the actions of the JSO officer and Assistant State Attorney in unmasking my identity as the Watchdog blogger through subpoena power, and the ensuing banishment from our church – but much more important than the financial settlement is that the settlement agreement includes a commitment on the part of the city, specifically Sheriff John Rutherford, to make positive changes at the JSO stemming from the circumstances that led to this lawsuit.

In our agreement with the city, the Sheriff has agreed to a meeting with myself, my lawyers, and the city’s legal counsel to discuss important ethical issues that have arisen from this case, and to consider our input on changes that can be made in the JSO’s conflict of interest code for its detectives. Additionally, the Sheriff and the Office of General Counsel have agreed to develop and implement a training program for JSO detectives specifically on constitutional First Amendment issues and legal ramifications that must be considered when issuing investigative subpoenas.

We have given you way too much to read. We will discuss the ramifications of this settlement tomorrow. Meantime, Dee continues to dance around her kitchen, celebrating the end to Tom and Yvette's trial. And I am going to say something I have wanted to say for a long time.


Lydia's Corner: Lamentations 3:1-66 Hebrews 1:1-14 Psalm 102:1-28 Proverbs 26:21-22


The Saga of Tom Rich Versus Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church, Jacksonville — 31 Comments

  1. Dee/Deb

    Thanks for the thanks. I too have been celebrating. My role was only to encourage Tom, and to offer a little strategic and legal commentary directly to Tom and other times as a commenter on his blog.

    As far as I can tell, Tom’s only sin was to continue to attend worship in a church where Mac Brunson preaches, a sin he shared with several hundred people. But Tom loved that church and the common people in the pews, and had hope for its resurrection.

    I believe that Tom’s blog was the only path that had a serious possibility that Tom’s concerns would be heard at the highest level of lay involvement at FBC Jax, let alone by the senior paid personnel. I am pleased that he has been heard and that Brunson has had to make an apology, as watered down and weak as it was, probably by negotiation between two attorneys. But at least Brunson had crow for a Sunday meal!

    TWW, the Watch Dog, and the Baptist Today are the only religion blogs I read on a frequent basis. That is because we share a concern about abuse in the church and abuse of the church, as well as abuse by the church leadership.

    Church polity is how we live out our theology. If your church changes its bylaws, beware that the theology is also changing. The most often sacrificed Baptist distinctive — priesthood of all believers, each and every one. A “pastor in charge” church is NOT A BAPTIST CHURCH ANYMORE!!! In a true Baptist church, the congregation is in charge. So FBC Jax is guilty of false advertising — it is properly First no-longer baptist Church.

  2. I read about this debacle at the many years ago and was appalled. I thought at the time that is was an independent fundamental baptist church, since they are known for their shady dealings, but found out it was a SBC. I guess there is not much difference in some cases. I know there are good faithful men in both denominations, but I say beware. In both, the pastors are far too unaccountable. And that is the greatest problem I see among them.

  3. Bob,

    I have never forgotten the close friendship between Mac Brunson and Paige Patterson, as well as their friendships with certain judges…

    It’a a NEW DAY!

  4. Arce,

    We are so honored that you regularly read our blog. Your long-term friendship is valued by Dee and me!

  5. The money is secondary. What is primary is “authority” which truly belongs to the author (note two words, same root) of our faith, Jesus Christ. But humans seek authority, because that leads to power — the ability to dictate what the theology of the church is and how that is to be lived out in the polity. With the right dose of authority in the church, the pastor can set his compensation, hire his family and others key to his maintaining his position, and live a relatively uncomplicated life of ease as the CEO of a totally controlled organization where all he has to do is keep an eye on things and give a 20-40 minute talk once a week.

    BTW, I used to teach seminars on environmental management and hazardous chemicals/wastes, all day, three or four days a week, more than one week a month on average. In between consulting and writing text books. Now that’s work, and I was the CEO of the organization and the others also worked hard. Never asked an employee to work harder than I did, or longer hours. Bet not one of the mega-church pastors in this country can say that.

  6. Hi Dee and Deb – thanks for the kind words. As you know, I sincerely do not view myself as any kind of hero or martyr for sure, just a guy who found himself in a situation where circumstances demanded that I defend myself, my family, and my rights as an American. I could have gone quietly away but chose to fight back when I was able to find a lawyer who would fight this battle with me. If not for the one lawyer in this city who had the audacity to take on City Hall and the most powerful church in the city, I would have just quietly gone away. At the time I felt it was really my only option, to fight back legally, even though it was a David vs. Goliath fight all the way with my very young (30 years old at the time in 2009), but as it turns out extremely skilled lawyer who stayed with me all the way. In the first lawsuit against the city, it was me and Mike squaring off against a battery of lawyers in over 20 depositions of church officials and the assistant state attorney, all the way up to the elected Sheriff John Rutherford himself – every deposition was a room filled with lawyers: at least 3 lawyers for the city, two from the State Attorney’s office in Tallahassee, a lawyer from the church, and at times even a lawyer from the FBI as the detective in the center of that case did work for the FBI as well as the sheriff’s office. My deposition in the case went the full 8 hours, and they deposed nearly every single person in my extended family.

    Your post here brought back some great memories in those early days of the legal battle when I needed a friend, and you’ll never know what encouragement you were to me and Yvette as we were able to tell you our story. When you called Angela Corey herself (who by the way is in the national news now as the lead investigator in the Treyvon Martin case!) and interviewed her about the detective’s investigation, I knew you two were going to be blogging forces to be reckoned with!! Indeed your interview with Corey did come up multiple times in the depositions.

    Can’t say much more right now, but I thought I’d talk about the “Watchdog” logo as I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that on the blog. That dog is our 3 1/2 year old Yorkie named “Riley”. Riley is very special, as my daughter has always wanted a Yorkie and Riley came into our family on just about the same day that this whole mess came about in early 2009. I wasn’t a big fan of getting Riley, but he quickly won me over and I soon learned that Riley was a bit like the FBC Jax Watchdog…he was small and insignificant, but had a loud piercing bark that he used when he sensed something was wrong in or outside the house – and his bark was extremely annoying to certain people (like our neighbors!) who I’m sure would like to shut him down. I thought he would be the perfect “face” of the Watchdog blog, thus he became the logo and I came up with the Blogger profile for Riley. At Christmas time I change the logo to Riley in his Santa hat. This was our first Yorkie, and we are HUGE Yorkie lovers now, and Riley just recently got a Yorkie sister…I joke that she is Riley’s “armor bearer”.

    Thanks again, and Yvette and I look forward to finally meeting up with you two later this year.

  7. Tom R,

    You and your wife are my heroes! Power-mongering pastors are out of control here in America.

    I am so grateful you and your attorney had the courage to stand against what I believe to be corruption at its worst. When pastors and judges – Patterson and Pressler immediately come to mind – conspire to gain control of religious institutions, you can be sure that anyone who stands in their way will be maligned.

    I pray that a new day has dawned. We must stand against those who misrepresent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is one of our primary goals here at TWW.

  8. The fish rots at the head first. This “church” is rotten from the top down. Why would anyone follow a man who is enriching himself at their expense? It really is hard to comprehend.

  9. At that time, we too were anonymous bloggers. It angered us to think that an irritated church could so profoundly interfere with the civil rights of individuals. If a church could so easily convince law enforcement to interfere with Tom’s legal right of privacy, can you imagine how rampant such requests could become?

    Gives a whole new angle to the Christianese Activist claim to “Take Back America!” and “Restore a Godly Christian Nation!” (with the Real True Christians (TM) like FBC Jax wielding all the power of the State just like Calvin in Geneva or Khomeini in Iran). Secular Civil Rights or the Righteousness of GOD?

    This “church” is rotten from the top down. Why would anyone follow a man who is enriching himself at their expense? It really is hard to comprehend. — Randall Slack

    Not that hard. God-talk lending Divine Right to Rule. God Saith, God Hath Said, God WILL Hold You Accountable (i.e. God WILL Punish You if you step out of line). Salvation/Fire Escape at stake, everything (no matter how petty) ramped up to Cosmic Significance. Guilt and Fear Manipulation honed to a fine art.

  10. But why does this “Christian” faith presentation happen here? I mean…do situations like FBC Jax happen in Europe, Asia, Pacific rim or South America? Why do these situations happen here? Has money corrupted the evangelical church? — Eagle

    The money is secondary. What is primary is “authority” which truly belongs to the author (note two words, same root) of our faith, Jesus Christ. But humans seek authority, because that leads to power — the ability to dictate what the theology of the church is and how that is to be lived out in the polity. With the right dose of authority in the church, the pastor can set his compensation, hire his family and others key to his maintaining his position, and live a relatively uncomplicated life of ease as the CEO of a totally controlled organization where all he has to do is keep an eye on things and give a 20-40 minute talk once a week. — Arce

    “For the hearts of Men are easily corrupted; and the Ring of POWER has a Will of its own.” — J.R.R.Tolkien

  11. Robbie Hinson, a sheriff’s detective attending FBC Jax, reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the Watchdog’s identity by obtaining subpoenas from the State of Florida Attorney General’s office. By the way, Detective Hinson has served as Mac Brunson’s personal bodyguard. Since when do pastors (besides Mark Driscoll) need body guards?

    Armorbearers. The word is Armorbearers (TM).

    “Use proper code words at all times. Relocation. Resettlement. Delousing.” — Hauptsturmfuehrer Eric Dorf, the TV miniseries Holocaust

  12. randall
    I have one thought about your question “Why would anyone follow a man who is enriching himself at their expense?” Many Americans do not like to have to deal with the issue of wealth. It is hard to deal with Jesus’ commands to take care of the poor. Most of us throw some token dollars at the problem and then spend our money on ‘things’. That includes myself. I think there are many people in churches who want their pastor to reflect their lifestyle so that he doesn’t challenge them on theirs.

    I have often laughed at those who get irritated at David Platt who lives in the inner city. People accuse (yes, accuse) him of advocating the “new monasticism.” Translation: Don’t go telling me to sacrifice.

    And people like Brunson are all to happy to comply with the “just like me” pastor.

  13. Two things jumped out at me as I read your summary that have never struck me before. The first was that Rich was invited to a meeting but the topics were so restricted that there would not really be any discussion. It really was just an inquisition.

    Second, the fact that Rich could not bring a lawyer and record a meeting. I would not normally want deacons’ or elders’ meetings recorded. But under the circumstances, that should have been allowed.

    The thing that surprised me about the way the lawsuit against the City went down was that the deputy never tried to justify requesting the subpoena. When I first read the facts, I assumed that the deputy and the church would attempt to make some connection between the alleged theft of mail at the Brunson home or the alleged staking of Mrs. Brunson. In the end, the deputy asked for the subpoena just because he (or the other lay or clergy leaders at FBC) wanted to. Subpoenas are not issued to satisfy urges of curiosity. They must be connected to facts related to a legal matter. And again, I thought the deputy and the Sheriff’s office would make some attempt to justify why the request for the subpoena was necessary. They did not. I guess they are to be applauded for their honesty. But they sure should be chastised for their lack of legal knowledge. The only sin of the State Attorney’s Office was to basically honor the request with such a flimsy explanation.

    I would really enjoy reading all of the depositions. It would be great if Rich or his attorney could post them on line.

  14. I get the impression Mac fought this lawsuit in a very vigorous way. My question is did he do the right thing at the end of this lawsuit or just do what his attorneys told him to. In other words did Mac ever really try and do the Christian thing.

  15. And speaking of Armorbearers/Enforcers…

    Why did “Mac Brunson’s “bodyguard” become the investigative officer involved in obtaining the subpoenas and submitting the charges? Is there a conflict of interest here?

    I’d like to know what’s been done about that cop who seems to have moonlighted as Preacher-Man’s Enforcer. Investigating Officer is Preacher-Man’s Armorbearer/Enforcer, making a criminal investigation of an enemy of Preacher-Man. NOW THAT NEEDS AN INVESTIGATION ITSELF — PREFERABLY WITH *THAT* INVESTIGATING OFFICER HAVING *NO* CONNECTION TO PREACHER-MAN OR HIS ARMORBEARER/ENFORCER!

  16. Mot:

    On his blog, Wade Burleson quotes from the Brunson deposition that Wade reports was just taken in February of this year. In the portion that is quoted, Brunson appears to be unapologetic and states that he developed his opinions about Tom Rich being sociopathic from reading Rich’s blog.

    He sounds pretty strong 2 months ago.

    On would think that long before February of this year Brunson would have realized that calling Brunson names based on psychiatric or pyschological disorders was not good form, and was inaccurate inasmuch as Rich is neither and Brunson has no training to be able to say such a thing.

    Brunson would have been well served long ago to say that he is not a doctor or a psychologist, that he chose words to describe Rich that were not accurate in the normal sense of the words, and that he should not have used those words and apologize for using them.

    You know, it’s really odd. Brunson could have said, “I think this Rich guy is nutty!” and that would have been o.k. We all make judgments like that.

    Brunson got in trouble, I think, for trying to throw around big words that he did not understand but that have very precise meanings.

    That is a common human error, especially for people (and should I say, preachers) who are not used to being questioned.

    I believe the best thing Brunson could do would be to get some humble laymen around him who are able and willing to tell Brunson when he is wrong or says something foolish.

    That’s not in the model of church leadership for many churches, but it ought to be.

  17. HowDee YaAll,

    Yes, It is a common for human beings to error (no duh huh?), and Pastors are no different, n’est-ce pas? Yes, The best thing a faithful, Christ following, and biblically pro-active Pastor could do to serve his congargation, indeed, would be to biblically get some humble laymen around themselves who are able and willing, and have the freedom, having also the liberty to tell their dear Pastor when concerns for wrong are being considered. Making this policy change -the new model of church leadership for all churches… It ought to be? Ought, Should, Could, Would… Pastor(s) …Make it so…

    Like Odysseus’s trusted counselor was assigned the responsibility to raise Odysseus’s son Telemachus, while Odysseus was away fighting in Troy, (a tale told to us in Greek mythology) Pastors are assigned a ‘trust position’ aka a task to teach and to pray, to serve Jesus’ interest, and to demonstrate Christ by example, while Jesus is away…(He said: tend the flock. i.e. Feed my sheep, he told Peter)

     “With the abundance of councilors, there is safety” 



    Sopy ㋡ 
    Comic relief: Picard – “Make It So…”

  18. Dee – Mr. Gerber is incorrect. Don’t waste your time. Court Reporters can only sell depo transcripts to non-parties IF there is no objection from the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant. You can be sure lawyers for FBC Jax and the Brunsons won’t okay it. Of course, IF any of those depositions were filed in the court file, you CAN buy copies from the Court Reporter. Sorry. Looks like those transcripts, at least the ones from the slander suit, will never see the light of day. The depos of the Brunsons from the suit against the city, however, assuming that one did not involve a confidential settlement, may be more accessible. Good luck.

  19. A little off topic here, but about pastors having bodyguards; I believe its actually quite common in larger churches. When pastors become as popular as celebrities, believe it or not, some people might actually try to kill them. I know at Shadow Mountain (where I went to college), David Jeremiah had one, and he’s a nice guy. The smaller mega church where I interned did not have them, but this was partially because multiple members of the choir had CCW’s and were packing under their coats. A shooter in that congregation would not have gotten very far. We would often jest that our platform had more firepower than some third world countries. It was comical to watch a loud noise in the lobby result in about a dozen men crouching low and reaching inside their vests.

  20. Sophia,
    Regarding your petition, are you kidding? I agree with the sentiment, but to give my name and address to Seriously?

  21. Junkster,

    This Resurrection Sunday will be even more meaningful now that you’re back!

    Who could ever forget your depiction of The Wartburg Tingle?

    Just to be clear, Dee is the one in front! 😛

  22. “David Jeremiah had one, and he’s a nice guy”

    If he told even one person in crisis or a bad situation that God would protect them. He is a hypocrite. I hope he hasn’t. For his sake.