FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Discuss current news and trends taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moderator: William Thornton

FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 02, 2009 10:20 am

ABP's report on it gives exerpts from the filings, including the following:

He also alleges that the investigation violated the First Amendment clauses that prohibit the establishment of religion and guarantee free exercise of religious beliefs.

The lawsuit alleges the criminal investigation was "fabricated to create the illusion of legitimacy" but really was "a mere pretext for the discovery and disclosure" of Rich's identity to the church.

By investigating the blog, the lawsuit says, Hinson, "acting under color of state law, spent taxpayer money and government time prosecuting an errand of the church and in so doing acted as an extension and enforcer for a particular religious entity."

The lawsuit claims the actions were "deliberate and malicious" and served "no governmental interest." It seeks damages in excess of $15,000.


The same story quotes the church:

The church released a statement April 29 saying: "First Baptist Church of Jacksonville appreciates the difficult responsibilities of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office as they diligently keep the people of public and private institutions in Jacksonville safe from serious and potential harm. Officer Robert Hinson, who serves on our security detail that is responsible for the safety of 8,000 people each week, is a man of great character, integrity and ability. We continue, as always, to strongly support each of them."
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon May 04, 2009 9:29 am

Blogger in church tussle can't have it both ways

"The First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ..."

Before Thomas Rich's identity was revealed, his freedom was not abridged. After his identity was revealed, his freedom was still not abridged.

This might be humorous if it weren't for the "boy cries wolf once too often" implications.

The more the First Amendment is trivialized, the less likely people will be concerned when it really is violated."


I will state it again, Mr. Rich had hand in revealing his identity to the world by posting the subpeonas on his site which tipped off the local newspaper.
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Mon May 04, 2009 9:51 am

Steve Wilcox wrote:Blogger in church tussle can't have it both ways

"The First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ..."

Before Thomas Rich's identity was revealed, his freedom was not abridged. After his identity was revealed, his freedom was still not abridged.

This might be humorous if it weren't for the "boy cries wolf once too often" implications.

The more the First Amendment is trivialized, the less likely people will be concerned when it really is violated."


I will state it again, Mr. Rich had hand in revealing his identity to the world by posting the subpeonas on his site which tipped off the local newspaper.


The writer of the above is a member of FBCJax, he discloses the same in his opinion piece.

I don't know about a First Amendment suit on this. I would speculate that the church dearly hopes the matter doesn't get to the point of depositons where the parties involved are under oath.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby SLyons » Mon May 04, 2009 10:24 am

Steve - Now I understand your position.

You've been harping on whether Rich is the one that unmasked himself. Got it. To you that is key because then there was no abridging of his first amendment on the part of JSO if he himself revealed his identity.

But the violation of his first amendment rights occured at the precise moment his identity was given to the church. That occured in October. Rich posted copies of subpoenas on his website in December - with names removed.

Also, please read up on the "establishment clause" of the first amendment. That is also violated here, when a government body took sides in a religious dispute.
SLyons
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 am
Location: Palatka, Florida

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon May 04, 2009 11:11 am

SLyons wrote:Steve - Now I understand your position.

You've been harping on whether Rich is the one that unmasked himself. Got it. To you that is key because then there was no abridging of his first amendment on the part of JSO if he himself revealed his identity.

But the violation of his first amendment rights occured at the precise moment his identity was given to the church. That occured in October. Rich posted copies of subpoenas on his website in December - with names removed.

Also, please read up on the "establishment clause" of the first amendment. That is also violated here, when a government body took sides in a religious dispute.


Ok, glad you understand my position better.

I understand your side as well, but do not accept it as a "violation of his first amendment rights" because no one has "abridged" his rights to speech. As far as I know, no government agency has taken his computer, blocked his IPs, put him in jail or even threatened him with arrest. He has been freely using speech since what you consider the 1st amendment violation in October. Perhaps you could show us in the Constitution the location of the "anonymity" clause.

The government did not "take sides" they simply investigated possible criminal activity. How is that taking sides? Are they supposed to ignore churches in Jacksonville? Did you not notice the JSO has a department specifically dedicated to religious issues that works on ALL religious denominational matters?

Everyone claims the JSO is not supposed to tell the ones asking for an investigation who the person is, but no one can cite a law or even a JSO procedure that backs it up. There is no right to being anonymous only to free speech and Mr. Rich has enjoyed that immensely.
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby SLyons » Mon May 04, 2009 11:41 am

http://www.eff.org/cases/manalapan-v-moskovitz

At least in the case above, the subpoena was attempted to be obtained in a civil case..imagine if the city went to a cop and tried to tie the bloggers writings to unreported crimes that occured a year or so before the blog started, and the cops found the blogger's identity and gave it to the party who sought it.

So Steve, I hope you can agree with this: IF it can be proven that there was no investigation done by the Detective, that he opened a case for the SOLE purpose of being able to get a subpoena issued to identify the blogger, and it is proven to a jury that NO investigation was done, that the subpoenas were purposely obtained under the radar so to speak, that there was not even any evidence that would suggest an investigation needed to be opened in the first place, then can you agree this was a terrible injustice done under the color of law, where our government officials allowed themselves to be used by a powerful church to find the identity of a critic so they could then punish the person? I'm not saying you believe these things Steve, but if it can be proven to a jury's satisfaction that these things are so, would you then agree: the police, the prosecutor's office, and the church share in the blame of what was a violation of a person's free speech?

http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

Supreme Court, Steve, has clearly ruled that anonymous speech is protected speech, and to take away a person's anonymity against their will is to take away their right to anonymous speech.

Love ya, bro.
SLyons
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 am
Location: Palatka, Florida

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon May 04, 2009 12:10 pm

As I told you in our PMs if the church was using the JSO and specifically Det. Hinson only to get the identity then I am on your side with respect to the "terrible injustice".

As for the SCOTUS ruling on the anonymity - I guess you learn something new everyday. But it the central part on this is whether or not FBCJax had good legal intent on the investigation.
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby David A. Johnson » Mon May 04, 2009 1:37 pm

At least in the case above, the subpoena was attempted to be obtained in a civil case..imagine if the city went to a cop and tried to tie the bloggers writings to unreported crimes that occured a year or so before the blog started, and the cops found the blogger's identity and gave it to the party who sought it.


No imagining required now. It happened.
David A. Johnson
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:14 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Tue May 05, 2009 8:51 am

I was reading some of the comments posted to the newpaper article above and it seems those on the side of the blogger cannot simply disagree without being insulting, calling the church a cult, etc.

Is it really that difficult to simply disagree? :?
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 05, 2009 9:21 am

Steve Wilcox wrote:I was reading some of the comments posted to the newpaper article above and it seems those on the side of the blogger cannot simply disagree without being insulting, calling the church a cult, etc.

Is it really that difficult to simply disagree? :?


There's no question that a large, influential church has its critics. This goes with the territory of doing something significant for the Lord, something that makes the church well known in the community. The critics, the cynics, the militant agnostics they have with them always. When the church messes up, as in the blogger case IMO, the critics really get to braying about it, all the more reason for the church to go over and beyond to protect their reputation in the community and not diminish it. I fear that the latter has been what has happened here. It cannot get better for FBCJax, only worse. Too bad because the church has been a great church.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue May 05, 2009 10:28 am

Ed: William when you write "It cannot get better for FBCJax, only worse. Too bad because the church has been a great church" does this mean that you do not believe in miracles?

While it does seem that FBCJax has messed up big time. I am persuaded that with some honest soul searching that leads to true repentance, that church could once again have a positive influence in the Jacksonville community.
User avatar
Ed Pettibone
 
Posts: 11963
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: .Burnt Hills, New York, Capital Area

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 05, 2009 2:57 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: William when you write "It cannot get better for FBCJax, only worse. Too bad because the church has been a great church" does this mean that you do not believe in miracles?

While it does seem that FBCJax has messed up big time. I am persuaded that with some honest soul searching that leads to true repentance, that church could once again have a positive influence in the Jacksonville community.


Would that you were right here, Ed. It will take something different than we have seen so far.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby SLyons » Tue May 05, 2009 6:32 pm

Steve - it is clear the actions of Mac Brunson and the police and state prosecutor in this matter have really captured the attention of Jacksonville. I see the editorial from yesterday had almost 2000 reads, and 4 pages of comments and was the most read and commented news story for the day - the vast majority of the comments were anti-FBC Jax. What screams loudest is the silence from any FBC Jax people - very few are posting and defending the integrity of their pastor.

It is quite unfortunate it has gone this far. This public travesty which has garnered attention from all over the country, and probably will go national news as the lawsuit progresses, it falls square in the lap of the leadership of the church. To deal with this lone blogger they had many options, and they chose the wrong option strategically - could have ignored it, could have addressed the concerns raised publicly, could have posted responses to the blog on their blogs, could have filed a slander/libel suit to identify the blogger and then demand false information be removed...A.C. Soud admitted in the Deacon's resolution they considered several options.

But they chose the wrong strategy: to contact the police, use past, unreported criminal allegations to tie them to the blogger, to get the police to subpoena his identity. This pulling in of the police into this church discipline matter has now exposed them to be prime witnesses to a lawsuit against the police, and they have exposed themselves to depositions of internal church matters. As William has pointed out, this will go down in SBC history as a case study of how NOT to handle church discipline of a vocal critic. Sadly, ironically, Mac and A.C. Soud viewed themselves as being clever, "cutting edge", in their strategy. It has now erupted into an out-of-control media news storm. Failed leadership to the extreme.

There is no way that any of this would have gone to the local news media if it were just a church squabble. The Times Union interest in this story was only in that the local sheriff's office was found to have been investigating church blogs. That was the point the Times Union was compelled to report this story.

But to make matters worse, after they chose the wrong strategy to involve the police in their church "tussle" as the Times Union reporter called it, they then chose the wrong tactics every single step of the way.

Let's look at their tactical errors, any ONE of them if they had not committed might have avoided this public fiasco:

1. They wrote a letter declaring they found the bloggers identity. Probably should have first gone to meet with him and told him they suspected he was the blogger, and asked him to stop and offered to answer questions and meet with the pastor. Three page letter as a first step? A face to face with one or two men with the blogger would have been better. And biblical.

2. They issued trespass warnings ALONG WITH the letter for Tom Rich. Probably shouldn't have done that. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Didn't the trustees see this?

3. They then decided to ban his wife at the same time. Wasn't there one trustee or pastor who would have seen this as over-kill, and would be seen as vindictive and mean. What is there to gain by filing trespass warnings against a woman in the church for the sin of associating with her husband? This act told Rich undoubtedly they were not seeking reconciliation, but were out instead to hurt him and his family to revenge the hurt they felt the blogger had caused their pastor.

4. They then decided to not give in to a single one of his demands to meet with them - they could have had the meeting in December if they had agreed to allow him to bring a witness or tape recorder, and picked up the phone and told him how he was identified. They decided not to - showing they really weren't all that concerned with meeting with him, and they signaled to him they just wanted him gone forever.

5. They decided to officially file trespass warnings with the JSO against Rich and wife. This was the only public record anywhere with Rich's name on it. If not for this document, the Times Union may not have ever found Rich's name.

6. After they received word he joined another church, they could have rejoiced and said finally, let's wait for the guy to stop blogging now that he is gone. Nope. They had to continue their discipline process against a person no longer a member.

7. They could have decided not to release the name of Thomas Rich to the deacons on Feb 23rd. That was not necessary to get them to ratify the Deacon's Resolution. If they had not released Thomas Rich's name to the deacons as the blog owner, they would have been in good shape as word of the mail stealing and stalking and state attorney would not have reached Rich.

8. At the meeting, they also had to tell the deacons about stalking, mail stealing in reference to the blogger. Big mistake. Then, perhaps the biggest blunder was mentioning the words "state attorney's investigation". They told the deacons to not let that information out of the room, but apparently it got back to Tom Rich that he had possibly been accused of crimes and the state attorney was involved - compelling Tom Rich to then do his own investigation at JSO and state attorney's office to uncover what they had done to him in October.

9. Then, they also had to go before the church to read the Deacon's Resolution. Rich was already gone, joined another church, but they couldn't help themselves. They had to read the resolution and get the church to vote on it. They felt it necessary to make a public example of the blogger, and warn the other members of a similar fate if they did the same thing. And it brings up the quesiton: if they felt compelled to tell the deacons Rich's name, why not tell the congregation also? Their failure to give Rich's name to the church in the resolution was not a show of restraint, but it was a legal maneuver to try to avoid a lawsuit from publicly disciplining someone who had already left the church; but it begs the question: then why release his name to the 70 to 100 deacons, which as I said was a tactical mistake as well potentially a legal mistake.

10. They then proudly displayed the Deacons resolution on their website for about a month. If it was an internal church matter of church discipline, why a public display on their website?

11. Then the pastor had to go and call him a mentally unstable sociopath in the local media.

That, Steve, is the "perfect storm" caused by group think of failed leadership - a group of very smart men who could not see at each step of the way what they were getting their church into, and the great risk they put their church at in every step. It stinks of arrogance and vindictiveness.

And Randy - none of the above has anything to do with Rich not first going to the pastor. That was way before any of this, and irrelevant to their decision making process.

And now there is no going back, the genie is out of the bottle, and now everyone, including Rich, must face the music of unbiblical church discipline run amok. And the city of Jacksonville, along with the SBC, is watching.
SLyons
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 am
Location: Palatka, Florida

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 05, 2009 9:06 pm

Outstanding summary, SLyons.

I've never understood why an honest conversation wasn't possible at the beginning of this stuff.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Randy » Tue May 05, 2009 10:20 pm

Sorry to disappoint you but it has everything to do with the fact that Tom Rich did not have the integrity to go in and meet with his pastor about his concerns. Since Wade Burleson has told us that Tom Rich is a spiritual giant (based on a telephone conversation) then I'm sure Mac Brunson would have known him and been willing to sit down and talk to him. And all of this took place way before any action was taken on the part of the church by the way.

It is interesting that you are hearing absolutely nothing from the church leadership. Perhaps you might want to entertain the idea that there might actually be another side of the story and more facts than you are reading about in the newspaper. Surely as pastors you have learned that there are always two sides to a story and sometimes both of them are wrong. I would tend to think it is that way in this situation.
Randy
 

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby SLyons » Tue May 05, 2009 10:53 pm

Randy McDonald - your repeated use of the "spiritual giant" description of Tom Rich gives you away. You've posted this numerous times on the Watchdog blog. Why do you post there anonymously? When did Wade Burleson ever call Tom Rich a spiritual giant? You are lying my friend. Shame on you for hiding your identity on blogs, and then criticizing others for their anonymity.

The point here, Randy McDonald, is that once Tom Rich did not go speak to the pastor, then the church made many wrong decisions in how they responded that have ultimately resulted in this being a public disgrace, Randy McDonald.

And Randy McDonald, yes, there will be another side of the story that will likely come out. And both sides will be told. The sooner FBC Jax gives their side the better.

Thanks for listening, Randy McDonald.

Good day, sir.
SLyons
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 am
Location: Palatka, Florida

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Wed May 06, 2009 6:57 am

Randy wrote:Perhaps you might want to entertain the idea that there might actually be another side of the story and more facts than you are reading about in the newspaper. Surely as pastors you have learned that there are always two sides to a story and sometimes both of them are wrong. I would tend to think it is that way in this situation.


Here is FBCJax's problem in the age of blogging: They have let this thing get completely away from them. Their only public responses and actions have been few and some of those few (the legal actions, the questionable initiation of an investigation by their in-house law enforcement, and the unwise public words of the pastor) have been appallingly foolish. Meanwhile, the blogger has stated his side early and often to a large and growing audience. One suspects that there is not much of another side that is positive for the church and that if there were they would surely have found a way to get it out. The church appears to have followed an unwise route in this from both a practical and a biblical standpoint.

But...I suppose there is more to come...

Randy, are you a pastor (I have that sense but don't know where it came from)? Would you mind commenting on just one item in all this: What is your opinion of the pastor's public labeling of the blogger as a "sociopath," having an "obsessive compulsive" problem, and being "not very stable at all"?
These were his comments to a reporter and reported in a story (Jax News story of April 8th). I don't know how there could be another side to that.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Haruo » Wed May 06, 2009 12:39 pm

William, on his Profile he lists his occupation as "pastor". And while Randy indeed appears to be Randy McDonald (as slyons states), I find many other people on the Watchdog comment columns using the term "spiritual giant", often with quotation marks around "'spiritual'". Incidentally, I also found this highly entertaining picture:Image...on Randy McDonald's blog.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11205
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Wed May 06, 2009 1:15 pm

Randy, pastor, Dallas was right there in front of me in his profile. Interesting blog.

Randy, since you are in Dallas, for the record, did you or do you have any connection to Brunson or FBC Dallas? No problem with your pro-Brunson/FBCJax positions here on BLife but you do sound a bit strident in your hostility towards the blogger and a bit oblivious in your support of FBCJax and pastor.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby JaneFordA » Wed May 06, 2009 3:16 pm

What a shame there isn't a way to put every last one of these idiots in prison and demolish that stupid place in the bargain. That this adolescent drama gets so much attention merits some serious penalty. "Boring the crap out of the population-at-large" could be the lead-off charge.
User avatar
JaneFordA
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:09 pm
Location: Glendale, OH (home of the famous black squirrels)

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby David A. Johnson » Wed May 06, 2009 4:14 pm

William,

Our friend Randy has been a bit oblivious to the truth in the past, too.

[edited by William]

[Note by Wm: David, I can't confirm who this Randy is and if you are linking the same person as the one who posts here. To be cautious I am holiding your links. I can put them back later.

Randy, I suspect you know what this is. If you care to comment you may do so here or PM me.

In my view Randy's opinon about the Jax situation doesn't hinge on what he has allegedly said elsewhere.

I was only curious if he had a Brunson connection.]
David A. Johnson
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:14 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby David A. Johnson » Wed May 06, 2009 5:44 pm

In my view Randy's opinon about the Jax situation doesn't hinge on what he has allegedly said elsewhere.


I believe it does speak to his credibility... or lack of. Please check out the links I provided. You will see that it is the same person. How many Southern Baptist pastors named Randy McDonald who have doctorates do you think live in Rowlett, Texas, even if they do leave "Baptist" out of the names of their churches?
David A. Johnson
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:14 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Wed May 06, 2009 6:13 pm

David A. Johnson wrote:
In my view Randy's opinon about the Jax situation doesn't hinge on what he has allegedly said elsewhere.


I believe it does speak to his credibility... or lack of. Please check out the links I provided. You will see that it is the same person. How many Southern Baptist pastors named Randy McDonald who have doctorates do you think live in Rowlett, Texas, even if they do leave "Baptist" out of the names of their churches?


You may be right. I did read the links but I'd prefer to be cautious about it and think that is the prudent route to take. I'd remind you that this matter isn't about him but about FBCJax.

Randy's opinon stated here, rather stridently in support of the pastor and anti-blogger, doesn't depend on what he may have said elsewhere. Some folks seem to default to the position of the church and pastor, a position that eventually causes embarrassment.

I would appreciate your indulgence in this. Thanks.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11441
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Thu May 07, 2009 11:24 am

William Thornton wrote:Outstanding summary, SLyons.

I've never understood why an honest conversation wasn't possible at the beginning of this stuff.


Probably because it is hard to arrange a meeting with someone when you don't know their name.
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: FBCJax Watchdog's lawsuit

Postby Steve Wilcox » Thu May 07, 2009 11:29 am

Slyons,

Your comment, “…very few are posting and defending the integrity of their pastor” is a bit misleading. When Dr. Vines made comments about Islam and Mohammed a few years ago there were very few posting to support him either, I know because I was one of them defending him on the internet boards. Where were you and Mr. Rich? I guess we are to interpret that to mean Dr. Vines did not have integrity. From what I have read on the Times Union site it is a few rabid God haters, some ignorant to the facts, some just outright slanderous and there are a few balanced comments as well.

It is unfortunate that it has gone this far, but excuse me if I do not think you are sincere in your expressed concern.

Why do you call out Randy for posting anonymously on the blog? Have you ever posted anonymously on the blog?

You and William are correct in stating, “…this will go down in SBC history as a case study of how NOT to handle church discipline of a vocal critic.” I have to agree with your assessment from the point of the where the church got the JSO involved in this church matter. However, leading up to that point you conveniently leave out the blame on the part of the blogger. What I now list I target both Tom Rich, his predecessor and his supporters.

1. The blogger(s) made a church matter public by using the internet.
2. The blog was never conducted in a loving tone, partly because of the media of printed rather than spoken words. Printed words lose their context and tone when written by those unable to inflect proper tone into the words.
3. The blog was always rude, accusatory and sometimes slanderous. Comments such as "fleecing" or “intentionally being misled” fall into this category.
4. The blog allowed for disparaging remarks about the staff and the church, in general, from others.
5. The blog went on an intentional campaign to harm the finances of the church.
6. The blogger(s) sought to intentionally discourage people from attending the yearly Pastor’s Conference.
7. The blogger(s) was never honest about himself by using anonymity. Even when his identity was known he acted as if the subpoenas were for someone else.
8. The blogger(s) never attempted to meet with the staff.
9. The blogger(s) failed to use proper means to invoke change in the church government.
10. The blogger(s) gave no care to how the blog reflects on Christ or His Church.
11. The bloggers made comparisons of Dr. Brunson to local pedophile pastors by lumping him in with very devious sexual behavior.
12. The blogger(s) seem to be experts in how non-profits and pastors are to conduct themselves, but have no rules of conduct for themselves.
13. The blogger(s) have demanded transparency, for everyone else, but denied everyone else transparency to the bloggers.
14. The blogger(s) have consistently shifted any and all blame for this “public fiasco” solely on FBCJax, while claiming innocence on their part.
15. The blogger(s) have inflicted great emotional damage and embarrassment to the current members of FBCJax.
16. Mr. Rich claims to be a 20+ year member of FBCJax, yet has conducted himself as a carnal person consistently for the past two years. This means his actions have not been led by the Holy Spirit but by his own desires. It is all about what HE wants.
17. The bloggers have taken excerpts from sermons and twisted them to mean something else. The “I paid for my house” sermon audio is a perfect example.
18. The blogging did not stop after he joined another church and it did not stop when Mr. Rich said it would stop at least two or three times. Since he was at a new church why didn't he simply shut down the blog? My guess is to get even.

You act as if you are concerned about this “public fiasco” but the truth is you have done very little to solve it and only added fuel to it.

And I say it again, up to the point where the JSO got involved I believe this would have handled the same way under Dr. Lindsay. As a matter of fact he probably would have called the bloggers out from the pulpit and probably told you where the door is and then received a standing ovation. The bloggers seem to think because he was at FBCJax for 30 years he gets to be heavy handed, non-transparent and take gifts but no one else does. It is simple for me, the bloggers have been unhappy at FBCJax for years, you were just waiting for a new guy to pounce on and deliver your transparency manifesto. Then when you provoked Dr. Brunson enough he did some stupid things and now we are where we are. But I guess that is all Dr. Brunson’s fault for not being spiritual enough. After all he is a pastor and above sin. Right?

But that does not discount the fact that some had problems with a lack of tranparency at FBCJax and it probably should have been addressed, however, not with a blog.

You and William can try to place all the blame on the staff, but it is wholly shared.

The blame on FBCJax is:

1. They are bad at resolving conflicts, only offering that people consider leaving the church.
2. They could have at least offered a meeting via the blog to meet way back in February 2007.
3. They abused the by-law process to arrange it for future use against dissenters.
4. They should not have used the JSO to gain the identity of the blogger.
5. They should NEVER have obtained a trespass notice against him and not allowed his wife on the property without first having a meeting about the issues.
6. They should have had an honest meeting with the blogger when they did find out who he was.(not the one offered as it was trial-like)
7. They should not have told all the deacons who he was before having this meeting.
8. They should have kept his identity within the staff involved until a face to face meeting took place between him and the staff.
9. Were not concerned with how this reflects on Christ and the church.
10. Failed to reach out in love to reconcile with a brother in Christ.

The only solution at this point is for BOTH sides to admit where they were wrong, meet to seek forgiveness from each other, then do so in front of the church and then and only then seek to work to a point where a comfortable level of transparency can be achieved for both sides.

I again hold out hope for this to happen and then look forward to the FBCJax revival.
Steve Wilcox
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:21 pm

Next

Return to SBC News and Trends

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron