In April, we posted on the Wall the plight of Mr. Thomas A. Rich… or as he is known to the Christendom blogosphere, FBC Jax Watchdog.

In that heralded post seen here, I hurled this visceral harangue about free speech, not acting like a pastor and potential bruising a man’s walk with God by confirming his fears about the eye of his defection.

Although Mr. Rich has been sniffing around and not barking much, he is taking a huge bite out of Pastor Brunson’s tail with… wait for it… a law suit.

The blogger, Tom Rich, claims his identity was unfairly revealed by JSO and church officials after he posted “critical articles on his blog called FBC Jax Watchdog about Pastor Mac Brunson of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville in 2007.”

Michael Roberts, Rich’s lawyer, told First Coast News the blogs were not threatening. Roberts said Rich was basically banned from the church after church officials learned his identity and filed a trespass warning with JSO.

All he needs is to be mustachioed

All he needs is to be mustachioed

Okay, we have some ill-wind blowing here. Evidently, our fellow blogger of the cloth got a bit too up-close-and-personal with the rotund reverend and now Mr. Rich isn’t welcome in Brunson’s church or those in the greater Jacksonville area thanks to his vitriol.

Hrm. Nowhere, seriously? I know there is a smaller pentecostal or evangelical church that could use the press.

MEMO to the Dog: Mix in something other than a Southern Baptist church where Mac doesn’t have the pastor on speed dial. The dude is uber-connected. Just sayin’.

Back to the show…

So, why sue to get back in church? Why make a mountain range out of the molehill known as a blowhard pastor doing what his ilk does… whatever the heck he wanted and not a “Yes Man” in sight to tell him erstwhile.

Rich declined on camera interview but said on his blog, “I desire through this lawsuit that an equally powerful message will be sent to influential church trustees and powerful pastors who seek to squelch dissent of their members through unbiblical bullying and intimidation tactics.

Please, visit the Other Bricks in the Wall. Perhaps, the ACME Arena. Or even, WOW News

Every blogger perched high atop the Wall are purveyors on a mission. Some discuss theology. Others rant about life and God. Most unveil the muck and the mire inside the pulpit. All are church-going, Jesus-loving folk.

I have a dollar that says Mr. Rich is as well, but he – like most of us – had some grievances with the goings-on in the pulpit so he exercised his freedom of speech to say what he wanted, when he wanted. And proceeded to do so with the thunderous yawp of, “You’ve been served.”

Much could be said of Mac Brunson.

After he crawled off the floor and got his thumb out of his mouth (you see, his feelers were hurted), he used his free speech to throw out an edict that Mr. Rich was banned from his church… and then got really juvenile by text messaging all his homiletical homies to be on the lookout for this dude who talks … eh, types smack.

Sure, what Mac did was not pastoral. What he did was class-less. What he did was waaay below what he is capable of doing (I know that first-hand). What he did was not in the WWJD mold. But, what he did was served lawfully.

So, whose side am I on? God’s.

As I channel the spirit of all Southern Baptist preachers out there, allow me to give you the three steps to not going this far, as told to us in Matthew 18:15-18 (CEV).

If one of my followers sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. (1.) But do it in private, just between the two of you. (2.) If that person listens, you have won back a follower. But if that one refuses to listen, take along one or two others. (3.) The Scriptures teach that every complaint must be proven true by two or more witnesses. If the follower refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church. Anyone who refuses to listen to the church must be treated like an unbeliever or a tax collector.

In Mr. Rich’s opinion, there was sin, so point it out he did. Technically, it was private because “FBC JAX” was anonymous, that is until Mac went snooping. Did Mac listen? Of course not, so the now unveiled Mr. Rich made it a little public, or created witnesses.

So far, so good. Right?

Here’s the rub: “If the follower refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church.” Um, Mac is that church, so who is Mr. Rich going to tell? God… or some other judge? Yeah, he hollered at Judge Mathis, or whatever TV judge is on in Florida.

You see, is it really what church was designed to be if you have to take legal recourse to get your blessed assurance back in the house? Not so much. Wouldn’t you have no other choice than to “forsake the assembly of the saints together” if you go this route? Then why do it?!

Thank you FBC JAX for the post office shot

Thank you FBC JAX for the post office shot

Ego and mean mugging is not worth this, Thomas. Mac will win this match and you will get throttled by other like-minded pastors. That’s just how certain pastor folk are – cliquish, insular and aristocratic. We can’t change it, we can only hope to contain it.

Wall Watchers, let’s pray for Thomas Rich. I don’t know him, but I would imagine deep down in places he doesn’t talk about at parties, he’s hurt.

Thomas, go back to God on this one, keep uncovering the unhallowed preacher folk, find another house of worship and keep on writing… because, quite frankly, we need more of you than we need more of them.

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Comments
  1. Tom Rich says:

    Phil – I agree. People that slander others on their blogs should be held accountable. They should be sued, and their identity revealed to the offended party so that a lawsuit for defamation can be filed, or at least threatened.

    But that is not what happened in my case, as you are well aware no doubt.

    If FBC Jax thought the material on my blog to be actionable, they could have filed suit to find my identity, and no one would blame them one bit for doing that on the up and up.

    But they didn’t.

    The lawsuit claims they went a different route – to use the law enforcement to find my identity through getting a criminal investigation opened on my blog by either lying or misrepresenting certain facts that opened a criminal investigation to find the blogger…and when they found me, they didn’t even interview me or let me know they had given my name to the church.

    But, hey – maybe they’ll take your advice and will shut down my blog for its “actionable” content, and then sue me for defamation.

    We’ll see.

  2. Hello Provender,

    Anonymous bloggers get outed every single day my friend…..especially when the bloggers “critiques” are actionable…….I outed the following “blogger” with a simple email to WordPress……..

    http://phillyflash.wordpress.com/2007/07/19/scott-paschal-caught-lying-again/

    That’s how easy it was Provender………if you don’t want someone to “out” you then you had better be sure you are telling the truth about whomever you’re criticizing….or someone will finally get fed up and out you……..

    Tom Rich got what he deserved and he’s reaping what he’s sown………

    Phil

  3. Provender says:

    If someone was criticizing you publicly on a blog, could you get a subpeona to force Google and Comcast to reveal the blogger-critic’s identity to you? If you were in a position of power over a deputy and he got you the subpeona so you could find out the identity of your critic, I don’t think that would pass the smell test.

  4. Ross says:

    I guess only God really knows who is right and wrong in any situtation……and this appears to be true here for sure. No wonder those outside the “Faith” are confused about Christianity today. Food for thought, and hopefully something both these gentlemen will consider. It is always best to check out what Christ did and/or said to do in a situation like this.

    Jesus’ Attitude toward Anger

    Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

    Love for Enemies
    Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

  5. Pamela says:

    For a long while I was reading a blog by a Southern Baptist pastor. This is where I first heard about this story. I knew that things were escalating with the blogger. The last I had heard was that he was banned. I am not surprised at the lawsuit at all. I just wonder why people will fight to stay somewhere like this. Even Jesus said to shake the dust off your feet. I’m not saying that one side is completely innocent BUT there are some fights not worth fighting. I guess the blogger feels like this is one worth fighting. I’m glad that God knows the truth about what is going on in every situation. When it comes down to it He is the only judge that matters. I just hope that both sides are searching their hearts in this matter. We as Christians should always try and be redemptive. Those Christians that choose to expose wrongdoing best be ready for a verbal or legal beatdown in most cases.

  6. Polycarp says:

    HS, this is a very timely post as I have been dismissed myself for calling the pastor on something!

  7. hiscrivener says:

    Yeah, I totally feel you on the church hurt thing. See there, that’s the problem with writing this thing so early in the morning.

    It read that FBC JAX was Tom Rich. If he’s hurting, he needs church. If he needs church, he needs to stop finding issues and just traipse his tail to the Cross.

    I still don’t like the idea of a pastor banning someone from a church, but if there is much more to the eye, I suppose it’s good I didn’t know that part after all.

    HAHA!

    Thanks, brother.

    Peace.

  8. Hi,

    I meant “encourage this coward” not defend him……just contact FBC Jax and they will tell you the real story about Tom Rich…..

    We don’t need Tom Rich to do anything for the Body of Christ………he’s already done enough my friend.

    Phil

  9. Hi,

    Dude, its fairly obvious Tom Rich is nursing a church hurt…….did FBC Jax and the former pastors teach tithing or is this a new thing….

    Ask FBC Scribe like I did before you defend this coward…..and believe me when I tell you that Tom Rich has gotten EXACTLY what he’s deserved over his little “watch dawg” nonsense……

    Phil

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