As Proverbs 15:1 says: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
On November 1, 2009, more than 6 months after stating to a Florida Times Union reporter that I am mentally unstable and a sociopath, Dr. Mac Brunson gave a "gentle answer" to the resulting slander lawsuit filed against he and his church. Dr. Brunson has finally taken a step in the right direction.
In his 11/1/09 sermon entitled "Speech Therapy" from James 3:1-2, Brunson expressed "regret" and that he is "deeply sorrowful" for his comments, because of the "influence and the impact of his words", and admitted he should have demonstrated more "maturity". It was very clear that he was referring to his comments made to Jeff Brumley that were published in the Florida Times Union on April 9th, 2009, as Brunson prefaced his "regret" and "sorrow" remarks in his sermon by referring to his words that were "reported on the front page of the headlines".
Click below and you can hear the 2 minute sermon excerpt. If you want to hear the entire sermon, it is available on his I-tunes podcast here, or at his Inlight Ministries podcast website.
A few comments about Mac's comments:
- I commend Dr. Brunson for admitting that he has regret and sorrow for his deeply offending words. These were long overdue. Perhaps if he had been more proactive in apologizing, the defamation part of the FBC Jax lawsuit would never have materialized. And most encouraging to me is that his remarks are more than anyone else at the church has expressed over their own pastor's words, including A.C. Soud, his trustree president who unfortunately followed Brunson's lead and called me a "coward" to the same reporter a few weeks after Dr. Brunson called me a "sociopath". Maybe now many of those who come onto this blog and others who proclaim "Mac was right about you", will be more Christ-like in what they say and how they say it.
- Of course, I hope that if Dr. Brunson truly is regretful and sorrowful and understands how hurtful his words were, that he will contact the Times Union and issue a retraction or clarification of his remarks in the same medium in which they were reported. Calling me a sociopath and mentally unstable to a Times-Union reporter, which ultimately made front page headlines, can not be "corrected" by a statement in a sermon. The audiences are vastly different.
- Also, if you listen to the sermon excerpt, you'll hear Dr. Brunson refer to his statements as a "stumble", and while he does express regret, he defends his misdeed by saying that "we all do it". I respectfully disagree. You see, Dr. Brunson still does not realize that not everyone in the congregation does what he did. Mac was the ONLY person in the 8000+ people in attendance Sunday who was interviewed by the media about the criminial investigation into this blog site by Brunson's friend and body guard who decided to defend the church's actions by stating without reservation that I was mentally unstable and a sociopath. So Dr. Brunson wasn't the victim of the media as he seems to imply in this sermon and others previously. His statements to Brumley were not a "stumble". He knew what he was saying, why he was saying it, and most importantly, to whom he was saying it.
In other word's, Dr. Brunson's remarks were not off-the-record remarks caught on tape; this was no dirt dug up on him, no embarrassing private conversation was overheard, and it wasn't him speaking off-the-cuff in anger. Those might be "stumbles". In the context of him knowing an embarrassing news story was about to come out, it seems he decided to defend his church's actions by proclaiming the blog author to be a nut case. This was Dr. Mac Brunson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, in a newspaper media interview, sitting in front of Jeff Brumley, on the record, premeditated, stating a very harmful lie about me. He KNEW his comments would be reported. That is not just a "stumble", that everyone does every now and then.
And to make matters worse, he has let 6 months go by without retracting, clarifying, defending, explaining, or apologizing for his comments. And sorry to say, no one in the church, or even Brunson's pastor peers in the SBC has dared to publicly call for Brunson to explain or clarify his remarks....perhaps making Brunson's remarks in his 11/1 sermon all the more commendable.
But, as I said, this is a step in the right direction, and I applaud Dr. Brunson for making this step. Let's see where this might take us. His sermon also mentioned how one needs to apologize to the person harmed personally. Who knows, a personal apology, and clarification through the same medium that what he said was in fact not true, may make a defamation lawsuit against him unnecessary.
But at least this is a step in the right direction.