Before posting her response, a few comments are in order.
This blog is primarily about FBC Jax and the pastorship of Dr. Donald "Mac" Brunson. Has been, always will be. The issue of "Sheri Klouda vs. SWBTS and Paige Patterson" has made its way to my blog because of the decision of Mac Brunson himself. On Sunday July 13th, in the Sunday evening service at First Baptist Church Jacksonville, to the good people of FBC Jax Mac Brunson either maliciously lied, or careless perpetuated a lie told to him by Paige Patterson's attorney during a "trip to Greece", about Sheri Klouda's testimony in her case and her views of her case as it pertains to scripture in 1 Corinthians 6. I blogged about this here; and click here for audio of the clip where Mac perpetuates the lie.
Those of you who are familiar with Sheri Klouda's case through the baptist news agencies and the blogosphere will read in her own words below her story contradicting stories told about a supposed job offer made by Paige Patterson; even one anonymous blogger here who blamed her hardships suffered from this lawsuit on Dr. Klouda herself for not taking a similar job offered by Patterson. And she of course explains her real views of her case in light of 1 Corinthians 6 and other relevant scripture - which shows how Mac Brunson completely misrepresented her views.
Finally, I can say I was absolutely sickened to read her testimony of how she was wronged by Paige Patterson and the subsequent suffering her family has had to endure. And now to read her own words confirming the lies that have been told about her dismissal, and now to know that our own pastor, Donald McCall Brunson has decided to insert himself into this and use his influence and power, and the prestige associated with our church name, to further perpetuate lies about this good woman, I am OUTRAGED. Shame on you Mac Brunson. Its clear that Dr. Klouda harbors no animosity toward the people involved, but feels the need to set the records straight.
Here is her response:
To All of Those Who Have Responded:
I would first like to mention that the court documents for the Klouda/Patterson depositions are publicly available in Fort Worth, should anyone wish to look at them, which should support my claims.
I would like to put some rumors to rest, if I may.
First, I was never offered another permanent position with the same salary and benefits. The only position I was offered was temporary, and would only last until my pending dismissal in December of 2006. I begged Dr. Patterson to find a place for me at the seminary several times, and I would have taken anything I was offered, given my husband's rapidly declining health and the need to financially support my family. I was desperate. We just bought a home based on the premise that I was hired on tenure track and would be given the same opportunities as other professors to apply and achieve tenure. My daughter was already in high school, and all of my family, including my elderly grandparents, parents and my siblings all reside in the area. There is no document related to this new position, nor was anything ever produced to support this claim.
Second, Paige Patterson testified that several students came to him complaining that I was "teaching the Bible," soon after he decided he would eventually terminate me. However, he took no notes, has no records, no emails, and does not know the names of the students that accused me of this.
Third, I was hired for the teaching position by the board of trustees, who felt that I was qualified to undertake these responsibilities. It was only a year after Paige became president that he decided to begin the process of eliminating my role, stating that I was unqualified to teach only because of my gender. As far as I can see, you cannot have it both ways.
Fourth,the case was dismissed not because the facts were disputed, but on the basis of the separation of church and state. In other words, the deposition makes it quite clear what the grounds of my dismissal were, and they had nothing to do with my performance. In addition, the role of a faculty member in a seminary is considered to fall under a ministerial exception, consequently, the law views me as a "minister." Ironically, I was dismissed because as a woman, I was not "qualified to be a minister." Paige did not mind taking advantage of that judgment even though he states categorically that I am not qualified to be a "minister."
While it is true that the lawyer had me read I Corinthians 6, I responded that "it appears to suggest that one should avoid bringing suit against another believer," however, I clarified this by explaining that this declaration assumes the wronging party will do the right thing to the one accusing him, or that other believers will compel the wrongdoer to respond appropriately. In addition, the Old Testament, which is part of our Bible, institutes and discusses at length judges, courts, and suits as stipulations approved by God and put in place to protect the individual in a believing community from harm by another. The Bible constantly addresses powerful people taking advantage of those who are less powerful Not only did I go to Dr. Patterson and ask him to treat me fairly several times, since I did nothing to deserve losing my job, and in fact, was serving in that role by the approval of the board and those in authority, but other believers went to him on my behalf to try and obtain justice and grace. I was asked if I knew that there were church mediation places set up specifically for the purpose of resolving these matters between believers, and I acknowledged that if I had known that option was available, I would have tried that approach. While I do not know Pastor Brunson personally, and I have never met the man, even though I taught junior high Sunday School for five years, he or anyone else (a deacon, an administrator, somebody who would care?) from FBD never advised me or discussed what happened to me, or counseled me as to what to do. No one in my own church came forward once when my husband was ill, or expressed any concern about out situation at all apart from a few of the adults who taught junior high.
As a result of Dr. Patterson's unilateral decision, we lost all of the equity in our house and sold it for less than we paid for it since we couldn't afford the payments any longer. I lost all of my years towards tenure, some of my life insurance, retirement for two years, and took a reduction in pay equivalent to $15,000 a year. My husband lost his job of 12 years, and took a job that paid half of what he received in Dallas. His heart condition is inoperable (he had another heart attack in November), and he needs a defibrillator put in to restart his heart when he suffers heart attacks. We are still trying to pay off those medical bills so that he can get the procedure done before he has a major attack. He must either apply for early retirement (at the reduced amount) or try to apply for disability, which takes approximately 808 days in Indiana before approval. He will have no life insurance, and we will have even less income. We of course, have no money to buy a home since we lost all of our equity in the Dallas sale. We are already going month to month, and I am very concerned about how to proceed. Somehow by the grace of God and his provision we will make it. I hardly think this constitutes "whining," and I did not "refuse" any position at the seminary.
Finally, I just want to reaffirm, I am still Southern Baptist at heart, and I harbor no hard feelings towards anyone involved.
Blessings in Christ,
FBC Jax Members and other Watchdog readers: if you feel led to donate money to help the Klouda's, Pastor Wade Burleson has already set up a benevolence fund where 100% of all recepits will be given to the Klouda's, and your gift will be tax deductible. Send your gifts to:
Emmanuel Baptist Church
2505 West Garriott
Enid, Oklahoma 73703
Designate your gift "Sheri Klouda Fund". FBC Jax, let's not be defined by what Mac Brunson SAYS, but by what we, the people of FBC Jax, DO. Let's show real Christian love and help the Klouda's.