In December this blog wrote about The Bridge Fresno and how this EFCA church violated California shut down requirements in the COVID-19 pandemic. In response it appears Andrew Smith left a comment on this blog. Angry about what I wrote about COVID and past posts about Bryan Loritts seem to have driven the comment. This blog re=posts it and draws attention to it and writes a response.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Before the holidays. on December 7, 2020 this blog got the following comment. The IP address goes back to Fresno, California which is where I grew up and used to live. This blog wants to write a response to Andrew Smith, the lead pastor of The Bridge Fresno. But yes this blog believes this came from Andrew Smith. There are many clues and this blog hit a nerve with this EFCA church in Fresno. But let’s look at the comment.
I don’t know who you are but I would suggest this whole blog is about as helpful to the Church and people at large as a thumbtack to the eye socket. All of your criticisms of different leaders seem to be based on massive assumptions about their moral character and intentions, or they are your personal opinions that you harass leaders for not agreeing with. As was said previously, you have set yourself as the ultimate moral high ground from which you can peer down on others in condemnation.
I see these accusations against a pastor Bryan Loritts who I do not know, but from your writings alone you do not have nearly enough evidence to make the condemnation you do. And then based on that assumption you harass another pastor in Fresno for handing things over to him. Not to mention in your criticism of the Fresno pastor you say basically “where is your medical degree to make these decisions?” when you yourself are offering criticism and I don’t see you with a medical degree.
To anyone unfortunate enough to be reading this, don’t. This is the home of a Pharisee’s criticisms of people he doesn’t know, and it does nothing for anyone but stir up meaningless gossip that he never has to be responsible for and boost his own ego about how smart and righteous he is over these other people and pastors.
It is a shameful thing to lob criticisms that people cannot defend and slander the names of people you do not know for the propagation of your worthless site. God will hold you accountable for every careless word you’ve spoken in arrogance, but to anyone else reading: This is just a meaningless tabloid at the checkout line. Just ignore it and walk past.
Wow there is a lot to say about the comment above. Let’s dissect this and write a response.
“Touch Not My Anointed…”
It appears that the writer of the response believes that pastors and church leaders are immune from criticism. They are to be blindly submitted to and no questions are to be asked. Or better put, no difficult questions are to be asked. I have left evangelicalism and am figuring out who I am. But its ironic that Andrew Smith would write this key line for me. “All of your criticisms of different leaders seem to be based on massive assumptions about their moral character and intentions, or they are your personal opinions that you harass leaders for not agreeing with.” Did Martin Luther make massive assumptions of moral character when he posted the list of Ninety-Five thesis at Wittenberg at 1517? So you have a Protestant upset that another person is asking questions? And if asking questions is viewed as harassment what would Andrew Smith believe about Jesus who did nothing but ask questions? Did Jesus harass people? No this first paragraph comes across to me as a “touch not my anointed” approach to things which this blog finds laughable.
His Comments About Bryan Loritts Are Another Giveaway
In a written post I asked when did Andrew Smith ever care about abuse? After all he put Bryan Loritts in the pulpit of The Bridge Fresno. Bryan Loritts was involved and played a role in covering up his brother-in-laws voyeurism and child pornography scandal. These were written up in, ” The EFCA’s Bridge Fresno Defies California Health Guidelines About COVID-19. Meanwhile a COVID-19 Infection Breaks Out Among Bridge Fresno Staff.” But the key give away for me that this response is from Andrew Smith is the following line. “I see these accusations against a pastor Bryan Loritts who I do not know, but from your writings alone you do not have nearly enough evidence to make the condemnation you do.” Look at the part I underlined. If you don’t know Bryan Loritts then why go to such measure to say so. By saying you do not know Bryan Loritts what you are actually communicating is that you do know Bryan Loritts. And that you are close. Why else would you feel so motivated to go on a blog and say that you do not know Bryan Loritts?
But there is more to ask as well. Pay attention to this part of the above sentence. “but from your writings alone you do not have nearly enough evidence to make the condemnation you do.” So he says that when I write about the Fellowship Memphis scandal I don’t have enough evidence. Let me ask the following question. The main newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee is the Memphis Commercial Appeal. They wrote about the scandal in 2016. Here is the original article which you can read in, “Former Grizzlies announcer Rick Trotter reportedly recorded women at another church in 2010.” Did the Memphis newspaper not have enough information to cover the scandal? Not only that but this blog is in the unique situation to write something that is different. In many of the stories I write – especially the controversial ones – this blog keesp sources hidden and is committed to protecting not only them but the methods that led me to them. My sources for Fellowship Memphis went public with Julie Roys last year. On a podcast Jennifer Baker and Greg Silby talked about the scandal and their role in Fellowship Memphis at the time. You can read about this at Julie Roys here or listen to it on the podcast here. Then there is this comment as well which is quite revealing. “And then based on that assumption you harass another pastor in Fresno for handing things over to him.” So let me ask a question…when Bryan Loritts spoke at The Bridge Fresno how did that happen? Did he barge in from the street holding a weapon saying, “Let me speak form your pulpit?” No Andrew Smith invited him into his church and turned over the pulpit to him. That is what happened. Should the pastor who invited him in and let him preach deserve questions and scrutiny? Yes….hands down that’s why I have written some of the posts that I have done.
Comments About The Bridge Fresno in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Andrew then apparently says the following in his comment. “Not to mention in your criticism of the Fresno pastor you say basically “where is your medical degree to make these decisions?” when you yourself are offering criticism and I don’t see you with a medical degree.” So this blog pointed out how The Bridge Fresno violated California law/health orders in choosing to have an indoor service when the state was shutting down Fresno County. Andrew is right in saying that I don’t have a medical degree. That is why I consult with doctors and physicians. I leave such decisions to the experts I consult about my health. If Andrew Smith would have consulted an infectious disease doctor and asked him about whether they should open, chances are the doctor would have said no and reminded them of Sacramento closing down Fresno County when they went into the purple tier. This comment is a cheap shot in the view of this blog. If Andrew Smith consulted medical professionals he knows damn well what they would have said. That is why he acted and played the role of “doctor” and held an indoor service. Andrew exposed his staff to COVID and he harmed them. This a pastor? Or a wolf? This blog looks at Andrew as being a wolf.
The Pharisee Charge and of Course Gossip and Slander
Take a look at this next section. “To anyone unfortunate enough to be reading this, don’t. This is the home of a Pharisee’s criticisms of people he doesn’t know, and it does nothing for anyone but stir up meaningless gossip that he never has to be responsible for and boost his own ego about how smart and righteous he is over these other people and pastors.” So now I am labeled a Pharisee. Let me ask the question how can a person on the outside of faith be a Pharisee? Does that make sense? I don’t see the connection at all. And then comes the term gossip and in the next paragraph slander. This tells me that a blog post written here really hit home if I am going to be accused of gossip and slander. If telling the truth and asking sensitive questions bring about such a response that means this blog is being effective. And with that confirmation I will carry on.
Another thing that stands out is a comment in the last section. “God will hold you accountable for every careless word you’ve spoken in arrogance” The amazing part about that sentence is that he actually has the balls to say it. If he honestly feared God wouldn’t he think of himself as being judged at a higher standard as a pastor? After all Andrew Smith leads The Bridge Fresno and not David Bonner. This is a pastor’s narcissism coming home to roost.
What Led to This Response?
That comment above was left anonymously. But this blog believes it came from Andrew Smith who leads The Bridge Fresno. So here is another question I have. What led to that response? Is it the fact that that I pointed out the issues in The Bridge? Or the fact that I wrote a blog post aimed at EFCA West District Superintendent Tim Jacobs and then emailed his office and let them know what was happening in The Bridge Fresno? You can read that post in, “Tim Jacobs, in the Middle of a Pandemic What is More Important to the EFCA? Is it Money or Human Life?” Or was it a combination of issues that led to this response. As time pass on its becoming more and more clear to me that The Wondering Eagle is having an effect. How I wish to be a fly in the room of the EFCA at times. This is a good post to start 2021 and that is why this blog wanted to analyze Andrew Smith’s response.