Whereas…the FBC Jax Watchdog blog

Some time ago I started popping over to a blog called FBC Jax Watchdog. I’m interested in how and why ‘watch’ blogs go online, what the blogger or bloggers hope to accomplish and how their story ends.

This gentleman went to a Southern Baptist mega-church in Jacksonville Florida for a couple of decades. Reading his blog you can gather he is middle age (or approaching it) and is meticulous, hurt, angry and grieving. His loyalty to the church he attended isn’t in question, he wouldn’t be blogging his grievances if the Jacksonville SBC church wasn’t a strong part of his identity. The church claims 29 thousand members, so if he went there for a couple of decades it would probably feel like a home town.
The church owns 11 blocks of the downtown core if wiki is to be believed.

His original crime: questioning leadership about finances.
Well, trying to.
His next crime: blogging.
Getting to the head minister to ask questions would be similar to me scheduling a meeting with the mayor where I live, and our mayor doesn’t have armed security guards and attitude.
We can vote him out.
The blogger isn’t happy, doesn’t get answers, isn’t heard, starts his blog, puts his questions out there and things simmer for awhile before all heck breaks loose.

For some reason SBC leadership don’t like blogs, I’ve posted about that oddity before. Some celebrity SBC leaders have blogs, but not ones you can comment on though. It’s the proverbial do as I say scenario common in a culture where leaders believe they are paid to be obeyed.

The blogger seems to have made some people who have more money than brains very nervous, because church leadership has not handled his questioning well at all from what we see in the public responses.

He is the the first blogger I’ve ever seen who has been voted on in a congregational business meeting after leadership drew up a degree/proclamation/resolution and read it from the pulpit. A resolution from the deacons/trustees.
I kid you not.
The guy reading it in this clip is a judge.

What is stunning is that people who were in the seats just voted, no questions, just blind obedience. Most voted yay by standing. How incredibly sad.
I guess after all those whereas’ you’d better be obediently blind.

This is quite the pile of whereas’.
This is essentially what the church leadership is telling the world; you come to our church, you ask questions or criticise and we’ll bury you, or as the lead minister said from the pulpit “shut em down.”
I’d like to believe that not everyone in that meeting walked away without questions, or have been bullied into submission.

There have been ugly, mocking, vicious things said about this blogger and a few others who have dared ask questions in comments online and he blogs on, documenting the on-going saga: a no-trespass order, the call to come to a nameless committee for discipline and subpoenas from the church to Google and Comcast.

Some of the documents are online now, the church leadership claimed he was involved in criminal activity. Why? The overkill is stunning. Truth, humility, servant-hood took second place to power, as the mega celebrity bubble around the lead pastor tightened it’s grip on the minds and hearts of leadership. Most of us can’t comprehend the isolation mega-church celebrity ministers live in, nor can we comprehend the need of some to be so protective of perceived power they’ll harm in God’s name.

Law enforcement who go to this church were involved and this is some of the most bullying heavy-handed unethical behavior I’ve seen in awhile. The guy and his family found another church, where hopefully they can begin to heal.

It’s possible in involving law enforcement to obtain this man’s identity, Florida laws have been broken.
More questions are raised by church leadership behavior of course, and it brings the issue for me full circle.
Why wouldn’t church leadership answer his questions? Why can’t they handle dissent, disagreement and criticism? Leadership can behave pastorally at any time but as yet, they haven’t.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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11 Responses to Whereas…the FBC Jax Watchdog blog

  1. its happened to me. from law enforcement to lil league.. dont you question Gods anointed…

  2. Bene D says:

    Frankie, I’m sorry it’s happened to you.

  3. Hello…
    My first time reading anything on your blog. I really like this. Very interesting.

    I am sorry…. I did not capture your name… if you do not mind.

    Great blog.
    Carmen A. Smith

  4. Mark Byron says:

    It’s interesting that the Hartford Institute’s megachurch database has First Baptist down as having only 6500 members, when they have a membership roll of four times that. That’s a pretty dead ratio of members to attenders, pointing to the possibility of a church with a lot of people who want the prestige of belonging to a big downtown church without actually going on most Sundays.

    It’s well connected within the SBC, as Jerry Vines was the former pastor; he was one of the leaders in the conservative wars. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the issue at hand, other than that the fat-cats in the SBC don’t like being questioned and these folks seem fatter than most.

    Add to that a circle-the-wagons mentality when someone gets feisty about a contentious issue, and things can get out of hand in a hurry. Institutions are made of fallen men, and when fallen men get lots of money and power, it can affect their judgment. That’s one reason why megachurches can get into trouble, that large dose of power can be corrupting.

  5. Bene Diction says:

    I like what Miguel de la Torres says in a recent rebuttle article to his critics:

    “The good news is that Jesus is not afraid of our honest inquiry. He is also patient when we get it wrong (and we all do). The real question here today is if you are willing to be the sister or brother in Christ of a heretic dog like me?”

    In the months I’ve followed the watchdog blog I’ve never seen the guy respond badly to even the most vocal of his critics, even when it’s apparent his own emotions are running high.

    It’s classic whistleblower or as you say ‘circle the wagons’ behavior.

  6. Pingback: SBC Jax Watchblog update at Bene Diction Blogs On

  7. Pingback: Whereas, First Baptist Church Jacksonville and law enforcement at Bene Diction Blogs On

  8. Pingback: FBC Jax Watchblog gaining media attention at Bene Diction Blogs On

  9. Anony in Jax says:

    Get your facts straight. Nobody accused him of criminal activity. Somebody had committed several crimes–stealing mail, slashing tires, surveilling family members–and that was sufficient probable cause to investigate. When the investigation subpoena found no evidence of crime the investigation was dropped.

  10. Pingback: First Baptist Church of Jacksonville settles with blogger | Bene Diction Blogs On

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