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.