"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recommendation for Jack Webb's City Council Prayer Policy: Require the Pray-er to Stay

Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb (at right) has implemented a new policy for the opening prayer of the city council meetings: people of different faiths and denominations will be invited to give the opening prayer on a rotating basis. It used to be just a Christian prayer delivered by the council chaplain (who is always a Christian), but after the hullaboo created by Don Redman's "hey, pray to your god for me Mr. Muslim" demand of a UNF professor last April, Webb's policy now will be to allow other faiths in to offer the opening prayer.

Sounds great. I don't have a problem with that.

And look at the bright side: it will finally allow Don Redman to get what he wanted a few months ago: finally Don will get to hear a Muslim praying in the City Council chamber "to his god"! Remember, one of the attorneys from the General Counsel's office stepped in to save Redman from himself, and the man did not have to pray as Redman asked.

Be careful what you ask for Don - you wanted a Muslim to pray to his god in City Hall, looks like your own actions finally will help make it a reality!

But here's a thought for the City Council:

Part of Jack Webb's new prayer policy should be that any professional religious man or woman invited to offer the city council's opening prayer, will be required to sit and stay for the rest of the council meeting. Yes, if we grant you the opportunity to pray, take a seat in the front row, and listen to the entire council meeting out of respect for the city - and maybe silently pray during the meeting. This will allow that religious leader to get a better idea of the needs and struggles of the city of Jacksonville, so they can then take something back to their religious institution and see how they might help meet the NEEDS of the city - and maybe allow them to put some feet to their prayer.

No pious "Here I am, here's my prayer, see ya later!"

And the person should agree NOT to make a show by asking their followers to go to the council meeting JUST FOR THE PRAYER. Make a show of your prayer, and we'll not ask you or anyone from your institution to come back.

If the pious pray-er doesn't have time to sit down and stay for the entire meeting, get someone else to pray. If their time is too precious and they can't stay, then let them find something else to do that evening other than praying at City Hall.

If they will use the opportunity to make a statement ABOUT prayer by having a showing of their faithful followers for the prayer, we don't need them to pray. The opening prayer is not ABOUT prayer, it IS a prayer.

And let's hope the religious men who pray, including Mac Brunson, can learn one thing from the politicians: when politicians show up at FBC Jax during election time to get recognized from the platform during the service by Jim Whitmire, at least they have the courtesy of staying for the entire service and they hear the message from the preacher.

Imagine if they just showed up to get recognized, and then left because they were just too busy. Even worse, if they brought an entourage with them, and they all stood up and left after they got recognized. Think FBC Jax would recognize them next election cycle?

Can't the pious pray-ers return the favor to the politicians at City Hall and stay for the entire "service"?

Just a thought.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Come now, let's not apply logic, courtesy, or anything like that to this situation.

John

Anonymous said...

Have been invited to provide the invocation at the start of a few local city council meetings here. A seat is reserved at the front of the audience area, next to the microphone. For the pray-er to stay afterwards and observe/hear the discussions following without being a dstraction, a seat elsewhere in the seating section might be better. Just a thought---recommend it along with the suggestion in this posting.

Junkster said...

Watchdog,
I don't know a thing about Jack Webb, except that the pic you provided creeps me out. That's a pretty intense look he's got in his eyes.

T.Goodwill said...

Hey Watchdog - I recently stumbled across a fellow 'voice of satan' - a young man with a strong message about followers of Jesus vs followers of Church. I have initiated a 'discussion' in our group blog concerning the reaction of conservative churchmen to his piece (in which I mention yourself). I am wondering if my conclusions would startle you?
http://fedbyravens.net/archives/214

Anonymous said...

Dog,always the divider and not the healer? This and your last rant, er-post just goes to show the shallowness, er-non interest in the city government. I dare say you and most other folks have never been to any of these meetings unless they felt it impacted them directly in their neighborhood.

I have been to a many, and also watched in on TV. Personally, I think praying at these events and even in the halls of the state and national congress is a waste as it tends to be mandated or expected and does not seem to be that sincere. Especially, when the cameras catch them reading some prayer as if it is a script.

As far as you and anyone else showing up to these proceedings, come on down. Maybe someone can learn something. But alas, most folks will sit at home, sucking on their adult beverage and watching Oprah, because the majority of people don't care except when they feel it directly effects them.

It is not uncommon to show up down there and there be just a handful of people in the auditorium. Just like elections; everyone wants to complain, yell and scream, and yet less than half the people show up at the polls.

As a society, the majority of people are like Rhett Butler and don't give a tinkers you know what!!!

Since the council president opened it up to everyone, you should be the first guy on the list to offer your services

Anonymous said...

Prayer at a city council meeting is totally perfunctory and totally meaningless. I'm surprised it is even allowed anymore.

And then to have to SIT through a city council meeting would be worse than watching paint dry.

On all sides, this is a huge waste of time.

Anonymous said...

I Think one reason churches/preachers stay away basically from council meetings other than the separation of church and state thing they hide behind, is, suppose the churches were asked to take on a more prominent roll in the community. Maybe be asked to help in various areas where there is a genuine need. That might require money from the church. Other than trips mission or otherwise, expensive salaries for preachers and some staff, reduced housing allowances or perks. Some churches do absolutely nothing even for their members that fall on hard times, through sickness or needs that are beyond the control of someone. I know the church must be careful with Gods money, and not take on supporting people that are taking advantage of the church. It's a slippery slope for sure. But, Jesus did have pity on the down and out. "The poor you will have with you always". But when an extravagant lifestyle is the way the preacher and family live off of Gods money and the members pay it, then it is a lop-sided standard, in my opinion. It is true that we pay endless taxes, but none of it helps people in need. I think churches think if the government doesn't get in their business, then churches won't get in government business. But, meantime people fall through the cracks that need help. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Question: Do we have 4 City Council members that are members of FBC Jacksonville because members at FBC Jacksonville care about helping and leading our city? OR is it because the church is a political force that promotes and elects their own to positions of power and leadership? Or is it because people who crave respect and power that having a "title" or "positions" gives them tend to migrate to the big social club downtown, so it makes perfect sense that these kinds of egos would be members there, and get elected due to it.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 22, 2010 11:50 AM

Question: Do we have 4 City Council members that are members of FBC Jacksonville because members at FBC Jacksonville care about helping and leading our city?

ANSWER: Yes. These men ran for office to try and make a difference. Also, while you are throwing mud do not forget the tax collector, the clerk of the court, the supervisor of elections, and several guys with the state legislature. All of which were longtime members, sometimes for decades, before they ever went into politics.

Question: OR is it because the church is a political force that promotes and elects their own to positions of power and leadership?

ANSWER: Hardly. You could never have any church "block vote" and elect anybody. You give FBCJAX and other large churches in this area and other parts of America too much credit.

Question: Or is it because people who crave respect and power that having a "title" or "positions" gives them tend to migrate to the big social club downtown, so it makes perfect sense that these kinds of egos would be members there, and get elected due to it.

ANSWER: Your last question shows your lack of knowledge and naivety. All of these men were members of FBC sometime decades before they ever considered running for office and again only ran because they wanted to try and be a voice for the good of Jacksonville. In over 30 years at FBC I have never met one politician who got elected and then moved their membership to FBC.

My recommendation to everyone: If you don't like the leadership, get out and vote, or better yet, try and get elected yourself to office. All of the guys you blast all started with nothing but the hope to be a voice for good for this community.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58. Watching paint dry? Depends on where the painted area is located..a mansion or a new large room for the pastor comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:40 You sound angry. Loosen up.

Anonymous said...

12:40 Hans Tanzler got elected then moved his membership to FBC...He was the best mayor we ever had.

PS. Did someone step on your toes or spill your Kool-aid?

Anonymous said...

I think 12:40 sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

"All of the guys you blast all started with nothing but the hope to be a voice for good for this community."

July 22, 2010 12:40 PM

==============================
These guys who started with nothing sure do make a big salary - they are not the average Joe. Please don't tell us "Don Redman" had a voice for the good of this community. What's been said about him in the news is a disgrace to the the city.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon... who accuses us of doing nothing...I ran and served on my city's board and I can tell you that if that Don Redman guy is representative of what is coming out of FBCJax, your city has serious problems.

I would be ashamed to tell an unbeliever he is a Christian brother. There are ways to deal with Islamic influence in our country and that was NOT one of them.

And I am certain that the Islamic influence must be dealt with. But Redman only made sure it won't be. He just makes the real job harder.

Anonymous said...

"Dog,always the divider and not the healer? "

One heals by pointing out the charlatans, wolves and hirlings. Your definition of "healing" is to go along with them. But then, you could not recognize a charlatan.

Anonymous said...

"These guys who started with nothing sure do make a big salary - they are not the average Joe."

Yea BIG SALARIES: The last time I checked $45 K a year would hardly be considered a LARGE salary in Jacksonville.



"But then, you could not recognize a charlatan."

How would you know from a post. Come on, have a little common sense and stop using your ouija board. Besides, I don't think you recognize a little tongue in cheek humor. So please "lighten up".


"Please don't tell us "Don Redman" had a voice for the good of this community. What's been said about him in the news is a disgrace to the the city."

I do not disagree with you. His comments were totally uncalled for and a total embarrassment to this community, his district, and the Christian community as a whole. Absolutely shameless behavior that will probably follow him into the polling booth.


"I can tell you that if that Don Redman guy is representative of what is coming out of FBCJax, your city has serious problems."

Not anywhere near the problems this country has with the representation out of Washington DC. We should be much more concerned with that. At least in state and local governments they have the following laws on the books that the bureaucrats in the Beltway will never pass into law:

1. Term Limits
2. Line item veto
3. Balanced budget rules

Anonymous said...

Yea BIG SALARIES: The last time I checked $45 K a year would hardly be considered a LARGE salary in Jacksonville.
*************************************************
Yes, that's about right for the middle class pay range for the common folks in Jacksonville. Even some lawyers starting out

But the big salaries in the 6 figure range that Mike Hogan, Jim Fuller, Jerry Holland, all representatives of the city besides Council members, is a LARGE SALARY. The city is very gracious to these people.

Just like First Baptist pays a big salary to their preacher - a 6K figure along with his wife's suppliment income, they too do pretty good when it comes to money in the City of Jacksonville.

J

Anonymous said...

J, if you want to make that "BIG SALARY" like Hogan, Fuller, and Holland run for office and get elected. The last time I checked anyone can run for office and get elected in this free land of ours.

As far as what Brunson is paid, who cares? You? Again, this is America and nothing is stopping you from going to seminary and becoming a pastor of any church that will have you. And just like FBC they will have the right to pay you not what you want but what they wish to pay. Having been involved down there for over 32 years our pastors do not set their salaries nor have they ever had any control over what they are paid and that includes Brunson.

One thing that everyone forgets about income is that folks tend to be paid what their predecessors are paid or something close to it. Why, because it is assumed that they bring the same level of experience to the position as their predecessor.

J, go for it. The one thing about Hogan, Fuller, and Holland's position is that even someone of the lowliest education and experience can qualify, run for and be elected to these positions. See Green in the South Carolina senate race. He just goes to show that anyone can do it. And that even means you and I, J.

So go for J, get your act together and submit your name for the mayors race coming up. There is still time to qualify either through money in your account, which I am sure that you must have the $15 K, or signatures, not that many considering I am sure that you have enough friends to make that happen. What is stopping you. After all the mayor makes more than any other statutory employee for the city of Jacksonville.

Fulfill your American dream and GO FOR IT, QUALIFY, RUN, GET ELECTED AND GET THAT BIG FAT SALARY FOR AT LEAST TWO TERMS. Then you can lay out for the next term and qualify, run, get elected AGAIN and be a FAT CAT for another two terms.

As Yakov Smirnoff, the Ukrainian comedian says:

"AMERICA, WHAT A COUNTRY!!!!"

Anonymous said...

"How would you know from a post."

By your own words that I responded to. Unless you lie to yourself? I simply must assume you believe the words you type here.

Anonymous said...

"As far as what Brunson is paid, who cares? You? Again, this is America and nothing is stopping you from going to seminary and becoming a pastor of any church that will have you. And just like FBC they will have the right to pay you not what you want but what they wish to pay. Having been involved down there for over 32 years our pastors do not set their salaries nor have they ever had any control over what they are paid and that includes Brunson."

You have absolutely NO clue what you are talking about. Mega church pastors who are "called" have salary/perk negotitations that rival the fortune 500's. It is all quite discreet with the resident millionaire club throwing in some land here, vacation house, here. Everything is negotitated down to housing allowance to free tuition for the kiddies.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:13

"Having been involved down there for over 32 years" . . . .

Just what I thought - you sound like one of the First Baptist good old boys who's good at snapping back. ;>)

Bet you even teach one of the Sunday School classes - you'd know my face, you'd give me a huge welcome and a big handshake.

This is one of those moments when I'm tempted to sign my real name, but as said before I'm familiar with the Baptist playground and as you will say Anonymous.

Nice that your sticking up for your buddies at First Baptist, and thank you for reading the Watchdog's blog as I'm a member of his International Fanclub!

BTW/ I do have my act together and live a blessed life. Have the money, have the friends, but absolutely no interest in running for Mayor John's position but will be hosting fund raising events.

:>) Regards, J

Anonymous said...

Above blogger: You mentioned pastors that are called.

Question: "Called by a rubber stamp pulpit committee or called by God?