2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"The Subpoenas" - Unmasking the Baptist Bloggers Under Force of Law

Readers: at the link below you will see three subpoenas issued to Google last October by Detective Robert A. Hinson of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO), himself a long-time member of FBC Jacksonville, that were part of his investigation into the complaint filed by the First Baptist Church Jacksonville Church Administrator John Blount on September 29, 2008 about an "internet incident" that had "possible criminal overtones".

You will see that there are THREE subpoenas....one for this blog, and one for Tiffany Croft's blog (http://tiffanycroft.blogspot.com/), and one for the Bellevue Baptist Blog (http://newbbcopenforum.blogspot.com/).

Detective Hinson very soon after opening his investigation on September 29th issues a subpoena to identify the owner of the http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/ site. Then, a few weeks later, as a part of his investigation, he also decides that he needs information on the other two blogs.

Yes, for some reason as a part of the investigation into the "internet incident" reported by John Blount, Detective Hinson needed to find the IP addresses and names, and addresses, and social security numbers, log in dates and times, user IDs, registration/login information, etc. for not only the blog about FBC Jax, but also two other blogs that have been critical of pastors and churches in the Southern Baptist Convention.

The obvious questions that would be asked by someone looking at this: Why did Detective Hinson need this information? What was the alleged crime he was investigating? What "internet incident" reported by John Blount required personal, federally protected private information of bloggers in order for him to determine if there was a crime or not? What did he find in the information from http://www.fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/ subpoena that resulted in him issuing subpoenas to two other blogs critical of high-profile baptist preachers like Steve Gaines, Darrel Gilyard, and Paige Patterson? Tiffany Croft is quite disturbed, and understandably so, that her privacy may have been violated. She has ALWAYS blogged with her name and has nothing to hide. She believes this subpoena for her records, in a case that apparently has NOTHING to do with her blog, will only serve to scare people away from her site which was set up as a place where victims of Gilyard could communicate with others anonymously.

We might expect some of the answers to these questions to be found in the police reports filed by Detective Hinson for this particular JSO case under which the subpoenas were obtained. Unfortunately we don't know because in both incident reports filed by Detective Hinson associated with these subpoenas there is zero information at all. In his report he puts no detail at all regarding what the initial "internet incident" was. He gives no detail of any interviews he made. He gives no information as to what led to issuance of the subpoenas. Or what he found or didn't find that led to his conclusion that no crimes had been committed. See both incident reports for yourself:

There was also a subpoena issued to Comcast to identify the name and address of the http://www.fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/ owner but requests for this subpoena have not responded to thus far. The deacons were told in their 2/23/09 meeting that there may be an on-going federal investigation, having to do with mail fraud or other such crimes.

It is no secret that Mac Brunson and the FBC Jax administration wanted very much to know my identity. Deacons have said so, that for over a year the church was working to find out my identity - Mac has even told deacons that the blogger was a disgruntled homosexual. Mac himself, just ONE WEEK before the Deacons 2009-1 Resolution was passed, preached on "Kingdom Killjoys", which he said were people in his church that take insignificant problems at the church, who blow them up into something big, and then talk about it to someone else to try to "rob their joy". His instructions to his church leaders, should they encounter such troublemakers was that they should be "SHUT DOWN", followed by a pregnant pause for effect. Watch it for yourself at the link below. Is this an example of a humble, patient, loving pastor teaching his people to love others, even those who might ask questions that he doesn't like? It looks and sounds to me to be a pastor who wishes to shut down people in an unloving, harsh manner, and has the audacity to instruct from the pulpit his leaders in the church to shut down people who are asking questions he doesn't like.

I always thought that privacy information like that requested by Detective Hinson was highly protected, that for a law enforcement official to get access to it required them to pass a high hurdle with much scrutiny, having a burden of some proof that the information was absolutely necessary in the investigation of a specific crime. These subpoenas were issued by Detective Hinson, approved by the Assistant State Attorney, and in a few days Detective Hinson had the information he requested.

Then, two weeks later, after Detective Hinson closed his case, I received my 11/28 letter from the Discipline Committee of FBC Jax notifying me declaring:

"You have been positively identified to us, by name and address, as the owner of fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com..."

and which banned my wife and I from the property with trespass warnings. The timing and sequence of the subpoena issuance, the closing of Detective Hinson's case, and the issuance of the letter and trespass warnings make it seem very likely that my identity obtained from Google and Comcast was then given to church officials so they could act on it and begin their unbiblical church discipline process against me and my wife.

As I said, I thought my Internet privacy AND ALL OF YOURS TOO, was something that was highly valued and protected by law. It sure looks like I was wrong. What good are Federal privacy laws if a local deputy can obtain the information so quickly - the subpoena was issued within days of the investigation opening up - and easily without any stated basis for obtaining it? Especiallly if the deputy happens to be a long time member of the church requesting it and then gives the Federally protected information to the church where he may work when off duty. And what prevents this personal information from being given to an agrieved party that claimed crimes were committed in the first place so they can cause you harm? It raises questions for me and is troubling to say the least. What else might a church be "looking into" about YOU, its members?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

INSP Network - "Televangelist Gunslingers"

Watch this investigative report by a Charlotte TV station on the INSP Network that aired this past December. This is the network that FBC Jax broadcasts on, and that Mac Brunson asked for a special offering last Easter to raise $180,000 to purchase air time on.

Pay particular attention to the means that INSP, which is located in Charlotte, uses to raise money (prosperity gospel), and note the salary and home size of the president of the organization.

I, for one, could not donate money to any organization that gives money or is associated with these "Televangelist Gunslingers", as this report calls them. I can't believe any bible-believing church would need to affiliate with the likes of these folks to spread the gospel. If non-church 501(c)3 ministries want to broadcast and pay for the air time through donations of viewers, I suppose I can see that, but I sure hope there are no churches taking money from God's people, who are taught "storehouse tithing", and then a portion of their tithes goes to a network like this where the leader is living high on the hog, and that preaches the false prosperity gospel.

But that's just me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Search for the Watchdog's Identity

Readers - in this post I'm simply going to give you the facts as I have them regarding what the church and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) and the State Attorney have done to uncover the identity of the owner of Watchdog blog. As you will see, the events and the timing make it seem very likely that the identify of the Watchdog blog was given to the administration of the FBC Jacksonville - after completion of a criminal investigation by the JSO - which was conducted after the church administrator, John Blount, III, called the JSO to report Internet criminal activity.

This post is going to lay out facts as I know them at this point.

Wade Burleson has made a post today that asks some very pointed questions given the facts that I have outlined below.

I will offer no analysis in this post, or assign any motives...just the facts and chronology and documents and video as I have them from facts gathered from discussions with the JSO, the State Attorney's office, and a review of publicly available documents.

Whether you agree with this blog and its contents or whether you think I'm a villain for blogging as I have or if you think I have raised valid points: whichever side you fall on with regard to this blog and me, perhaps, PERHAPS you will find these facts troubling.

But I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Here is what I know:

September 2008: Mac delivers sermons in advance of the Chest of Joash Sunday which was 9/28/08. During September I was very critical of some of his tactics used in his sermons to compel people to give. I was critical especially of Mac's attempt to raise $1,000,000 for necessary repairs of our facilities, including roof repair and chiller replacements. I was critical of how Mac crossed the line from challenging his church to outright criticism and abuse for not meeting his expectations (here, here, and here). I called out Mac for his phony declaration that the churches in Rome were "satellite churches" in a weak attempt to sell us on his satellite concept. I was particularly critical of the arrogant and abusive manner in which Mac demanded we give $1 million in two weeks else we would go into debt. I was critical of the need to raise $1 million when other non-budget expenditures were made earlier in the year that could have been used to repair our facilities. I encouraged people to NOT give money to the special offering, because they have already given the money in the budget and that facility maintenance and repairs are not something for which a special offering should be held. No lies or slander - just hard hitting analysis of Mac's own words with audio and video clips.

9/28/08: Chest of Joash Service - Mac delivers his version of "And the Iron Did Swim". Commitments are collected, special offering is collected. The special offering for the facility repairs is about 1/4 of the amount asked for. Budget committments were not reported by the church but rumors were that they were unusually low.

9/29/09: The Monday AFTER Chest of Joash, at 2:30 pm, Church Administrator John Blount calls the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to file a complaint about "an on-going Internet incident that has possible criminal overtones". Click here to read the investigation report. The officer that responds to the complaint is JSO Detective Robert A. Hinson, a long-time member of FBC Jax and member of the church security detail.

It has been confirmed that Detective Hinson sent subpoenas to the State Attorney's office for approval to be issued to Google to have Google release the IP addresses and identities of the following Google customers: Sean Lyons, FBC Jax Watchdog, and Tiffany Croft. These subpoenas were approved by of the State Attorney's office and sent to Google.

It has also been confirmed that Detective Hinson issued another subpoena to the State Attorney for approval, to have Comcast release the names of several of the IP addresses provided by Google. The subpoenas are approved by the State Attorney office, and the owner of the FBC Jax Watchdog blog is released by Comcast to Detective Hinson - himself a member of FBC Jacksonville.

The dates of the subpoenas have not been confirmed, nor have copies of the subpoenas been obtained. But the issuance of the subpoenas and confirmation that the identity of the owner of the Watchdog blog WAS released by Comcast to Detective Hinson as a result of the subpoenas is a fact confirmed by at least two separate parties.

11/13/08: Detective Hinson closes his investigation that he opened on 9/29/08, and states in the report: "...this investigation was closed after no criminal activity was discovered on this reported incident." Click here to see copy of the JSO report.

11/28/08: TWO WEEKS after Detective Hinson closes his case, John Blount and Kevin King hand deliver a letter to me, accusing me of owning the blog site, making accusations of multiple sins of being derogatory, divisive, destructive, and demeaning to the ministry of FBC Jacksonville. The letter provides two trespass warning forms, and informs me that my wife and I are "...prohibited from coming on the Church grounds or premises for any reason except the meeting above described" meaning we must first have met with the Discipline Committee of the church. We are sternly warned in the letter that "Any violation of this Notice [trespass warnings] will result in appropriate sanctions."

For this discussion of how the identity of the Watchdog was discovered, the most important portion of this letter from FBC Jacksonville to the owner of the Watchdog blog is this, in the 2nd paragraph:

"You have been positively identified to us, by name and address, as the owner of fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com, a blog site you own, manage and/or control. We know you have authored and/or permitted to be authored the contents thereof for many months."

11/29/08: I have blogged previously about what happened after the letter was delivered. The church discipline committee demanded I meet with them, but the meeting never took place as I requested copies of the bylaws, representation at the meeting, and asked for the basis of the allegations as conditions for the meeting; the committee refused all three requests. The church declared this matter to be "ecclesiastical" in nature although they had full knowledge the church administration (John Blount) had contacted the JSO previously alleging criminal behavior to be associated with the blog.

12/3/08: John Blount and the committee refused entrance to the church to my wife and me, preventing us from watching our daughter sing a solo with her ensemble in church that night unless we agreed to meet with the committee first. See attached letter. Since the committee was not interested in meeting any of our reasonable requests prior to such a meeting, we naturally declined to meet, and thus were told we were not welcomed to come in the doors of our own church to accompany our daughter to watch her sing with her ensemble that night.

12/7/08: At 10:00 am, while most FBC Jax members are in Sunday School, the church executes formal trespass warnings against my wife and I with JSO Officer C.R. Butler. Click here to see this official trespass warning that is on file at the JSO. Notice the reason for the trespass warning being issued against both my wife and I is "church misconduct". My wife, a faithful member and church volunteer for 20 years, who has committed no church misconduct, is banned from the church property for "church misconduct".

12/14/08: My wife did not wish for my children to harmed by this action by our church administration, so she continued to bring the kids to their church youth functions, but because of the trespass warning against her she would drop the kids off and stay in her car and wait for the worship services to be over. She wanted very badly to accompany my daughter to the Travis Cottrell concert and sent Blount an email asking permission to accompany her daughter to the concert - Blount didn't reply until Monday (understandably since it was a Sunday email) so my wife sat in her car waiting for the concert to be over. My wife was banned from her church for doing nothing other than associating with her husband.

2/1/09: In mid-December we began visiting other churches. After visiting a new church for about 5 weeks, and after absolutely no contact from John Blount in over six weeks, we decide to join our new church on 2/1/09. The last communication I had with Blount was around 12/15/08.

2/11/09: Blount calls and emails me to let me know I need to meet with the committee as they will be taking their investigation before the deacons. I asked Blount to leave us alone. Blount said he was "compelled" by the bylaws to inform me the Deacons would be presented the results of the committee's investigation. I was invited to speak before the deacons, I accepted with the condition I would have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to speak, but Blount emailed me back to tell me my wife would not be allowed to attend, and that I would not be able to speak of the allegations made on this blog. Thus I decided not to speak before the deacons. Blount then rescinded his offer for me to attend. I confirmed his email and clarified the reasons why I was not speaking.

2/23/09: The deacons hold a special meeting to consider the "Deacon's Resolution 2009-1" that condemns me, and contains a false "whereas" statement of fact concerning the terms that we left to join our new church. We did NOT leave FBC Jax after I was told we would be disciplined by the deacons; its quite the opposite. We left the church, and THEN Blount calls to let me know the discipline committee would be disciplining us. According to A.C. Soud, Jr. the deacons unanimously ratify his resolution. Several deacons that were present stated that they were told the blog owner was suspected of committing crimes such as stealing the Brunson's email and/or video taping or taking pictures of Mrs. Brunson, and that there may be an on-going investigation with the State Attorney's office.

2/25/09: Judge A.C. Soud in the business meeting before the service reads the Deacon's Resolution 2009-1, and Chairman of the Deacons Keith Hill calls for a vote from the congregation by asking members to stand (click here to watch video of the resolution recitation by A.C. Soud). The church confirms the resolution by an overwhelming majority. The church has hyperlinked the resolution on the main page of the church website.

2/26/09: I made several attempts to contact John Blount to inquire about the baseless, slanderous accusations made to the deacons about stalking, taking pictures or video of Mrs. Brunson, and stealing of their mail. Blount never returned any phone calls or emails.

Several questions that I have:

1. On what basis did John Blount call the JSO concerning Internet activity with "possible criminal overtones"? Did the timing have anything to do with the Chest of Joash service and the committments and special offerings? Did he call the JSO on his own volition, or was he directed by a superior to make the phone call to allege criminal activity? Was the purpose of this call to truly allege criminal activity, or was it to initiate a process by which the identity of the Watchdog could be obtained?

2. On what basis did Detective Hinson issue subpoenas for the identity of the blog? Are not criminal allegations necessary for such a subpoena? What were they?

3. Why was Detective Hinson, a member of the FBC Jax, the officer assigned to a case investigating a possible criminal matter involving a blog critical of his own pastor? Should not he have recused himself from a criminal investigation involving his own church and his own pastor?

4. Who was it that "positively identified" the blog owner's identity to the six men that signed the November 25th letter? Was it Detective Hinson? If so, and if the detective's investigation found that there was no criminal activity, would not the file be closed and records destroyed and the private records from Comcast destroyed? Is it common practice to release a citizen's private Internet records to an aggrieved party after an investigation is closed and no criminal activity is found?

Those are the questions I have.

Those are the facts as I know them.


Very troubling.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FBC Jax Watchdog Temporarily "Muzzled"...

Readers - I fully intend to tell my story.

When I tell my story, it will be the entire story of what has occured regarding this blog, the legal proceedings, Comcast subpoenas, field reports, official JSO trespass warnings...all of it. It isn't pretty, and many people will be sorely disappointed at what has transpired in the last few months behind the scenes. What is unfolding is a much larger story than this blog. But I must at this point in time, let certain events run their course.

The focus of this blog will shift to dealing primarily with the rights of a person to blog anonymously, his rights to maintain his privacy, and the legal manuevers that a powerful mega church and their church administration will undertake to identify an anonymous blogger to intimidate him and shut him down...while they boldly pass deacons' resolutions that contradict their very actions.

But I have been advised that it is best at this point to not say anymore until certain on-going events run their course.

But rest assured, I will be telling the entire story in due course, so please stay tuned.

In the meantime, blessings to all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What is Next?

Friday, the Watchdog blog will enter its final phase.

Friday the Watchdog blog will unveil the personal story of me, the blogger - from the beginning of the blog to the current day. Much of what I would have shared with the deacons if I were allowed to speak freely before them on Feb 23rd, I will share on this blog. It will tell my story.

While I have no interest in blogging further about new or current events at FBC Jax, I am committed to completing the story of FBC Jax and the FBC Jax Watchdog. This means future posts sharing details about court orders and search warrants obtained to access my personal Internet records from my Internet service provider, officially executed trespass warnings filed with the Sheriff's Office against my wife and I, and a possible attempt to smear my name in a deacons meeting alleging or insinuating criminal activity. I will share this information as it becomes available, and when the time is appropriate.

This information will be useful I think to members of FBC Jax as they evaluate the tactics of their church leadership used in this process, and perhaps to other churches as a case study on how not to handle church discipline.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brunson Comments at PC and Criswell College

I've maintained on this blog that to fully understand what Mac thinks about his church, about his people, it is helpful to listen via Internet podcast to what he preaches away from Jacksonville - and now also to listen to what other preachers say that Mac has told him. Plenty of examples are on this blog.

I offer two more examples as this blog nears its end. Yes, it is nearing the end. Time to move on. If there are things to be disclosed via a blog about FBC Jax to try to hold Team Brunson accountable, it will have to be someone else's blog. With one caveat of course: this blog will still be used to pursue the truth and to report the truth about how the church leadership obtained a court order to pry into the private Internet records of one of its members (as the discipline committee alleges was done), and what the nature and source of the lies were that were told about the accused in order to get six men to sign a letter and issue trespass warnings - and why these lies were told to the deacons on 2/23 about video taping the pastor's wife and stealing their mail. The Watchdog is absolutely committed to finding the truth about these matters, how the church decided to pursue legal matters in their zeal to expose the blogger (even though leadership ramrodded bylaws through taking away the church membership rights to bring legal action against the church)....and when he does, the facts will be told about this on the blog so the members of the church might hold those accountable who did them. The sooner these facts are disclosed, the sooner closure to this terrible chapter in the FBC Jax history book can be closed.

Comments to J.D. Greear 2/8/09

Below is a brief audio clip from a 2/22 sermon preached by J.D. Greear of the Summitt Church in Raleigh-Durham. Click here to listen to the entire sermon at their website. The remarks I have in the clip below can be heard in the entire sermon at the church website starting at around the 6 minute mark.

J.D. Greear tells his congregation of comments Mac told him privately just before he preached at the Pastor's Conference 2/8. It is a real head-scratcher. I recommend listening to the audio clip below to understand its fuller context in why J.D. Greear tells this, (he is using it to encourage his congregation in their decision to not build a huge building as their church grows, but to expand geographically, at least that's what I gather), but here is the relevant portion of his comments:

"I don't want the legacy of our church to be a big, out of date building we leave as a monument to what God did in a previous generation. I want it to be a movement of people that multiplies all over the world. I got some affirmation on this recently I totally was not expecting. A couple of weeks ago I got a chance to go to and speak at a very legendary church, I spoke there on Sunday evening....a huge church, a great church, church has been wonderful for many years in what its done. But the auditorium that I went into to speak sat 9800 people...as I was walking up on stage, the pastor [Mac Brunson] says this to me: 'Son...don't ever, EVER build a building like this'...I said 'why?'... he said 'Because no matter what you do after you build a building like this one, it becomes about this building, maintaining and filling up this building, and less about the people you need to reach.' "

Maybe J.D. Greear mischaracterized Mac's comments. But I'm going to assume he has characterized them accurately in his sermon.

Several comments:

- this pastor didn't even want to mention the name of our church. Why? Has our church become persona non grata..was he ashamed to say he was at our church, or was it he in some measure wanted to spare us embarrassment by not mentioning our name since he was repeating something unkind our pastor said about us? Although he is generous in his remarks after the quote above that he is not trying to judge other churches or pastors, from his preceding quote about "a monument"...its pretty clear that Greear views our building as a monument to the past, of what our church used to be - and Mac helped confirm that.

- notice he says in the PAST tense: "has been great"..."in what its done"...not is great, or what it is doing...and of course the context of his preceding remark about a big, out of date building being a monument to what God did in a previous generation. This pastor apparently believes we are a formerly great church. Why? Did Mac lead him to believe that? Mac indicted us last summer that we are no longer "cutting edge", so I guess now we know its true - preachers around the SBC know it too. Any wonder why attendance is so low at the Pastor's Conference? And whose fault is that? A blogger? Or the pastor running us down to Paige Patterson, pastors in North Carolina? If we were a formerly great church, I thought that is why we brought Mac, Team Brunson, and Maurilio here. I thought that is why we got rid of the "old guard" of ministers - Howard, Pigg, and Barton. Its been 3 years now. Did we move forward, or have we moved backward?

Is what Mac said about us true? He couldn't have been speaking of any other church, for what other church has he pastored with a "building like this"? If it is true, that we have become less about reaching people and more about maintaining and filling up a building? Should he be whispering to other pastors words that reflect poorly on our church? Did he mean that we should NOT have built that building? Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought we built that building because people were being saved at our church, it was a place where the gospel was preached three times a week, and we needed room for them to worship. We didn't borrow money, God moved in people's hearts to give money to pay cash (He did, didn't He?) for that building. Is that building no longer capable of being used? Why then spend millions to upgrade it as Mac has proposed? Or should we sell it and start new down at the south campus?

Does Mac mean we as a church are more interested in "maintaining the building" than we are reaching people? And how is wanting to "fill up the building" something that is contrary to "reaching people? I thought the building WAS built to reach people with the gospel. Or is he sore about the maintenance costs - which would explain the arrogant manner in which he demanded we fork over $ 1 million in two weeks for needed repairs else we would go in debt. Maybe the burden he bears is the poor condition of our buildings when he arrived. As he has told us over and over about Lindsay, Sr's burden of unknown debt when he came, maybe Mac views himself as a victim of delapidated buildings he didn't know about when he came that are now hindering his ministry.

Are those two goals mutually exclusive? The more you "try to maintain and fill up a building" and "reaching people"? He says as you do more of the one, you do less of the other.

I would hope Mac would explain these words. Not to me. But to his congregation, because J.D. Greear's sermon is available online for the world to hear. Maybe J.D. Greear mischaracterized his comments. But Mac should explain what he means. Or maybe we can issue trespass warnings to Mac and demand he meet the discipline committee to explain.

Criswell College Sermon 2/26/09

Below is an assortment of clips from Mac's sermon he preached at Criswell College on February 26, 2009, the morning after A.C. Soud read his edict, and made the church stand and ratify it.

If you listen to the complete sermon, you come away really feeling sorry for Mac. He speaks to these seminary students of pastoring not in any terms of joy...but of drudgery, having to preach to stubborn, obstanate people who won't listen, having to take the arrows, being "shot at", of being "gripped with fear". He leads his audience to believe he is speaking out of experience as he at one point declares "I can give a witness."

No question lay people don't understand how difficult it is to pastor - but most pastors I've met find a deep joy in ministering to God's people - most of whom, I think are gracious and loving people. They do have tough nuts they have to deal with - struggles lay people might not even be able to fathom. But come on...Mac as a mega church pastor doesn't have many of the pressures other pastors do as he has an extensive staff of "Executive Pastors", then regular pastors and staffers, a high-priced consultant - to do the duties that many pastors must do themselves. Furthermore, he has gotten his way at our church unopposed for the most part - the bylaws, the school, generous compensation for himself, wife, and son, satellite church, his church marketing consultant paid by the church, a lavish office suite...and of course the quarter million dollar land gift. Where is this opposition? Where are all the arrows and shots? Can it possibly be that one blogger who has dared to repeat and analyze what he says and does have robbed him totally of his joy as a pastor?

Oh, and he declares the doesn't take a salary to preach, but to attend meetings (and not in jest). He says: "I would do it [preaching] for free. I don't take a salary to preach. I take a salary to go to meetings. They don't pay me to preach. Nobody has to pay me to preach." That's just so intellectually dishonest - we pray him to study, prepare, and deliver sermons. Also to administer the church, to hire and fire people (he has that sole authority), to basically lead the church. AND TO PREACH primarily. And besides, does he take a stipend when he goes to preach at a conference or at another church? Is he not being "paid to preach" in those cases? This is a major problem with Mac - he says things that one must be a complete dunderhead to believe - and you wonder - does HE actually believe them, or does he not but thinks his listeners are stupid enough to believe him?

Perhaps most interesting are Mac's Criswell College comments about those who "blog about me". To the best of my knowledge, Mac has never acknowledged directly to his congregation that there are "bloggers" who blog about him, and has never directly said anything about the bloggers. But in this sermon, away from his congregation, the night immediately following the business meeting indicting the accused blogger and warning others of the same fate, he decides to tell everyone how much he loves those who blog about him:

"You can't be hard-hearted and pastor people. I even care about the people who write about me on blogs. I pray for them. I pray for their families. They matter to me. And I don't pray impracatory prayers (?) against 'em [crowd laughs]. I really don't. I..I...I'm just sharing with you from my heart, I am telling you God gave me this message, to share it, and I'm just sharing that with you. I PRAY for them. Is that not what Jesus said? Pray for those who despitefully use (?) you, for those who hate you?"

Interesting Mac says "I even care"....must he say that? Even the lowly, unlovable bloggers. Maybe he "even cares" about child molesters. If he does truly care about his accused bloggers "and their families" at Jax, he had a strange way of showing it with court orders and trespass papers. I don't know what impracatory prayers are, I assume they are prayers of judgment or condemnation - goodness, if Mac has to say TWICE that he doesn't pray these prayers against bloggers, must be he feels himself guilty! Why would we think he WOULD that he has to say he DOESN'T? But why hasn't Mac ever said these words to his own congregation about bloggers? Just the week prior he said those in the church who blow up "small" things in the church so they can complain, and thereby rob your joy, you should SHUT EM DOWN. He didn't say pray for 'em. But he wants the students, many of whom he knows read the blogs...to think he is a gentle pastor who even loves those bloggers. What a guy, he loves and prays for the bloggers. Imagine, Mac EVEN cares about the lowly bloggers! He doesn't mention lies told about the bloggers to deacons about video taping his wife and stealing his mail, he doesn't tell them about court orders to find the identity out so trespass papers can be served. But he does "care" and "pray".

Just sharing with you here the words of Mac himself, and giving my opinion on them...hoping someone will go to Mac, someone he loves and respects, will help him gain or regain his love for his church, love the congregation, be truthful to his congregation, love his job as pastor, and to stop saying things about his church that cast us in a negative light...even if what he says is true about us, he doesn't need to tell others.

Just be a loving, gentle shepherd, Mac. Love the sheep. Preach the Word. Be totally truthful. Don't beat the sheep. Don't speak ill of them to others.

And Mac, if you can speak of the bloggers and how much you care for them to the students at Criswell, why not tell your congregation the same also.

Or better yet, tell the bloggers themselves.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Letter to Discipline Committee - And a Fitting Irony

Below is the letter the accused has sent today to the Discipline Committee via John Blount...asking for full disclosure of all charges against the accused, including disclosure of allegations made against the accused regarding criminal action that were stated in front of the deacons. The accused is also asking for confirmation of whether a court order was obtained in order to find the identity the owner of the Watchdog. Some deacons have claimed that these allegations were made to the deacons on 2/23/09.

Would it not be ironic if its discovered that the Discipline Committee and Trustees took legal action and went to a judge to obtain a court order to confirm the identity of the Watchdog...when the church leadership, just a year earlier changed the church bylaws to declare that all members forfeit their right to take any legal action against the church.

As I have blogged before, the intent of the legal action prohibition clause in the bylaws may have been to make it extremely difficult for any member to obtain a court order to have access to financial records of the church. Amazing: members can't take any legal action against the church for any reason, but the church, in its zeal to silence a blog that the believed was hurting the church, may have used legal action to gain access into the private records of a church member - not to be able to minister and reach out to said member, but in order to know who they can issue trespass warnings to and ban them from the church. If they did get a court order, it will be quite interesting to see what legal basis was argued to gain access to the Internet records. Not to mention how interesting it will be to see WHO did this.

Meanwhile we'll wait to hear from John Blount.

And check out a new article at Wade Burleson's blog contrasting methods of handling disgruntled church members.

Here is the email:

"Hello Reverend Blount:

Now that the discipline committee has completed their investigation, made their report to the deacons, and to the church through the official statement read by Judge A.C. Soud, Jr. and ratified by the church, I am awaiting the letter summarizing the deacon's proposed action against me, which you are compelled to send me in accordance with Article XIV of the church bylaws.

As I have requested numerous times since you and Rev. King delivered my wife and I the November 28th letter and trespass warnings, I once again insist that the discipline committee explain the basis of the allegations - that is, exactly how was I singled out, and "positively identified" as the owner of fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com blog site.

I have received credible information that other totally false and harmful and potentially slanderous allegations were made against me, in addition to those in the November 28th letter, at the 2/23 deacons meeting, including:

- that I have been accused of stalking or videotaping Mrs. Brunson while she was jogging; and

- that I have been accused of stealing the Brunson's personal mail or email.

Some that were present at the meeting have said the deacons were told the State's Attorney has been contacted by the church and that the church pursued a court order to obtain our private records from Google and/or Comcast.

As former church members who have been pursued by the discipline committee at FBC Jacksonville, we believe it right for the committee to disclose all allegations and relevant information gathered by the discipline committee about us that was used as a basis for the actions taken. Since this information is now spread amongst the membership harming our reputation, we need to know exactly the nature of all allegations against us, and what person brought those allegations against us, so that we may clear our name with our friends and family at FBC Jax. We believe this fair especially considering we were not given an opportunity to speak openly and freely without interruption to the deacons that evening. We will now take every opportunity we have available, by whatever legal means necessary, to clear our name. But first we need to know the nature of all allegations, and the basis of those allegations.

We also would like to know if the trespass warnings issued to my wife and I on November 28, 2008 are still in effect, and if so what action must be taken by us to have them removed so that at some time in the future we may worship the Lord Jesus Christ at FBC Jax as the Spirit leads us.

We await your prompt reply."

Monday, March 2, 2009

To What Lengths Will They Go to "Shut You Down"?

To those people at FBC Jax who refuse to read this blog because someone at church has told you that it contains "lies, slander, and innuendo" about the wonderful Mac and Debbie Brunson: if you've never read this blog, or if you know people who refuse to read it, read or send this one article and tell them if they don't read anything else, they should read this article.

After the Deacon's meeting 2/23 and the FBC Jax Mayor A.C. Soud's pious speech Wednesday 2/25, the question on this blog now has become:

To what lengths will Pastors Mac and Debbie Brunson, and their President of the Trustees A.C. Soud go to shut down this blog? To what lengths will they intimidate, or even slander a person, to get them to shut this blog down?

Whatever you think of this Watchdog blog, this blogger has a legal right to own and operate a blog site that offers opinions and analysis, and even parody, of Donald M. Brunson and the goings on at First Baptist Church. If there is slander that has occured on this blog, then by all means get a court order and force the Watchdog to remove it.

But the Watchdog has a right to own and operate this blog. Yes, a legal right. Just like Mac does to stand in his pulpit and preach without threat of someone trying to shut him down or shut him up, so does this blogger have a right to blog. You have a right to read it or ignore it. Many thousands of people have chosen to read it, even though its an anonymous source. And this bugs Mac, Debbie, and A.C. They're used to controlling the messages. They hire consultants in Nahsville to carefully craft the marketing messages that go out to the masses. But they can't control this blog. They don't want people to read it. A.C. Soud apparently views this blog as an "attack on the church of the Lord Jesus Christ", and of course if this blog is doing that, then who could argue with the most noble cause of shutting it down by all means necessary to defend Jesus Christ.

I'll put it this way, to use a Mac-ism: "The last time I checked, the Federal Government says I have a right to own and operate a website, even if it is critical of Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church." (Click here to hear Mac's version)

Its time for the good people at FBC Jax to consider what is being done by the leadership of our church in response to this blog. How are they going to deal with it? Will they be more open and transparent? Maybe address some of the valid issues raised here? Or is the Brunson Doctrine: "Shut 'em Down" at all costs?

Well, sad to say, the reports are swirling that the FBC Jacksonville deacons were told Monday night 2/23 that the person who has been accused of owning this blog - the man that A.C. "Anti-Criticism" Soud was piously denouncing in his edict last Wednesday - was accused in the meeting of:

- stalking or photographing or filming Mrs. Brunson while she was jogging;

- stealing, or reading the Brunson's mail or email; and

- and that the church obtained a court order from a judge to allow them to force Google and/or Comcast to tell them the name of the owner/administrator of this blog.

If it is true that the Deacons were told this about the accused, and if its true that a court order was obtained to find the identity of the Watchdog, there is a major issue brewing at FBC Jax that's about to get very ugly. And possibly public.

The man accused of owning the blog has never stalked or photographed or violated the Brunson's privacy in steaing their mail or email...PERIOD...and those of you who know this man's identity should know better than to believe such absolute rubbish. And if any of you believed that information as a basis for signing trespass papers without demanding any proof or explanation, SHAME ON YOU. You've drunk the Kool Aid if that is the case, and you need to open your eyes. And if this lie was spread to the deacons and then to the church members and to the new member's church to harm him and his family, well, one can only imagine where that will wind up....especially considering the accused told John Blount very clearly on February 13th for him and the discipline committee to leave him alone.

Even if you think the Watchdog to be a wicked fool, surely it must bother you that your church leadership is involved in getting court orders from a judge to find out the identity of a blog that they don't like. If we're Theology Driven, where in scripture does it say that is a tact to take? Or trespass papers? If the person who was obtaining this court order from a judge was given emails and IP addresses from Google concerning this blog site, then perhaps he also forced Google to give him IP addresses of those of you who have POSTED things that he thinks are "unjust criticism". Maybe they want to know who posted certain anonymous posts, and they'll come after YOU and put the fear of God in you!

The accused has reached out to several deacons for the purpose of finding out FIRST HAND what was said about him in the Deacons meeting, and what was said about what lengths the church went to find the blogger's identity...but nothing. They won't talk to him and tell him. Since the November 28th letter was delivered to the accused, he has asked on numerous occasions: WHAT IS THE BASIS OF THE ALLEGATIONS. They won't tell the accused, but apparently they told the deacons. And the deacons won't tell the accused. That would be "gossip" I suppose. In the name of the "church of the Lord Jesus Christ", don't tell the man what the accusations were against him!

The name of the accused is out - those of you who WERE at the deacon's meeting, or the wive's or close friends of deacons - you know the man's name. Would there be any of you who would have the integrity to tell the accused exactly what was said about him and stalking and stealing mail, and what the basis of the allegations were? You can find the accused's phone number very easily.

Give him a call.

And read Wade Burleson's blog, as he has written an article on "Spiritually Elite Leadership", with another article on the way regarding more detail on the FBC Jax saga.