Monday, April 13, 2009

Where is the love?

Do you know how I spot posers? I look for love in their words. When I find a man who speaks for Jesus but spouts words devoid of love, my mind screams “poser”, and by poser I mean hypocrite.

First Baptist Church Pastor Mac Brunson has no love for bloggers. Especially those who dare to criticize his $300K salary, the $300K church land grant, or his lavish office. After all, he’s a mega church pastor and deserves the riches that come with the title.

Brunson declined to discuss his home and salary but maintained he is one of the lowest-paid mega-church pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. He said people are welcome to criticize his preaching style and ministry goals, including the school, but usually do so openly, not anonymously.

But the love does not stop at criticism, it extends to abuse of power. If you dare to blog about his excesses, then he will use every means available to track you down and expose you in the church. Of course, we all know this is a Machiavellian move to silence his critics, his followers think he’s trying to protect Jesus.

The story makes an interesting read. Apparently a member of Brunso’s security detail is a detective on the local police force. He used his access to get a subpoena  from the Florida State Attorney’s office compelling Google Inc. to give up the blog’s author. After learning the author was a member of the pastor’s church, the detective turned over the bloggers name despite there being any evidence of a crime. The abuse of power is epic in this case. Somebody must pay (are you listening DOJ?).

The blogger, Thomas A. Rich, runs FBC JAX Watchdog, a blog relentlessly critical of pastor Brunson. I spent an hour reading it this afternoon. Ho-hum – I thought legal standards for subpoenas were higher. This blog should have prompted no investigation at all. Rich posted anonymously.

Why anonymous blogging? I preferred to blog anonymously so as not to draw attention to myself, or make the discussion about me personally. I decided to focus on what I saw and heard, and to give a voice to those things I considered abusive. I never wanted the blog to be distracted by who I was, or make myself the issue. And of course self-preservation played a role…

I post anonymously  for the same reasons really, plus the death threats. One must not forget the death threats. Rich only need fear expulsion for his community. He knew they would come for him, and they did eventually.

In a church where the pastor can do no wrong he often does.

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