A blogger troll has confessed to his criminal record. In a Comment posted to the JTO blog, Minas Michael Christie of St. Petersburg, Florida, admitted to a criminal history that includes drug possession and criminal trespass. Public records show that Mr. Christie was arrested for and charged in three separate offenses in 1983, 1986, and 1997.
JTO first learned of Mr. Christie four years ago when he began to attempt to post comments on the JTO blog. The vitriolic and false nature of the comments, laced with name calling, sarcasms, and profanity, did not warrant posting. JTO's refusal to publicly post his comments, brought a barrage of accusations from Christie of "censorship!"
News From The Underground (NFTU), allegedly for his conduct toward the readers and commentators there. According to public posts, Mr. Christie then proceeded to launch a public campaign against the administrator of NFTU, even to the extent of publicly criticizing the physical appearance of the administrator's wife. A recent post by the editor of the NFTU website, exposes the story behind his removal from the site. Elsewhere, Christie has also attempted to publicly post a comment criticizing the physical appearance of a 9 year old Orthodox boy as looking "like a little girl with that hair and the clothes he is wearing."
Remnant ROCOR directs the reader to avoid authors and blogs she deems to be "safe" or "unsafe", prompting one Orthodox clergyman to sarcastically retort to another besieged blogger, "I am so glad you linked Joanna's blog. Now, after all of these years I know who is "Ortho-safe and who is not." Another orthodox blogger has referred to them as "very angry people."
JTO has refused to post comments from Mr. Christie (or Higginbotham) for four years. In those four years, JTO has not responded in first person to Mr. Christie, though the conduct of Mr. Christie and Ms. Higginbotham have been the inspiration of several blog posts- their identifying names never used, until now. Mr. Christie is right in one thing that he attempted to post in the JTO Comment section, that a blogger is in the public eye and must expect to be attacked. His own conduct has partially been the catalyst for the recent establishment of at least two Orthodox blogs specifically designed to push back on Christie and Higginbotham's abhorrent conduct in the body of Christ. See HERE and HERE. It is true that "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again", and both Higginbotham and Christie are now being isolated by the righteous indignation of those they have attacked, and former associates are distancing themselves from them.
Although it is an embarrassment to the body of Christ for such discord to be displayed publicly to a perishing world, the non-Orthodox looking in on this event should know that good Orthodox Christians will not stand for the unchecked conduct of those who sow discord among the brethren and will speak to it- privately if at all possible (as JTO has attempted for four years to do), but publicly if necessary. Even Christ picked up a whip when he needed one.
In an Alinsky-type communication, Higginbotham has published a public statement that is the antithesis of what she and Christie are actually doing. The tactic is to accuse others of the very thing you are doing so as to disguise your own tactics and divert attention. We see it often in politics. Unfortunately, we also see it in this case. Higginbotham writes:
Early efforts of JTO to communicate with Christie by inviting a private e-mail conversion were all rejected. Appeals to priests connected to both Higginbotham and Christie have also failed to fully curb both of their appetites for public destructive discourse. They have presented themselves as the public gatekeepers of what and who is holy and orthodox, though there is nothing holy or orthodox about their conduct. Non-Orthodox who are considering a Journey To Orthodoxy, must know that these two nor their "we", do not represent the Orthodox Faith and are under no-one's authority. They are islands unto themselves, propagating a personal agenda. Their conduct has also been a tool to prevent Old Calender True Orthodox jurisdictions from finding a place of communion. Bishop Agafangel would do well to curb Higginbotham's and Christie's, public, negative representation of the church he pastors. They are indeed despised by many in the orthodox world and by association, so is His Eminence Agafangel and Father Gregory Williams. Brethren, this ought no so to be!
Expect to see a flurry of public vitriolic activity directed toward JTO and author Nathan Lee Lewis as a result of this post and others who are now speaking out. More lies, conjecture, insinuation and libelous statements are sure to come. Christie has even attempted to do JTO author, Nathan Lee Lewis, personal and financial harm with fabricated accusations regarding his business and livelihood. Through his company, Rocky Top Pictures, Lewis is currently producing a pro-life feature film, and a feature film on the life of Saint Moses The Black, among others. Now, Higginbotham seemingly has joined Christie in this effort to slander Lewis' character and thwart these efforts. Such conduct brings to mind the words of Christ, "Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and render unto God that which belongs to God." To engage in public slanderous and libelous statements is illegal - and in this case, appeal to Caesar, is a viable option. For four years JTO has followed the principle, "Do not answer a fool in his folly, lest you become like him" , but there comes a time when one must push back on those who would, as a matter of deliberate practice, harm the cause of Christ by intentionally harming his children, or anyone for that matter. Lewis' business is Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) and is represented by an Entertainment Attorney who recently was successful in getting the New York Times to retract false information concerning Lewis that they had posted. Christie and Higginbotham's attempts at attack-journalism certainly do not rise to the literary skill or readership volume of the New York Times, but the same law applies to both. Neither Christie nor Higginbotham are above the law, nor are they beyond the reach of litigation designed to protect the interest of an LLC.
Accordingly, Mr. Christie might consider the hypocritical irony of exposing the splinter in his brother's eye when he has a very large criminal log in his own.
One question for Christie and Higginbotham concerning those whose reputations -their chosen enemies -that they seek to diminish: Does the scripture teach us to hate our enemies or to love them, to condemn them or to pray for them? The answer to this question will dictate what their future actions should be in the body of Christ. Yes, we must stand for the truth, but the public personal destruction of individuals is not the way of Christ. For JTO's part, both Higginbotham and Christie are prayed for everyday by name as we are commanded to do.
One comment for Father Gregory Williams and Bishop Agafangel: You have a maverick female blogger engaged in independent vitriolic discourse under the banner of your ministry. She is causing discord among the brethren undermining the very church you seek to defend. She has become your de facto spokesperson to the world via her several blogs. She enlists the aide of men, not under your pastorate to assist her in the personal destruction of the characters of godly men. She is accountable to no one, not even you, as she speaks to jurisdictions and Bishops as one of your members. To do nothing to curtail this Jezebelian activity is to endorse it. For, indeed, Joanna Higginbotham is influenced by a Jezabel Spirit and Minas Michael Christie is her Ahab.
A word to all who have been similarly attacked by Higginbotham, Christie, and their "we":
Take heart. Both Higginbotham and Christie are entering a time of isolation. Their deeds are being exposed. Good men are rising up and prophesying against them, and their time for freedom in vitriolic expository conduct is coming to an end. And, like Jezabel and Ahab of old, watch as these words are fulfilled before your eyes:
"Because you have been a divider, God will cause division among you. You will be cut off- isolated- alone. Strife will fill your days and peace will be far from you. You will be cast down and the dogs will feast on your flesh."