In a bizarre and hilarious exchange involving chookwatcher on Dr Michael Brown’s twitter feed, chookwatcher is asked to give his name and church affiliation.

Instead, he dodges, weaves, and obfuscates with a series of inanities, then writhes off to write a completely evasive article attacking Dr Brown.

To start off the conversation, Dr Brown tweets

‘I’ve noticed that many “discernment” ministries hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Tell us who you are & what you home church affiliation is.’

Chookwatcher obviously feels the sting of this because he seems to be first up with a stream of comments which are only cut off when he refuses to identify himself or his church affiliation.

Of course, it is highly likely that the protagonist, who is very probably the original chookwatcher,  has no church affiliation because he is prone to being critical about every church he attempts to attend, and eventually leaves in a huff. This alone is a reason for his cloaked nature.

Scrutiny challenged

The other claim he has constantly made is that he has friends and relatives in the churches he hammers on his sites who might be ostracised if he is revealed, but, since he is already known and none of his relatives or friends have ever copped any persecution from those ministries his excuse is already totally shot, and has been for some time.

So, is the actual reason for his anonymity anything to do with evasion from scrutiny, lack of accountability, or the fear of legal action?

Whilst he is prepared to name and attempt to shame, smear and defame the subjects of his own scrutiny, he is too feint or timid or clandestine to reveal his own name in case he comes under the same probing from others.

The same goes for the list of cohorts who use the same pseudonym, at the last count eight people hiding behind the same nom-de-plume. What does this say about them?

Dr Brown is correct to point this out and to call them out.

Character assassination

But the reaction from chookwatcher reveals so much more about his character than he probably knows.

He doesn’t even bother to give a reason for his anonymity, nor the anonymity of those who use the same pseudonym on his sites.

He completely skirts around this issue, which is, after all, the topic at hand on Dr Brown’s twitter feed, and to which chookwatcher responded in such an evasive way.

He then posts a new article featuring the twitter exchange, and proceeds to do what this anonymous chook always does – devise a character assassination of Dr Brown, misrepresenting his ministry, his comments, his willingness to interact even with his own critics, his character, and his history.

In short, chookwatcher demonstrates exactly the point Dr Brown was making in the first place.

Not a ministry

And chookwatcher makes an astonishing admission.

‘Michael Brown has deliberately misrepresented ChookWatchCentral publicly both on Twitter and on radio. We have never claimed to be a ministry. On all our sites, we have made the claim “we started as a group of concerned leaders, pastors and elders from various denominations.” Nothing more.’

Not a ministry. Really? But they say they are made up of ‘concerned leaders, pastors and elders from various denominations’. Are not leaders, pastors and elders of denominations in some kind of ministry? OK, they say not. Fair enough.

The difference, of course, between chookwatcher and other ‘discernment’ sites is their willingness to use their own names when criticising people like Dr Brown. And they do consider themselves to be ministries.

Q&A for chookwatcher

I’ll have to ask this question, though, of chookwatcher – do all of those under the shroud of the chookwatcher pseudonym agree with this claim? Are none of them ministers of any kind?

Isn’t chookwatcher’s ‘watcher’ thing a ministry? Is being a ‘watcher’ a service to the people attracted to chookwatcher sites? In Biblical terms ministry refers to service. Oh well, their call.

Actually, the truth is that chookwatcher started because he was outed at Signposts02 and ran for cover until he hit upon the idea of the first of the chookwatcher sites – c3chookwatch. Other people joined as the site gained momentum amongst the anti-Hillsong brigade to start hillsongchookwatch. Then three other sites.

Chookwatcher might make the claim that the sites started as a group of concerned leaders, pastors and elders, but that is not the reality. Maybe, by the time the chookwatchcentral site was put up there was more than one chookwatcher in the clan, but the reality is that chookwatcher started the original site himself and others joined.

Which is why his twitter name is c3chookwatch – the name of the first site, and a great identity marker.

But how would anyone know if chookwatcher, or any of the chookwatchers are on the level? Or actually Christians, or leaders, or pastors, or elders?

None of them owns up to their own identity. Why should Dr Brown believe their claim? Who can give credence to anonymous critics? He is right to call this out.

They are anonymous. Their charges in their follow-up article are trumped up. They are found wanting again. Caught out. Exposed. Hidden as people, but exposed as sowers of discord.

Not deliberate at all

And did Dr Brown ‘deliberately’ misrepresent you by calling you a ministry? I would have thought that would be something of a compliment not deserved. Most ministers would say that a Christian discernment group would be a ministry.

And was he even talking about chookwatcher? It seems he was being generic with his comment. Just because the seemingly self-conscious chookwatcher was the first to respond doesn’t mean Dr Brown ‘deliberately’ misrepresents something obscurely placed on an ‘about’ page somewhere on their five sites, which have thousands of posts and entries.

I can’t believe chookwatcher actually wrote these things.

And he claims Dr Brown misrepresented a scripture when he didn’t actually quote one.

Chookwatcher just makes things up. Dr Brown’s reference to anonymous discernment ministries’ cloak of anonymity was exactly that.

Chookwatcher’s even put up graphics of himself in a hoody. His offsider had a failed site that imitated the Irate Pirate and in his videos he is wearing a hoody. Cloaked. Hidden. Secretive.

Their anonymity is their cloak. Comparing this to a wolf in sheep’s clothing was chookwatcher’s own doing, but it actually fits, so why not?

And he never did explain why he is anonymous.