Let's say I was arguing with a subcontractor, one of his employees called the police, and when the police arrived I was so short with him that he arrested me. Let's say I was charged with assault resulting in bodily injury and assault on a police officer resulting in bodily injury - even though no assault occurred and no one's body was injured. Let's say £10,000 bail was set for me to get out of jail.
Now let's say I was charged and hired a lawyer. Let's say it was dragged through the courts for a couple of years before the charges were finally dismissed.
Would it be appropriate for the brothers and sisters in the church to talk among themselves about this?
Does gossip have to be false in order to be gossip?
1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.
4. A close friend or companion.
5. Chiefly British. A godparent.
According to that definition, spreading intimate facts is gossip. I think Jesus taught us how to deal with such "intimate facts"
"15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
it would be natural to discuss it, just like when we saw the Michael Jackson case, could that differ from gossip, were gossip is being jugdemental, negative, speculating, not really caring about the person, etc.
it will be talked about regardless of us saying that it wont be
but i think it will also divide the church to those who gossip
about the person and those who gossip about the act.
in my own personal life and my atrocities that have happened to me
i realise that there are many two faced people in the church, that
talk to you to your face and then stab you in the back with other
AND THESE ARE CHURCH PEOPLE, I tend to believe that church people are the worst
from my divorce time, I see that things dont have to have any basis of truth but
it becomes apparent truth to everyone who hears it because of gossip....
I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
the prayer meeting can also become a place of gossip, it may come as a prayer request! and that's sad that we can't pour our hearts out to God, without feeling that it might spread all over the church.
So its possible/probable that we can gossip about facts/truth of a particular situation. If we hear about a brothers misfortune at a church board meeting or as The King says, at a Wednesday night prayer meeting, how do we refrain from turning it into gossip? If we ask a small group to pray for this brother, is it better then not to give the details but to just ask everyone to pray or should you give the details and risk turning it into gossip?
Gossip has ruined the churches in Wycombe. People go to church and pretend everything is fine and their worship is not sincere. A sad culture has developed in the family where folks have no ethic of maintaining confidentiality. Once the trust is broken there can not be unity among the members and the leadership is not respected. There are many issues in the church (power struggles, teen pregnancy, adultery, lying, etc) but the church has not addressed it by providing support. So the members are left to talk about it and deal with it as they see fit, which only perpetuates it but doesn't address it.
I pray that the next pastor will stand up TO the members and stand FOR the members. In the grip of grace.
I agree that there is a problem in wycombe with gossip, what can we do about it, it will take more than just a Good minister I suspect, we need to address the problems as they come and not sweep them under the carpet. we need to start with the man in the mirror
I like Godseeker's ideal about having some sort of a support system rather than a condemnation system but our perennial problem is always a lack of resource. In your professional opinion Godseeker, how would you see this being done?
we need more than just a support system, for example we can offer a baby sitting service to our single parents who are struggling, but it may not solve the problem, for some it will mean they have another baby, because they know they will get support, I have seen that happen so many times, we need to educate and encourage God's ideal with some of these issues, even before problems arise, but I agree we need to be more supportive of our members who have problems.
true. i agree that having the support doesn't mean personal choices and habits will change. But the culture that currently pervades isn't helping. people will continue to do something if it is tolerated. so I think that having a church that takes a stand on it can help reinforce more constructive behaviour and counteract the gossip culture.
the real issue is that the church is dominated by too few families of one culture. diversifying the church should be a focus and being inclusive of others means learning respect for others...which means gossip isn't acceptable. we need to look outside the family a bit and start thinking about people the way God sees us. i can't go to a sda church and tell people i am from Wycombe without someone commenting on the oddness of the church members. There is a bad reputation sad to say.
oh...to answer your question...i would start by reinforcing the importance of confidentiality and building trust and respect. members should feel like they can approach other members and be able to share experiences and not be judged. choosing who you talk to should not be based on which family you are talking to currently, but based on your motivation: are you telling this person for revenge, delight, or are you actively seeking help for yourself or someone else? in any case, some things do not need to be shared. keeping your family business private is the first step to quenching gossip.
a lot of this can be discussed during AY sessions and such. having role-plays can show how someone is affected when they are a victim of gossip. it seems a lot of people get offended without cause when they think the pastor is preaching to them from the pulpit so this should be avoided.
it never hurts to get an outside perspective. having a communicator come and speak about the psychological effects and issues may also raise their awareness and thinking as they interact with one another. if you get the right person, they should be able to work with the crowd and get some of the adults talking :)
one more thing. whenever you plan something, you must include both churches.
I agree mostly with your comments but just want to pick up on you last sentence -
one more thing. whenever you plan something, you must include both churches.
As a practice, district events are always planned with both churches in mind, on special church events, the other local churches are invited sometimes with active participation. Outside of that why must both churches be included in the planning? We are after all two distinct churches. Both churches have differing emphasis appealing to different communities which I believe is perfectly Biblical. Or are you proposing that we once again become one church instead of two?
I think that there is a gossip problem in Wycombe. The thing is, I think we know who the main gossipers are. What I tend to do is not to align myself with them. The words are often said. ( THOSE WHO YOU GOSSIP WITH, WILL GOSSIP ABOUT YOU) I also think that this is compounded by the fact that our church mainly comprises of extended families. People are afraid to talk about issues because they will offend a family with often turns out to be half of the church and then the church splits.
I think if people stop paying lip service to Christ and live what we preach.
gossip is the vehicle used but the driver of the car is the problem, until we change peoples attitude, from one of condemnation to what God's ideal is. Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? then not a lot is going to change!
that's good-that events are always planned with both churches in mind...sometimes i can't tell but then i'm an outside looking in so forgive my ignorance :)
yes, i strongly support the idea that the two churches should join. the membership is small enough to do so. in such a small town if two churches (few families) cant get together what does that say to the community? combining resources can make a bigger impact.
keeping them separate will not foster unity, and may increase gossip...just putting it out there.
I think we have to agree to disagree on this one, In my short experiences of combined programs in the district, the confusions that ensued with the churches and the fallout lasting months and months, there was a greater detrimental effect on the local community than positives. Off course, this is not impossible to over come but I think that spending more time on outreach instead of inreach is where we need to be (all churches) In addition to this, the principle of discipleship and church plants should mean that we aim for more churches in an area rather than fewer churches, I look at it this way, how many years has the Adventist church been in Wycombe? and how many churches do we have? realistically, we have done a terrible job of disciple-shipping and outreach (with the exception of family members) has not happened. I think we have begun to take tiny steps in the right direction but if we spend time and effort trying to merge back the two churches then we're really missing a trick. Just my opinion.
good point about living in each other's pockets...but remaining separate will never teach us to live with each other. we gossip because we don't know how to relate. we cant outreach effectively because we don't have things in order at home.
when a family is falling apart, you call a family conference and lay down the rules, forgive each other. when a church falls apart, they go off and start a new church. doesn't figure.
i might be wrong and strong, but i've seen both ends of the spectrum on church splits and plants and until we have some unity the church isn't likely to grow or be effective.