Tag Archives: Gossip

The Church Gossip

The Church Gossip

Irene, the church gossip, and self appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old blue pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told George, and several others, that everyone seeing it there would know exactly what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a few moments and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend or deny! He said nothing!
Later that evening, George quietly parked his blue pickup in front of Irene’s house …. walked home …. and left it there….all night!

There’s an “Irene” in every congregation. A particular gossip spread a rumour about a minister friend of mine, to the effect that he danced naked at night – she’d seen him through his open window many times!

If I wanted some information disseminated, I would sometimes go to my “Irene” and swear her to secrecy not to pass on what I was about to tell her in confidence – in the sure and certain knowledge that it would be in circulation around the Parish in twenty-four hours.

Most times, however, gossip can be cruel and hurtful and many folk in my respective congregations have been desperately harmed by it.

The Bible admonishes against it it many places – “Google it” and you’ll find many verses condemning the slanderer and the gossip.

There’s an old story about a dreadful gossip who caused a lot of hurt and damage in his village, because of his evil tongue.

One day, however, he came to his senses, realizing the harm he’d inflicted on others over the years.

He went to the Village Elder – a sage and wise man – to ask what he could do. He was told to fill a sack with feathers and put one on every doorstep of every house wherein there had been someone he had slandered. And then was told to return to where the Sage lived.

This he did and went back as instructed.

“What now, O Wise One?” he asked the Elder.

The reply was simply, “Go, and gather up the feathers!”

“But…..but….they will have blown away and I won’t be able to get them back”

AND SO IT IS WITH UGLY, SPITEFUL & HURTFUL WORDS – we can’t take them back.

James 3 verse 6: The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

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April 10, 2014 · 10:21

Gossip 2

During Churchill’s last year in office, he attended an official ceremony.

Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. “That’s Winston Churchill.” “People say he is getting senile.” “They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men.”

When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!”

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Many years ago the Moody Church News carried a humorous story about a woman in a small town who was know for being a gossip.

One day on vacation she visited the offices of The Chicago Daily News. She was wearing a white dress and inadvertently leaned against a wall where a freshly printed copy of the front page was hanging.

It was a hot, humid day, and some of the print came off on the back of her white dress.

Later, as she walked down the street to meet her husband, she noticed that people walking behind her were snickering.

When she reached the place where her husband was waiting, she asked him if there was anything on her back that shouldn’t be there.

As she turned around, he read the large black reversed letters: sweN ylaiD. Realizing the appropriateness of the words, he said, “No, dear, nothing’s on your back that doesn’t belong there.”

(actually, when I was a child, we had a neighbour who was nicknamed “The News of the World”!)

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Gossip

There’s one in every congregation: the Gossip.

on several occasions, if I’ve wanted something disseminated, I’ve approached the biggest gossip in the church and said something like: “I shouldn’t be telling you this but I know that you’ll keep it to yourself……..”  In full knowledge that half the community would hear about it within the next twenty-four hours.

But Christ warns us: There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is said whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs” (Matt 10:26-27).

Pieter_Brueghel_the_Younger_-_Proverbs_(detail)_-_WGA03627

One winds on the distaff what the other spins (Both spread gossip) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

There is a film called “Doubt”  staring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Sister Aloysius Beauvier and Father Brendan Flynn respectively.

One of the best scenes in the film is when Father Flynn preaches about gossip:

A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew— I know none of you have ever done this—that night she had a dream. A great hand appeared over her and pointed down at her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession.

She got the old parish priest, Father O’Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. “Is gossiping a sin?” she asked the old man. “Was that the hand of God Almighty pointing a finger at me? Should I be asking your absolution? Father, tell me, have I done something wrong?”

“Yes!” Father O’Rourke answered her. “Yes, you ignorant, badly brought-up female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed!”

So the woman said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness. “Not so fast!” says O’Rourke. “I want you to go home, take a pillow up on your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me!”

So the woman went home, took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to the roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. “Did you gut the pillow with the knife?” he says.”Yes, Father.” “And what was the result?” “Feathers,” she said. A world of feathers.

“Feathers?” he repeated. “Feathers everywhere, Father!”

“Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out on the wind!”

“Well,” she said, “it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.”

”And that,” said Father O’Rourke,“is gossip!”

This is based on an old folk tale which is essentially the same:

A man  went about his village slandering the town’s wise man. One day, he went to the wise man’s home and asked for forgiveness. The wise man, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, and scatter the feathers to the wind. After he had done so, he should then return to the wise man’s house.

He quickly cut up the pillow, scattered the feathers, and returned to the house.

“Am I now forgiven?” he asked.

“Just one more thing,” the wise man said. “Go now and gather up all the feathers.”

“But that’s impossible. The wind has already scattered them.”

“Precisely,” he answered. “as it is to recover your poisonous words”

–ooOOoo–

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business.

Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old car parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.

She emphatically told George (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.

He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.

He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his car in front of Mildred’s house… walked home… and left it there all night.

You gotta love George.

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