Gossip That Isn’t About Me

Transcript from a chapel sermon at a Fundy U not far from you.

Young people, today I’d like to say a word or two to you today about gossip. Gossip is a blight upon our world, upon our country, and upon this very community of saints on our college campus. It is nothing short of an epidemic of evil.

Why, just today someone report to me that there’s a rumor going around that I only have marital relations with my wife on major holidays*.  This is not true in any way shape or form. There are also plenty of minor holidays on the calendar as well. For example, today is Queen’s Night in the Netherlands and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the significance of that.

But even worse than this sort of silly gossip are the repeating of news stories from the godless press about scandals involving indiscretions of our fellow fundamentalists.  When a story breaks about a fellow fundamental Baptist who stands accused (or even convicted) of rape, murder, embezzlement, or public urination our response should simply be to stick our fingers in our collective ears and hum a happy little tune. My personal favorite for this is a little song called “If I don’t believe it, it didn’t happen la la la la la.” If you’d like, I would be happy to teach you the tune and lyrics.

You know, this entire topic reminds me of a story about a church next to a railroad tracks in Nazi Germany. The people inside the church would hear the cries of hapless folks being shipped by cattle car to meet their awful fate. And so to drown out those sad sounds, the congregation would raise its voice in song and sing as loudly as possible.  I think that we can probably all agree, that’s simply a wonderful way to deal with such an tragic circumstance. After all, the folks inside that church didn’t know the specific details of every individual on those cars and for all we know some of them may have deserved to be there. It wasn’t their business to get involved.

In a similar way, we often lack 100% proof of any wrong doing  regardless of how many witnesses are brought forward. No matter how damning the evidence may seem as long as it’s happening far away and we weren’t personally there it’s just none of our business and we should just try to do our best to block out the noise of crying children and wounded adults as best we can. I say to you all: just sing louder!

When someone comes to you with news that there is abuse in fundamentalism…sing louder!

When your best friend is expelled from this campus for some trifling crime…sing louder!

When justice, and mercy, and humility are rarely to be seen in any of the leadership or this any other fundamentalist institution…then sing the loudest of all!

So heed this message well. Do no allow one word of negativity to cross your lips. Unless the story of scandal is about some other so-called “Christian” college or church with whom we have no fellowship, of course. Then you’ll hear it preached from this very pulpit and none dare call it “gossip.”

Every head bowed, every eye closed…

*Actual rumor spread about real life Fundy U VP earning him the nickname of “Doc Holiday.”

131 thoughts on “Gossip That Isn’t About Me”

  1. Such masterful touches, Darrell! I especially appreciated the following:

    1. the way fundies often cast aspersions on the character of the victims and assume they “deserved” whatever happened to them.

    2. the insanity of their insistance on 100% proof. (Unlike Scripture which asked for two or three witnesses, fundies demand a level of proof impossible to meet.)

    3. their coldheartedness because this crime didn’t happen to someone they cared about.

    4. their desire to be involved in supposed spiritual activity (singing praises) when they’re neglecting to do what God in both the OT and NT demanded

    5. the very apropos reference to the verse “And what doth the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”

  2. I had a pastor gossip about me. When he finally got around to telling ME about what I did (that I didn’t even do) I told him he ought to apologize to me for all the things he told other people about me and he said that I had asked for it when I did the thing that I didn’t do. 😕

    1. I had the same thing happen. He wrote a letter and put copies of it on the back table in the church telling people they should take one only if my husband and I said anything about the church. All of the letters disappeared, and we had talked to no one, and when we brought it up, he said that people were telling him we had talked. Most Embarrassing Thing That Ever Happened To Me.

  3. That Esther Marie — sweet as she can be but can’t make a plate of deviled eggs to save herself. I hear she takes a nip from that bottle of “cooking” sherry she keeps in her kitchen but with a husband like hers I don’t know that I’d blame her. Bless her heart.

      1. Another blog that is kin to this one once mentioned that the phrase, “I have someone I need y’all to pray about” was the opening phrase to all Christian gossip. The dirt is about to be dished!

        1. It has been said, more than once in my hearing, that God has provided us with three ways of rapidly spreading information: telephone, telegraph, and tell a woman.

    1. In my research for this, I found a hysterical fact about CULOTTES

      1. Esther Marie is wearing immodest culottes
      2. Culottes were originally knee-breeches worn by MEN, in the Renaissance
      3. The Renaissance was a cultural rebirth and featured artists such as Leonardo
      4. Leonardo was the name of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) and will be voiced Jason Biggs in the new TMNT series
      5. Jason Biggs appeared in the film “Jersey Girl,” a 2004 film staring Ben Affleck
      6. Ben Affleck was the star of the 2004 film “Reindeer Games” in which Ashton Kutcher had a bit part
      7. Ashton Kutcher is planning to co-star in “What would Kenny Do?” with Justin Bieber

      Esther Marie is listening to Justin Bieber

  4. I’d just like to say that men fundies are every bit as bad if not a degree of factors worse than women at gossiping, even though they’re always thrilled to say how gossipy women are.

  5. Well, apparently my MIL was present for this “sermon” and took excellent notes, because when I caught her son in multiple affairs she:
    1) believed every completely unfounded lie he told her about me, the victim
    2) believed NOTHING that proved his infidelity (in spite of irrefutable proof)
    3) Told me she would pray for me (not because he treated me that way, but because of “my sin” in the situation)
    4) Told everyone that I was the one who ended the marriage, since I actually filed the papers.
    But you know what? She can tell her fundy friends whatever she wants about me, because I’m FREE, and I couldn’t care less about what they think about me. But her, gossip? NEVER!! 😆

    1. Innocent Lamb, I know a young lady who was part of a funnymentalist family; Her dad was our pastor for while, as a matter of fact.

      When HER husband was unfai … infide … slept … had sex with another woman (“Tell it like it is, AMEN?”), she filed for divorce and become “The Bad Guy”.

      Her own parents won’t speak to her now.

      Un-fricking-believable.

      1. Went through the same thing-
        only the names have been changed to protect
        the guilty…
        we have truth, but in the meantime, Mr. Don,
        to be believed is to be validated and I thank
        you for comforting innocent lamb.

        1. “to be believed is to be validated”

          so true, I thank you, Don, as well.

          Innocent Lamb, I’m glad you are free too!

      2. Thanks! I almost said, “It’s good to know I’m not alone in this kind of situation.” But then I thought, No. No, it’s not good, because it just means more women have been treated in such a horrific way. But it IS good for us to call it out! I used to think people like my MIL were just misguided, but now I call it like I see it: evil. I hope your former pastor’s daughter will see a future that is MUCH better than her fundy past.

  6. I swear I’ve heard this “sermon” – or something like it. You forgot to add am obscure proof text. Something like Nehemiah 12:42-43. “And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off”

    The people not only sang, but they sang LOUD. They not only sang loud, but they sang WITH THEIR OVERSEER. Notice they did not sing AGAINST their overseer, but WITH their overseer. And who is an overseer but the leaders of the church. When we sing loudly together with our pastor, the joy of the church will be known. But when we sing against our overseers, the world will only see strife and contention in the church.

        1. At BJU it’s Minnick. Apparently he said something about his birthday……… Hearsay. I wasn’t here then….. 3-5 years back or something….

        2. True, it’s only hearsay about Minnick, BUT… I heard he actually advised “preacher boys” in a class to “save it for a birthday or a special occasion.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

          This results in something called the “Mt Calvary Effect,” where a guy learns that the girl he’s been “prospecting” is a member of Minnick’s church and promptly drops her like third-period French.

        3. @Mark Thomas

          Then in our household, every day of the week would be declared “a special occasion.”

        4. One of the analogies that moved me toward an appreciation for weekly communion was the notion that communion was the spiritual equivalent to lovemaking in marriage, and that the physical expression of love was an important component of both human and spiritual marriage. Once you envision communion in that way, it seems ridiculous to restrict it to once a year, to make it “more special” and to prevent it from “getting routine.” I guess the argument works the other way, though, in some fundy circles. At least they’re consistent, I suppose.

        5. Actually, it’s a continual source of amazement to me that you current Bob-residents can still access this site.

        6. @Mark Thomas, Eeeeww, just the thought of some fundy college teacher telling their students when and how often they should have sex is so utterly gross. 👿

        1. Doc Decade 😯 or at least Doc Vulcan.. you know… once every 7 years whether you need it or not. 😳

        1. You guys with the Doc names are cracking me up!! My sides hurt from laughing so much!

          Hrm… since “wimmens” can’t be doctors I’ll be a nurse.

          Nurse Daily

  7. This is so perfect. I mean clearly satire because no fundy would be so candid, but that really sums up what many fundies are thinking since 20/20. If the subtext could talk as loudly as the text all you’d be hear is, ‘la la la la la, I can’t hear you, la la la la la.”

      1. I hate it so much when people make such ridiculous statements about what someone would or wouldn’t do. Obviously they forget the verse in the bible that says “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” 😕

    1. My former church in Grenville, SC, sent around an email to members after the 20/20 program telling them that the “real story” was to be found on Chuck Phelps’ website and gave the address. They called the whole program a distortion of the truth and reminded everyone that the media hates Christians and so it couldn’t possibly be true. Sigh. Why am I not surprised? And how interesting that Chuck graduated from BJU about the same time as this pastor.

  8. Oh my goodness Darrell, I’m so glad you said that this is satire! I think my blood pressure went up a substantial amount while reading!

    Ahh, Poe’s Law worketh upon me greatly!

  9. A quote from Bob Jones, Sr seems appropriate here: “It is better to wash dirty linen in public than not to wash dirty linen at all. A little public dirty linen-washing would do this country good!”

      1. I recently corresponded with a relative of mine who works at a major Fundy U. When I told this person about the Phelps scandal, I was saddened but not surprised to hear their response: “We don’t know the whole story, we didn’t hear his side, and I just don’t pay much attention to stories from the media that unfairly attack good men.” I pointed out that we did, in fact, hear his side on his web site, and it did him very little good. I also stated that unless and until The Wilds and Northland make a public statement about all this, my children will not be encouraged to go to either place. There wasn’t much chance of that happening to begin with, but it needed to be said. I received deafening silence as a reply.

  10. Gossip is a form of informal social control. It serves a very important social function. And I have NEVER heard a sermon against it in a church that wasn’t hiding some very serious misconduct. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if you hear such a sermon in your church RUN! Churches with nothing to hide don’t find the need to make more than a passing mention of gossip, right alongside gluttony or greed.

    1. As a teacher, I find a need to make more than a passing mention of it. Divisiveness and lack of unity are major problems among some of the classes at our school. I have seen the same thing in some churches where certain people are constantly complaining about crap. It truly can tear a church apart without any biblical reason.

      Unfortunately, many pastors have used the real problem of gossip to cover up events that must be brought into the open instead of covered up.

      1. There is a huge difference between gossip and complaining/back-biting. Like any other method of social control, gossip can be abused or backfire. And caution should be used if the gossip is about the disempowered. But in the main, gossip is a powerful tool for controlling the behavior of the powerful and should be used liberally and often. If you hear a rumor about your pastor, pass it on. Better yet, confront him.

        1. I wouldn’t agree that gossip is a powerful tool to control the powerful. Quite the opposite in my experience. I’m not sure about churches, but I know in the military I have seen the powerful use gossip to control the peons. I have seen people get really hurt because they dared stand up to someone (who needed it). I bet that happens in churches too. I did know one girl who got by with a lot because she knew the dirt on all the leadership. I bet that happens in churches too. But while that might be called an example of gossip as a social control tool, I wouldn’t consider it to be positive or good. So, no, I have to disagree. Gossip may be used to control people, but it is neither positive nor good.

  11. This gave me flashbacks to my time at a Fundy Bible college. I can recall several occasions where the president (and pastor of the associated church) lambasted us for being ungodly and wicked because we talked about what we disliked in how things were run/handled. In no uncertain terms he told us that we were the reason the school wasn’t growing.

    The school is now defunct (shocker) and he has retired from his church. Still doing something, I think but I’ve not bothered to keep up because I simply don’t care.

    Funny story from school: I was coming back to school my junior year and my sister came up with me. We stayed for a church service and food time afterwards. He came up to us and was making conversation and asked my sister where she lived. You should have seen the look on his face when she said she lived with me. She shortly clarified that I was her brother, to his obvious relief. He said he thought she was my girlfriend. 😆

  12. What about gossip that *is* about me? I (accidentally) started a rumor about myself once at Fundy U. Spread like wildfire among my classmates in my major. (My major was, of course, Youth Ministries, so all these guys were in the “preacher boys” classes.)

  13. Hypothetically speaking of course…there was this girl who was told to go to the MOG for marital help. The MOG was clearly inappropriate. A rumours started. The MOG wanting to cover his own “backeth sideth” so he wrote letters discrediting her, had staff meetings against her and gave confidential information about her to his whole staff. Smoke and mirrors you see.
    This was all hypothetical, by a hypothetical preacher of course…

    1. I believe that such “hypothetical” situations happen in fundyland.

      I know of a deacon who left my former fundy church and the pastor told the staff he was “wicked”. Rumor got spread from there…The pastor would not return calls/emails when the person tried to confront him about it. After all, no one dares question the mannogid.

  14. It was Doc Holiday’s own wife who started that rumor at a split chapel in the early 90’s, explaining to the girls that sex really wasn’t such a big deal.

    Speaking of rumors…I’m proud to have been mentioned anonymously in one of his chapel messages as a “preacher boy” whose problems with authority would keep him from serving faithfully in ministry for very long. It’s been almost 20 years, and I’m still happily serving in ministry–but not in a fundy church, of course! 😉

      1. Who said I was paranoid? If you do the research, you will see that Darrell and I had a pretty spirited back-and-forth about this topic on one of his other posts. This was posted the next day. Coincidence?

        1. Your previous posts/exchanges had a good strong dose of paranoia as well, this was a pretty massive OD on the paranoia juice.

        2. I’m glad to be in the presence of such an expert on paranoia. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t think I was being paranoid. I called Darrell and his “ministry” out and this was his response. You’ll see it how you want.

        3. What’s interesting, Jonathan is that you haven’t bothered trying to answer the points made in the satire.

          All you’ve done is take a narcissistic approach and scream “he’s talking about MEEEEE!!!”

          I simply refuse to engage in that kind of meta-narrative. Either discuss the topic or don’t.

        4. Doesn’t take a genius or Sigmund Freud to know when someone is living “you’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you”.

        5. @RobM, I never said that the post was about me. I simply said that I was trying not to be too excited about having caused this post. Did I cause the post? Probably, but Darrell will never “man up” (to use his terminology) and admit that the back-and-forth in regards to the gossip he was trying to peddle in regards to the suicide of Minerva was the reason he wrote this entry. Does that make me narcissistic? Probably.

        6. @Darrell, gee, you are a genius! This has got to be one of the best posts of the year. I almost believed that it was a real sermon because I heard something similar in a my overly oppressive fundy church where the pastor and his mistress abused me while forcing his wife to submit to him. After they were done abusing me, they forced everyone in the church to cover it up.

        7. IDK about narcissism, Just the description whoever wrote the song picked for their ex. I do know paranoia when I see it, and if you think a post is about you, you need to check in with the conspiracy anonymous group.

      1. One of the great things about this site is that anyone who expresses an opposing viewpoint is immediately labeled a troll, a fundamentalist, or told they are delusional or emotionally unbalanced. Thank you for proving my point.

        1. You didn’t just express an opposing viewpoint. In your own words, you “called Darrell and his ‘ministry’ out.” Your quotation marks and your focus on Darrell as a person instead of just something he said seem to indicate that this is more than just offering a different point of view.

        2. @pastor’s wife, in a series of interactions that took place recently, Darrell felt it necessary to call into question my integrity and my emotional state. I will agree with you that my posts here had nothing to do with what was posted, but, as you can see from “attacks” on me, anyone that doesn’t agree with the party line is called paranoid, narcissistic, told to take medication, etc. If I’m not mistaken, isn’t this the kind of behavior that you all are always claiming takes place in the fundamentalist church? Aren’t you always railing against it? Seems to be a double standard, but I’m just a paranoid fundamentalist who needs to take his medication, so what do I know?

  15. I bow to your mastery of sarcasm. Unfortunately, as I kneel in humble adoration, my skirt does not touch the floor — because I’m wearing pants and will no doubt be catching the express train to hell. Just remember that if any of this is causing you to have impure thoughts, it’s my fault because I’m a woman. 😉

        1. ^ Like! Because everyone knows that we emotional and irrational women are not physically attracted to men. (I grew up hearing that all the time and thinking that I must not be a normal woman since I WAS attracted to men’s appearances.)

  16. It is amazing how quickly a strong fundy mannogid can shut down the gossip mill. Imagine this “hypothetical” 😉 situation:

    Kid in church school allegedly gets slapped by a teacher during school and the youth are told in chapel not to talk about it to anyone. Hypothetical teacher gets pulled out of the classroom with just a few days left in the school year (yeah, that doesn’t scream scandal 🙄 ). Keeping quiet gets spiritualized so only the evil would speak up.

    I recall many anti-gossip sermons. He used to use the acronym T.H.I.N.K. Toward the end of my time there, I just started rolling my eyes.

  17. [quote]For example, today is Queen’s Night in the Netherlands and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the significance of that.[/quote]

    And, if any of you to what I am referring, you need to turn yourself in to your APC/PC/RA/Dean immediately after chapel so we can goss…I mean, discuss your problem at our next faculty meeting.

        1. well, 🙄 I can’t show you so just use the inequality signs to bookend the word blockquote to begin the quotation and then again use the (less than sign) /blockquote (greater than sign) to close it.

        2. So to do those less than/greater than symbols you have to do “& – gt – ;” (minus the spaces & dashes for greater than), and lt for lesser than: “& – lt – ;”

        3. >blockquote< whatever you are quoting >/blockquote< should then come out looking like this:

          whatever you are quoting

  18. Arriving late to the party 😳 Posts like this where Darrell takes some Fundy concept and pushes it to its logical extreme are really helpful to me. Inductive reasoning is not my strong suite but if you show me the pure kool aid then I can usually recognize the diluted kool aid I’ve been fed. One of those “oh, that’s why this tastes funny” moments. Then before I can beat myself up for having been so slow, other admit that they too where fooled at one time or another. (Also really enjoy learning the various flavors of kool aid that are out there, some of you have been exposed to some really “extra special” blends 😯 .) Knowing I’m not alone makes the detoxing easier.

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