Tag Archives: Gossip

15 Ailments of the Church #14: Cliques

Read Proverbs 6:16-19


“Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (Matthew 12:25 NLT)

clicks-sand-cliquesDo you remember high school? I remember when I went to freshman orientation, we were all told that we could expect that high school would be the best four years of our lives. Now, that is some promise that comes with a whole host of different expectations depending on who the person with those expectations is. For me, I expected that the best four years of my life would be years in which I was accepted for who I was, that I was treated with respect and love, and that the segregation that existed between the popular groups and the outcasts would cease to exist. Unfortunately, high school did not deliver; rather, it became the opposite of the best four years of my life.

15 Ailments of the Church #14: Cliques. In the fourteenth of Pope Francis I’s 15 Ailments of the Church, he writes that one of the ailments is that Christians tend to “form ‘closed circles’ that seek to be stronger than the whole.” These “closed groups” are what are more commonly known as cliques and they are the bane of the church. While Francis is addressing the forming of such groups within the church, I want to bring it to the macrocosom for a moment. The reality is that the church, as a whole, has become a clique. Those who are within the “closed group” of the church are “saved”, “worthy”, “righteous”, “holy”, “pious”, etc. Every one outside of the church are considered “lost”, “unsaved”, “unholy”, “unrighteous”, “evil”, “sinful”, “misguided”, “damned”, etc. This sort of “us” versus “them” outlook at the world is exactly the opposite outlook that Jesus had in his life and in his ministry.

Cliques are a perversion of the community God has created us to form and play a part in. The Kingdom of God is an all-inclusive community that welcomes all people regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, what they do or don’t believe, etc. The only ones excluded from this holy community are the ones who choose to exclude themselves. Cliques, on the other hand, are not communities at all. They are groupings of people seeking to have power and status over others. They are groups that seek to undermine the whole and who seek to destroy those who they consider to be beneath them.

Unfortunately, cliques are prevalent within Christian places of worship, within Christian institutions, and within all aspects of Christianity. There are cliques within the hierarchy of the church, cliques that clergy take part in, and cliques that laity take part in. The church is filled with cliques, with gossip, with slander, and with other forms of evil. All of this, whether we want to admit it exists or not, is to the detriment of the church as a whole.

Christ is calling us to break up our cliques. Christ is commanding us to return to God’s understanding of community. Relationships with others are a beautiful thing when those relationships strengthen and build up the whole; however, when they work to tear down or be better than the whole, they are terribly destructive and antichrisitian. We are called to be the former and to completely avoid being the latter. Christ is challenging us to live as he lived, to love as he loved, and to embrace the world with that love, even if we don’t embrace the ways of the world. Remember Christ’s call for us to be perfect, even as our father in heaven is perfect. It’s a tall order, indeed, and cliques don’t play into it.


“Try to have as diverse group of friends as possible and don’t get into the clique scenario.” – Andrew Shue


Lord, break me away from the temptation to be a part of cliques so that I may work toward being inclusive of all. Amen.

15 Ailments of the Church #9: The Terrorism of Gossip

Read Romans 1:28-32

“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. ‘Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the LORD.’” (Leviticus 19:16 NLT)

evildead_620_101512I can clearly remember my time in Elementary School. I remember that I was not quite in the “popular” group, in fact, I wasn’t “popular” at all…whatever that actually means. I remember what it was like being someone who was being talked about, I remember what it was like having rumors spread about me. By the time I was a junior in high school, I had given up trying to be liked by people. In fact, I used to spread rumors around about myself to see how fast they traveled back to me. Have you ever played that game?

The truth is, I wasn’t guilt-free in the department of participating in gossip, either. None of us are. Each of us have, no doubt had rumors spread about us and we all have, no doubt, participated in the spreading of rumors. What’s worse than that being done in high school or in the world, where it is common place and expected, such gossip is just as prevalent in the church and in the lives of Christians as well. This leads us to Pope Francis I’s 9th Ailment of the Church.

Ailment of the Church #9: Committing the Terrorism of Gossip. According to Paul, we who follow Christ are all a part of Christ’s resurrected body. What does this mean? This means that we are supposed to have died to our old ways, we are supposed to have died to our sinful nature, and we are supposed to have resurrected from that death into a new life. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)! If we have died to our corruption and resurrected back to life, then we shouldn’t be living corruptible lives. Gossip is, perhaps, one of the greater corruptions within the church and it is a blasphemy against the Spirit of the living, resurrected Christ.

In fact, Pope Francis I calls Gossip a form of terrorism and, honestly, it truly is. Anyone who has been gossiped about knows that terror and damage that it causes. It damages one’s psyche, it damages one’s self-image, it damages one’s soul. Conversely, those who engage in gossip are in great peril themselves because they are hardening their own hearts, growing calloused, and the gossip is consuming their own souls. Like the demons in the movie the Evil Dead, gossip enters in and it consumes who ever participates in it. It destroys them and it seeks to destroy the people being gossiped about as well. How can gossip ever have a place in the body of Christ? It can’t, and the truth is that those who continually engage in it separate themselves from that body.

Christ is calling us to stop the terrorism of gossip. We were not meant to participate in such a pernicious sin, one that so closely walks the line between sin and evil. If you are one who is engaging in gossip, if you are one who engages in cutting people down behind their backs, if you are one who slanders people and murders them with your words, then Christ is calling you to die to that part of your life. Let that be nailed to the cross so that you may join Christ in the resurrected life. We, as Christians, are filled with the Holy Spirit and are new creatures in Christ. We are the ones who have been called to bring the hope, healing and wholeness of Christ as opposed to the despair, decay and death that comes from the terrorism of gossip. I pray that you are freed from those bonds that you may live into the resurrected Christ.

“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

Lord, forgive me, I pray. Kill any traces of gossip within me and heal me from the times that I have been gossiped about. Resurrect me into a new life, free from gossip and any other kind of slander. Amen.

Easy A for Antithetical

Read Colossians 3:1-10


“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)


At first she liked the attention. She even tried to help one of her bullied friends, letting him tell people that he had a tryst with her too. This led to other bullied kids asking her, and even offering to pay her, to let them claim to have had a tryst with her. At first, Olive agrees to all of this, thinking that she is in control of the situation; yet, as they often do, the rumors spun way out of control.

I won’t give anymore of the film away so as to not spoil it for those who haven’t watched it; however, I mention it because it is worth noting how easily people can get caught up in rumors. People just love gossip. All it takes is for one person to catch wind of something and, before long, the story has grown by leaps and bounds and has spread around an entire community and beyond.  What’s more, rumors are seldom, if ever, based on truth.

As Olive found out, rumors are nothing to play around with. While most people don’t start rumors about themselves, people often participate in them about others. They catch wind of something about someone they don’t know well, or perhaps of someone they don’t like, and they begin to talk about it with others, who then continue to spread the gossip. At first, gossip often seems very innocent and harmless; however, gossip is anything of the sort. At best, gossip emotionally and psychologically hurts and scars those who are subjected to it. At worst, it can be spiritually and physically damaging, causing the subjects of such gossip to devalue themselves and even, in some cases, harm themselves.

The Apostle Paul certainly dealt with division and rumors in his churches. In fact, he did not hesitate to clearly state that gossip, slander and other abusive behaviors were sinful. There is nothing good or Godly that can come from the spreading of gossip. Paul went so far as to even say that anyone who participates in any sort of wrongdoing such as gossip, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. After all, if God is love, and God is at the center of the Kingdom of God, then it logically follows that Love is at the center of the Kingdom of God. Gossip is certainly not an expression of love. It has no place in love. Gossip seeks to separate not to support. It seeks to discriminate not to accept. It seek so to destroy not to build up. When one really thinks about it, gossip is antithetical to love; therefore, those who actively seek to participate in gossip are choosing to not participate in (aka inherit) the kingdom of God.

This, perhaps, is not an easy message for many of us. Most of us have been caught up in one form of gossip or another; however, it is a message we need to hear all the same. God does not want us to participate in gossip, no matter what reason we feel we have for doing so. In God’s eyes, there is NO REASON to gossip. Rather, let us seek to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). Let us seek to truly get to know someone, rather than scorning them based off of hearsay. Let us live into, and inherit, the Kingdom of God rather than sowing the seeds of envy, gossip and hate. That is what LOVE calls us to do!


“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us, to talk about the rest of us.” – Edward Wallis Hoch


Lord, steer me clear of gossip, no matter how innocent it may seem. Let my words reflect your love for all people, and plant that love in my heart. Amen.