ControlAltDispute's Blog

Gossip: It’s Good For Business!

Posted on: September 17, 2009

INTEROFFICE MEMO

From:     Marketing
To:         Staff
Subj.:     Business Opportunities

We are introducing a new marketing idea for the alternative dispute resolution business:  Gossip. Gossip itself is hardly a new concept, but we believe that its usefulness in creating conflict has not yet been exploited fully.  We think now is the time.  Remember:  More conflict, more business!

We don’t believe this will have to be that complicated.  Simple gossip should work fine.  Questions starting:  “Did you hear . . . ?” and “You know what’s happening over at  . . . ?” will get you started down the hill.

Most people don’t think they are gossips, so we should be able to slip this in without too many alarms going off, if encouraged appropriately.

Here’s an example:  In the last few months, there has been a controversy within a certain local Christian community.  This controversy has been discussed in emails, blogs, letters, and lunches.  One of the most common themes running through these forums is second- (and third- and fourth-) hand “news.”  [Note to Staff:  Never say “gossip”; always use the word “news.”  If necessary, spiritualize it with “Oh, we really need to pray about . . . .”]

Sometimes, people bring this stuff to us and it goes something like this:

Did you here what Bubba just did?

“Nope, what?”

He just [painted his car red,  or whatever . . . ]!!!

“Hmmm…. That’s strange.  Why did he do that?”

Well, isn’t it obvious?!  It’s because of ______!

“Really?  That’s what Bubba told you?”

Whadya mean?

“When you asked Bubba why he did that, is that what he told you?”

Well, I never asked Bubba myself, but

check one:

[  ] What other reason could there be?
[  ] I got that from an impeccable source.
[  ]
Everybody knows it.
[  ]
That’s just the kind of person he is.
[  ]
His father did that too ya know.
[  ] Where there’s smoke, there’s . . . well, you know.

Now at this point, you have to be careful.  The more sanctified saints are going to feel a little Holy Spirit poke right about now.  The G-word might even come to mind.  Quickly change the subject.

The power of gossip to create conflict in the Church cannot be overemphasized.

  • It allows the judging of other people’s hearts in their absence.
  • It precludes the subjects of the gossip from responding or explaining themselves.
  • It permits little grains of sand to grow into beautiful pearls of controversy!

Now, there are admittedly some problems with this marketing approach.  For instance, we need to stay away from certain Scriptures.  The admonitions about taking your concerns one-on-one to your brother first (Matt. 18:15) are a problem as are any verses about doing unto others as you want them to do unto you (Matt. 7:12).  (A handy list of other verses to avoid is at the bottom of this memo.)  We can’t blatantly ask professing Christians to tear those sections out of their Bibles or they’ll know something’s up.  For the time being, Marketing is suggesting “the dodge.”

Change the subject.  Emphasize how “juicy” this news item really is and how “cool” and “connected” they’ll seem when they repeat it to their friends.  Are these not “choice morsels”? (Prov. 26:22)  Appeal to their need to be accepted and this will get you past most of the objections.

Remember, just because we are recommending avoidance of certain Scriptures, doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the truth!  In fact, this whole marketing concept is based on truth found in the Scriptures!  For instance, Prov. 26:20 rightly tells us that “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down” and Prov. 16:28 truly advises us that “A slanderer separates intimate friends.”

So, in summary, if the alternative dispute resolution business is going to grow, we are going to need more and bigger disputes.  Gossip is the perfect fuel for controversy:  It’s easy to do, takes no time or monetary investment, makes you feel superior, and is nearly self-perpetuating.  What are you waiting for?!

–Marketing

Verses to Avoid:

Prov. 20:19:  He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

Rom. 1:29:  . . . being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

2 Cor. 12:20:  For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;

1 Tim. 3:11:  Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

1 Tim. 5:13:  At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.

2 Tim. 3:3:  . . . unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,

Titus 2:3:  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,

Ps. 141:3:  Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Prov. 11:13:  He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.

Prov. 16:28:  A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.

Prov. 18:8:  The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.

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