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Archive for August 9th, 2008

In many internet blogs, including this one, people have been accused of gossip and “tale-bearing” (that term is so archaic!) when they bring up or discuss things about Christian “leaders” or authors of public blogs. I wish to address this bizarre accusation.

When a person creates a public blog or takes a role of leadership in his/her community (by writing a book, by speaking at a conference, by pastoring a church) then he/she has necessarily taken on more responsibility and more scrutiny than the average person. If you put your life in the limelight, expect it to be under a microscope.

For example, if I were to blog about the current affair/scandal affecting Mr. Edwards, would any of you call it gossip?  I think not. Instead it is news. However, if I were to blog about my next-door neighbor’s affair with the gardener, would it be gossip or news? Gossip, obviously. Well, at least I hope it is obvious. There is a great difference between the way we treat events which happen to a “nobody” and those which happen to a “somebody.” And it isn’t all about juicy scandalous stories… it is about what the role of a leader requires. We hold leaders to higher standards. Mr. Edwards’ affair is awful, as is any affair. However, his is worse because of his position as leader and a community example.

So, when people like Jennie Chancy, Stacy McDonald, Lydia Sherman, and of course, Doug Phillips stand up to lead a church, to write books, to start public blogs, then they ought to expect not only criticism but scrutiny. Not only should we be looking at what they preach but also at how they live it. It is the old adage, “they can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?” Could we go too far in investigating their private lives? Of course. Everyone deserves privacy. However, when a person preaches a particular way of living, it is only fair that they are held to their own standards. Should we go dig up dirt about these men and women from their past? No. But neither should we let their theology, comments, or actions go by without any accountability.

And also, being public figures (by their own instigation, by the way) means that we can feel free to make comments about them without fearing we have violated the Matthew 18 code (unless, of course, Jennie, Stacy, Lydia, or Doug attend YOUR church). I can write my opinions about these folks without having to “check in” with them to ensure that it is or isn’t what they believe. The idea that I would have to email Lady Lydia and ask her own personal views before writing my post is absurd. It is like asking me to call up President Bush to ask him about his personal views regarding foreign policy before writing an article for a newspaper. Gossip? Slander? Nope.  Just good reporting.  🙂

P.S. – We four ladies here at WWF have voluntarily put ourselves in the public sphere as well since our site is not private and we welcome not only praise, but also criticism. Even those of us who have pseudonyms are not anonymous. Under Laura Croft’s name I can still be called to account for my words. And two of the other WWF authors know my church and one of them knows my pastor… so even here, under a pen name, I am not unaccountable.

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