Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mark Lauterbach's TGC Review of "Resisting Gossip"

Veteran pastor Mark Lauterbach has reviewed Resisting Gossip at the Gospel Coalition book review site.

Mark was one of my critical readers who initially helped develop the manuscript. He didn't give very many points of evaluation back then, but the ones he did were extremely valuable. For example, Mark suggested that you can't "gossip-proof a church" (my original title for the bonus chapter for church leaders) which led me to change that section to the much more realistic goal (though hard enough!) of cultivating "gossip resistant" churches.

In his TGC review, Mark begins with how the book struck him personally as a "needed surprise," then evaluates it as a tool for gospel-centered discipleship and as an "ounce of prevention:"
Resisting Gossip is also useful for pastors, as an ounce of prevention, in equipping their flocks to preserve unity. The unity of the Spirit is a precious thing, for by it we display the reality of Christ. The unity of the Spirit is also a fragile thing, however. Gossip kills unity. It creates suspicions, diminishes trust, and questions motives. It frays the fabric of unity, and does so invisibly at first. But when conflict goes public, the prejudice and judgments of the heart created and fed by gossip will add fuel to the fires. The fabric will tear.
He goes on to suggest 3 areas for further exploration that he says Resisting Gossip addresses in principle but still need a much wider discussion of particular implications and applications. I thoroughly agree!

Mark's conclusion:
Gossip is not a small issue. Loose lips have sunk ships, ruined reputations, and destroyed the unity of local congregations. Protecting each other’s good name is a mark of Christ’s love, and giving diligence to preserve the unity he created means killing gossip. This book will be helpful in pursuing these things.
Thanks, Mark. I certainly hope so!

Read the whole thing.