You see, of course, my dilemma.

So I’m listening to the Writing Excuses Season Capstone, and I’m starting to realize why I’ve never become a professional writer: I have too many hobbies. I have a lot of things I’m interested in and I do well enough at them naturally that I could have chosen any one of them to pursue professionally, but only at the expense of dropping all the others. I sing and dance; I play guitar; I write fiction and non-; I study theology and economics… but none of those turn into money, except at a very high level of development.

Developing one means dropping all the others and taking a gamble, and it’s a gamble I’ve never been willing to take. Which is odd, because I’m not particularly risk adverse. But I am proud. Too proud, for instance, to stay in my parents house for a decade, pursuing a career that might not work out. To proud to risk being accused of failure to launch.

So what have I done instead? I picked the one interest that had low barriers to entry, and easy to monetize early: sitting at a desk, organizing stuff. Small fame there, but a decent paycheck. And that’s how I became the Army Sustainment Officer I am today. It turns out my most lucrative calling is to be a bureaucrat.

That doesn’t erase the itch to accomplish something more… refined? with my life. It just steals a certain chunk of my time. So I am even now looking into refining the roughage out of the remaining hours that I have, so I can set aside time to do pursue one of my old affections. I’m going to have to shove aside one or two of my big three weekend and evening pursuits: church involvement, Facebook, and being a dad.

It Isn’t as Easy as It Looks.

I’ve just been thinking through this. Let’s say you’re trying to be obedient to Matthew 18. Brother Slim Pickens is stealing from his work. You have incontrovertible proof. So you go to him. What does he say? “Who told you I was stealing? This is gossip!” You show him your proof, and he has no room to deny it, but he doesn’t repent.

So you go to your friend in the church and you explain the situation to him. You show him the proofs that you have, and you and your friend go to Slim to confront him. What does Slim say? “How dare you talk behind my back! You two are gossips!” Again with the proofs; again with no repentance. After you leave, Slim posts on Facebook about people at his church are gossiping about him. He gathers up a coterie of friends who heap up condolences for him and scorn for all the wicked gossips at his church.

So you go to the elders. You present your proofs and they are persuaded. Same story: how dare you. Gossip and slander, now to the highest leaders of the church. But there’s the evidence, and he won’t repent. His blog is now full of the woe of discovering he’s at a gossip church, full of judgmental hypocrites.

Slim write a letter to the church, withdrawing his membership, on account of the church is full of gossips, he feels ostracized and isolated. The church is broken, the spirit of fellowship lost. “Ichabod” is practically engraved on the pulpit. The members meet, review his letter, listen to the elders, and determine that he should be removed for the unrepentant sin of theft.

Slim writes awful things on his blog about everyone who confronted him about his sin. He doesn’t name any names, so that makes it okay. Everyone knows his old church was full of hypocritical gossips and harsh, unbiblical leaders.

So my question is, what is gossip? And what could the church have done, any differently, and still be obedient to Jesus?