Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Good gossip is just what's going on.
Bad gossip is stuff that is salacious,
mean, and bitchy; the kind most
people really enjoy.
To deny we need and want power is
to deny that we hope to be effective.
Liz Smith, “Gossip” Columnist and
wit; she was born on this date, 1923
(still alive, I believe; age 88)
The first quote is just to get you laughing – always a good thing, yes? But. Do take note of the little barb in it. Most of us really do enjoy hearing the “bad gossip”. Come on now, be honest! We do, we do. Liz is reminding us that what we think or “let in” shapes us. Jesus also reminded us of this. Hopefully most of us don’t want to be “salacious, mean, and bitchy”. Yes? So ……
Liz’s second quote is profound. It points up something fundamental about us human beings. As a seminary professor of mine used to insist, “We all have power!”. It’s how we use it that is critical. If we want to be “effective”, as probably most of us do, then HOW do we want to be effective? Do we want to be “salacious, mean, and bitchy”, abusive, or tyrannical, or manipulative, etc? Or do we want to be caring, compassionate, kind, generous, etc? God, in most peoples’ conception, has power - but a prayer (Collect) in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer makes it clear how God “uses” power: “O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity.. “ (Proper 21)
I think my professor was correct. We all have power ….. and it is important that we know it. The challenge to the definition of our humanity is how we use the “gossip” – we know “what’s going on” so we can support and help and care, or the opposite. The challenge is: we have Power – do we use it to destroy or to “build up in Love”?