Monday, May 19, 2008

gossip vs. lobbying

Whenever there is a movement to try and make change within churches that structural problems (particularly abusive ones) those people involved are accused of gossip. Since this word is being misused to cover political activity I think its worth giving a real definition:

gossip- Idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others. That is talk about others with no intent to take action

What is really going on is not gossip but rather:

lobbying- a group of persons who work or conduct a campaign to influence to alter policy towards the group’s interests.

Lobbying is not idle dissent rather it is a necessary and important part of any process of being governed and participating in that government. Another part of clarity:

undermine- to injure or destroy by insidious activity or imperceptible stages, sometimes tending toward a sudden dramatic effect.

So the good way to determine if you are gossiping or lobbying is this. If your goal is to change policy you are lobbying if it is to change leadership you are undermining them. These two often get confused

The SBC has faced a pretty strong attack by the blogsphere on the their leadership in the Georgia Convention and drafted resolution on blogging which essentially these mixes  two issues in a way that is very common:
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that we reaffirm the historic method of administering our agencies and institutions through elected boards of trustees, and we call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders; and
Leaders whose choices and policies can not be "second-guessed" and critiqued are not in any meaningful sense "elected". That's why the constitution grants this as a fundamental right to people, even above and beyond voting. That is many classes of people denied the vote were still permitted to join into organizations to lobby for redress of grievances. The historical method for administration of government in the United States most certainly includes an open discussion of policy and lobbying for changes in said policy. Not merely conducting elections without a press.

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