Saturday, December 31, 2011


I'm returning to blogging. The hiatus has been profitable and restful and I appreciate those of you who have had a willingness to understand the need for it.

But honestly, I've had to rethink this whole idea of blogging during the time off. More specifically, blogging as it relates to gossip. Someone has recently said blogging is a new way of doing an old thing that has been sin from the beginning? Namely, "gossiping."  Bloggers he said, "are gossips who sit around in their mother's basement, in their underwear, writing on their computers, saying nothing of any significant value." [What a horrible mental picture that would be if true. LOL] 

Is blogging simply, as he claims, a new modus operandi for "gossip" in this age of communication? To begin blogging again, I would assume any thinking person would need to at least face the possibility of this criticism being valid. So I thought I'd have a personal look see with a new blogging post at the beginning of 2012. 

"Gossip" by definition is, according to Wikipedia..."a casual or idle talk of any kind, sometimes slanderous and/or devoted to discussing others." Webster says it this way, "Gossip is... 1. A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational fact. [noun] 2. Rumor or report of an intimate nature. 3. An informal conversation." 

To the surprise of no one I'm sure, I have a few personal observations about Webster's definitions.  [I don't put a lot of stock in what Wikipedia says about anything actually so I'll disregard that.]

I wonder if Webster's number 1 is legitimate were it to be thought of as referencing a person who gives a personal or sensational fact... about themselves? Is that a negative thing? What's wrong with someone sharing a personal or even sensational fact about their own experience? Nothing I would think.

I also am wondering if Webster's number 2 is correct in using "rumor" and "report" together. "Rumor" I understand. "Report" of an intimate nature might not qualify [automatically] as gossip from my point of view. Autobiographies would have to be rethought were one to accept such a narrow definition.

Finally, I'm wondering if Webster's number 3 should be thought of as harmful or sinful as well! An informal conversation is what I desire on this blog, albeit, in written form, and were that to qualify as gossip there is no question that my blog would need to shut down. I guess we might ought to see if the scriptures can help us in this. 

It seems to me that when scripture speaks of idle talk in a negative way, it isn't speaking necessarily of conversation that is intimate, personal, or even sensational in nature, except as such conversation would have a view to harm or tear down. Now if personal or intimate talk [writing] were to be of a salacious nature, of course it would qualify, not only as gossip, but sin as well. However, even there we would have to work through to an acceptable or agreed standard for defining salacious. [I have a friend who blushes when the phrase "sexual relationship" is used in any context that is public.] That's for another post however.

It is true that Romans 1:28-32, for example, does use "backbiting" to describe language which may be personal and intimate conversation in nature. But that passage is speaking of someone who talks about someone else and it is evil because of its intent. In the same passage "debate" is used as evil in the same way and for the same reason. 

Blogging would qualify as gossip when defined in that manner without a doubt. So boiled down to its core definition, blogging would be "gossip"were it to be found having more to do with something that is of a personal and intimate nature [salaciously] or has a direct and obvious intent of harming a person if believed. This I accept.

But blogging, though seen as a conversation that is personal and intimate in nature about ones self and others about themselves as they respond, [comments]  would not necessarily meet that definition of evil it seems to me. Intent has a lot more to do with what scripture regards as sin, if I'm reading the scriptural text correctly, than does the words themselves. [The writers of the Psalms got pretty intimate and personal on occasion did they not!] 

Blogging may be more akin to giving information and opinion about issues [even life] and might be thought of as a processing and organizing of data conversationally that adds to the knowledge of the person receiving it. This is what blogs can be a great tool at doing. It is this that is my personal desire and purpose for blogging.

So, simply put, blogging is information and can generally be viewed as conversation when comments are permitted. When comments are not permitted, however, the blog is more apt to be for teaching or promoting a view and could even qualify as "propoganda." But even then "gossip" is not accurate in describing it I would think.  

So, all of this is to simply answer the question, is blogging, or more accurately, can blogging be gossip? My answer is..."yes" and "no." You will have to decide, as will I, which blogs are or are not gossip, which blogs are or are not real conversation and thus are worthy of being read and responded to. I would hope this blog is one you will enjoy reading and commenting on in the new year of 2012.

So I've concluded for myself that blogging isn't necessarily gossip and is not a sin. I'll cautiously keep at it, then, for 2012. Be discerning as you read and communicate your opinion in the comment section as you wish  [Do remember the guidelines]  and I trust we'll all enjoy blogging together. 

Welcome to you as readers... as I return to the blogging world. And thanks for being a part of it all.

By the way...HAPPY NEW YEAR as we begin 2012.



Bob Cleveland said...

To state some of the thought another way:

"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives."

Proverbs 16:2 (HCSB, the first time I've ever quoted from that...).

Good post and glad to see you back. And here's hoping for a wonderful and Happy New Year for you and Mary.

Aussie John said...


Good to see you back. Maybe it's the culture I'm from, but I still struggle with some blogs which seem to hold more personal information than anything else.

When I'm fully recovered I hope to give more thought to my comments.

Paul Burleson said...


Happy New Year to you too. You're verse says it well I think. Thanks.

Aussie J,

I think I know what you mean. I want to hear it though when you can. AND I DO want to hear how you are doing physically after the surgery. It's good to hear from you again.

Paul Burleson said...

By the way, I DO know the difference between "you're" and "your." SORRY.

Lee said...

Glad that your hiatus didn't last too long. Your stuff provides me with a lot of material when I'm speaking in chapel at school (credit given of course!). It is also inspiring.

Happy New Year.

Paul Burleson said...


Good to hear from you and I appreciate your kind remark.

I was late in hearing of your move recently. Have I heard correctly?

Rex Ray said...

The last of three friends discussing their secret sins said, “Mine is gossip and I’m dying to get out of here.”

Now his ‘news’ wouldn’t be rumor would it? :)

Very interesting subject.

“They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the market places, and to be called ‘Rabbi’.” (Matthew 23:7 NLT)

Ahaaaa! Can we call Jesus a gossip?

Is it gossip if I change that “Rabbi” to ‘Dr.’ (as in preacher).

Interesting topic.

Good to have you back, Paul.

Bob, I believe Q10 is good for the heart as some doctors recommend it.

Quote for the day from Queen Elizabeth ll: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Paul Burleson said...


Good to be back and I think you're on target with CoQ10. I'm a regular user. Queen Elizabeth ll's quote is worthy of a "Quote of the day" ranking. THANKS.

Steve Miller said...

Welcome back Paul. Great visit with you in Norman last month. Looking forward to fruitful dialogue in 2012 and the sharpening of iron opportunities. Happy New Year to you and Mary.


Paul Burleson said...


It WAS a fun time for me. I'm excited for you and your new ministry. It's also good to be refreshed and back blogging.