Why Defining Gossip Matters in the Church’s Response to Abuse
Have we tamed the tongue too much? Christians work to recover a biblical understanding of harmful hearsay vs. healthy criticism.
Heather Fulk can’t remember if she had even heard of Dave Ramsey’s no-gossip policy before her husband, Jon, was fired from the Christian financial guru’s company last May.
But those inside Ramsey Solutions, and the millions who follow his teachings on leadership, know that he has little tolerance for negativity in the ranks. Ramsey defines gossip as “discussing anything negative with someone who can’t help solve the problem.” That means criticism has to go straight to leadership; complaining to fellow employees is “disloyalty.”
People who work at Ramsey may have their gripes—from little things like critiquing the guest speakers at its weekly devos to bigger worries over their place in the company—but they have to be careful not to share with fellow employees who may report them.
“You have a little bit of caution going into new relationships to figure out who’s a safe person,” said a former employee who left this year and asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
For some, the reticence extends beyond the company. “They feel like that’s gossip too, talking to spouses or talking to friends,” said another.
They know not to do what Heather Fulk did. In the early months of the pandemic last year, she shared on her personal Facebook page her concerns over “Jon’s company” reopening its office. A coworker reported the three-sentence post to Ramsey Solutions, and Fulk’s husband was fired less than a month later.
At the exit interview, Ramsey’s HR director confirmed her social media post was the reason for their decision, according to a recording. Her husband remarked, “We obviously disagree on the definition …
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May 16, 2021
May 16, 2021