A recent news story piqued my interest. Four Hooksett, New Hampshire town employees with 46 years of service between them were fired, in part for gossiping and discussing rumors of an improper relationship between the town administrator and another employee that Hooksett residents now agree were not true. The administrator complained, and after an investigation the town council fired the women, finding, "Gossip, whispering, and an unfriendly environment are causing poor morale and interfering with the efficient performance of town business."

"When I was given my termination papers, I just looked at the gentlemen that were present in the room and I said, 'You've got to be kidding!'" said fired worker Sandy Piper, who insisted her comments weren't out of line. "We discussed it on a lunch break, and then it ended."

The same thing happens everyday (except for the termination part) in offices all over this great land. Gossip happens everyday in neighborhoods, car pools and in annoying public cell phone conversations that I am forced to hear. Gossip is a cottage industry in America. We have gossip magazines and television shows. Gossip columnists make careers out of spreading half-truths and rumors.

The recurring theme of these humble ramblings is not to rail on what the culture is doing but to examine what the followers of Christ should be doing. And the answer is clear and it should be articulated directly like the soup guy from the Seinfeld TV series. "No! No gossip for you!"

If the founding church fathers had added an 8th Deadly Sin I would nominate gossip. I have seen the devastating effect that gossip has in the church. You may have heard this too close to the truth joke.